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AT&T Nokia Lumia 520 with GDR2 and Amber on board; unboxing and quick tour

Last week, AT&T also launched another Windows Phone, besides the much anticipated Lumia 1020—the Lumia 520. Sure, entry level devices aren’t nearly as exciting as technology busting ones, but the Lumia 520 is AT&T’s first GoPhone (month-to-month) and goes for $99 sans contract.

We picked one up last night at our local Microsoft Store because hey, $99. And yes, you can throw in your existing AT&T SIM card and it will work just fine, no need to sign up for any plans or sign anything. You just pay the $99 (plus tax) and walk out the door with a fully functional Windows Phone.

What may surprise some of you though is knowing that this bad boy comes with a Windows Phone 8 build 10327 (GDR2) and Nokia’s Amber firmware update already on board. The means that it has a bunch of low level OS fixes, like that Me Tile situation and the Other Storage fix (we're at 300 MB) and some Nokia perks likes double-tap to wake and flip-to-silence for phone calls. (Watch our video tour above to see it in action.)

The Lumia 520, which we’ve reviewed previously, comes with a 4-inch WVGA display (no ClearBlack), 8 GB of storage (expandable microSD), 512 MB of RAM and a dual-core 1 GHz Snapdragon CPU. The 5 MP camera on the back lacks a flash and there is no front facing camera or NFC on board, but for $99, you get a solid Windows Phone-lite experience. It’s perfect for kids, grandparents, a backup phone or anyone who just needs a phone with perks. The phone only gets HSPA+ with no LTE support on board, but that shouldn’t be too surprising when you consider the price-point.

Nokia Amber features on the AT&T Lumia 520

A lot has been written lately about low-cost Windows Phones specifically that getting them into people’s hands is what will drive the platform. While that strategy remains to be proven, the Lumia 520 (similar to the Lumia 521 on T-Mobile) is a solid contender to lead the way in the States.

Head to AT&T's website to order the Lumia 520 (opens in new tab), or stop by your local Microsoft Store if you have one near you.

Left: AT&T Lumia 520; Right: T-Mobile Lumia 521

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

160 Comments
  • I'm so glad double tap to wake is coming to the 5x series. My Lumia 521 just keeps getting better.
  • I was looking to pick a 520 up for a second device and just switch the sim but alas, here in Canada, Rogers wants $229 sans contract.  How AT&T can do it for $99 but Rogers wants $229 is bewildering.  Maybe someone else knows how to get it from Rogers on the cheap.
  • Rogers is offering the Lumia 520 on Pay As You Go for $150. Time to time at Future Shop or Best Buy you'll find the price of this dip to $129.99.
     
    http://www.rogers.com/web/link/wirelessBuyFlow?forwardTo=PhoneThenPlan&productType=normal&productId_Detailed=LUM520BLKRCLAM&N=52+11+4294967039
  • I got it for only $119.99 at BestBuy. The deal ended on July 25th. The Rogers pack contains a cyan back-cover, and I header neither Telus nor Koodo has this.
  • You can buy it outright from Telus for 129.99.
  • Really? Link please? I just bought mine from Telus last Thursday and it was $150.
  • Plus, get up to $20 in service credits when you activate.†
     
    Similarly, Koodo guarantees you will get $20 cash back in 14 days after activiation
  • really, got this as a pay-as-you go with Rogers. Bestbuy had it on sale over last weekend and I went to Walmart and pricematched it for $119.99 + tax and yeah NO Contracts. I believe regular no contract price for the Lumia 520 is $150.00
    btw got it at a store in Vancouver.
     
  • Honestly a nice looking phone.
  • +1
     
    Just sa one of these yesterday. It is a slick looking device.
  • They shoulda put this phone on tmobile too. I want red. But its good that WP variety keeps expanding
  • Its on T-Mobile. Its called the Lumia 521.
  • Yep
  • But my 521 only comes in white. No exchangeable back covers
  • you have point there. But then again, will the 520 covers even be made available in the us? otherwise, its sort of pointless. though i wish Nokia at least made 3D printer shell files for the 521....
  • wat abt the smart cam ?
  • Won't install. Not sure if because this still needs another update to the firmware, or a Smart Cam limitation.
  • nokia said that smart cam app with 512 mb ram lumias they will take 7 pictures in one sec and 1mp quality, but lumias with 1gb ram will take 10 pics one second and 5mp images.
     
    and on that 512mb phone lumia 625, there was allready smart cam installed.. maybe att will get one minor update too soon to enable that ??
  • 1mp quality ????????? for real ?????????????
  • To your knowledge does this 520 comes factory unlocked?
  • AT&T devices never come factory unlocked.
  • i got a question , i got the lumia 520 but i activ ated the tap to awake but is not working...why is that?
    ..please help
  • ahh sad :(, thx for the info
  • Its doesn't say Nokia Amber in the about setting... perhaps thats why.
  • When will this update come to Pakistan or India?
  • Seems like everything has GDR2 update but 920. Insert smart ass comments HERE.➖➖➖➖➖➖
  • I hear ya.  I would think we should have it sometime next month. /fingers crossed (Hopefully we dont have to wait past August.).  Having GDR2 in the 1020, I really like the features of the time always on the screen, double tapping screen to wake, and looking forward to playing with the camera features with the 920.   
  • +1bn
  • +1840
  • Or the 8X :/
  • And the 928
  • *raises hand and waves* Dont forget the 521!
  • Finally someone shows a pic of 520 vs 521. So it looks like T-Mobile just made the 521 extra tall so it could accommodate a large logo? Yikes!
  • That's the Lumia 1020 in the pic.
  • ?? That's a 521 on the right...
  • Its 520 left, 521 right. The only other reason I could see think of to make it taller would be an antenna for the 1700band, or else T-Mobile is just an asshole
  • No, it's not. 520/521
  • What are you smoking? :-) Definitely a 521.
  • +920
  • Actually, I'm really happy that the 521 has that extra space on the bottom. On my Lumia 900, I constantly kept pressing the "hard soft" buttons by mistake because they were so close to the bottom. I think it would have been a better design to have it slightly higher on the 520 as well (and on other phones).
  • I think they did it just so no one can exchange the back covers to different colors and hide the branding on the back. I don't see why the hell T-mobile couldn't put it on the side with their brand icon.
  • The 521 doesn't have branding on the back, just that large T-Mobile logo on the front
  • Considering the 521 seems to have an extra mic(?) beneath the camera and contains hardware for the 1700MHz frequency, i think the extra height is there for a reason. and i find the height quite comfortable.
  • No kidding! Like i'm somehow gonna forget who my carrier is, or maybe T-Mobile doesn't bother to put it anywhere onscreen?!
  • Agreed.
  • Im glad us 521 users are getting some of the cool updates from GDr2 and also Amber!
  • I just need to know where I can buy some different colored battery covers. At the Microsoft store I was told that AT&T only have black. My wife keeps bugging me that she wants a different color.
  • Yeah, me, too...
  • You can get them from eBay.
  • http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5575095911&t... enjoy
  • It's a beauty :) i recommended this phone to my friend but instead of buying this phone he buyed the Lumia 800 .... 
     
    Best regards!
  • Haha, you mean he "bought"... Windows Phones come with spellchecking! :)
  • Correct :) Sorry my english is not that good :) 
     
    Best regards!
  • As long as he brought a Lumia :)
  • Sucks for him the 520 is a good entry level windows phone. I see you on phonearena sometimes it's nice t see you here also. 
  • Yes and it has Windows Phone 8 and MicroSD support etc ... & thanks! I love this site, PhoneArena is a little bit a dissaster with al those haters...... 
     
    Best regards!
  • I agree phonearena can be pretty bad but I like it for the news articles. This site is great.
  • Perfect for my 5th-grader! We hate AT&T but not as much as we hate T-Mobile and Sprint! Verizon is not viable where I live. I'm picking one up tomorrow which is pay day!
  • All those new lumia's with GDR2/Amber.. Where is it for my 920! Damn, thought this phone was like a premium device... For a couple months...
  • These devices are launching with them
    While us 920 users have to wait for an OTA update. There's a difference there. less red tape to launch your device with the latest OS than to go through middleman AT&T
  • No glance??
  • no
  • No sadly, Nokia stated that it wouldn't because of hardware limitations
  • I have a 520. Mines shows the "Lumia Amber" heading.
  • Ah, I probably need to update the Nokia system apps
  • I think so. I had to.
  • any idea if it has BT4.0+LE?
  • No, BT 3.0
  • I'm tired of hearing about this damn GDR2 update. Release the damn update already... My 920 is waiting.
  • + 8X
  • +521
  • +820
  • What about data sense??
  • I really want to see the availability
  • AT&T so far has chosen to not support it.
  • If that's the case then no Data Sense for ATT 920 I guess
  • I'm so glad to hear this comes with GDR2! Mine is waiting for me in a UPS box at home. Time to relegate my 900 to a drawer.
  • Make no mistake, the 900 is a damn fine phone. You'll notice the big drop in the "quality feel" between the 900 and the 520. And if you play a lot of mp3 music (from your own collection) on your phone, you'll probably miss Zune as well. But it's nice to have WP8 to get access to newer apps. If I still had an AT&T sub, I'd probably switch the SIM back and forth between the 900 and the 520 depending on the situation...
  • Yea, the lack of the polycarbonate is noticeable. It may just be me, but I miss the weight of the 900. But overall, the 520 feels faster and access to most wp8 apps is nice.
  • Bluetooth keyboard support??
  • Down the road maybe?
  • I held the 520 in store...it's a cool little phone. I like the material they used for the back cover. But the glass edge where it meets the body is not the most comfortable. But for the money, it would be a keeper
  • What about the FM radio to be featured in the update? No mention in the article :/
  • I have one, FM radio works.
     
  • Does the GDR2 update allow us to adjust separate volumes from ringtones to music ect?
  • Nope
  • carrier branded crap.
     
    Nokia, sell UNLOCKED, UNBRANDED ones at Microsoft Stores.
  • you seem fun
  • Daniel, <3
  • I agree with this. I find T-mobiles branding on the 521 and 925 atrocious.
  • just wait till they decline the updates from microsoft
     
  • When is GDR2 coming out on the Lumia 928?
  • Nobody knows, if you find out anything, please leave a tip after the break :D
  • so this is all there in those two updates? wow.. 
  • Also, you can use the different coloured back covers made for the 520.
     
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BRPT2M4/?tag=wpcentralb-20
     
    (Bonus, they don't have the AT&T logo! Sadly, no Cyan.)
  • So it's settled. Other storage is even lower for low memory phones. Just release this update already. I've got games to play. :)
  • So, There's double-tap to wake but no Glance screen..
  • Since the 52X has No front facing camera no glance feature unless I am thinking of peek feature.
  • Glance uses proximity sensor
  • yes, but it may either use the camera for additional accuracy (so it doesnt just come up randomly when something moves in front of the proximity sensor), or the 52x series may of used cheaper parts (most likely) that do not work with glance (unknown.) at least, these are my guesses.
  • can it be unlocked?
  • I unlocked 2 Telus Lumia 520 there : http://www.cellunlocker.net/ . 15$ and you get your code within 24 hours. AT&T and TMobile are listed in the supported carrier. You should give it a shot. 
  • So badass a Windows Phone 8 go phone :)
  • Oh ok, that's for new subscribers not existing. I just got the 520 for WP8, my Lumia 800 still works great.
  • I wonder if Verizon will have these updates by the end of the year?
  • Storage is a buzz kill for this, on the other hand for $99-$125 best deal
  • I have so many questions and test cases for GDR2. I hope I'll get the update sooner than later to explore them myself.
  • Got my son it from Rogers last week. He immediately switched to cyan back lol