[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The Nokia Lumia 520 is a smartphone with a 4.0 inch touchscreen that runs the Windows Phone 8 operating system, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.0 GHz dual-core processor. It has 512 MiB of RAM and 8 GiB storage space, a 5 MP main camera. Let’s take a look at it.

The Lumia 520 is the simplest and cheapest Windows Phone 8 smartphone on the market today, but as we will see, it is not as limited as you would expect.

Figure 1 shows the box of the Nokia Lumia 520.

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 1: box

Inside the box, besides the smartphone, we found a wall charger, USB cable, earphones, and user manual.

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 2: accessories

Figure 3 reveals the Nokia Lumia 520. There are no physical buttons on the front, and there is no front camera. There are only the three Windows Phone touchbuttons at the lower part of the screen.

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 3: the Nokia Lumia 520

[nextpage title=”Overall Look (part 1)”]

The Nokia Lumia 520 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (MSM8227) processor. It has two “Krait” cores, running at 1 GHz, and an Adreno 305 GPU. It has 512 MiB of RAM and 8 GiB of internal storage.

The 4.0-inch IPS LCD screen has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels.

Figure 4 shows the back side of the device, which comes with a removable back cover, which can be found in black, yellow, blue, red, or white. You can also purchase the color panels separately to change the look of the phone. Here you can see the camera, which has no flash. Removing the panel, you can see the battery bay, and the MicroSD (up to 64 GiB) and Micro SIM slots. Figure 5 shows the with its cover removed.

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 4: back side

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 5: with the cover removed

Figure 6 unveils the right side of the Lumia 520, where you will find the volume buttons, the power button, and the camera shutter.

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 6: right side

[nextpage title=”Overall Look (part 2)”]

At the top of the smartphone, you will find the earphone jack. At the bottom of the device, you can see the Micro-USB/charge port.

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 7: top

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 8: bottom

There is no button or connector at the left side of the phone.

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 9: left side

[nextpage title=”Using the Lumia 520″]

In use, the Lumia 520 is surprisingly agile for a low-cost smartphone. It is also reasonably compact and thin, being 0.39” (9.9 mm) thick, with a slightly curved back, and a good grip.

The dual-core 1 GHz CPU gives an excellent usage experience. On the other hand, the memory size is small: the 512 MiB of RAM may prevent some apps from running.

The screen resolution is 800 x 480, which is good for a low-cost smartphone. It works fine for a four-inch screen, making images to look pretty – assuming that you are not used to a screen with a higher resolution, of course.

The Nokia Lumia 520 has 8 GiB of internal storage, and supports an external SD card up to 64 GiB. The user-available space when used for the first time is about 4.7 GiB.

The Windows Phone 8 operating system is easy to use and intuitive. Figures 10 and 11 show the initial screen when you turn on the Lumia 520 for the first time.

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 10: main screen

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 11: main screen

Sliding the screen to the left, you see the application list, shown in Figures 12, 13, and 14. The Lumia 520 comes with few preinstalled apps and games, which is nice, since you can simply install what you really need.

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 12: list of applications

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 13: list of applications

Nokia Lumia 520Figure 14: list of applications

You can install new applications from the Windows Phone Store, which has thousands of apps and games available. If you have an Xbox 360 or an Xbox One, you can use your existing Microsoft Live account, and even make your smartphone interact with your console.

The smartphone uses a 3.7 V, 1,430 mAh lithium battery, which easily lasted two days with average browsing and a few calls. Nokia claims it lasts 16 days in standby, 52 h of music playback, 9.7 h of conversation on a 3G network, and 7.3 h of Wi-Fi browsing.

The 5 Mpixel camera is a good surprise, since it has an excellent quality (for a low-cost smartphone, obviously). You can check the quality of unedited photos taken with the device by clicking here and here.

It records videos only at 720p, at 30 fps.

There is no front camera, so the Nokia Lumia 520 cannot be used for video chats.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the Nokia Lumia 520 include:

  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 4.7 x 0.39 inches (64 x 119.9 x 9.9 mm)
  • Weight: 4.37 ounces (124 grams)
  • Display: 4.0”, 800 x 480, IPS touchscreen
  • Operating System: Windows Phone 8.0
  • Main Processor (CPU): Qualcomm MSM8227 Snapdragon S4, 1 GHz, two “Krait” cores
  • Graphics Processor (GPU): Adreno 305, embedded in the CPU
  • RAM: 512 MiB
  • Storage: 8 GiB
  • Memory Card Slot: MicroSD, up to 64 GiB
  • GPS: yes
  • FM Radio: yes
  • Sensors: accelerometer, proximity
  • SIM slots: one micro-SIM
  • Networks: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, HSDPA 850/1900/2100 MHz (RM-915 version)
  • Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth:  yes, 4.0
  • Rear camera: 5 Mpixel
  • Front camera: no
  • Flash: no
  • Battery talk time: 9.7 h (3G), 14.7 h (2G)
  • Battery: 3.7 V, 1430 mAh Li Ion, removable
  • More information: https://www.nokia.com
  • Average prince in the U.S.*: USD 110.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The Nokia Lumia 520 is the cheapest Windows Phone 8 smartphone available on the market today. However, don’t expect a low-quality phone, with a slow processor, poor camera, etc. The device is agile and you will feel like using a mainstream phone, not a cheap one.

Its only problems are the small amount of RAM, which can prevent some apps from running, and the lack of a frontal camera. If you like to make video calls, forget it.

The bright side is that, even at a low price, the Nokia Lumia 520 delivers a good package, with great capabilities, and even a decent camera.

Strong Points

  • Low cost
  • Excellent cost/benefit ratio
  • Light and relatively small
  • Fast and agile
  • Good quality camera
  • MicroSD card support

Weak Points

  • No frontal camera
  • Only 512 MiB of RAM
  • No support for 4G LTE networks