Despite strong competition from Apple’s iPhone and the plethora of high-end smartphones running Android, Nokia has constantly focused on improving their Lumia smartphones. And while I admit that Windows Phone still has a lot to improve upon, the Nokia Lumia 920 and 1020 were among the best smartphones I have tested the past year. Now Nokia has also started manufacturing large-screen smartphones, better known as ‘phablets’ to satisfy users who crave bigger displays. Nokia has released two models in the phablet category, the 1520 and the 1320. The Lumia 1520 has all the high-end specifications which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea so the Lumia 1320 targets the mid-range category but retains the large screen.
[section label=”Build Quality & Design”]Build Quality & Design
The Nokia Lumia 1320 is huge, barely enough to be held by one hand. At 164 x 86 x 10 mm, it is almost as big as its premium counterpart, the 1520. At 220 grams, it isn’t the lightest phablet around. The screen covers most of the front, with capitative buttons below and control buttons on the right side of the device which include power, volume rocker and a dedicated camera shutter. The top part houses the 3.5 mm audio jack and at the bottom you will find a micro USB port used for charging and data transfers.
It comes in various colours and all of them are made of the same super strong polycarbonate present on all Lumia smartphones. While the back panel is removable, the battery is not. It only gives you access to the micro SIM card slot along with micro SD card slot for expanding the memory.
The Nokia Lumia 1320 features the tried and tested Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual-core 1.7 GHz processor and comes with 1 GB of RAM. It comes with an internal memory of 8 GB, along with the micro SD card slot which supports cards of up to 64 GB. There is also the free included Microsoft OneDrive storage of 7 GB.
The 6-inch IPS LCD display comes with a 1280 x 720 screen resolution that also has Nokia’s own ClearBlack technology. Despite the lower resolution, it still manages to be a great display for the smartphone and can easily be used even when in direct sunlight. The IPS technology also means that the display looks great on any angle. All connectivity options are present on the Nokia Lumia 1320, including Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and even supports 4G LTE.
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The Nokia Lumia 1320 runs on the Windows Phone 8 platform. The larger screen lets you see three columns of large icons or six columns of small ones. Like the desktop version of Windows 8, you can easily move and resize the tiles any way that you want. These live tiles can display information on the tile itself, without having to launch the application. Some enhancements were also added, including the ability to lock screen rotation and terminate running background apps – an annoyance I encountered when using the 920 and the 1020. It also does not have a unified notification center yet, but that is coming with the Windows 8.1 update announced earlier this week.
What’s great about Nokia is that they utilize Windows Phone’s capabilities to its maximum potential by making apps exclusive to the platform. Nokia apps like the Pro Camera and HERE Maps are included. Pro Camera original debuted with the 1020, and features one of the best camera phone interfaces I have seen. The design easily lets you toggle between camera controls. HERE Maps, which is the company’s primary maps application, gives you directions and traffic conditions on any area that you want. The good thing about HERE Maps is that you can use it offline without the need for a data connection.
Microsoft boasts that the Windows Store now has more than 200,000 apps which is a good indication that it is catching up with iOS and Android. Many of the popular apps are now already available for Windows Phone 8.
The last time I used a Windows Phone device, the Xbox Live tile handled all the games installed on the smartphone. It has now been to simply the Games tile, but it still lets you access all games along with your Xbox gamertag details.
[section label=”Performance and Camera”]Performance and Camera
Even if the Nokia Lumia 1320 uses an older processor, I can hardly see any lag when using the smartphone. Everything worked fast and fluidly such as browsing, scrolling or launching apps. Calls made through the smartphone were loud and clear, on both networks (Du and Etisalat) that we used. Data speeds were also consistent using 4G LTE.
The Nokia Lumia 1320 supports a 5 megapixel (2592 x 1936 pixels) camera with a f/2.4 aperture, a 4x digital zoom, and comes with a built-in LED flash. Captured images were generally pretty good, but lacked the vibrance and sharpness offered on older flagship models. It did manage to deliver decent night shots though. Additionally, you can also shoot full HD 1080p video at 30 fps however, there is no front facing camera. You can also install additional apps from the Windows Store to add capabilities to the camera.
The Nokia Lumia 1320 comes with a non-removable 3400 mAH battery that Nokia claims should give you up to 28 days of standby times along with 21 hours of talk time along with 9 hours for video playback. Translate that into real world tests and I manage to have about 32 percent left after a full day of normal usage.
For AED 1299, the Nokia Lumia 1320 delivers big screen functionality at a decent price. It may not perform as well as the 1520, but keep in mind that you’re paying about half the price. Plus Nokia knows how utilize the hardware making it seem like its performance is at par with its more premium cousins. Windows Phone users looking for a bigger phone screen on a budget should definitely get the Nokia Lumia 1320.