Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet review

Reviews 17 Mar, 2014

A great piece of hardware limited by the Windows RT operating system.

3
Price: 
£399
Pros: 
Excellent display; Office 2013 included; Good battery life
Cons: 
Windows RT; Proprietary charger; Buggy
Verdict: 
A well designed tablet with a solid display and great battery life, let down by the operating system.

Nokia has finally entered the tablet market four years after the original iPad. Packing a full HD 10.1in display (1920 x 1080), Windows 8.1 RT, 4G connectivity and a £399 price point, can the Lumia 2520 attract enterprise uptake?

Jekyll and Hyde

Build quality of the 2520 is excellent much like Nokia's mobile products. At 615g the tablet is lighter than Microsoft’s Surface 2 (676g) but bulkier than Apple’s samller iPad Air (469g). The Lumia has a thickness of 8.9mm and the 10.1in display features a 16:9 aspect ratio.

We like the matte finish on the back as it provides plenty of grip when you hold the device.

Nokia has included a 3.5mm jack, micro USB 3 and micro HDMI port, as well as a micro SD card slot.

However, the inclusion two proprietary charging points on this tablet is baffling. It means that even if you own a Nokia smartphone, you'll need a different cable to charge the 2520 tablet. We know that Apple has a propriety charger too, but the same cable can be used across the latest iPads and iPhones.

Display and internals

The full HD 10.1in display on the Lumia 2520 is the best feature. It uses Nokia’s bespoke Clear Black Display Technology and has a maximum brightness of 650cd/m2 – double most other tablets. This helps to present images and text in a clear, albeit slightly contrasted manner. Pixels are nonexistent from normal viewing angles, and Microsoft’s tile-based Windows RT platform, with its emphasis on colour and animation, looks great.

It’s difficult to fault the 2520’s display. It looks just as good as the iPad Air’s and matches anything in the Android stable. Throw Nokia’s excellent display technology into the mix, and you’ve got one of the best tablet displays on market.

Qualcomm’s popular Snapdragon 800 chipset makes an appearance in the Lumia 2520. Clocked at 2.2GHz and backed up by 2GB of RAM, the 2250 has plenty of processing grunt under its hood. Apps open in the blink of an eye and there’s zero hang in CPU/GPU intensive applications.

Touchscreen responsiveness is excellent too. But to get the best out of the productivity aspects like Office 2013, you’ll need the keyboard accessory.

Windows RT

The inclusion of Windows RT 8.1 instead of full Windows in this tablet is the biggest problem. Although the latest version of the software includes features such as Universal Bing Search, App Snapping, multitasking the inability to install desktop apps is a massive omission. And the Windows MarketPlace is not brimming with must-have apps.

We found our device to be particularly buggy, with the keyboard failing to load up automatically and the device needing to be restarted to detect our SD card. The inability to install any desktop apps was also grating. Even the inclusion of Office 2013 could not save us from frustration.


Battery

The 2520's huge 8,000mAh battery helped the device last just over 12 hours in our Iron Man battery test - one of the positive areas for this tablet. It's only outperformed by Apple's iPads in this area. 

Conclusion

The Lumia 2520 packs a beautiful design, top display and 4G connectivity on the. But Windows interface holds the tablet back from competing with Android and iOS counterparts. 

With reports suggesting that Windows RT could be ditched in the near future, can’t recommend this device.

Specifications: 

Display: 10.1in Full HD (1920 x 1080) (218ppi)

OS: Windows RT

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (2.2GHz quad-core)

RAM: 2GB

Storage: 32GB SSD + micro SD card support

Ports:  micro SIM, 2.5 mm Charging Connector,  3.5 mm audio connector, HDMI-D (micro), micro USB-AB, Bluetooth 4

Wireless: Bluetooth 4, WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n, WPA2-Enterprise, WPA2-Personal, NFC

Cameras: 6.7-megapixel rear, no flash, 1.2-megapixel front facing

Battery: 8120 mAh

Dimensions: 168 x 267 x 8.9mm

Weight: 615g

 

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Disqus - noscript

Windows RT is not being "ditched" by Microsoft. However, it is going to be updated as Microsoft folds the Windows Phone OS and Windows RT OS together into one new OS. Windows RT-based tablets will be upgradeable to this new OS.
I am curious, why do you feel that this tablet must run legacy Windows software? iOS does not run MacOS apps, and Android does not run Linux apps. Seems like a bit of a double-standard here. You do realize that these tablets are not running x86 compatible chips, which is why they cannot run x86 compatible software?
Also, why do you feel the Windows RT OS is holding these tablets from competing with Android and iPad devices? Is it because you can swipe to multitask? Perhaps it is the option to have two apps run side by side? Or maybe the opportunity to run MS Office?

Thats what you get if you hire a cheap reviewer to write an Article like this :-)

Like Curtis, my understanding is that WinRT is going to be merged with WinPhone, creating what Microsoft are (rather amusingly, in view of the identical iOS term) calling a 'Universal' solution. This would be great for Windows Phone, which currently suffers seriously from 'second-rate app' syndrome. An increasing number of WinRT apps, on the other hand, are really rather good, and I've been encouraged to see developers producing apps for Win8 and WinRT simultaneously, which suggests there are a few platform synergies. Could be a big step forward for Windows Mobile in general (now where have we heard that before?! WinCE, anyone?!!).

As an owner of a Nokia 2520, I couldn't disagree more with this clichéd review. Nobody reviews an iPad and says it doesn't run your iOS apps, so why do you expect Windows RT to run normal Windows apps?
Also, whilst apps are still important for phones, they are less so for tablets when the web browser is perfectly good for virtually any basic application. More complex applications, such as games still need to run natively and if games are your thing, don't get a Windows RT device. However, if you're a power office user a lot then this tablet is absolutely amazing. Pair it up with a keyboard, mouse and even a printer and you have a PC running a full version of MS Office. You can use virtually any peripheral via either Bluetooth or USB2/3. I don't use the Nokia keyboard but a third party mouse and keyboard and now I no longer take a laptop when I'm travelling for work. You also have an hdmi output for a second monitor, which is also great for presentations or for plugging into the TV in your hotel room. When you want to relax on the sofa or on the move to just browse the web you have a tablet that feels way nicer than the iPad Air to hold and, uniquely allows more than one application to run on the screen at once (e.g. you can work on a Word document whilst having your Twitter feed in the margin). I find that even with heavy use, the battery easily lasts all day (which is the advantage you get from not having standard Windows bloatware) and when you want to recharge it is fully charged again in less than an hour (which is why it's not such a mystery that Nokia, like Apple, chose not to use USB charging).
Finally, it is worth mentioning cost. A similarly spec'd iPad Air will cost almost twice the £399 of the Nokia. If I had an iPad I honestly don't know what more I would get for my money other than the brand.