Nokia Lumia 520 Review: Brilliance On A Budget

The endless cycle of Lumia rolls on, this time with the budget Lumia 520. While other Lumias have left us bemused and confused, this one makes absolute sense.

What Is It?

The Lumia 520 is Nokia's budget entry into the current range of Lumias. It comes in at $179 network-locked to Telstra, or you can spring an extra $50 to get an unlocked version, and packs a 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and a 5-megapixel camera.

What's Good?

The best thing about the Lumia 520 is probably the best thing about the whole Lumia range these days: no matter which handset you use, you're in for a great experience. Despite the fact that the 520 is a sub-$200 handset, it doesn't feel cheap, flimsy or boring. It's the same version of Windows Phone 8 that the Lumia 920 is running, it has similar specs to devices in its family that cost twice as much and it's just as good-looking with its gorgeously-interchangeable cases.

The 1430 mAh battery -- despite its paltry capacity -- goes forever. We got two days of use out of the device before we scrambled for our charger, and we bring that down to the fact that the Lumia 520 doesn't really have to do much.

The Lumia 520's screen doesn't disappoint, or suffer from the flaws of its predecessors, as it sports flat glass and a bright 800x480 panel.

Also, every time we review a Lumia, we throw in a dig at the app ecosystem. It's still pretty bare out there, but it's getting better every day, so that's a plus for devices like the Lumia 520.

What's Bad?

Being a budget phone, you'll have to make some concessions feature-wise. For example, there's no wireless charging option, no 4G and no expandable memory.

The speakers are also a bit average, but that's not their fault: it's a tiny device. That decided averageness carries over to the camera, too. It's no Lumia 920 (that's kind of the point), so don't even think that you can use the 520 as a camera replacement. Just don't.

Should You Buy It?

Honestly, if you need a cheap in to the Lumia-verse, the Nokia Lumia 520 is the way to go. It's cheap, reliable and good-looking. Like a Toyota hatchback, really.

Even if this isn't the phone for you hardcore gadgeteers, the Lumia 520 is a great option for parents and grandparents alike who need just a cheap phone to make calls, send messages and do some internet. What more could you ask for?