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Back in October, Nokia announced its first Windows RT 8.1 tablet, the Lumia 2520, that would attempt to bring the very best the company has to offer from their line of impressive Windows Phone 8 smartphones to the Windows 8 tablet world. The Lumia 2520 is Nokia’s first foray into the 10.1-inch tablet market as it offers a 1080p IPS display featuring +Gorilla Glass 2 technology, a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, a 6.7MP main camera with a Carl Zeiss lens that is capable of capturing video at 1080p at 60fps and a rather large 8000mAh battery. The Lumia 2520 also supports 4G LTE, which means if you have your own data plan for the tablet, you can use it while you’re on the go through your wireless carrier.

The Lumia 2520 reminded us of the Surface 2 when we first saw it as it looks to borrow some inspiration from Microsoft’s tablet, although Nokia certainly keeps the overall design and look of the tablet in line with its Lumia smartphones. With that said, let’s take a look and see just how the Lumia 2520 fairs as Nokia’s first 10.1-inch Windows RT 8.1 tablet.

Context

Before we get on with the review, I’d like to take a moment to explain what I tend to do with tablets when I use them in my personal life. Tablets tend to be perceived as a piece of tech that you can’t create much media with, so I tend to just intake media as I watch YouTube videos, browse various websites like Reddit and keep up with what my friends are doing on various social media services like Twitter and Facebook.

I also keep up with my emails on tablets as being able to sit back and correspond with friends and family from the comfort of a tablet is something I really enjoy. For the Lumia 2520, which has Windows RT 8.1 installed on it, I expect to be able to be a bit more productive as I’ll be able to edit Microsoft Office documents while I’m on the go as well as still be able to enjoy consuming media, like I tend to do with other tablets.

Nokia Lumia 2520 Specs

Display: Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Display Size: 10.1 inch
Display Type: ClearBlack, IPS LCD
Processor: 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
RAM: 2GB
Storage: 32GB
MicroSD: Yes > up to 32GB
Battery Capacity: 8000mAh
Rear-Facing Camera: 6.7MP
Front-Facing Camera: 2MP
Weight: 615g
Dimensions: 267mm x 168mm x 8.9mm

Full specifications for the Nokia Lumia 2520 can be found on Nokia.com

Industrial Design (very good)

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The Lumia 2520 is an extremely attractive tablet as Nokia has certainly brought its years of experience, especially with smartphones that run on Windows operating systems, to the table. The Lumia 2520 we were provided on loan for our review was red, which when you’re using the tablet, a small bit of the color pokes out from beyond the display’s bezel.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you pick up the Lumia 2520 is its 10.1-inch Full HD 1080p display, which we’ll get into in the Display portion of our review. Surrounding the display is a black bezel that looks to measure in at around an inch all the way around. The bottom bezel features a touch-enabled Windows button as well as two very-well hidden speakers located at the bottom right and bottom left corners, while the top bezel is where the tablet’s front-facing camera is located along with a light sensor.

The top of the Lumia 2520 is where you’ll find the tablet’s SIM card slot towards the left, while its volume rocker and sleep / power button can be found on the right side. The right side is where the 2520’s microSD card slot is located as well as a microUSB port. The bottom simply houses a port where you can attach an external keyboard to the Lumia 2520, which during our briefing with Nokia, they said their keyboard would also include an external battery that would help add even more battery life to the tablet. To complete the trip around the Lumia 2520, we see the left side has the tablet’s 3.5mm headphone jack and a port for its power adapter.

"THE LUMIA 2520 IS AN EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE TABLET"  

The rear of the Lumia 2520 is pretty simple as the tablet’s color is prominently displayed along with a Nokia logo sitting in the middle of the rear. Below the Nokia logo, you’ll find your carrier’s logos, which for the purpose of the review, is Verizon. The top left is where the tablet’s 6.7MP camera is located, along with a sticker indicating the device is NFC compatible.

If you’re familiar with some of Nokia’s previously released Windows Phone 8 devices, then you’ll know how sleek the rear and sides of their devices can feel. The Lumia 2520 shares this same sleek casing, although considering this is a 10.1-inch tablet, you’ll probably fumble with it much less than you would their Windows Phone 8 smartphones.

Display (very good)

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The Lumia 2520 features a 10.1-inch Full HD 1080p touchscreen display that adds itself to a rather short list of Windows RT 8.1 tablets that have an amazing screen. Sure – ultra high-resolution displays are gaining in popularity over on the ultrabook side of computers, but there’s still nothing wrong with a good 1080p display.

The Lumia 2520’s display features IPS, which means that you can expect it to be viewable in extreme angles. During our time with the Lumia 2520, we didn’t notice any degradation of image quality when viewing content on the tablet at extreme angles. The display is also pretty bright at its default 50% brightness setting as we were able to make out what we were looking at in even the most extreme angles.

Viewing the Lumia 2520’s display outdoors required no intervention whatsoever as the tablet was able to detect I was outdoors and adjusted the display to an appropriate level so it could become visible. As you can see from several of the photos I took of the Lumia 2520 outdoors, the display can easily be read and I can assure you I didn’t adjust any settings to get it to look that good

Apps

Microsoft Office Suite

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Just like with the Surface 2, the Nokia Lumia 2520 features a free version of Microsoft Office Suite for Windows RT. That means you’ll be able to use Office, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and OneNote are all readily available for your use. This makes the Lumia 2520 a true portable workstation as being able to create and edit documents while you’re on the go is something we’re sure many business professionals would be happy to have.

Our experience with the Microsoft Office Suite was as good as we expect it to perform as we were able to create and edit Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations and correspond via email through Outlook. The Windows RT versions of this popular software suite doesn’t feel any different from the Windows 8 version of the same suite, which is certainly a very good thing.

Facebook

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With the launch of Windows 8.1, Facebook finally launched an official application for Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, making it much easier for those who are obsessed with the social media network. The Facebook application works very well on Windows 8.1 as you’ll be presented with your Favorites, Pages, Groups and Settings on the left side, your News Feed in the middle and your friends list located on the right side.

Our experience with Facebook on the Lumia 2520 was a positive one as we were able to browse our News Feed, conduct several chats with friends and browse our Pages without any issues. Facebook did a great job with its first Windows 8.1 app offering and we’re sure Facebook users will enjoy their experience.

Netflix, Hulu

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Being able to stream videos on your tablet is something we’re sure many potential Lumia 2520 owners will want to do, and both Netflix and Hulu applications are ready for you to download to start watching streaming videos immediately. The quality of videos on the Lumia 2520’s 1080p screen look great and the interface for both Netflix and Hulu make it extremely easy for users to find the content they’re looking for. 4G LTE subscribers will also be able to access their videos while they’re on the go, so keep that in mind if you’re purchasing a 4G LTE plan for the Lumia 2520.

Camera (very good)

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Cameras on tablets have been known to not offer much in terms of quality as we’ve seen devices with low quality cameras for several years. The Lumia line of smartphones have always had great cameras, and the Lumia 2520 is attempting to continue this tradition by bringing Nokia’s popular mobile cameras to the tablet market.

"THE 6.7MP CAMERA IS CAPABLE OF CAPTURING SOME NICE DETAILS AND COLORS"  

The Lumia 2520 comes with a 6.7MP main camera and a 2MP front-facing camera. For the purpose of our review, we are putting it up against the Surface 2’s 5MP main camera and 3.5MP front-facing camera.

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As you can probably tell by the sample images above, the Lumia 2520’s autofocus capabilities make taking photos much easier as we were able to painlessly capture our subject with very little issue. The 6.7MP camera is capable of capturing some nice details and colors from our subject when compared to the Surface 2’s camera, which just does an OK job at taking the same photo.

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On paper, you would think the 3.5MP front-facing camera of the Surface 2 would beat out the 2MP front-facing camera of the Lumia 2520, but once again Nokia shows how great their cameras are on their mobile devices. The Lumia 2520’s 2MP front-facing camera is once again able to take a great image due to its autofocus as well as its ability to accurately capture the subject’s image. It certainly isn’t as clear as the Lumia 2520’s main camera, but it’s still one of the best front-facing cameras we’ve seen for a tablet.

Performance (very good+)

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The Nokia Lumia 2520 may be a Windows RT 8.1 tablet, but its innards remind us of one of the company’s smartphones as you won’t find an Intel processor running this Windows machine. Instead, Nokia opted for the 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, which is certainly a powerful mobile processor that is currently one of the best around.

For our performance portion of our review, we will be running two applications to see just how powerful the Lumia 2520 is compared to competing tablets. The tests we’ll be running on the Lumia 2520 is GFXBench 2.7 and 3DMark IceStorm.

GFXBench is a benchmark tool that helps evaluate just how powerful a device’s GPU is by simulating intense 3D graphics that certainly pushes a tablet’s hardware.

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Our GFXBench benchmark found that Lumia 2520 comes in dead last when compared with other recently released tablets, such as the Surface 2 and the iPad Air. With a score of 14fps in our GFXBench benchmark, you probably shouldn’t expect to play games that are graphic intensive. Although, there aren’t many really intense 3D games available for Windows RT 8.1 anyways, so you should be fine with what is currently available in the Microsoft Store.

The second test we ran on the Lumia 2520 was 3DMark IceStorm Unlimited, which gives us a better idea of how powerful the tablet is overall.

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The results of our 3DMark IceStorm benchmark was surprising as its score beats out other competing recently released tablets. With a 3DMark IceStorm score of 15924, the Lumia 2520 easily becomes one of the most powerful tablets currently available.

Perceived Performance

Running benchmarks to see just how powerful a machine is is important, but we also like to give you a device’s perceived performance. In our experience with the Lumia 2520, we didn’t come into any issues of the tablet slowing down or hiccuping during use. The experience overall was very smooth and the Lumia 2520 was able to keep up with many of the things that we threw at it.

Battery Life (excellent)

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As important as all of the previous covered topics for this review are, battery life is probably the most important as we’re sure you’ve experienced the pain of having an awesome mobile device, only to realize later its battery life is awful. The Lumia line of smartphones have been known to have great battery life, so let’s see how the first Lumia tablet performs with its 8000mAh battery.

Moderate usage (excellent)

For our first battery test, we use the Lumia 2520 moderately for an hour while keeping an eye on its battery life. As for what we mean by moderate use, we perform some light tasks such as corresponding through emails, taking a few photos here and there, browse web pages and check our various social media networks. After using the Lumia 2520 for an hour, we found the battery dropped only 6%, which means you should expect over 16 hours of irregular battery life. We’d like to note this number could fluctuate depending on what you do as well as if you use 4G LTE over Wi-Fi, so keep that in mind.

Video Streaming Test (excellent)

The second test we like to run on our mobile devices is a video streaming test, which we’re sure many tablet owners will be spending much of their time watching videos. For this test, we set the Lumia 2520’s display to 50% of its full brightness and its Wi-Fi on and watched a 1080p YouTube video for an hour. After the hour was up, we noticed the Lumia 2520’s battery dropped by 10%, which means you should expect 10 hours of battery life under these same conditions. Once again, using 4G LTE could drastically change your battery life results.

Charging time (excellent)

As important as it is to know just how long a mobile device’s battery will last, we also like to take note of how long it takes for a device to recharge its battery. For the Lumia 2520, we simply had it recharge itself for an hour with its display turned off to see how much juice would be restored. After an hour, we noted a 78% increase, which means you can easily recharge the Lumia 2520 in just a little over an hour. This might just be one of the fastest charging times we’ve seen in a tablet, and it’s a little surreal to have something recharge itself by 78% in just an hour.

Conclusion (very good+)

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Windows 8 tablets have yet to officially take off as we’ve seen a number of them pop up in the market, but none that have completely wowed us. The Lumia 2520 has certainly wowed us as it brings Nokia’s years of experience as a handset maker to the tablet market, and the result is a Windows 8 tablet that has nearly everything we could have ever wanted in this kind of tablet.

"THE LUMIA 2520 EASILY BECOMES ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL TABLETS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE"  

The Lumia 2520 is a powerful Windows 8 tablet that can last for hours upon hours on a single charge. Its simple yet beautiful design is one that will certainly stand out among other Windows 8 tablets, especially its Full HD 1080p display. There isn’t much holding back the Lumia 2520, except for something like a USB port, which could be helpful for those who want to be able to access external hard drives or SD cards on their Windows 8 tablet.

Other than that, we can’t praise the Lumia 2520 enough. If you’re in the market for a powerful Windows 8 machine that will probably last much longer than a typical work day, then the Lumia 2520 is what you’ve been looking for.

Overall product rating: 9/10

Filed in Featured >Reviews >Tablets. Read more about lumia 2520 and Nokia.

Key SpecsLumia 2520
StatusReleased
Resolution1920x1080
Size (Diagonal, Inches)10.1"
Processor NameSnapdragon 800
4-core
2.2 GHz
Max. Total Storage Capacity96 GB
Megapixels6.7 MP
Battery Capacity (mAh)8120 mAh
Street Price$499
Complete product dataNokia Lumia 2520 Full specs
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