As expected, with the release of Windows Phone 8 GDR3, OEMs are releasing phones to go with the update. Nokia, the leader in Windows Phone, announced two phablets, a tablet, and some neat new software features coming with GDR3 updates for Nokia phones.

As always, specs.

 

Lumia 1520

Lumia 1320

Lumia 2520

OS

Windows Phone 8 GDR3

Windows Phone 8 GDR3

Windows RT 8.1

SoC

MSM8974, 2.2 GHz

MSM8930AB, 1.7 GHz

MSM8974, 2.2 GHz

Battery

12.92 WHr, 3400 mAh

12.92 WHr, 3400 mAh

30.4 WHr, 8000 mAh

Rear Camera

F/2.4, 20MP

5MP

6.7MP, F/1.9

Front Camera

1.2MP

.3MP

2MP

RAM

2 GB

1GB

2 GB

Display

6” 1080p LCD

6” 720p LCD

10.1” 1080p, LCD, AH-IPS

Storage

32GB internal, microSD

8GB internal, microSD

32GB internal, microSD

Nokia’s answer to phones like the Xperia Z Ultra and Note 3 is the Lumia 1520. The industrial design, as with all Lumia devices, remains an evolution of the Nokia N9. It appears that this time, Nokia went with LCD, likely because Samsung seems to only allow other OEMs to use its n-1 generation panels, and reasons such as reduced power consumption under high APL conditions, higher overall brightness for better outdoor visibility (although reflectance also plays a major role), and fewer idiosyncrasies such as calibration shift over display lifespan. It also seems that the camera is most likely to have 1.1 micron pixels, as a reduction in sensor size would reduce z-height and BOM (Bill Of Materials) to fit within the phone’s monetary and design constraints, and more pixels allows for greater oversampling. The SoC is also the lower 2.2 GHz bin to reduce BOM. Overall though, the 1520 looks to be a solid phone, and should compete well against the phablet competition. However, outside of the camera experience, which should be second only to the Lumia 1020, the rest of the phone is mostly identical when compared against similar, ~6” display, Snapdragon 800 phones.

The Lumia 1320 is a bit different, although very much the same. In order to fit a midrange price, the specs have been drastically reduced. In specs, it’s almost a dead ringer for a Galaxy Mega 6.3, so it seems that this phone is directly targeted at the APAC region (China, India, etc…), as large phones are much more popular, with much greater pricing pressures.

While phones have been the main focus of Nokia, their tablet is especially interesting in its market position. It’s a Windows RT tablet that almost reads exactly like the Surface 2 in core specifications, but with a few key exceptions. The biggest would be the inclusion of Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974) rather than Tegra 4, which is could make up any battery deficit that the Lumia 2520 has compared to Surface 2. MSM8974 also includes the MDM9x25 modem block, so the 2520 supports LTE out of the box.The power keyboard, which seems to be launching with the 2520, is also likely to make it last noticeably longer than the Surface 2. For people that find a burning urge to take photos with a ~10” tablet will undoubtedly find the Lumia 2520 to have a better camera, as the camera module in the 2520 seems to have the same module as the Lumia 720. The Lumia 2520 also has a specific emphasis on outdoor display visibility, something that the Surface 2 is mostly likely to be worse at due to its display being clamped to ~350 nits. Of course, Nokia’s tablet has the traditional Lumia industrial design, while Surface continues the VaporMg chassis design. Which is better is up to personal opinion.

For Nokia’s GDR3 update, codenamed Black, the notable features essentially boil down to improved camera and a new Storyteller application. On the camera side, Smart Camera and Pro Camera are now unified, allowing both manual control and burst shot-based camera features in a single application, along with the zoom and reframe features that have been the focus of Nokia’s Pureview advertising and a new Lytro-esque feature that takes multiple exposures at varying focus distances to allow refocusing in postprocessing. Nokia also introduced RAW image saving in DNG format, so WP8 extends its lead in this department, especially as both Android and iOS are focused upon auto-everything, while WP8 has some of the best aftermarket camera applications that I’ve seen in any reasonably modern smartphone OS. Storyteller is an application that essentially uses the Nokia maps application to display photos and videos in a story format, and leverages the Lumia 1520’s four microphones to deliver positional audio for greater immersion. It may prove to be popular, but for now it appears to mostly be an afterthought compared to other features.

Overall though, it seems that Nokia is extending their lead in their traditional strengths for camera experience and building on their prodigious software library for Windows Phone. The Lumia 2520 seems to take Nokia’s traditional strengths and industrial design into the Windows RT space, which is a bit strange as it could be easily argued that Microsoft’s Surface isn’t nearly as appealing as this tablet, which is effectively the same in design philosophy and price range. It just seems that the reasons to buy or not to buy into the Windows Phone ecosystem remain the same, especially when compared to the Lumia 920, which also had a notably good camera experience but not much else that really pushed it above the rest of the competition to drive Windows Phone sales. The same goes for Windows RT, as arguably, both the 2520 and Surface 2 have the same advantages and caveats as the original Surface.

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  • Laxaa - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    Because Anandtech has good reviews and I would like to see them review a Windows Phone in the same fashion. Reply
  • whatsa - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    I'm sorry but thats a bit silly...
    AT review all types of HW even before anyone knows its market impact.
    Thats the purpose of a review so people have another opinion before purchase.

    I'm sure they will review the Jolla phone too
    So really the new emerging tech is a far better review
    than a stagnant iterative one.
    Reply
  • sorten - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    Doh!, I assume you're referring to the US market share. WP has almost 9% of the EU market and is doing quite well in China, South America and other parts of the world. If it doesn't already, it will soon have the same worldwide market share as Apple has for its desktop PCs.

    I must admit I was shocked that AT didn't even mention the Nokia World news in the pipeline. How can you announce such trivial news as new graphics card drivers and not announce a new tablet and multiple new phones from Nokia? Oh well.
    Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    Then why do sites review Macs? Blackberries? Being a niche market doesn't make the product unworthy of review. Reply
  • cheshirster - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    Chrome OS sits well under 1%.
    There are more people using WP, than Mac OS users in total.
    Nexus 4 sales in a year are only half of Lumia 520 sales in 6 months.
    WP had 4.1% globally in Q3 13.
    Reply
  • XP-E - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    Is it any wonder they weren't invited? Nokia's sent Brian at least three Windows Phone 8 devices (Lumia 920, 925 and 1020) and he hasn't reviewed any of them. Reply
  • Crono - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    That is a bit disappointing, though I think some of the previews here on AnandTech are equivalent to full reviews elsewhere.

    They really need to hire one or two people more to the mobile staff here, it's pretty clear that unless they can clone Brian, they are going to be backlogged or potentially have to cut a lot of review out which would be a shame.
    Reply
  • Braumin - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    Yes it's been actually kind of terrible to see Brian receive the WP8 phones from Nokia, and then just outright dismiss them. I mean, that's not how a professional reviewer should do things. If the devices have faults - point them out in the review.

    I read the HTC One review from Brian and it went ON AND ON about the supposedly amazing camera, which has turned out to be a piece of junk in the real world. However even Brian is using the Lumia 1020 as his benchmark smartphone camera in reviews for other phones, but he can't even take the time to write a piece even just about the camera.

    Honestly I think Brian is a smart guy, but the impartiality of Anandtech has certainly been removed from Anandtech in the last couple of years. Unfortunately I find myself going to other tech sites for info now because Anandtech glosses over Windows so much, and it's important to me still.

    The Windows 8.1 update is another great example. A pipeline story about it as if it's just a service pack. I can't wait to read the 20 page review of Mavericks.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    I'd like to clarify some points here. Our editor team has gotten smaller in the recent months since two of our editors have left. Vivek had to quit since he now works as an engineer at Razer, which is pretty cool if you ask me. Jason Inofuentes now works for Ars Technica and is hence no longer a part of our team. Dustin is also working for Corsair now as a technical marketing specialist and while he continues to be a part of AnandTech, I'm pretty sure his time will be more limited.

    I of course can't speak with Brian's mouth about Nokia reviews but in general we now have fewer people, which also means we're more limited in what we can do. Most of us concentrate on one product group (like I focus on SSDs), so reviewing something else like Windows 8.1 or OS X Mavericks would take a ton of time away from the editor's main focus.
    Reply
  • ananduser - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    Good to know...wow...Vivek works for Razer. Definitely cool. That certainly explains the slow pace of things around here. I'm pretty sure you guys are currently busy reviewing the rMBPs and the new ipads along with the latest OSX. Reply

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