23 October 2013

Nokia unveils Lumia 1520 phablet and Lumia 2520 Windows 8 tablet

At Nokia World in Abu Dhabi, Nokia has unveiled the Lumia 1520 phablet and Lumia 2520 tablet. Nokia also announced major Windows Phone ecosystem wins, such as the imminent release of Instagram, Vine, Flipboard, and Xbox Video for Windows Phone 8. The Lumia 1520 is a hilariously oversized 6-inch Windows Phone 8 phablet with a sexy 1080p display and 20-megapixel camera, and the Lumia 2520, which runs Windows RT 8.1 and has built-in LTE support, marks Nokia’s grand (and very colorful) entrance into the tablet market. In true non-Apple fashion, the release date for the Lumia 1520 and 2520 aren’t yet known, but for now at least it looks like the 2520 won’t be coming to the US.


Lumia 1520 phablet

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is essentially a larger version of the polycarbonate-body Lumia 1020 — a much larger version. The 1520 clocks in at 162.8mm long (6.4 inches) and 85.4mm wide (3.36 inches) — more than an inch taller than the Lumia 1020, and about half an inch wider. Unless you’re a large human with oversized paws, the Lumia 1520 will be very hard to hold in one hand. Even compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Lumia 1520 is considerably taller, wider, and heavier (209 grams, 7.37 ounces) — and to boot, it doesn’t even have a stylus. The good news, I guess, is that, in hands-on testing, the Lumia 1520 at least feels as good, solid, and balanced in the hand(s) as its smaller siblings.

The Lumia 1520 has a 6-inch 1920×1080 daylight-readable ClearBlack IPS display (which looks stunning in real life), Snapdragon 800 SoC clocked at 2.2GHz, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, micro SD card expansion, and a 3200 mAh battery. In terms of specs, at least, the Lumia 1520 certainly doesn’t disappoint. Software-wise, the 1520 runs the latest version of Windows Phone 8, presumably with Nokia’s Amber software update. We believe that the Lumia 1520 might be running Windows Phone 8.1, to support the higher-res display and a new row of Start screen icons. This would explain why the 1520 doesn’t yet have a solid release date, as it will hinge on WP8.1.

Lumia 2520 tablet

Funnily enough, the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet also looks just like a larger version of a Lumia smartphone. If you turned a Lumia 920 on its side and then stretched it out, you’d have the 2520. If you thought that all the images in this story were of the same device, you’re probably not alone. The main difference, however, is that the Lumia 2520 runs Windows RT 8.1, rather than Windows Phone 8. This tablet competes squarely with Microsoft’s own Surface 2, which is released today.

The Lumia 2520 has a 10.1-inch 1920×1080 ClearBlack IPS display. Like its siblings, the screen really does look amazing, with fantastic color reproduction, daylight visibility, and wide viewing angles. Dimensions-wise, at 8.9mm thick and 615 grams (21.7 ounces) the 2520 is comparable to any other 10-inch tablet, such as the Nexus 7 or iPad. Like the Surface 2, the Lumia 2520 supports a snap-in Power Keyboard, which adds extra battery life, a touchpad, two USB ports, and a fold-up stand thing. This keyboard isn’t compatible with the Surface 2, however, and vice-versa (that would be too easy, eh?)

Internally, there’s a Snapdragon 800 SoC at 2.2GHz, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, micro SD card expansion, 8000 mAh battery — and curiously, LTE seems to be supported as standard. With an expected price point of $500, the Lumia 2520 with LTE is an enticing proposition — though, sadly, it won’t initially be available in the US.

Nokia vs. Microsoft

It is rather funny to see Nokia announcing a Windows RT 8.1 tablet just after Microsoft’s Surface 2. Microsoft, as you may know, is in the process of acquiring Nokia, so that it can have an in-house mobile device maker. What probably happened was that the Lumia 1520 and 2520 were being developed by Nokia before Microsoft began the acquisition process. The original plan was probably to release the Lumia 1520 as a Windows RT 8.1 launch device.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Surface and Lumia brands. With the Surface 2 and Lumia 2520 having very similar specs and both supporting snap-in keyboards, it’s likely that they will clash in the consumer market. Once Nokia is fully absorbed by Microsoft, we wouldn’t be surprised if one of the brands is retired. At this point, the Lumia brand is probably more well-known, but Microsoft won’t want to give up a brand that it’s spent billions of dollars on. For now, the Windows RT tablet space will continue to be as confusing as it’s always been.


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