Nokia certainly wants to find a way into your pants--er, pocket--but the release of the not-very-pocketable Nokia 1520 seems like a bit of a desperate attempt to join the rest of the crowd.
The large-sized phone-tablet hybrid, announced last month at an underwhelming event in Abu Dhabi, is an effort to popularize the Nokia name in more than just one device category. It's a lofty attempt, especially since Nokia is going up to bat against Android's heavyweight champion, Samsung, which has all but completely overtaken the "bigger than a phone smaller than a tablet" market. That's a tough task for any company, but Nokia also has to contend with the fact that it's pushing forward the Windows Phone 8 platform, a mobile operating system has barely caught on with US consumers.
Thin is in
The design of the Lumia 1520 is a huge improvement over its predecessors, but its larger size will be a deal breaker for some. It doesn't fit comfortably in the front pocket of a pair of men's jeans, and it's ripe for the taking when it's sticking out of the back pocket. For those with small fingers like mine, I have to hold it with both hands in order not to drop it.
At least it's thinner and lighter than the rest of the Lumia family. Holding it makes me wish that Nokia had thought of this design sooner. Hopefully the 1520's svelte style is an indication of what's coming in future generations.
Still, that doesn't excuse how big this device really is. In terms of dimensions, it's currently bigger than the Galaxy Note III and the screen doesn't even extend all the way to the top and bottom edges. Granted, the hardware buttons need a place to reside, but it feels like a waste of space on a phone that's already so big. I can see the device winning over video junkies, however, since that big screen works well for watching Hulu and Netflix.
Bigger, brighter screen
The Lumia 1520 is the first Windows-based Nokia phone to feature a 1080p screen resolution. Its IPS LCD screen can also be seen in the sunlight--something you'll appreciate when you're trying to get walking directions or read a text message out in broad daylight.
Point-and-shoot in your pocket
What would a Lumia be without Nokia's signature cameras? Well, it would just be a plain old Windows Phone.
The Lumia 1520 features a 20 megapixel rear-facing camera with image stabilization, 2X lossless zoom, oversampling, and a dual-LED flash, as well as 30-frames-per-second full HD video recording. We can't wait to pit it against its predecessor, the Lumia 1020, and some of the other camera phones. For now, we can offer up a test shot.
The device is just another chapter in Nokia's push to define itself as the premiere camera phone on the market. Part of the effort also includes new proprietary apps like Storyteller, which displays photos in an interactive map. Nokia also smartly consolidated all of the camera applications it introduced on the Lumia 1020 into one called the Nokia Pro Cam, though you'll still have to pick between that and the default camera app to snap a photo.
We'll have more on the Lumia 1520 in the coming days. But if you like what you see, the Lumia 1520 is available for pre-order at AT&T for $199.99 with a two-year contract or $27 per month with AT&T Next.