2: Design & HardwareNext
Nokia Lumia 1520 camera review
Lars Rehm | Published: Feb 7, 2014 at 20:11 UTC95
With its polycarbonate housing, rounded edges and embedded glass front the Lumia 1520 is not too shabby looking at all. It speaks a very similar design language to other recent Nokia models such as the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 925. The 1520's larger dimensions are the most obvious difference to those devices.
Thanks to its 6-inch 1080p screen it is noticeably a lot larger than the 1020 but also a little thinner. In particular the "camera hump" on the back does not protrude quite as much as the Lumia 1020. That said, the camera module still protrudes more than on most smartphones. This doesn't affect the phone's portability but means you should probably be a little careful in terms of what type of surfaces you put your phone on. Otherwise you'll increase the chances of scratching the glass cover in front of the lens.
Whether or not you are comfortable carrying a device the size of the Lumia 1520 will pretty much depend on your personal preferences. Personally I prefer storing a device this large in a jacket rather than pants pocket but when taking pictures the 1520's dimensions are not a disadvantage. It's comfortable to hold and the polycarbonate shell feels more grippy than it looks. The physical shutter button with its two-way action is a huge plus for mobile photographers, too, although it can sometimes feel a little too stiff for my taste.
If you're into one-handed snapping you're out of luck though. I have pretty large hands and while I can just about hit the shutter button when holding the 1520 in one hand it's not a stable affair at all. For a secure grip and shake-free shooting two-handed operation is highly recommended.
The sleek interior design is complemented by the high-end components under the hood. Like most current top-of-the-line mobile devices the Lumia 1520 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. In combination with 2GB RAM the quad-core CPU ensures smooth and responsive running of the Windows Mobile operating system. Framing and viewing your images is a real pleasure on the 1520's 6-inch screen. The 1080p IPS panel is very sharp with brilliant colors. It also offers good visibility in bright outdoor conditions.
Here at Dpreview we like the Nokia's design and vibrant screen but of course we are most interested in the new device's camera capabilities and the Lumia 1520 looks promising in the imaging department, too. At 1/2.5-inches its backside-illuminated CMOS sensor is slightly larger than the most common smartphone sensors (1/3-inch) but not quite the same size as the sensors in typical consumer compact cameras (1/2.3-inches).
The 1520 applies Nokia's PureView concept that was first introduced on the Nokia 808 and then also implemented on last year's Lumia 1020. The 20MP sensor's full-resolution images are saved on the device memory in either JPEG or DNG Raw format but the camera also produces a 5MP file that is meant to be used for general consumption, social sharing and similar purposes.
The idea behind this is that by downsampling a 20MP file you can produce a high-quality 5MP file with low levels of noise and good detail and sharpness. Attached to the sensor is a F2.4 lens which is a touch slower than the F2 or F2.2 equivalents that most competitors come with. The real-life difference that this makes is negligible though.