The Nokia Lumia 1320 is a very large Windows phone. It has a 6-inch screen, and is quite an imposing presence. The more affordable sibling of the Lumia 1520, it cuts out some of that phone’s higher-end features to sell for around £270 SIM-free, or around £21 a month on a contract.
However, its sheer girth makes it a little hard to live with, and the extra screen inches aren’t beneficial enough yet.
Nokia has for years proudly boasted of the high build quality of its phones, and with some reason. It makes quality mobiles, and its colourful Lumia phones stand out from the crowd.
However, that the Lumia 1320 continues with established Lumia design approaches becomes a problem here. More on that in a minute. First – what is it made of?
Like other affordable Lumia phones, the Nokia Lumia 1320 uses a removable plastic back whose design successfully mimics the unibody look of Nokia’s more expensive phones. It comes in a few different colours too – yellow and red as well as the more conventional black and white.
The design style doesn’t work perfectly with a 6-inch size in this case, though. There’s clearer flex in the thin plastic cover than in Nokia’s smaller phones, it creaks on one side and the Lumia 1320 is extremely heavy by current standards.
It weighs 220g, where most of the 5.5-6-inch phones manage to stay well under 200g. The Galaxy Note 3 is just 168g, for example. Nokia has never paid all that much attention to how feather-light its phones are – and most of the time it’s a strategy we’re totally on-board with – but here the chunk factor is a bit too noticeable.
It’s the same story with the Lumia 1320’s dimensions. A combo of 86mm width and 10mm thickness make it quite a handful, to an extent that will put people off. Nokia has made one important adjustment to help out – the power button sits in the centre of the right side, within reach of your thumb.
Still, there is something a little strange about the Lumia 1320 design. Its relative lack of nods to the large size make it seem like a "Honey, I Blew up my Lumia" phone – more so than the sharper-looking Lumia 1520.
Perhaps the most serious difference between the Lumia 1320 and 1520 is screen resolution. The Lumia 1520 has a 1080p display, the Lumia 1320 a 720p one.
As a phone whose screen is always going to be under close scrutiny, it’s a big sacrifice. In past years we’ve commented that Windows Phone deals fairly well with limited screen resolutions, but here the difference is quite obvious. From normal viewing distances interface text looks soft – get a little closer and pixellation is obvious.
The Lumia 1320’s pixel density is 245ppi. This isn’t terrible, and the phone’s screen is not outright bad by any means, but when we’re used to seeing better in mid-range phones it’s a little hard to accept.
Screen elements other than clarity and resolution are much better. The Lumia 1320 uses an LCD, IPS-based display whose colours are vibrant but not overcooked, with a backlight that’s strong enough to make the screen look quite dazzling if needed. Outdoors visibility is decent too. Nokia also offers control over the colour temperature and saturation of the screen, which display obsessives will appreciate.
The Lumia 1320’s screen is also pretty quick – you need a pretty fast LCD panel to avoid ‘tails’ forming while you’re whizzing around the super-quick Windows Phone interface, and the phone copes very well.
The only thing that irks about the screen on a technical level is resolution. Just as important, though – is the larger screen of the Lumia 1320 useful?
There is a clear difference between the Windows Phone 8 interface on the Lumia 1320 and the smaller Lumia 1020 – here you get three full-size app tiles per row, rather than two. This may also be one of the reasons font scaling doesn’t entirely compensate for the limited resolution, but without it having a 6-inch screen would be fairly pointless.
Beyond the Live Tile home screen, though, we hit something of a dead end. Windows apps do not tend to make optimisations for these phone-tablet hybrid size screens, and Windows-based tablets run a version of Windows, not Windows Phone. The two systems remain separate at present, so tablet apps can’t bleed into phones like this as they do with Android.
Of course, large screens don’t excel only with apps designed for large screens – games and video eat up such displays too. The big, bright Lumia 1320 screen is mostly a great fit for such activities, and it’s more immersive than a smaller one. However, with high-end 3D games like Asphalt 8 the lower screen resolution does become apparent. It looks jaggy-tastic compared with an iPhone 5S, or a higher-res tablet.