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January 10, 2014

My Lumia 1520 Start screen

The Nokia Lumia 1520 (and the Lumia 1320) is really a different sort of beast to any of the other Lumia smartphones.

As I explained when I gave my first impressions of the phone, the increase in size changes the way you use it. You won’t buy a Lumia 1520 just for texting your mates or phoning your mum (though it can, of course, do both those things). But a much smaller, simpler device would suffice if those were your priorities.

No. The Lumia 1520 was born to make content shine in rich apps.

So that helps to explain the differences between the Start screen on my Lumia 1520 and the Start screen on the Lumia 920 I wrote about a year ago.

Start Screens: Old vs New
Start Screens: Old vs New


Where phone-based communications took centre stage on the Lumia 920, on the Lumia 1520, there’s a much wider and richer set of apps.

With room for 15 medium-sized tiles on the opening screen, there’s no need to restrict yourself in any way. You can fit everything you’re likely to do on a regular basis and a few more that are simply ‘nice-to-have’.

For those of you wondering why I have picked grey as my theme colour, which might seem like an unexciting choice – it’s because it looks really good against white phones – a tip I picked up from Nokia UX design chief Nicki Barton.

Just to pick out a few that really shine. My weather app of choice remains Weather Flow by Gergely Orosz (who we’ve interviewed before). I love the graphical style of Windows Phone, but having a few Live Tiles that use rich imagery really makes it shine because of the contrast.

The Kindle app means you don’t need a separate e-reader anymore on the 1520. The size of the screen and wide choice of presentation styles means you can comfortably read your books at arm’s length, without having to flick forward every five seconds. I can’t get enough news, and so Zite and Paper Boy are the apps I turn to most often when I have a minute to spare.

I’m also going to call out Quick Timer by Pavel Kaufman as a new must-have – you’ll notice I’ve given it a medium-sized tile, even though it doesn’t display any content. Maybe it’s symptomatic of modern life, but I need alarms every time I use the oven, and this app has literally saved my bacon on a few occasions!

The fact that you pretty much have to use two hands to operate the Lumia 1520 has also impacted the layout of my screen. Putting key apps at the top of the screen no longer makes so much sense, since it’s a longer stretch to hit them. Instead, the caller, email and SMS tiles sit in the middle of the right-hand side of the screen. At a pinch, I can even open them one-handed with my thumb there.

Are you using a Lumia 1520 or Lumia 1320? How have you arranged your screen?