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Nokia Lumia 2520 review


A high-quality tablet with an incredible screen and integrated 4G, but the Surface 2 is more practical

Review Date: 6 Dec 2013

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £333 (£400 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £315
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

6 stars out of 6

It's taken a long time for the Finnish phone giant to get around to it, but Nokia has finally summoned up the courage to release its first Windows tablet – the Lumia 2520. It's a 10.1in, Full HD device running Windows RT 8.1, and first impressions are highly favourable.

It's built quite beautifully, with a solidity reminiscent of the Lumia smartphone range at its best. A single, seamless slab of smoothly curved plastic wraps gently around the edges and meets a scratch- and shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass 2 panel at the front.

The Lumia 2520 comes in a selection of different colours and finishes, too: red gloss or black matte initially (and white gloss or matte cyan available later). Having handled both the gloss and matte versions, we prefer the matte, which picks up greasy fingerprints and scuffs less eagerly.

Nokia Lumia 2520

Whichever you choose, though, the connections and specification remain the same. On the left edge is a 3.5mm headset socket and a DC input, and on the top are the volume rocker and power buttons, plus a drawer for microSDXC and SIM cards. Impressively, every Lumia 2520 is 4G-enabled. On the right is a micro-USB 3 socket and micro-HDMI output, and on the bottom edge a docking connector.

Inside, there's dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4, plus NFC and GPS, 32GB storage, and on the rear and the front are 6.7- and 2-megapixel cameras. It's an impressive list of features – the only thing lacking – at least compared with the Microsoft Surface 2 – is practicality. There's no integral kickstand, and although you can buy a keyboard case, the only option at the time of writing is one with a built-in battery (for a claimed boost of five hours to battery life), which will set you back a hefty £150.


Switch it on and good things continue to happen. Nokia claims “best in class outdoor readability” for the Lumia 2520, and we wouldn't contest that. Its Full HD IPS screen, as measured with our X-Rite colorimeter, reaches a dazzlingly bright 714cd/m2, which is far higher than the Surface 2 and Apple iPad Air.

A contrast ratio of 1,151:1 ensures that images have plenty of solidity and presence, and although a touch warm, colours really pop from the screen. In fact, we'd go so far as to say it's the best screen we've come across on any tablet – an impressive feat given the calibre of the competition.

Nokia Lumia 2520

It doesn't end there, though. A quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, coupled with Adreno 330 graphics and 2GB of RAM, ensures performance is right up with the best. This is a combination we've been impressed with before in the Kindle HDX 7in and HDX 8.9in, and it runs Windows RT 8.1 just as impressively.

In the demanding GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD test, the Lumia 2520 achieved an average 27fps – a result not even the iPad Air could match with its result of 21fps. It returned a SunSpider time of 517ms, and a Peacekeeper score of 584, neither of which is quite as impressive, but are competitive with its main rival – the Surface 2.

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User comments

The Crunch is the "partner" Apps

There's no problem with Windows 8.1 RT, and the latest hardware is both elegant & powerful (if a bit pricey).

The crunch is that companies making connected gadgets seem unwilling to make "Partner" Apps that run on WP8 or RT. Hopefully this situation will change when vendors realise that there are a LOT of WP8 devices and Windows 8.1 PCs out there.
They might figure-out that they could add USP to their goodies by supporting those systems.

Here's hoping....

By wittgenfrog on 7 Dec 2013

Apple biased again?

I've just reread the review of the iPad Air and not once is it criticised for not running the full version of iOS and so not able to run full iOS software. So why whenever the TABLET specific version of the Windows OS is reviewed is it always criticised for exactly that? If the PCPro review team must feel every time an RT device comes out they must mark it down for this then make sure the Apple version is also marked down for likewise not running full Photoshop etc! Rant over...

By skarlock on 9 Dec 2013


@skarlock couldn't have put it better myself.

I despair.

Just because iOS has been around forever so has loads of apps, somehow that makes it a better OS than a new one like Windows RT.

If you look at the OS itself (rather than rate it on the number of apps available), I would argue that Windows RT is a demonstrably better OS than iOS. In fact, I would say it is a massive leap ahead of iOS.

By Grunthos on 9 Dec 2013

@skarlock @Grunthos

You missed the point there - iOS is a mature platform that all major developers write apps for. Windows RT is an immature platform with a far from certain future. When considering a tablet you must take into account not just the hardware and OS but the eco system too.

By gulzary on 9 Dec 2013


I think your point is very valid and indeed I would not recommend an RT tablet for everyone (you have to find the tool that suits your needs).

However, I don't think I've read or heard anyone come down on an iPad or Android tablet because they don't run full desktop software (even when they were first launched and their app stores were similarly small).

Yet it is a continuing refrain from all reviews I read about RT tablets.

It probably doesn't help that MS decided to make Windows Phone and Windows RT two separate OSes. Something that looks like it will be rectified in the not too distant future. Plus of course their marketing and explanation of RT next to full fat Windows was and continues to be a joke.

By Grunthos on 10 Dec 2013

So when RT and Windows phone merge, is this likely to be upgradeable to 8.2 or whatever?

By BruceCk on 12 Dec 2013

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