Last week, Nokia unveiled a pair of Windows Phone phablet devices — the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320. We got to have a play around with both devices at Nokia World 2013 in Abu Dhabi (you can check out all the major announcements from the event over at our live blog) and we love them both. Don't make us choose...
What Are They?
The Lumia 1520 and 1320 are the latest Windows Phone handsets from Nokia and the first to fall under the "phablet" moniker from the company. Despite our best efforts, the phrase is slowly creeping into our tech vernacular. We'll issue an apology to the English language shortly.
Both models sport six-inch displays encased in Nokia's distinctive monolithic polycarbonate bodies, which make for a truly massive pair of handsets. If you're one of those people who think size matters, the 1520 and 1320 certainly have enough girth to keep you satisfied.
As the new flagship on the block, the Nokia Lumia 1520 boasts some suitably impressive specifications. Its main claim to fame is a PureView 20-megapixel Zeiss lens with 2x lossless zoom, inbuilt image stabilisation and a dual-LED flash. Other chief specifications include 4G LTE connectivity, 1080p video recording at 30fps, an 3400 mAh battery, a screen finished in Gorilla Glass 2 and a Qualcomm quad-core 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU.
The Lumia 1320, meanwhile, shares many of the same specs as its pricier sibling but with a 5MP camera and downgraded 720p display. It also comes with rounded edges as opposed to the 1520's sharply angular aesthetic.
How Do They Look?
Well, they're Lumias, innit.
Both phones retain the colourful polycarbonate unibody the Lumia range is famous for. With the possible exception of Apple's iPhone, it's currently the most distinctive smartphone brand on the block. For all its sales success Samsung's Galaxy range doesn't have half the identity of its Nokia rivals.
With their polycarbonate chassis and vibrant finishes, the phones are a weird combination of sophisticated chic and plastic kiddie's toy. Yet somehow the design works. If you're a fan of the Lumia look (and a lot of people are) the 1520 and 1320 are comfortingly familiar. There's nothing here to rock the boat. That said, we're not sure that the smooth, glossy surface is suitable for a phablet device — the lack of adhesive grip is likely to leave the owner feeling constantly paranoid that they're about to drop it.
The Lumia 1520 comes in yellow, white, black, and glossy red. The Lumia 1320 comes in orange, yellow, black, and white. We played around with the red and yellow versions of the 1520 and 1320, respectively. We were slightly more enamored with the Lumia 1320's design — the rounded edges gives it a softer, friendlier feel. But this really comes down to personal taste; both are unquestionably great looking handsets.
The Nokia Lumia range is known for being a bit thicker than similarly sized rivals but the 1320 and 1520 have addressed this somewhat. The 1520 sports dimensions of 162.8x85.4x8.7mm and weighs in at 209g. The 1320 is slightly bigger (164.2x85.9x9.8mm) and also around 10 grams heavier.
How Do They Handle?
Despite being hamstrung by the conference's unreliable Wi-Fi connection, both phones performed well during our brief hands-on tests. Apps were quick to load and the touch screen UI was smooth and highly responsive. The enlarged display has allowed Nokia to squeeze in a third column of home screen tiles, which is incredibly handy for instant app access and more Live Tiles than ever.
As mentioned, Nokia is really pushing the imagine capabilities of its latest flagship smartphone — if ever there was a phone designed for large-handed photographers, this is it. While we didn't get a chance to preview our test shots on a large screen, they looked incredible on the 1520's 6-inch display.
The camera's software settings have also received a significant spit-and-polish via the new Nokia Camera app. We were particularly impressed by the Lytro-like refocusing tool, although this seems to work best with two-dimensional plains, such as bringing a wall in the foreground into focus. Serious happy-snappers will be pleased by the addition of RAW support, which will also be coming to the Lumia 1020 next year via a new software update. (Incidentally, all the photos in this article were taken with the aforementioned Nokia Lumia 1020 — read the full Gizmodo review here.)
While it's too soon to give a definitive verdict, we were mightily impressed with our brief hands-on time with the Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1320. The 1520 in particular looks to be setting a new standard for smartphone photography both in terms of image quality and versatility. We'll be putting both phones to the full testing gamut soon.
The Lumia 1520 will be available by the end of the year in the US for a recommended retail price of $US750. The Lumia 1320 will initially sell in "select Asian markets" for a more wallet-friendly $US340.
Australian pricing and availability has yet to be announced. We'll bring you more news as we get it.