Review: Nokia Lumia 520 – The entry level smart-winner

With the introduction of the Nokia Lumia 520, Nokia has made sure that it has mobiles to cater to all levels of the market. The 920 caters to the high end device, while 720 and 620 fills in the mid-range market segment and the Lumia 520 is the budget level mobile.  Nokia also banks on non-windows smart mobiles, the Asha series for the low end market segment.

Nokia Lumia 520 is the most affordable smart phone in the budget segment of the market. It retails at less than Rs 10000 in the Indian market. If you imagine the phone to be low-performance device because of its pricing, you are in for a huge shock. To keep the price low, Nokia has downgraded the display to a non-Clear Black LCD. The camera and battery has been downgraded. Front facing camera and Flash have been removed. If you don’t care about these, and you have a limited budget, the Nokia Lumia 520 is the device for you.


In the Box

The retail package has got the Mobile, battery, charger, data cable and earphones in it. The data cable length is too small. Nokia could have made the charger cable removable and it would have doubled as a data cable. Also there is no memory card in the package. The mobile has got 8gb of inbuilt storage. I wish they provided matching colored earphones. It was just the black headset in our test unit.

Physical form-factor


This is the best design I have seen in the budget phones recently. The built quality is quite good. The material used feels premium. It is not an unibody design. The back panel is removable and is available in 5 different colors. The 5 MP camera adorns the back and under the hood you have the battery, micro SIM and memory card slots. On the front you have the 4 inch LCD IPS display with 800 x 480 resolutions. Viewing angle and direct sunlight visibility is decent. The capacitive menu keys are not backlit, which I find very inconvenient. The tiny mic hole is almost invisible and the front speaker grills at the top blend along with the design. The volume rocker, lock/power button and the camera shutter keys are seen on the right side. The botton has the charging port / data cable port. The top has the 3.5 mm audio socket. Overall the design feels very good and comfortable to hold and handle. The device is slightly thick, but that just adds to the grip while you are holding it.

Under the hood


The Nokia Lumia 520 is powered by the latest Windows 8.0 version. It has the 1.0 GHz dual core Krait processor along with Adreno 305 GPU and 512 MB RAM. These specifications are very close to what the other flagship Lumia devices have. It has an inbuilt storage of 8GB. The performance is really smooth and never felt lag at any point of usage.


The first bummer in this road is the lack of FM radio. Especially in a country like India, if you want to sell a budget device, you must have FM Radio. Though Nokia Music service is available to stream music, the targeted audience may not have a fast internet connection. Mix radio and Nokia Music are key highlights of this Lumia device. The default Nokia music player has a dolby technology for better sound enhancement. The media player is integrated with the Music and Videos hub. Particularly, I like the controls on the video player. It’s very simple and easy to use.



The Nokia Lumia 520 has a 5 MP camera with no flash. The camera application looks very simple, but it has a wide range of settings to fiddle with. The lenses is a feature where Nokia puts in a bunch of creative applications like Cinemagraph, Smart shoot, Panaroma, etc to enhance your creativity. The quality of the photos are good. But the software applies some algorithm to enhance the sharness and color contrast, which sometimes renders unimpressive photos. The camera is also capable of shooting videos at 720p with 30 frames per second. The output is not as impressive as the still images, again due to the off-put image algorithms.


The device is powered by a 1430 mAh Lithium Ion battery. Given the device’s relatively smaller display size, flashless camera, 1 Ghz snapdragon processor, it’s not going to be much of a power hogr. On a normal usage (10-15 calls, few text messages, ~30 min of playing game, always connected to 2G and 8 hours connected to WiFi) the battery lasted for little over 36 hours.


This is a rightly priced device. At 10k, you can’t ask for anything more than what Nokia Lumia 520 is offering. Android phones at this price range are not great performers. Though functionality is limited at certain rows of the spec sheet, it does not matter much to the intended target customer segment. For anyone who can stretch a little bit more from the Asha range’s budget, this is the right device. If you are looking to buy an Android at this budget, you will be disappointed with the performance, though the spec sheet may sound good. In Lumia 520, the OS Windows 8 is lean and lethal match to the hardware specs and that makes it a winner.