The Lumia 2520 is Nokia’s first attempt at a real modern day tablet, it runs Windows RT 8.1 and has some pretty beefy internals, packed with a sweet design; but is it enough?
The design of the Lumia 2520 is pretty much perfect, for fans of the Lumia design not much is new, the 2520 bears the greatest resemblance to the Lumia 720; but that’s not a bad thing, seeing how the 720 is one of the best looking of all Lumias. The Lumia 2520 weighs a bit more than the average tablet, clocking in at 615 grams; however given the 10.1” screen and the 16:9 aspect ratio it is most definitely a two handed device; meaning the extra weight isn’t much of an issue.
The build quality is as usual quite excellent, in terms of actual “feel” the whole device gives off a premium touch except for some slight flex in the back of the tablet and some “mushy” button response. The choice of color also affects the perception of the build quality, as picking a glossy color (such as the red or white) will lead to fingerprint and scratch accumulation which can give off a false impression of “cheapness”.
In terms of the screen, Nokia focused on the excellent viewing angles and outdoor visibility in the 2520; and boy does it deliver. The 2520’s screen is perfectly legible from almost any angle below 180, and you can see a lot more than your reflection when using it outdoors.
The Lumia 2520’s camera on the other hand is slightly disappointing, we heard that it has the same 6.7 megapixel shooter found in the Lumia 720, which we absolutely loved, however the performance of the 2520’s was below what we expected. Images come out “ok” in good light, but have a certain graininess to them no matter what; videos’ on the other hand are almost always grainy with absolutely horrible audio recording (samples of front and rear facing video below):
Camera samples (rear camera):
On a scale of one to ten, how unacceptable are tablet selfies?
From the hardware aspect another thing Nokia got right was adding LTE connectivity and a Micro SD slot to the tablet, making the base model (which is also the only model) able to compare with the top level iPad’s and others in terms of connectivity and storage. Plus 8,000 Mah of battery power, with an additional 4,000 Mah if you have the power keyboard dock. Not to mention that the Lumia 2520 also packs a top of the line Snapdragon 800 quad core 2.2ghz processor, and 2 Gbs of ram.
My main complaints about the Lumia 2520 from a hardware point of view (besides the camera performance) would be the lack of illumination on the start button of the tablet; given that the tablet is close to 10” wide, it can be difficult to find the exact center of the bottom of the tablet in the dark; leading to some awkward fumbling when trying to leave an app. The other complaint I had was the mushy buttons which felt a little un-responsive at first (especially the lock/power button). Besides that the 2520 is pretty much perfect from a design point of view, and is definitely a looker.
Windows RT is a mixed bag, when in Metro mode (the start screen), everything is pretty awesome, apps run smoothly and do it while looking amazing, swipes are fluid, and everything is almost instant.
If you’re not familiar with how Windows 8 works with touch gestures check out the video below:
The greatest advantage of running Windows 8 on a tablet is the ability to multitask properly, in contrast to the ridiculous excuse for multitasking on WP8, the Lumia 2520 with Windows 8.1 RT gets it all right. Clicking on a link while in an app (such as Facebook, reddit etc.) will instantly split the screen in half bringing up IE10 while keeping your original app running; a great way to stay focused and get things done.
Speaking of Internet Explorer; it’s the only browser available on the Lumia 2520, seeing as “Metro” versions of Chrome or Firefox aren’t available. That isn’t really an issue, as the browser is quite responsive and fast; except that add-ons aren’t available for it, meaning no Adblock or proxies or others. On the other hand, IE on Windows RT is flash enabled, meaning you can watch almost anything in browser (stream games, watch shows etc.); which makes the 2520 that much more of an amazing media consumption device.
One big draw-back of having Windows RT as an operating system on a tablet is in the way RT acts; since it considers itself to be a full “PC”, you can’t simply connect it to your laptop or computer via a USB cable. The only viable options to get content onto the 2520 (besides downloading it straight to it) is to either transfer them via an external disk, over Skydrive, or via Homegroup. Unfortunately Homegroup only runs in desktop mode, and is prone to crashing or bogging down when copying large files (such as movies).
Having the full office experience on the 2520 is a huge plus, as it actually gets work done; and is especially useful when picking up a document you already started on your computer (via Skydrive sync), with the ability to edit it on the go on your tablet, phone or computer.
All in all windows RT isn’t that bad; admittedly the 2520 was actually quite unstable the first few days I sued it, with random reboots, crashes and frustrating moments; but after a couple system updates (that installed automatically) all is well in the RT world.
The Lumia 2520 is a great tablet, and Nokia got a lot of things right on their first go, what little things that you can say are “Wrong” are merely annoyances rather than severe flaws; and the awesome in the 2520 definitely outweigh the annoying. And contrary to mass disapproval Windows RT isn’t all that bad; in fact it’s quite a productive OS once you understand what it’s meant for. However Microsoft need to work on some things such as getting a Metro version of the Office suite, as well as figuring out what RT wants to do with its life (if it’s meant for mobile devices then plug and play is a must). But if you honestly want a good tablet the best testament I can give is that I haven’t touched my iPad since I’ve gotten the 2520… Not even once.