Eight months on and the Lumia 1520 is still my daily Windows Phone and that's weird
There is little doubt that I live a abnormal life when it comes to smartphones and mobile technology. At last count, I have over 50 smartphones dating back to 2006 and every Windows Phone made in the last three years. Combined with the rapid release of Lumias – with occasional releases from Samsung – and I have plenty of choices to use every day.
That is why it is surprising (to myself at least) that eight months after its release I am still using the Lumia 1520 as my daily driver. To put it another way, this is my longest streak in using a single Windows Phone since probably the original Samsung Focus. Although for regular folks, using a phone for eight months uninterrupted is the norm, for me, it is the exception. For that reason, here is why I still love the Lumia 1520.
I have touched upon some of these reasons before in my article ' Living with the biggest Windows Phone, the Lumia 1520' from last December. That article was addressing some common questions from potential buyers who were skeptical – even nervous – about the sheer size of Nokia's latest phone. This time, I explain why I still like it more than any other device out on the market.
Bigger is better
The display on the Lumia 1520 is still one of the best I have used on any device. I was reminded of this when using it at the beach the other day, as I was able to read email and choose my music under the glare of the 90-degree sun. Thanks to Nokia's sunlight readability mode, the Lumia 1520 works anywhere, anytime.
However, the Lumia 1520 does even more with the astonishing Assertive Display technology from Apical, which adjusts the colour and brightness of each pixel for more accurate results. It is awesome stuff, and I hope to see it in more Lumias in the future.
The 6-inch 1080P HD LCD display's colors are some of the best I have seen. Don't get me wrong, I like AMOLED too like on the Lumia Icon, but if I had to choose I'd go with the 1520's LCD.
Finally, there is just plain doing stuff on the phone, whether it is games, reading email or showing off photos, it is a better experience on the 1520's massive display.
20 MP Camera is enough
The Lumia 1020 may get the award for most megapixels in a camera-phone, but the Lumia 1520's shooter is good enough for the majority of photos I take. I still can shoot in RAW/DNG when I need to for high-quality photo editing, and I can re-frame with the Nokia Camera app to zoom and crop to get the perfect photo, just like the Lumia 1020.
However, here is where the Lumia 1520 is better: its Quad-core 2.2GHz processor. As a result, the Lumia 1520's camera feels zippier to launch and use.
2.2GHz of speed
I already mentioned how the Snapdragon 800 Quad-core processor improves upon the PureView camera, but that speed applies to all aspects of the phone and the operating system. Whether it is gaming, editing, or opening apps it is all a faster experience. Although Windows Phone is in many ways "fast enough," the plain truth is once you use a Windows Phone with a 2.2GHz processor, you do not want to go back.
Qi Wireless charging
Wireless charging is still a big deal today as when it originally shipped with the Lumia 920. The ability to plop down your phone and pickup a quick charge is not just cool, but super useful as well.
Okay, AT&T were jerks in removing it, but at least there is technically a way to get it back. Although I would not recommend such a drastic option for a novice, if you know someone with some skills it is doable (hat tip to Lance McCarthy for helping me).
Expandable storage feels infinite
Windows Phone 8.1 lets users install apps and games to their micro SD card, assuming their Windows Phone has the option. The lack of expandable storage has been a sore spot for many on Windows Phone as many of the high-end devices do not have it. Due to its sheer size the Lumia 1520 has plenty of space for the micro SD. In fact, I showed how you could use a 128 GB card to maximize your storage. When combined with the 16 GB of internal memory, the Lumia 1520 can hold what feels like a boundless amount of music, apps, games, and videos. If you are lucky enough to have a Lumia 1520 with 32 GB of internal memory, well, even better.
Okay, this may seem a little out there but I often get inquiring people asking about my Lumia 1520 in public. The first question from curious onlookers usually is "Is that a….phone?" as people react to the sheer awesomeness of the 1520. Although many folks initially think it is a Samsung, more people are aware of 'Lumia' and 'Windows Phone' today than a year ago. Regardless, it is a fun way to get a conversation going on mobile technology, something that almost everyone has an opinion on these days.
Best GPS phone ever
I noted once before that the Lumia 1520 makes an excellent GPS navigator for the car and months later, that has not changed. The six-inch display makes it feel like a built in car navigation system and if you want to sneak a peek at your notifications, well, you can do that too without squinting.
The Lumia 1520 packs a 3400 mAh battery, and when combined with the efficient Snapdragon 800, you get a powerful phone that also lasts all day (and then some). The ability to use a phone this size for so long just makes it that much more fun.
Room for improvement
The Lumia 1520 is to date my favorite Windows Phone, having said that there are things that do bother me. For instance, the infamous bug where the display picks up a scroll gesture as a tap, often launching an app or selecting a contact when you did not intend for that action. Another complaint is now and then I turn on the display only to have it be too dim. Quickly toggling the display on and off fixes it, as does waiting 15 seconds for the ambient light sensor to recalibrate, but it is still bothersome. My hope is the forthcoming Lumia Cyan firmware update finally straightens out those quirks, which to me seem like calibration issues, and nothing dire.
Wrapping it up
That is my story. Eight months on and I am still using the Lumia 1520 with no plans on updating anytime soon, at least not until Microsoft puts out another high-end phablet device. I do use the Lumia Icon, Lumia 925, Lumia 1020 and even Samsung ATIV SE as well, as I have a few phone lines, but the Lumia 1520 is my main phone, whereas the others are my sidekicks – phones that I really like, but can leave home if I can only take one.
I still think that for many the Lumia 920 is their defining phone for Windows Phone 8. Indeed, part of me would have liked to see that same phone but with the Lumia 930's internals (chipset, camera). However, once you commit to something like the Lumia 1520 it is hard to go back to something smaller. My only hope is that Microsoft can come out with a solid followup to this amazing phone.
Do you love your Lumia 1520 or are you still considering one? What is your iconic Windows Phone? Let us know in comments.