Nokia Lumia 2520 Windows Tablet Review

The Nokia Lumia 2520 is the first Windows RT powered tablet from Nokia. The company has hit a home run when it comes to Windows Phones, but how did they do the first time around with a tablet? It turns out they’ve nearly knocked this one out of the park too. So much so, that it some ways, it gives the Surface 2 a run for its money.

It’s hard not to talk about the Nokia 2520 without comparing it to the Surface 2. To that effect, they both sport similar proportions. However, the Surface 2 does weigh a bit more than the Nokia 2520’s 615 grams. That said, the curved edges of the Nokia 2520 give the illusion that the 2520 is actually the slimmer device, even though it’s not. Beyond proportions, the 2520 is also all about color! So you can choose from a fun selection of Nokia typical colors, including red, blue, white, and of course, there is a black option too. In a world where most tablets are black, we’re grateful to see a tablet that is not just another drab-looking slate.

The 2520 sports a 10.1” full 1080p HD display. This display is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 2, so it’s tough. It’s also a 24 bit TrueColor display with 218 ppi and it has a luminance of 620 nits. Don’t get us wrong, the display on the Surface 2 is excellent. But the 2520’s display is even better, with more vivid colors, and it’s also significantly brighter. Plus, its viewing angles are excellent, and readability is pretty good outside too, even under sunlight. That said, we did notice that there is some flex on the sides of the display, but this is only noticeable when you apply pressure to the sides. Also, while some reviewers have complained of a yellowish tint on the display, we think that it is pretty negligible and that the display’s whites are plenty white enough.

Performance on the Nokia 2520 is similarly top notch. The system is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2 GHz quad core processor. The system earned a benchmark score of 16104 under 3DMark’s Ice Storm Unlimited test. That indicates that the 2520 is a really fast device and actually one of the most powerful tablets around according to 3DMark. As a matter of fact, it just edged out the Dell Venue 8 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 who are top performers as well, and it also surpassed the Surface 2.

Another way with which the 2520 stands out, is that it doesn’t just come preloaded with Windows RT, but it offers a suite of apps from Nokia. This includes Nokia MixRadio, Nokia Storyteller, HERE Maps, My Nokia, Nokia Camera, and Nokia Video Director. In particular, Nokia MixRadio is pretty awesome and a welcome alternative to Xbox Music, especially considering that apps like Spotify aren’t available yet for Windows RT. The app also offers offline music playback which is a very nice touch. The built in speakers on the tablet aren’t half bad either.

The body of the 2520 also houses a micro-HDMI port and a micro-USB 3.0 port, but we wish that it housed a full sized USB port. On the accessory front, Nokia has created the Nokia Power Keyboard for the 2520 which adds 5 extra hours of battery life and two full sized usb ports. Unfortunately, we did not get to try the keyboard case.

Verdict

If you can’t wait for the Surface to come out with a 4G LTE version, well, you really don’t need too. The Nokia 2520 is a solid alternative that offers a beautiful design with fun color choices, along with plenty of performance and a top of its class display. Overall, this is a really nice tablet that is unfortunately hampered by Windows RT’s weak app catalog. This is the same issue we have with the Surface 2, and that is that Windows RT is seriously lacking in the apps department, more so than its Windows Phone counterpart. Fortunately’s Nokia’s preloaded apps like Nokia MixRadio do help add some value.

The Nokia Lumia 2520 is available in red and black for Verizon Wireless customers, and black for AT&T Wireless with LTE. We hope that the blue and white versions arrive stateside soon. Currently, the best available deal for the Nokia 2520 is available at the Microsoft Store where you can get the tablet for just $299 on contract and $399 without contract. Furthermore, if you head into your local Microsoft retail store, they are currently running a promotion where if you trade in your smart phone or tablet, you can get up to a $250 in store credit towards the purchase of a new tablet.

Buy it!

The Good: Great out of the box color choices. Excellent bright and vivid display that holds up well under sunlight. Comes with Microsoft Office and other great Nokia apps like Nokia MixRadio. Built in NFC. Can store an 80% charge in just one hour. Super solid build quality with a nice soft touch finish for the black model. Built in LTE. Very good battery life of about 10 hours at full brightness. Rear camera performance is a little better than average for tablets.

The Bad: Proprietary charger. Windows RT still lacks in the apps department. Lacks dedicated full size usb ports without keyboard case. MicroSD card slot can only be accessed with a paperclip. Wish it were a bit slimmer and lighter to compete better with the iPad Air. Display has some flex.