Nokia Lumia 2520 review: Big and bold

As the Finnish company’s first Windows tablet, the Nokia Lumia 2520 cannot complain about lack of attention from both brand loyalists and industry pundits. Announced alongside the Lumia 1520 phablet, the slate expands Nokia’s product lineup beyond smartphones, thus allowing the company to compete with the heavyweights in yet another highly-lucrative segment of the consumer tech market.

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Nokia Lumia 2520 official photos

Just like in the case of its latest generation Windows Phones, Nokia has opted for using some of the most capable hardware available around for its tablet. The Nokia Lumia 2520 packs a stunning 10.1-inch IPS LCD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset, LTE connectivity, and a 6.7MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens. Not to mention the usual host of Nokia’s proprietary apps and services.

Here goes the full list of Nokia Lumia 2520 features, followed by some of its disadvantages we found after using the tablet for a while.

Key features

  • 10.1″ 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) ClearBlack IPS touchscreen; Gorilla Glass 2
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 SoC; quad-core 2.2GHz Krait 400 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU
  • Touch-optimized Windows 8.1 RT with deep Microsoft services integration
  • 2GB 800 MHz LPDDR3 RAM; 32GB of in-built storage (around 17.5GB user available)
  • Micro SD card slot, up to 64GB supported
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity with Wi-Fi Direct
  • HSDPA 42mbps and LTE 150Mbps connectivity
  • MicroUSB port, USB 3.0 host functionality
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • NFC connectivity
  • HDMI port
  • Accelerometer, compass and three-axis gyro-sensor
  • 6.7MP main camera with F/1.9 aperture and Carl Zeiss optics; 1080p@30fps video
  • 2MP wide-angle front-facing camera, 720p@30fps video
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Superb build quality and ergonomics
  • Full version of Microsoft Office available out of the box
  • Exclusive HERE Maps with available offline navigation out of the box
  • Nokia Storyteller; Nokia Camera; My Nokia; Nokia Music; Nokia Video Director apps are exclusive to the tablet
  • 8,120mAh battery with impressive endurance
  • Available optional battery keyboard dock with a duo of USB ports

Main disadvantages

  • Windows RT app availability is still confined to the Windows Store
  • Limited amount of good-quality apps available for the RT platform
  • Heavier than most other 10″ tablets
  • Display resolution falls behind the competition in the same price range
  • There are compelling options with the full-blown Windows 8.1, some at a lower price
  • The keyboard dock adds considerably to the tablet’s price and thickness

A quick look at the key features reveals that, as far as specs go, the Nokia Lumia 2520 is well-equipped to go head to head with the finest tablet offerings available on the market. The Lumia’s display resolution falls slightly behind its top-end iOS and Android rivals’, though Nokia has made up for the pixel shortage with superb contrast, sunlight legibility, and viewing angles.

Of course, just like in the case of the Microsoft Surface 2 we recently reviewed, we can’t help but be a tad skeptical about the presence of Windows 8.1 RT as the OS of choice on Nokia’s first tablet. The new wave of affordable, Intel Atom based touchscreen tablets running the full Windows 8.1 questions the very existence of the ARM-centric branch of the OS. The same goes for the obvious lack of hardware vendors willing to utilize the lightweight Windows version in newly developed products.

In a manner taken straight from its Windows Phone playbook, Nokia has countered the limitations of the OS by adding a number of useful, exclusive apps to the Lumia 2520. They include HERE Maps, Nokia Camera, Nokia Video Director, and Nokia Storyteller.

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Nokia Lumia 2520 live photos

As always, we will kick the review off by unboxing the tablet, followed by a close look at its design and hardware.

Editorial: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn’t include some of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our home office and test lab. Still, we think we’ve captured the essence of the device in the same precise, informative and detailed way that’s become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!


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