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November 27, 2013

Top apps for the Nokia Lumia 1520

The Lumia 1520 with its 6-inch full HD screen is not just ‘more of the same’ when it comes to your choice of apps.

After a week using the device, I’d say it’s time to rethink your standard catalogue of favourite apps because the increased screen real-estate opens up your options to do things differently.

Full HD in hand

The large, full high-resolution display means there’s 50 per cent more attraction to watching video on your phone, and the speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor means there’s no lag when decoding or rendering films.

I particularly recommend the Vimeo app – which allows you not just to watch people’s videos, but also to upload, and to manage your library of videos. Vimeo has a ‘watch later’ tag, which is especially useful – tag interesting videos during the day, then curl up on the sofa to watch them in the palm of your hand later. If you make your own films, Vimeo also takes advantage of the 20-megapixel PureView camera and advanced recording capabilities.


I’ve also got the Netflix app installed – which is a no-brainer if you’ve got a subscription to the service. The ability to start watching a film or show on one screen and then continue on another has always been clever and the usefulness of this just increases with the number of available screens you’ve got to play with.

One more video app to try out is the new MoliPlayer Pro. Among other tricks, this will play video files from your SD card, in pretty much any format you can throw at it. It’s still got a couple of rough edges, but it’s developing fast and we’d already recommend it if you have a collection of video files.

Textual healing

While I know a lot of people find it a viable option, I haven’t particularly enjoyed reading books on smartphones so far.

On the large and bright screen of Lumia 1520, however, the Amazon Kindle app is an absolute pleasure. Here’s the screen at medium settings (click through for the full effect).


Plenty of material to view on the page, and big enough to hold at arm’s length. In fact, it’s good enough that I’m happy to leave my physical e-book reader at home for all but the longest journeys.

For other reading, Nextgen Reader remains on my must-have list. This app is especially valuable since it has font-size options for reading articles. With a 50 per cent larger screen, you might want to boost the size for comfort, or reduce it to increase the density of information. Either way, it’s better on the Lumia 1520.

Also give Zinio another look. The magazine app benefits enormously from the extra real estate – making it easier to both navigate around layouts and absorb the content that you want to read.

For note taking I recommend Papyrus, a handwriting note-taking app, which has just been released for Windows Phone.


While it’s not a separate app as such, it’s worth drawing attention to Internet Explorer as a good place to do some reading. Again, the larger screen means there’s less time squinting or resizing the content, and more time enjoying it. HERE Maps and Drive also become more usable thanks to increased visibility.

Games and miscellaneous

I wouldn’t say that every app benefits from a larger screen. Where the four-inch version is perfectly usable, and just resized when it moves to six inches, it’s unlikely you’ll get a lot of benefit from the extra pixels on the Lumia 1520.


So standard apps like the alarm or calculator aren’t worth a mention. It’s apps that show content that really shine. We recommend Hipstamatic Oggl, Vyclone, the newly released Instagram beta and Vine for some creative fun – both creating your own pictures and flicking through those created by friends and family.

Games also get bigger and more usable when there’s more space to see what’s on screen. Ones that show a lot of detail on screen particularly benefit. I found that board games like Civilization Revolution seemed to be a lot easier to understand than before. The Sims series, notably the new Sims Freeplay, really shone at six inches. And then games with lots of small units on screen, like Halo: Spartan Assault, become considerably more manageable.

That’s as far as I’ve got so far. Which other apps do you think would benefit most from a bigger screen?