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Nokia Lumia 520 vs 620 - Cheap Windows Phone 8 phones

Andrew Williams

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Lumia 520 vs 620
Lumia 520 vs 620

The Nokia Lumia 620 and Nokia Lumia 520 are currently Nokia’s cheapest Windows Phone 8 mobil. They are both top-notch budget phones that have convinced us that Windows can be a good alternative to an Android phone for budget buyers.

But what’s the difference between the two phones?

The Lumia 520 has a larger screen

It may be the lower-end mobile of the two, but the Lumia 520 has a slightly larger screen than the Lumia 620. Where the 520 has a 4-inch screen, the 620 uses a 3.8-inch display.

There’s not a huge difference usability-wise, and both phones use IPS panels of 480 x 800 pixel resolution. We’d ideally like to see a few more pixels packed into these displays, but only truly high-end Windows phones that tend to cost several times the price offer higher pixel density.

But the Lumia 620 has a slightly better screen

Although the Lumia 620’s screen is smaller, there are some significant benefits to its display.

It has a much better glass coating, which offers better protection from damage and provides an anti-reflective filter. One of our main complaints about the Lumia 520 was that its screen is highly reflective.

Using a fairly low-grade screen covering was one of the ways Nokia cut the price of the Lumia 520.

Lumia 520

The Lumia 620 has more advanced connectivity

Nokia also chopped out some of the Lumia 620’s more ‘optional’ connectivity bits in the Lumia 520. It makes the phone less future-proof but, in our opinion, no less usable day-to-day.

What do you lose? The Lumia 520 doesn't have NFC or a compass. Neither phone has 4G, which is pretty predictable considering the price.

NFC stands for Near-Field Communication, and is a short-range wireless communications standard. It’s used in some phones to transfer files using NFC-enabled apps, and can be used to make wireless payments in shops that support it. NFC take-up is fairly low at present, though, so it’s not a huge loss.

The lack of a compass in the Lumia 520 is a bit more annoying. This lets you see which direction you’re facing when using navigation apps (assuming the feature is supported) – so, for example, you can’t use the augmented reality City Lens app.

However, the Lumia 520 does have GPS, so you can still use mapping apps to find out where you are.

But the Lumia 520 is a little cheaper

All these cuts are made for one reason – to make the Lumia 520 cheaper and it is generally a fair bit cheaper than the Lumia 620 too.

The cheapest we’ve seen the Lumia 620 for sale at is £109.99, where the Lumia 520 has been on sale for a super-cheap £79.99. These were both promotional prices, though.

At the time of writing on Amazon the 620 costs £161.99 and the 520 is priced at £115.99. So there’s roughly a £50 difference between the two, based on SIM-free pricing.

Lumia 620

The Lumia 620 has a better camera

Back to the hardware differences, the Lumia 620 has a rear flash and a front camera, where the Lumia 520 has just a single 5-megapixel sensor.

This rules-out a few things in the Lumia 520. Low-light photography is pretty much impossible – you’ll end up with diabolical shots – you can’t video chat and you can’t easily take photos of yourself to post on Facebook and the like.

Photo quality in good lighting conditions is similar between the two phones. These aren’t high-end cameras, but in the right conditions they are quick and easy to use, and can produce some perfectly decent snaps.

And the Lumia 620 has a higher-grade finish

Finally, a point that some of you might not care all that much about – the look.

Both the Lumia 620 and Lumia 520 are plastic-bodied phones that sort-of copy the look of the high-end unibody Nokia Lumias by using battery covers that engulf all of the phone, apart from the screen and its surroundings.

They are both pretty successful in doing this, but the Lumia 620 is the cuter-looking of the two. First, it has more curvaceous sides. Second, it uses higher-grade finishes for its colour models.

Where the Lumia 520 cases are made of simple textured plastic, the Lumia 620 finishes use a double layer. The top one is translucent, giving the finish an appearance of depth.

Want a colourful phone? The Lumia 520 comes in yellow, red and blue shades (as well as white and black), while the Lumia 620 comes in yellow, red(/pink), blue and green (as well as white and black.)

Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 520 chops out all the extra baubles of the Lumia 620, which we were surprised to see incorporated into that phone in the first place. Few of them matter if you’re just after a solid workhorse phone. But the Lumia 620 is nicer to look at, and its anti-polatisation filter is something we genuinely miss when using the Lumia 520. If we had to pick between the two cheap Windows Phone 8 handsts, we'd go with the Nokia Lumia 620.

Read more: Best Mobile phones to buy 2013

Greg

July 31, 2013, 9:14 pm

I've had a Lumia 620 since April. I use it as a second phone (Main phone is an iPhone) when doing sports. I use dual sim cards on the same account/number.

Faced with your choice I went for the 620 (As a second phone) for the following reasons:

- Better screen

- Slightly smaller overall footprint

- Nokia maps on the 620 are pan European, where as the maps on the 520 were limited to the country of purchase

Generally speaking I like the device and the quality is very good considering the price. Due to the lack of critical applications I couldn't use it as a daily phone. Incidentally I preferred Windows Phone to Android on the Sony I used as a second phone last year. As a long term iOS user, Windows Phone felt a bit more familiar.

nishantsirohi123

August 19, 2013, 5:46 am

you forgot one thing mr reviewer
520 has a bigger battery

Confused_now

August 19, 2013, 3:01 pm

I'm torn between these 2 phones. Obviously i'd like the best screen with more features and that somewhat important l.e.d flash. However i don't like the style and look of the 620, the 520 just looks so much better, and that slightly bigger screen is drawing me in. And the 620 doesn't have a radio, the 520 does after the new Amber update. So at the moment i'm leaning more towards the 520, but will i regret not buying the 620? Arghhhh my brain! lol

Both phones look great value for money. I was initially looking to buy a Samsung Galaxy ace 2, but after comparing video quality of both phones side by side, the Lumia 520's video camera blew the Galaxy Ace 2's out the water. The video was a 720p HD side by side video in London. The Samsung lacked detail on buildings, it was quite jaggy in the detail, and the colours seemed washed out with a whiteness to them. The Lumia 520 looked very crisp, clear and the colours really popped. I was surprised by the quality considering it's about £60 to £70 cheaper than the Samsung.

Andrew_TR

August 19, 2013, 3:53 pm

Hi,

Yep it's not an easy decision. Personally I prefer the Lumia 620 look, but I get that the Lumia 520 is a bit more serious-looking perhaps. And yes, the cameras are surprisingly good I found!

It all depends on the deals you can find I say. 620 refurbs going for £100 at O2 at the mo! Not bad!

StoneyMahoney

August 22, 2013, 11:54 am

The differing battery sizes make no significant difference to talk time or music playback time. The 520 has marginally better stand-by time, but it's not enough to be worth any special consideration.

Avinash

November 8, 2013, 7:48 pm

This post's topic is what I am thinking about these days. I want a new smartphone. I want to be as low budget as possible. I have finalized these two phones, but no one including me can get to a specific result. They have their fair share of features. Their prices are within the budget. I just can't get on to a conclusion. 520 or the 620 ? 520 has a larger screen, an elegant rectangular shape whereas the 620 has a slightly smaller screen. Its rounded shape gives a fun-looking shape. It has flash and all other accessories. But what are your final verdict ? I am a student. Please guide me a way..

Murray Snudge

November 12, 2013, 10:34 am

I've had the 520 for 3 months and if I lost it, I would immediately buy another 520. It really does do everything I want and it does it well.

Alex Channing

January 3, 2014, 4:59 pm

I briefly owned the 520 but the absence of an LED flash and equalizer + Dolby surround is a major downfall of the 520 all of which you get with the 620...I sold my 520 for the 620 and I've never looked back, I thought with the screen being smaller I would notice it but I really don't, it looks just as big as the 520 even though it is physically smaller, it has a better display than the 520...sharper for one, the only thing the 620 is bad with is it's battery, the stock 1300 battery really isn't up to the job of powering this phone for long periods, luckily I heard the 520's more powerful battery fits the 620....same physical size and specs just a higher mAH rating and it's really boosted how long the 620 lives for which is great for 620 users, all in all the 620 is a cracking phone....not to big and not to small it preforms well and lasts for ages....oh and I love the fact the headphone socket can be replaced on the 620....very clever!

callum thomas

January 22, 2014, 7:47 am

Thank u I now know to get the 620 but do they have an inwered camera?

bertbopper

February 24, 2014, 9:05 am

It is really fun: the 520 looks striking. It is an awesome design, making Galaxy's and iPhones look like kid-toys. The 620 looks like the first phone you buy for a 6 year old. And the price is so low, I really forget about a slightly less screen (it's a phone dang-it!) and the absence of the NSA spy-tool on the front.

Lack of compass: no problem, the Turn-by-turn navigation is awesome and does not need a compass.

And Apps: THAT IS SO 2013.... Today every serious web service has a web-based offering beating their own apps. And games.... There's a PS4 for that. No games on the road for me.

And the looks: I just used some iOS7 devices last weekend: OMG so childish interface! The home screen with sick-making background scrolling kiddy-pictures, very tiny non informative rounded (=crap!) tiles, a horrible mess to organise your home screen with folders and screens (AARGHH). The one-scroll home screen with 3 different size live-tiles is fantastic after using iOS or Android.

Guest

March 29, 2014, 5:21 am

According to the specs sheet that I read - the 520 has more connectivity network wise. Cellphone arena has a direct specs side by side - I was surprised to see that the 520 has better connectivity and the 620 doesn't. Ill be going with the 520

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