Review: Nokia Lumia 2520 (video)

In this first look review we take a first look at the Lumia 2520, Nokia's first Windows RT tablet device, which was announced at Nokia World in October of last year. The video-based review offers a tour of the device's key hardware features, an overview of some Nokia specific software customisations, and some commentary from the perspective of a Windows Phone Lumia device owner.

Author: Nokia

Version Reviewed: PR 1.0

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A quick glance at the Lumia 2520 shows that Nokia has brought much of the signature Lumia design to the ten inch tablet product segment. That's true of both the colours available (red, cyan, black, and white) and the shaping of the polycarbonate casing, but also extends to the camera, screen, and connectivity technology that make up the device.

This sense of familiarity extends into the software. Windows 8 RT very deliberately shares the look and feel of many elements of Windows Phone, best exemplified by the Live Tile-based Start screen. Furthermore, Nokia has ported a number of the software gems from the Lumia smartphone range onto the Lumia 2520, with the chief among these being HERE Maps and Nokia Mix Radio.

Nokia has also included a number of companion software experiences that directly tie the Lumia 2520 tablet into the Lumia smartphone range. The most important of these is the inclusion of the location-and-time based photo gallery Nokia Story Teller, which includes the ability to stream (view) photos that are stored on a locally connected Lumia smartphone (connection set up via NFC and enabled via WiFi). 

Windows 8.1 RT is much improved over the initial 2012 release, but inevitably faces an unfavourable comparison with iOS on the Apple iPad, especially when considering the richness and depth of the third party app and accessory ecosystem. On the other hand, the presence of a pre-installed version of the Office productivity suite and excellent compatibility with Microsoft enterprise services and infrastructure does make the Lumia 2520 a potential contender for the business user.

Within the Microsoft ecosystem, the Lumia 2520 goes head-to-head with Microsoft's impressive Surface 2 tablet. Nokia has the edge on the mobility side of things (battery, performance, connectivity), but Microsoft arguably has an edge in the laptop-replacement form factor stakes (flip stand, broader range of keyboard accessories). In a sense, each device reflects the ethos of the respective companies, with the Lumia 2520 built up from the mobile phone perspective, and the Surface 2 built down from a desktop/laptop PC perspective.

Hardware and design-wise, there's a lot to like abut the Lumia 2520, a reflection of Nokia's long experience in creating mobile devices. It's not perfect by any means, but it is fair to say that, as with the Lumia Windows Phone products, it will be the software side of things that will illicit the majority of the negative commentary from potential purchasers. 

The Lumia 2520 has a 10.1 inch screen, with full HD resolution, high brightness and low reflectance, the latter of which means it remains visible even in bright sunlight. It's one of the best screens, in this category, that we've ever seen in a 10 inch tablet.

The rear facing 6.7 MP camera, with Carl Zeiss optics and f1.9 aperture, is the same as that found in the Lumia 720. It's very good for a mid tier camera, a cut above the cameras you typically find in tablet devices. The device also has a front facing, wide angle, HD (2MP) camera, ideal for use in video conferencing apps (e.g. Skype). Both cameras can be accessed using a custom Nokia Camera app, which has the same swipe and circle UI as the Nokia Camera app for Windows Phone.  

Internally, the Lumia 2520 has a 8000mAh battery, 32GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, and runs on a Snapdragon 800 processor, accompanied by 2GB RAM. Cellular connectivity is provided by LTE, WCDMA and GSM, with WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and USB for local connectivity. The presence of LTE connectivity (microSIM format) mean that the Lumia 2520 is truly a work-anywhere tablet and, much like wireless charging on phones, it's not something you really appreciate until you start using it. 

On the right hand side of the device there is a microHDMI port, and Miracast support provides a way to export the screen to another device (display, TV, projector). Next to the microHDMI port there's also a microUSB 3.0 port (you can plug in a standard USB cable via an adaptor cable). The optional Nokia Power Keyboard accessory provides a keyboard, extra battery capacity (up to 5 hours more) and two full size USB ports.

The Lumia 2520's battery includes support for Qualcomm Fast Charge 2.0 technology, which means it can be charged up to 80% in just a single hour (or 40% in 30 minutes), which makes for great grab-and-go charging first thing in the morning, before heading out for a working day. In terms of real world usage, the Lumia 2520 has excellent battery life, easily lasting through a day on a single charge, even with relatively heavy usage (six plus hours).

We'll be publishing a full, text-based review of the Nokia Lumia 2520 in due course, once we've had a chance to assess the device in conjunction with the Power Keyboard accessory, which in our view, given the productivity focus of the device, is a key part of the Lumia 2520 experience.

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