Nokia Lumia 520 review
Windows Phone 8, 4.0in 800x480 display
The Lumia 520 is Nokia's cheapest Windows Phone 8 handset, and is a bit of a bargain all round. You can buy it for £150 SIM-free, £110 on prepay and it's free on a £7.50-per-month contract with 250MB data. This makes it comfortably cheaper than the next phone up in the range, the Lumia 620, which is £200 SIM-free and only comes free with a contract if you spend £14 a month.
The Nokia Lumia 520 does definitely feel cheaper than the Lumia 620; the plastic on its rear is less soft-touch than the 620's cover, for example, and we much prefer the 620's rounded edges to the 520's sharper corners. Its screen has the same 480x800 resolution, but the 520's display has significantly less contrast and much less saturated colours. Like the 620's screen, the 520's is extremely sensitive, and can be operated with your fingernail or when wearing gloves.
As with the Lumia 620, though, one area where you do miss out is in battery life. The Lumia 520's 1,430mAh battery only gave it 6h 36m of continuous video playback, which while better than the 6h 16m we saw from the Lumia 620, is still on the mediocre side compared to the eight-hours-plus we’ve become used to seeing from Android phones.
Being a Nokia Windows Phone 8 device, you also get Nokia's built-in navigation apps, now renamed HERE Maps for general mapping and HERE Drive for turn-by-turn navigation. A huge advantage of both is their support for offline mapping. In Maps, for example, you just need to go to Offline Maps in the menu and select the maps you want to download to the phone's internal storage, which will save you any worry about getting lost in low signal areas or racking up huge data costs when abroad. You'll probably want to supplement the phone's internal 8GB storage with a microSD card if you want to cover a great deal of the world, though.
Free professional-grade offline maps are a definite bonus, especially on a cheap handset, but the Lumia 520's big disadvantage over the 620 is its lack of a built-in compass, which may make orientating yourself a bit trickier.