Nokia unveils Lumia 1520 with 6 inch screen and 20MP PureView camera

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Nokia today announced the Lumia 1520, a high-end Windows Phone 8 smartphone with a "phablet" form factor. The 1080p (1080 x 1920) IPS LCD screen, the first full HD screen on a Windows Phone handset, is the largest on a Lumia phone to date. Other key specifications include 32GB of internal memory (plus microSD), a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.2GHz, 2GB RAM, 3400mAh integrated battery and integrated Qi wireless charging, and a 20 megapixel oversampling camera with LED flash.

Lumia 1520, with wireless charging

The latest Lumia design is an evolution of the Fabula design language first used in the Nokia N9 and Nokia Lumia 800, with a combination of a polycarbonate casing and curved 2.5D glass. The overall size of the device (163 x 85 x 9mm) reflects the large screen size, and, for the majority of people, will be a two handed device. 

From the press release:

Continuing to redefine smartphone innovation, Nokia introduces its first ever large screen Lumia smartphones, the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320. With a six inch screen and the latest software advancements for Windows Phone, the Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520 are perfectly suited for entertainment and productivity. A new third column of tiles on the home screen means people can see and do more on a larger screen. Bringing larger displays to the award-winning Lumia design, the new format is coupled with some of the most advanced camera innovations so people can capture and share the world around them.

The Lumia 1520 offers the latest imaging innovation from Nokia - a 20MP PureView camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) enabling sharp images even in the dark as well as oversampling and zooming technology similar to the Lumia 1020. In addition to the new Nokia Camera and Nokia Storyteller applications, the Lumia 1520 offers a 6-inch screen and a vivid 1080p full HD display for outstanding outdoor readability. People can bring their videos to life with Nokia Rich Recording, an unparalleled audio capture using four built-in microphones. With Microsoft Office built in, documents can be edited and shared easily for maximum productivity.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 will be available in yellow, white, black* and glossy red. It is expected to start shipping in Q4 2013, with an estimated price of USD749 before taxes and subsidies in Hong Kong, Singapore, U.S., China, U.K., France, Germany, Finland and other European markets, with other markets to follow.

* Of note to those worried about the environment, the black variant of the Lumia 1520 is apparently made from polycarbonate from recycled sources.

The use of an oversampling camera ('PureView', according to its original definition) is interesting, showing how Nokia's concepts of noise reduction by combining information from multiple pixels into one, plus genuinely lossless zoom, can be applied to phone form camera form factors which are smaller than the traditional 41MP monsters in the Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020. Images from the 1520 won't be quite as clean and clear as those from the 1020, of course, nor will the degree of lossless zoom be as high (think up to 2x), but the results will still be significantly better than the cameras in most other 'phablets'.

Lumia 1520 from the back

The new Nokia Camera application includes an extra 'Smart' mode (besides the stills and video features from Nokia Pro Camera), essentially the functionality of the previously standalone Nokia Smart Cam built into the (new) main application. Switching time between modes seems a lot faster than the previous system, where the Windows Phone 'lens' system had to be used, essentially launching new applications each time.

Video capture benefits from the presence of OIS again, of course, plus audio is now apparently captured using four HAAC microphones, though don't expect quadrophonic sound - the inputs are still mixed down into a stereo audio image for the final captured MP4 video file. The mix is apparently intelligent enough to give priority to the sounds in 'front' of whatever's being captured, giving at least the illusion of surround sound as things happening behind you are captured more quietly than those in front.

The emphasis in the Lumia 1520 presentation (and also for the Lumia 1320 and 2520) was on 'story telling', using the new Storyteller application. This lets you browse your camera roll according to time and date, as well as location, with a multitouch zoom 'out' from a photo revealing a map on which the photo was placed and showing other images taken nearby. In one of the demos, Storyteller was used to browse the globe, gradually zooming in to reveal more and more photo spots, and thereby into the images themselves.

Storyteller fully supports the various types of images that the Lumia range can capture, so PureView (reframeable), Smart (burst/Best Shot), Cinemagraph, Action shot and so on.... Plus videos, of course. See the promo video below.

Key hardware features

  • 163 x 85 x 9mm, 209g in weight; monoblock touch form factor
  • Pentaband LTE, Quad band HSDPA and GSM connectivity
  • Processor: Quad-core 2.2GHz (Qualcomm Snapdragon 800), RAM: 2GB
  • 6.0" IPS LCD ClearBlack Display touchscreen; 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution; protected by 2.5D (curved) Gorilla Glass 2; support for Super Sensitive Touch, Lumia colour profile, and sunlight readability enhancements
  • 20 megapixel (oversampling) f/2.4 auto-focus camera, with OIS, 1/2.5" sensor and dual-LED flash; front facing HD camera; four HAAC for Rich Recording in intelligent stereo at 1080p and with lossless digital zoom
  • GPS, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, proximity and ambient light sensors
  • 3.5mm audio out (AHJ + WP controls); HD Audio support; Dolby Headphone support; single microphone
  • 3400mAh integrated battery (BP-4GWA) with integrated Qi wireless charging
  • WiFi: WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4Ghz + 5GHz); Bluetooth 4.0 (including Bluetooth LE); microUSB (USB 2.0) for PC connectivity and charging
  • NFC
  • 32GB mass memory, plus microSD (up to 64GB), 7GB of SkyDrive cloud storage.
  • Available in three colours: Yellow, Red, White, Black

Key software features

  • Runs Windows Phone 8 Update 3 and Lumia Black updates
  • Nokia apps pre-installed include: HERE Maps, HERE Drive, HERE Transit, Nokia Music (select markets), Nokia Camera, and Storyteller
  • Additional Nokia apps available from Marketplace: Nokia Transport, Nokia Reading, and more... 


Here's the official video 'first look' at the Lumia 1520:

And there are other promo videos to enjoy. Here's one for Nokia Storyteller:

And here's a promo concentrating on the Nokia experience for business/productivity: