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Nokia Lumia 520 review - hands-on

  • Nokia Lumia 520
  • Nokia Lumia 520
  • Nokia Lumia 520

There was some excited whispers at Mobile World Congress when Nokia unveiled a Lumia smartphone for just €139, so we were keen to find out straight away if any compromises had been made to bring it out at the low price point.

First impressions are good. The phone's dual-core 1GHz processor means that Windows Phone 8 ran as smoothly and slicky as usual, with apps opening in a snap.

Nokia Lumia 520

The screen is also a reasonable 800x480 pixels, so text and icons are sharp. The quality isn't up there with phones higher up Nokia's range, though; in particular we noticed significantly worse contrast, with blacks appearing grey. It's fine for a budget screen, but we've seen better displays on Android mobiles at this price, such as the Sony Xperia U.

You can also operate the screen with your fingernails or while wearing gloves; it took a while for the phone to recognise our touch, but it seemed to calibrate itself after around 30 seconds of poking around, and after that the phone responded fine to our thick wooly fingers.

Nokia Lumia 520

It's a good-looking phone, with a pleasing curved back, and is available in a number of funky colours. You can also swap the rear casing out if you want to change the phone's look; black for business, banana yellow for weekends.

One thing we did notice was that the phone didn't appear as rock-solid as more expensive Lumias, or even the relatively inexpensive Lumia 620. The rear in particular felt made of cheaper plastic that wasn't as pleasant to touch – the only thing that betrays the Lumia 520's budget price.

Nokia Lumia 520

First impressions of the Lumia 520 are good, and Nokia's bundled apps add a significant amount of value. It will be interesting to see if it's available on any good-value contracts, too; this could be the phone to challenge Android for the budget end of the smartphone market.

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