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Nokia Lumia 2520 expert review

Lumia 2520 - LISTThe Nokia Lumia 2520 is the Finnish company’s first foray into the tablet market, complete with a 10.1-inch HD display, super-fast 4G and a 6.7MP camera for pin-sharp snaps. But is it tempting enough to buy? Agent Andrews gets hands on.

Nokia Lumia 2520 SUMMARY

£299 RRP

The 2520 comes with Nokia’s usual spot-on design and performance, with more than a few tricks up its sleeve – but Windows RT’s limited apps and power could pose problems.

Pros

  • Bright, eye-catching design
  • Knockout display
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Great price

Cons

  • Windows RT lacks power
  • Limited range of apps

Also consider: Sony Xperia Z2 tablet, Google Nexus 7, Microsoft Surface.

DESIGN & FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Lumia 2520 - 2
The Nokia Lumia 2520 is stylish, eye-catching and sleek.

One thing’s for sure on first glance: the Nokia Lumia 2520 won’t fail to catch your eye. The striking Glossy Red sample we got our hands on certainly had tongues wagging at Geek Squad HQ, but you can also choose from black, white and blue – all of which are bold and beautifully understated in their design.

The 10.1-inch screen dominates; there’s definitely no scrimping on size here. Despite its impressive sleekness, it has to be said the 2520 is a little on the weighty side. But although you’d certainly feel it in your bag or rucksack, its sturdiness suggests it can take a few bumps and knocks without causing any alarm.

The volume and power buttons are tucked neatly away on the top right edge of the tablet, just above the front 6.7MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics and autofocus. The right-hand edge of the chassis holds a micro USB port and on the left, a headset jack and charging port. The bottom houses a docking connector for a Power Keyboard, but one of the 2520’s notable drawbacks is that you’ll have to buy this separately.

Nokia is renowned for its attention to detail when it comes to design and, all in all, the Lumia 2520 certainly makes a big splash on this front – bright, attractive and stylish.

HARDWARE

Spec sheet:

CPU: 2.2 GHz Quadcore processor

RAM: 2 GB

Internal storage: 32 GB

microSD: Up to 64 GB

Battery: 8120 mAh

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • 4G
  • USB

Processor and memory

Lumia 2520 - 4
The 2520 is powered by a 2.2 GHz Quadcore processor for snappy performance.
Image by Ali Al-Qudsi

When it comes to performance, the 2520 is hard to knock. With its Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip and 2.2 GHz Quadcore processor, everything runs along smoothly and with 2GB of RAM to back it up, you won’t have to worry about things dragging. All things considered, this helps to keep the tablet’s Windows 8.1 operating system nippy and responsive – which, let’s face it, isn’t something that Windows RT is generally known for.

However, the touchscreen is quick and a breeze to use when opening apps and web pages. Some apps, such as maps, experience a noticeable lag, which can be frustrating when you’re out and about and looking for instant information at your fingertips. This is where the 2520 loses out to some of its other competitors, with Windows not quite offering the power and slickness that would push it ahead of other tablets, such as the Nexus 7 and Sony Xperia Z2, currently making waves in the market.

On the plus side, the2520 offers all the usual speedy connectivity options – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and 4G – plus a microSD card slot for cards up to 32GB in size, providing the ideal option of a storage boost for big content users.

Screen

Resolution: 1080 x 1920 Size: 10.1” Type: IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen ppi: 218

Lumia 2520 - 1
The 2520's HD touchscreen is ideal for watching films and playing games on the go.

It’s hard to fault the screen on the Lumia 2520. 10.1 inches of capacitive touchscreen coming in at 1080p offers a crisp high-definition viewing experience, perfect for watching TV and films on the go. A layer of Gorilla Glass 2 reinforces the display and helps to stop any scratches or shattering, although it offers little defence against fingerprints, which quickly build up into unsightly smudges, as with any touchscreen.

Colours are rich and bold and image motion is generally nice and smooth, though it can see the odd snag. However, if you’re a regular commuter, it would make perfect sense to arm yourself with the 2520 for your daily journey, as the screen is ideal for watching content – but again, the lack of a keyboard/stand may complicate things a little.

Camera

Rear: 6.7MP, 3088 x 1744 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus. Front: 2 MP, 720p@30fps.

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With Carl Zeiss optics and autofocus technology on board, the 6.7MP camera is perfect for taking high-quality photos.
Image by Ali Al-Qudsi

Tablets are not always known for being the smoothest of devices for taking photos. No matter how good the camera, they can be unwieldy and tough to manage. However, with its slim profile, speedy connectivity and standout camera quality, the Lumia 2520 is definitely ahead of the pack.

Nokia’s 6.7MP camera sensor comes complete with Carl Zeiss optics and autofocus technology for sharp, blur-free snaps. There’s also a front-facing 2MP camera and the ability to shoot video too, which offers high quality even in low light conditions.

But for snap-happy photo lovers, the best thing about the 2520 is its range of camera apps on board that are designed to help you point, shoot and deliver brilliant results. Nokia Refocus allows you to take multiple shots at different points of focus, so you can select the best ones and sharpen them up after you’ve taken them. Nokia Storyteller allows you to arrange your photos and videos using a map and timeline, so you can make all your personal moments tell a story you can share with friends and family – showing when and where all your favourite snaps were captured.

All in all, with 4x zoom – great for those Skype sessions – and better resolution than both the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and the iPad Air, the 2520 offers an almost flawless tablet-camera combo.

Battery life

Nokia says the Lumia 2520 will last for up to 10 hours as a result of its non-removable 8120 mAh battery. The tablet appears to more than live up to its promise – you won’t have to worry about the 2520 cutting out in the middle of your favourite movie or TV show. Although 4G can often be a big drain on battery life, the 2520 powered on through. It might just fall short of the Microsoft Surface 2’s near-15 hours of all-day running time, but it still puts it way ahead of competitors such as the iPad Air.

SOFTWARE

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The easy-swipe tiles familiar to Windows Phone users work brilliantly on the 2520's dazzling display.
Image by Ali Al-Qudsi

As a Windows 8.1 tablet, the easy-swipe tile interface familiar to Windows Phone users is here on the 2520 – and looks and works great on the dazzling display. Where the device falls down is on its limited range of apps available. Some big names, such as Instagram, Netflix and Amazon’s Kindle Reader, are conspicuous by their absence, though some can be downloaded for free from the Windows Store.

On the plus side, the 2520 comes with Microsoft Office RT 2013 on board, giving you RT-friendly versions of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In particular, Word offers great stylus functionality, allowing you to quickly scribble notes by hand and instantly convert them into typed text on a document, which will be welcome news for professionals or busy business people on the move.

There’s also a full suite of Nokia apps, such as the earlier-mentioned Nokia Camera and Nokia Storyteller, alongside the intuitive and fun Nokia Video Director and HERE maps, a GPS-integrated map designed to help you find the nearest shops, restaurants, sights and museums.

NOKIA LUMIA 2520 – AGENT VERDICT

All things considered, the Nokia Lumia 2520 is one of the most impressive tablets we’ve yet to see when it comes to its tactile, glossy design and that undeniably statement screen. Where it falls behind, as ever with Windows devices, is with its lack of apps and storage. Having said that, its size and build is ready-made for the on-the-go use and Windows 8.1 RT looks as rich and refined as it’s ever likely to get on a tablet. Though it feels like Nokia might have come a little late to the party, the 2520 is - by a mile – the most versatile and high-functioning Windows tablet around right now.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE NOKIA LUMIA 2520

Sony Xperia Z2 tablet: Successor to the stylish and sleek Sony Xperia Z tablet, the Z2 promises to be the thinnest, lightest tablet on the market – and comes with some impressive specs to boot.

Google Nexus 7 : With a super-sharp 7” screen, Android 4.4 KitKat and seamless portability, the Nexus 7 is a perfect companion for watching films and playing games on the move.

Microsoft Surface: If you love all things Windows, the Surface’s 10.6” multi-touch screen, lightweight design and built-in kickstand for on-the-go use makes it a surefire winner.

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