The Nokia Lumia 1520 has awkward ergonomics but combines a great screen with continually developing software.
Design & display
The Lumia 1520 is a massive smartphone, weighing 209g and measuring almost 86mm wide.
It's taller, wider, thicker and heavier than Samsung's popular [artnid:528497|Galaxy Note 3]]. It barely fits into a regular jeans pocket, and is generally uncomfortable to hold and use.
The Lumia 1520 follows a similar design to most other Lumia phones Nokia has released in 2013.
It has a single-piece polycarbonate body, ceramic keys on the side, and rounded, curved edges. A microSD card slot is located on the right side for extra storage.
The Lumia 1520 feels impeccably well constructed and the fit and finish is among the best we've seen on any smartphone.
The touch sensitive back, home and search keys below the screen are responsive but emit a hazy, slight yellow glow instead of pure white.
The Lumia 1520 has a 6in, full HD display with a resolution of 1920x1080. The extra pixels now means there's room for a third column of Live tiles on the home screen, and six tiles across the screen instead of four.
The screen is excellent, producing deep blacks, bright, vibrant colours and offering excellent sunlight legibility.
Software & performance
The Lumia 1520 runs the latest version of Windows Phone 8 (Update 3) and also comes with Nokia's newest firmware, called Lumia Black.
New features include RAW file support for images, the ability to double tap on the screen to unlock it, and being able to hover your hand over the screen to see selected information at a glance.
Unfortunately, the Windows Phone UI doesn't feel like it's been optimised for the Lumia 1520's large screen.
The multitasking menu has acres of unused space surrounding it, for example, the keyboard takes up half of the screen (literally), and the font size is extremely large and can't be adjusted.
The lack of popular third-party apps, a common criticism of Windows Phone, is improving. The likes of Instagram, Angry Birds GO, Vine and 6snap (a Snapchat client) are all available now/
There are also plenty of genuine alternatives for many apps that aren't available, provided you look hard enough for them.
Performance is excellent. The Lumia 1520's 2.2GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM ensure the device runs fast and smooth.
Gaming is a particular highlight — there's not even a hint of any lagging frame rates in titles like Asphalt 8: Airbourne, Assasins Creed - Altair's Chronicle, and Angry Birds GO!.
The back of the phone around the camera lens does have a tendency to become very warm after a few minutes of gaming.
Camera & battery life
The Nokia Lumia 1520 has a 20-megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilisation.
Zoom is 2x rather than the Lumia 1020's 3x, however, and the 1520 has a dual-LED flash rather than the Xenon one. The front-facing camera has a 1.2-megapixel sensor but can record 720p wide angle video.
Results are impressive, although less so than the Lumia 1020. Photos we captured produced excellent levels of detail, minimal image noise and good colour reproduction, though low light performance was a downside.
The dual-LED flash tends to wash out most photos in dimly lit environment.
The highlight of the camera is the app itself, which combines Nokia's previous Smart Cam and Pro Cam apps.
It provides quick access to Windows Phone's multitude of lenses, which previously weren't accessible in Pro Cam and the wealth of settings available is impressive for a camera phone.
The main disadvantage of the Lumia 1520's camera is speed. The Nokia Camera app can often take up to three or four seconds to launch from the lock screen, and we also experienced lag when adjusting some manual settings, and slow autofocus.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 has reasonably good battery life considering the size of the screen, usually averaging between 14 and 15 hours of use.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is available exclusively through Harvey Norman for $899 outright and is available in black, white and yellow colour variants.