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December 9, 2013

A week with the Nokia Lumia 1520

My Nokia Lumia 1520 arrived a little over a week ago. And it’s now my full-time smartphone. So what’s it like?

My Nokia Lumia 1520 arrived a little over a week ago. And it’s now my full-time smartphone. So what’s it like?

Day one

“THIS IS BIG” was – perhaps obviously – my first impression. My previous smartphones over the last year (Lumia 1020, Lumia 925, Lumia 720 and Lumia 920) gave me no preparation for the size.

And, yes, the initial impression is that this phone is immense, as a phone.

It’s got a 6-inch 1080p full HD screen – around 50 per cent bigger than most modern smartphones – and weighs 206g. For those who haven’t read about this device before – full specs here.

Reboot your brain

But… perhaps you remember going from a 3-inch screen to a 4-inch model?


Day One: the phone seems massive. “How can I possibly live with this?” you think.

Day Two, and suddenly, it doesn’t seem so large, somehow.

Day Three and it’s the new normal. You pick up your old phone and it’s so small and dinky, like it was designed for a child.

The Lumia 1520 is bigger and heavier, sure. But (a) it still fits easily into the coat and jacket pockets where I fitted my previous Lumia smartphones; and (b) the weight is well-balanced – so it isn’t overbalanced towards the top or bottom; (c) there are massive advantages to massive Lumia. Of which, more below.

Once you get over the difference from your old phone, it’s suddenly impossible to go back.

Two to tango

The Lumia 1520 does take two hands to operate properly. Maybe that’s a deal-breaker for some readers, and I won’t be able to persuade you otherwise. No problem – Nokia has plenty of smaller devices.

But… it depends how you use your phone.

For a few years now, phone calls haven’t been the main use I’ve made of my mobile device. That’s why we call them ‘smartphones’, I guess.

It’s a device for emails, reading documents, catching up with the news, watching TV programmes, apps and games.

On top of the phone-call thing, it’s everything that I need to keep doing, even though I am away from my PC.


So my smartphone use has been a two-handed operation for all that time, anyway. I just get more space to do it with the Lumia 1520.

If you click on some sort of app more often than the phone icon, I can recommend the Lumia 1520 to you.

Start again

Once you have found your way to use the phone, the next thing to look at  is the extra column of Live Tiles on the Start screen.

Historically, I have been pretty conservative with my Start screen. I try to fit everything I use regularly above the fold. That’s to say, without scrolling at all.


The normal 4-inch Lumia setup gives you the space for six medium-size Live Tiles above the fold. On the Lumia 1520, that’s increased to a whopping 15. Nearly three times as many!

If you were mad, and only used small tiles, that’s 60 tiles (versus 36) you could put on your Start screen, without scrolling down.

That’s an enormous bonus.

You can make tiles much larger than you would do on a smaller screen, and prioritise apps that show interesting stuff all the time – like the People and Photo hubs. And still have loads of room for other, not-daily-but-interesting apps.

The glory comes down

Once you’re into it, the Lumia 1520 is just an unbeatable beast of a machine – this thing has the same screen resolution as my desktop monitor. I went to the shops the other day and, on the way, I was checking bus-times, reading a book, listening to music and responding to emails. (More on apps that are big-screen beauties here).

And everything was so seamless and good-looking that I nearly missed my stop.

Have you got a Lumia 1520? Let us know and share your initial impressions in the comments below.