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Nokia Lumia 520 review

7.6/10 AVG.
RATING



7.6/10
Informr score
The Nokia Lumia 520 currently has an Informr score of 7.6 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 29 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Affordable price
  • Smooth performance despite modest specs sheet
  • Memory expansion option

What's bad

  • Meager 512MB of RAM
  • Lacks apps
  • Display does not have enhancements of ClearBlack Display technology

Unveiled at Mobile World Congress, the Nokia Lumia 520 is another budget offering for the Windows Phone platform. James Rogerson of TechRadar said that "At first glance it's certainly an impressive handset for the price."

The Nokia Lumia 520 comes with all the features that the average smartphone user needs but at its rock-bottom pricing, certain corners have to be cut. But as Marie Brewis of PC Advisor put it, “So you don't get 4G LTE support, wireless charging, near-field communication, City Lens augmented reality or the latest Bluetooth connectivity standard, but, until these technologies really take off, do you care?”

Design-wise, the Nokia Lumia 520 is a comfortable fit in the hands and its rounded sides and corners give way to easy single-handed operation. Despite being very lightweight at just 124 grams, the handset still feels solid although its build is a bit plasticky.

Under the hood, the Nokia Lumia 520 runs Windows Phone 8 for its operating system which in turn is powered by the handset’s dual-core 1 GHz QualComm SnapDragon S4 processor. The processor is paired with just 512 MB of RAM (and this might sound meager when compared to the competition) but this is already more than enough to power Windows Phone 8. In fact, the only time you will notice a lag on the handset is when you launch a third-party application or its camera.

Due to its affordable price point, the Nokia Lumia 520 only has 8GB of onboard storage but at least, the handset comes with a dedicated microSD card slot in its chassis for memory expansion purposes so the measly internal memory of the handset shouldn’t be too much of an issue. In terms of its screen, the handset sports a 4-inch IPS LCD panel with a 480 x 800 resolution. Though the screen itself is pretty decent, it doesn’t have the ClearBlack Display technology found in other higher-end Lumias which makes the display of the Nokia Lumia 520 slightly inferior.

Overall, you get what you pay for in the Nokia Lumia 520. It may not have all the bells and whistles you are looking for but at the very least, it certainly comes with all those you need best.


Operating system
Windows Phone
Processor
1 GHz
Screen Size
4"
Camera
5+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Pocketnow

Our final rating is going to be an 7 out of 10. While there are a lot of limitations and areas that are lacking with the Lumia 521, the big draw for it is its pricing. Given the crazy low price, there is a huge amount of value included with this phone and it’s still fast, stable, and easy to u...

- Adam Z. Lein, Pocketnow
TechRadar

The Nokia Lumia 520, much like its big brother the Nokia Lumia 620, is a jack of all trades and a master of none - although manages to make a good fist of nearly all it tries, for the price.It looks good, it's got a decent screen both in terms of size and resolution, it rarely stutters or slows down...

- James Rogerson, TechRadar
Tech Advisor

If you're looking for a cheap smartphone, you may have just found it. The Nokia Lumia 520 doesn't tick all the boxes on our features wishlist, but it capably handles those that are most important. Windows Phone 8 is a beautiful operating system, but it still lacks apps. If you can get past this and...

- Marie Brewis, Tech Advisor
SlashGear

The Nokia Lumia 521 isn’t the nicest Windows Phone 8 device on the market – and it’s certainly not the hottest Nokia machine out today – but it’s not meant to be. Working to be the cost-cutting entry level to the Windows Phone 8 universe with the good ship Nokia –...

- Chris Burns, SlashGear
Digital Trends

The Nokia Lumia 521 is the kind of budget phone that really feels like one. It has some nice aspects – speedy performance, decent design, good call quality – but they’re overshadowed by the mediocre display and slow mobile data speeds. Plus, Windows Phone has it’s own overall...

- K. T. Bradford, Digital Trends


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Nokia released the Lumia 520 on April 11, 2013.


The Lumia 520 price will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. You can compare Nokia Lumia 520 prices from around the web here on The Informr.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Nokia Lumia 520 user manual here.


Nokia backs up the Lumia 520 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Lumia 520 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Nokia support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Nokia's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.




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Quick view

Screen Size
4"

The Nokia Lumia 520's screen size is 4 inches with 480 x 800 pixels resolution.

Processor
1 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual core 1 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Windows Phone 8 (Update Available: 8.1) operating system (OS).

Camera
5+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 5+ megapixel camera.

There's no secondary front camera.

Storage
8 GB

Internal memory is 8 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 64 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
1430mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 1430 mAh battery. Nokia's performance ratings are 888 minutes, 372 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Lumia 520 Specs

Overview
Release date April 11, 2013
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Mobile / Cellular Data
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/1900/2100 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSPA+
SIM card size
Micro-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Windows Phone 8 (Update Available: 8.1)

Compare Windows Phone Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual core 1 GHz
Internal Storage 8 GB
RAM 512 MB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.86 W/kg
Body: 0.88 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery, Headset, Data Cable
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 1430 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 288 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 372 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 888 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 13.3 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Yellow, Blue, Red, White, Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 12 x 6.4 x 1 cm (4.7 x 2.5 x 0.4 in)
Weight 124 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (IPS)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 480 x 800 pixels
Pixel density 235 pixels
Size 4 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating Yes
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key Yes
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Nokia Mail, Windows Live / Hotmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, Windows Live
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 3.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WEP/WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 64 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet Yes
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
5+ megapixels
Multi-camera
No
Zoom
4x digital
Flash
No
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Brightness control, Geotagging, ISO, White balance, Scene modes
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, ASF, AVI
Video Recording Parameters
HD (1280 x 720 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Zoom
No
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR, AMR-NB, eAAC+, MP3, MP4, M4A, WMA Pro, WMA
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, ASF, AVI, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock No
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch No
Timer No
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable, Pre-installed (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Nokia Lumia 521

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Nokia Lumia 520 Reviews
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