- Top performance for price
- Neat design
- Excellent value
- Highly reflective screen
- No camera flash
- Misses a few hardware features
- Rubbish physical shutter button
Review Price £115.00
Nokia Lumia 520 - Design and Screen
What is the Nokia Lumia 520?The Lumia 520 is Nokia’s lowest-end Windows Phone 8 mobile at present. It’s a phone you can get on bottom-rung contracts, and it costs around £120 SIM-free at time of writing. It lacks most of the flair and neat extra touches of the Lumia 620, but is yet more proof that Windows Phone 8 is a great platform for low-end phones.
Nokia Lumia 520 – Video ReviewDon't fancy reading the full review? We've made a quick video review of the Lumia 520, with a first-hand look at the phone and all its main bits explored.
Nokia Lumia 520 – DesignOne of the most common problems in entry-level phones is that they tend to feel cheap. They are usually chunkier and less stylish than high-end phones, and suffer from more build quality problems.
However, the Nokia Lumia 520 is among the best phones in its class in this respect. It uses a plastic battery cover like virtually all cheap phones, but the backplate cleverly covers the whole phone apart from the screen.
This gives the phone a similar unibody look to the high-end Lumia phones, even though this is absolutely not a unibody mobile. To ensure a sturdy feel the cover is reasonably thick, and it has a matt, textured finish to avoid the tacky glossy plastic that plagues many budget mobiles.
For the price, the Lumia 520 looks and feels like a classy product. However, it’s not quite as cute or pretty as the Lumia 620. That phone’s covers have a translucent layer that gives their finishes an appearance of depth. Here, the plastic is basic opaque stuff.
Its ergonomics are pretty good, though. The textured finish offers a bit of extra grip and the carefully curved rear sits comfily in your hand.
There are even a few neat style touches, such as how the Lumia-staple trio of physical buttons on the right edge of the phone are stark black to contrast punchily with the phone’s hue. There’s no naff labelling of what these buttons do either – another aesthetic blunder common to cheapy phones.
If you’re wondering, these side controls are power, volume and camera shutter buttons.
The phone comes in red, blue and yellow shades, as well as the more sober white and black models. And both the microSD memory card slot and SIM slot live under the battery cover to help keep the Lumia 520’s exterior simple-looking.
Nokia Lumia 520 – ScreenThe Lumia 520’s display is slightly larger than the Lumia 620’s. It is four inches across, which is fairly generous for a budget phone like this. As well as being a shade larger than its more expensive brother, it’s also larger than the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2’s screen and Sony Xperia E’s display. And both of those tend to cost more.
However, it’s pretty basic a number of different ways. Its viewing angles are fine, but the display quality is otherwise limited. There’s a reddish tint to the display, ensuring colour accuracy is so-so and the lack of any sort of reflection-battling layer reduces the impression of contrast and makes the Lumia 520 a bit of a pain to use outdoors - it's seriously reflective.
The glass covering the display isn’t robustly toughened, either. It has some scratch resistance, but will flex under the pressure of a firm thumb prod. However, it’s far from the worst case we’ve seen, and any normal of pressure does not cause any screen distortion.
Screen resolution is 800 x 480 pixels, resulting in pixel density of 233ppi. Sharpness is well below the top phones out there, but for a low-end phone it’s perfectly good. Plus top brightness is impressively uncomfortable to gaze upon in most situation, and the screen size is large enough to happily read websites and play games on.
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