Nokia Lumia 2520 review: Nokia Lumia 2520

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good

Average User Rating

2.5 stars 3 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Attractive, colourful design; Bright screen; Plenty of power; 4G.

The Bad Windows RT has limited apps; Proprietary charging plug; Keyboard dock is an expensive extra.

The Bottom Line The Nokia Lumia 2520 is an attractive slate with a good screen and 4G connectivity for fast data downloads. It's well priced, too, but it's let down by its Windows RT software that forces you to only source software from its own limited app store.

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After years circling the rumour mill, Nokia finally took the wraps off its 10.1-inch Lumia 2520 tablet. It has a Full HD display, a powerful quad-core processor and, like other Lumias, has a brightly coloured plastic body. Although that all sounds great, there is a catch.

The 2520 runs Windows RT, the stripped down, tablet-specific version of Windows, which has received little love from other manufacturers or indeed the buying public. With RT, you can only install software from the app store, which still isn't brilliantly stocked.

Still, the tablet comes with 32GB of storage and has 4G connectivity for super-speedy data. It'll set you back £400, which is considerably less than the £579  iPad Air , so does this reasonable price make up for its software?

Design and build quality

Although the 2520 is much bigger than anything we've seen from Nokia before, there's no denying its heritage. It has the same one-piece polycarbonate design seen on phones like the Lumia 920 and 1520 , with rounded edges and an all-glass front. You can pick it up in a bright, letterbox-red colour, blue, or a more subdued black version.

Nokia Lumia 2520
The bright body is made of plastic, and it's quite hefty.

I'm rather fond of the red version as it stands out well from the usual black and grey slates out there. The high-gloss coating can be slippery to hold however and it's a total fingerprint magnet -- keep a cleaning cloth handy. Although plastic, it doesn't feel like a cheap device. It's not overly large at 267mm wide and 168mm tall, but its 615g weight puts it very much on the hefty side. Holding it in one hand for any length of time isn't as easy as the 416g iPad Air.

Around the sides you'll find a 3.5mm headphone jack, a micro-USB port, a micro-HDMI port for connecting it to a bigger display and a microSD card tray for expanding the 32GB of internal storage. Rather than charging over USB, the tablet uses a chunky proprietary charger -- I don't like this, as it means you'll need to take it with you and can't borrow a much more common USB plug from your friend when you're running low on power.

On the bottom you'll find a series of dots that act as a connector for the optional keyboard. As well as providing physical keys for more comfortable typing, the keyboard acts as a case and apparently gives an extra five hours of battery. It will set you back an extra £150 though, which is pretty steep. I haven't tested it yet, so I'll reserve my judgement of whether it's a worthy purchase until I've had a go.

Display

The 10.1-inch display has a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. While Full HD is certainly welcome, it's going up against the iPad Air, which packs a much more impressive 2,048x1,500-pixel resolution, making small text that little bit more crisp.

Nokia Lumia 2520
It has a Full HD display.

The 2520's screen is still perfectly sharp though and displays ebooks in the Kindle app well. It's very bright too and satisfyingly bold, thanks to the deep black levels. It does have a slight yellowish colour cast though that makes photos look warm, but a little unnatural, especially when compared to the same photos displayed on the more accurate iPad.

Windows RT

The 2520 runs Windows RT -- the tablet-specific version of Microsoft's latest operating system. Unlike its full-fat Windows 8 counterpart, you can't install regular desktop software that you download from websites, such as Steam, Spotify or iTunes. Instead, you'll be getting your software from the Windows 8 app store.

Nokia Lumia 2520
That's Windows RT there, not full-fat Windows 8.

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Where to Buy

Nokia Lumia 2520 (black)

Part Number: NOK2520B

Typical Price: £400.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Wireless Connectivity 4G LTE
  • Weight 1.35 lbs
  • Type Microsoft Windows 8.1 RT