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Nokia Lumia 520 - Software, Video and Internal Speaker

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



  • Recommended by TR
Nokia Lumia 520


Our Score:


Nokia Lumia 520 – Software

One area where the Nokia Lumia 520 hasn’t had to scrimp much is software. It runs Windows Phone 8, an operating system that looks and feels similar on a low-end phone to a top one.

It’s this consistent level of performance in Windows Phone 8 that makes the Lumia 520 such a top device. It may be cheap, but it is as quick and slick as you like.

The phone’s core specs aren’t too shabby, either. It has a dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8227 CPU and 512MB of RAM. That’s the same innards found in the Lumia 720, which is a significantly more expensive phone.

Day-to-day performance is great. And it glitched out fewer times than most Windows phones. This grade of overall experience is better than we’d expect from a low-end Android phone – especially from a company that aggressively goes for the entry-level market like Huawei or ZTE.

Nokia Lumia 520 8

However, we did notice some more slow-down than higher-end Lumias when playing games. The Sunspider Javascript benchmark, too, shows that the Lumia 520 isn’t quite as speedy as the more expensive Lumias, coming out with a score of 1400ms when the just-unveiled Lumia 625 scored around 1100ms (lower scores are better in this test).

If gaming is a priority, the Lumia 520 isn’t the greatest phone in town, but not because of any performance issue. It’s down to Windows Phone 8.

The games selection available on Windows Phone 8 is poor compared with Android or iOS. And, as is common with new phones, it’s even worse on the Lumia 520. There are just 20 games (at the time of writing) in the Xbox games section of the Windows Marketplace, which is where the highest-profile Windows Phone games live.

The apps selection is pretty limited too, and Windows versions of apps tend to receive fewer updates than their iOS and Android cousins. The basics are covered, but - as with games - if you're an apps freak look for a budget Android.

Nokia Lumia 520 4

Nokia Lumia 520 – Browsing and Social Networking

Windows Phone 8 does come with a solid array of integrated features, though. Its People app not only acts as your phone book, but also hooks into Facebook and Twitter to bring you your latest social updates from your friends.

Real social networkers will want to use separate apps for each, but Windows Phone 8 does manage to weave together social networks, email accounts and more traditional phone features like SMS with ease.

Whether writing a message or tapping out a web address, the Lumia 520’s excellent keyboard makes doing so easy. Windows Phone’s virtual keyboard is excellent, with careful design and very accurate, reliable input. The 4-inch screen is large enough for comfortable typing with most keyboards, but somehow the Windows one feels routinely more reliable than the majority of Android keyboards.

It’s quite stylish too, with a sharp, minimal look. However, it does not offer any form of gesture typing - where you draw a wiggly line over the letters in a word rather than tapping - and no way to install such a feature. Some of you may not like this, as gesture typing is generally much quicker than old fashioned tapping, once you get used to it.

Nokia Lumia 520 – Video and Internal Speaker

The Lumia 520’s screen is a little too small to comfortably watch a film on, but the phone’s native video skills aren’t too bad.

Its video player app can play a few video formats without transcoding (converting videos into another format) - including Xvid and DivX. However, it doesn't recognise MKV files at all.

If you’re desperate to use the phone as a portable video player, there are some third-party apps on the Windows Marketplace that’ll handle DivX and MKV files. But not as many as on iOS or Android.

The Lumia 520's internal speaker is a basic mono affair. It sounds a little tinny and harsh at high volumes, but it does at least provide a good volume level for a small, low-cost phone.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


April 17, 2013, 3:22 pm

Andrew, what about call quality on 520? My wife recently got lumia 620 and she is unhappy with the sound quality on phone calls. She has the same remarks as you do: muddy, boxy-sounding. Also the noise cancellation feature benefit is questionable because on the other side, her voice is not clear like on the old phone. If 520 (720) don't have such issues, she would go for a replacement.

Thirupati Rao

September 1, 2013, 12:44 pm

Excellent Mobile in the price range of 10,000/ and speed is good

anton ani

September 3, 2013, 7:50 pm

My lumia 520, why not lod picture in Google...


September 24, 2013, 4:00 am

Waste of money, definitely go for any android mobile phone. My nokia 520 is slowest in application accessing.


September 27, 2013, 3:42 pm

I was very reluctant to have any other phone than the leading brand but when my phone started to become faulty and I wasn't keen to spend £300 plus on a new one or have an expensive contract, I thought I would buy a Nokia 520. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and ability to do all the things my other phone done for a third of the price. Admittedly it took a little while to get used to the layout but for the cost of it, it is a good quality phone.

Manuell Labor

September 27, 2013, 5:09 pm

Initially pleased with the value of this phone; however....
In less than 5 days the screen cracked.

It was in my car so it could only come from a defective unit or from heat.

The phone has too much flex in its makeup so the thin screen seems vulnerable.
Compared with my other phones (Droid, Samsung) the 520 is too fragile. .
Naturally Nokia did not warrant such a phone for cracked screens, blaming the customer.

Saw on the web that other buyers have had a similar problem

I would not buy this phone even if it was cheaper.
Nokia brand image is no longer stellar. No wonder they sold themselves to Microsoft

Buy a more expensive phone and look for Gorilla glass. Skip the 520-900 nokia series.

Jonathan Peden

October 17, 2013, 4:36 pm

I just got my black 520 for £13 per month on Virgin Mobile. I have come from Android and after 1 week I don't miss my old phone at all. Windows 8 Mobile is a pleasure to use, and I love the handset. Yes it is bottom of the range but it does not look like it - all my friends (even those with iPhones) have all been excited to try it out. All comments have been good so far.


November 1, 2013, 12:18 pm

I just go my Nokia Lumia 520 Cyan for £95 at CarphoneWarehouse on pay as you go. Like Jonathan Peden I've also come from Android Galaxy s3 and to be honest with you this is a budget handset but its very responsive and doesn't give any negative sides off. Its very fast and doesn't lag its got the Snapdragon processor. Just a couple of little things missing E.G. No Flash, No Front Facing camera. But some people don't care about those things. Its people's choice. This is my first Windows Phone 8 and it didn't fail me and all of the comments were good I'll give in 9/10.
Hope this Helped.


December 24, 2013, 5:38 am

The Nokia Lumina 520 is without doubt the worst cell phone I have ever owned. I have lost connectivity to my computer with it and have had to re-set it to factory settings to get it back - in the process losing everyone in my address book. The phone has square corners so it is difficult to remove from your pocket. By the time you have it out, the caller has hung up. In a noisy environment, you will need to hold the phone close to your ear - your ear lobe will activate things on the screen such as the speaker phone function which is just poor design on the part of Nokia. Avoid this phone like the plague - go for an android phone, They are far better.

Satish Chandra

January 17, 2014, 2:35 pm

Today I bought Nokia lumia 520 mobile. I am not getting call duration option in this mobile. How we know how many minutes we talk etc . If there is help me.

Joe Hardy

June 12, 2014, 1:46 pm

Okay, I am a big tech geek, and Nokia Lumia 520 is my third mobile. So you can expect an unbiased review from me. First of all, Nokia Lumia 520 is all about Nokia, premium look, great build quality, and stunning piece of software, makes an amazing smartphone. I have had the device for the past 3 months, and till date, it hasn't hanged even a bit, something which android users can just dream of. As for the build quality, it is just amazing, the best in class! Overall, if you want a great device under 10k Nokia Lumia 520 is the one to go for.

As for all the guys who want to buy the Nokia Lumia 520, you can get it at Snapdeal where I got an amazing discount, and got the device in a single day after placing order. Here is the discount link -

bit DOT ly SLASH NokiaLumia520SD

DOT stands for . and SLASH for /


Brahmnoor Singh

June 12, 2014, 1:47 pm

Buddy, thanks a lot for this amazing discount. If you buy using that link, you do get the device in a single day! Cheers!

Clive Waller

August 14, 2014, 3:07 pm

Watch your bill - There seems no way to stop this phone accessing the internet (looking for updates?) several times a day other than leaving it switched off, so check how you are charged for internet access.

At home on Virgin (EE network) my old Nokia 6303 Classic got a signal most of the time, but the 520 spends most of its time displaying “No Service”, not so good if you’re in a rural area with a weak signal.

Contacts seem locked to HotMail. I thought I was copying the contacts from my old phone, but I finished up with everybody who has sent an order acknowledgment or anything else to my HotMail account and there’s no equivalent of Nokia Suite to edit contacts on a computer with a real keyboard and decent display.


September 6, 2014, 10:13 am

What a dumb comment. My 520 fell out of my pocket when I bent over in a shop. the back cover came off, but the screen was completely intact. No need for a more expensive piece of junk.


September 6, 2014, 10:28 am

Oh, picky, picky, picky. The Lumia 520 is an excellent, low cost mobile. I don't miss my Samsung Galaxy III one bit. In fact I gave it away to a family member. It's nice not to have to put a loaf of bread next to your head. The 520 is a smooth running device. Of course there's a learning curve with Windows 8.1, which you obviously weren't able to grasp.

Murray Snudge

September 16, 2014, 8:56 am

Settings > phone update, and clear the Automatically download updates if my data settings allow it check box.


December 31, 2014, 8:10 pm

Is it really fair to give this phone a 8 when the Nokia Lumia 635 got a 7?

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