Today might be a shining moment for fans of the Nokia(soft) brand. In an event in Dubai, that is almost sure to be drowned out by the Apple iPad event, Nokia announced its first Windows RT tablet: the 2520. They also announced a pair of 6” smartphones: the 1520 and 1320.
Lumia 2520 Tablet
The Lumia 2520 is a machine that surprised me a bit. Quite frankly, I was expecting it to be of the 7-8” range. Instead Nokia went with a full-size 10.1” tablet. In terms of styling, this tablet is very Nokia and reminiscent of a super-sized versions of its smartphones. Yes, that means colors and the options will be black, silver, cyan blue, and red. Unlike its soon-to-be stepbrother the Surface 2, this is all tablet. There are no PC-like features like USB ports, just a micro-USB 3.0 and HDMI type-D. That’s pretty standard for a 10.1 tablet. That being said, it becomes a little more Surface-like when the Nokia Power Keyboard is used. This is a lot like the covers for the Surface. It adds a keyboard, a touchpad, 2 full-size USB ports, and an extra 5-hours of battery life. This is what Microsoft should have done with the Surface.
The screen on this Nokia is a little underwhelming at 1920 x 1080 Full-HD. With a PPI of just 218, this is very much subpar for a tablet released in late 2013. It does not compete with with iPads or Android tablets with “retina” class displays of 260+. It makes up for it with plenty of power though with a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU. For those unfamiliar, that’s the most powerful 32-bit ARM-compatible CPU on the market. The killer feature might be the camera, as Nokia has given the same attention here as its smartphones. The sensor is 6.7MP with a an insane f/1.9 f-stop rating. It also has Carl Zeiss optics. This is the undisputed king of tablet cameras. There is no flash though.
Rounding out the specs is 32GB of storage with an mSD slot to double that. The battery is 8000mAh for a relatively long battery life and a 25-day standby time. The 2520 comes with not only standard 802.11N WiFi, but LTE as standard. You get 8 bands of compatibility, but there’s some discrepancy whether every 2520 will include all the bands or if it’s regional. You also get NFC and the increasingly useful Bluetooth 4.0 LE.
The Lumia 2520 has a suggested retail price of $499 and will ship some time during Q4 of this year.
If you’re a Windows Phone user with Note envy, your prayers have been answered. At 6”, the Lumia 1520 is at the upper end of the ultra-large screen phone market. (See, I resisted saying phablet…oops.) The specs are similarly high end. Unlike the tablet, this has no screen issues. It’s the same 1920×1080 resolution, which on a 6-inch device is not too shabby. It backs the same Snapdragon CPU as the 2520. This might not only be the first really big screen WP-device, but the finest Windows Phone on the market.
It wouldn’t be a Lumia without talking about the camera. Its 20MP camera has OIS, a 6-element lens, and a f/2.4 rating. I couldn’t tell if camera was pure 20MP or hybrid like the camera on the 1020. You also get a dual-LED flash. You get 32GB of storage (plus mSD) and 2GB of memory. The battery on this monster is 3400mAh and as far as I can tell has Qi wireless charging as standard.
The Lumia 1520 has a suggested retail price of $749 and is expected this quarter. However that does depend on your carrier.
Want that 6-inch screen at a lower price? Nokia offers just that in the 1320. The screen has been downgraded to 720, the CPU is a dual core 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4, and the camera is 5MP. The onboard storage is down to 8GB, but the Micro-SD slot remains. The good news is that the 3400mAh battery remains. While this is a major downgrade from the 1520, it’s actually pretty comparable to the Note II class of devices.
At just $339, this phone is aimed at lower-cost Asian markets and will launch there first in early 2014. It will launch later in Europe, India, and elsewhere. No plans for North America as current.
These Nokia announcements take the company into new territory. However, it’s territory that should enhance the Windows Phone platform. Quite frankly, the tablet and ultra-large smartphone markets could use a little Lumia-DNA. They tend to get the competitors thinking. If you’re looking for something in those categories that is unmistakably Nokia, take a close look at the 2520 and 1520.