My Road to the Nokia Lumia 1520 by Jason L Ward (UPDATED)

Posted: February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

The Nokia Lumia 1520 AWESOME!
Full disclosure: I have been using Windows based smartphones since 2006. I started with the Cingular 2125 (Windows Mobile 5.0), then the ATT Tilt(8525)(Windows Mobile 6.0), then ATT Tilt 2(8925)(Windows Mobile 6.5), then HTC Titan(Windows PHONE 7.5), then Lumia 1020(Windows Phone 8) and now Lumia 1520 ( Windows Phone 8).
I’m an enthusiast! So the Titan was my first Windows PHONE device since Microsoft changed the OS. I skipped the first generation Windows Phones. Honestly the live tiles didn’t appeal to me at first (wow how things have changed). I was accustomed to hacking, loading, changing (abusing :-)) my previous phones with the Windows Mobile OS since it was open, and the look and file management of a PC-like interface really appealed to me then.

In 2011 I started looking for a new phone. My contract was ended, ATT was courting me with deals to renew my contract. But I needed to do my research. A smartphone is a 2 year investment. You have to like what you get. So there were some hot devices in the market and (coming to market) as I discovered through my research. Forgive me for what I’m about to say but, the Samsung’s Galaxy S2 with its bright colors, and big clear display, caught my eye. Remember I was RESEARCHING and currently using the 3.5″ screen, slide-out keyboard equipped Tilt 2. (Note I had previously subscribed to the desire to ALWAYS have a phone with a keyboard since I used it to write.) Anyway a couple of other phones came into view, the massive 4.7″ HTC Titan was one. Now remember, phones had not yet gone huge. So this baby was big. Go ahead. Search the web for some of the old reviews and ads. You’ll see. But wait a minute. Though the S2 had drifted from view, Samsung wouldn’t leave me alone. They went and one-upped HTC and started tempting me with the 5.3″ Galaxy Note. 5.3 INCHES. FIVE-POINT-THREE INCHES! That was HUGE. And it had a pen, and could do all this cutting and pasting and drawing stuff with that pen. Dilemma, Dilemma, Dilemma.
I thought about it.
Two big phones. The note was launching in the US little later. Reviewers weren’t sure who the target was. It was thought by at least one I read that it was targeted for women due to its size. Maybe it would be safely tucked into a purse when not in use. I’m not a woman. But the large screen had its appeal.

But I also started reading about Windows Phone and what Microsoft was doing with the OS, the deep social network integration. Live Tiles that deliver live updates. Microsoft Office integration. Xbox Games integration. The whole glance an go philosophy. And the Me tile.(Really cool, its like a command center for your phone.) Pre -Siri Voice interaction. The Hubs. PEOPLE HUB-Contacts on steroids-nicely connected and integrated with social networks. MESSAGING HUB-One place with seamless communication via text, Messager and Facebook Chat. THE PICTURES HUB-All my photos that I’ve taken nicely arranged on my device AND all my Photos seamlessly integrated from Facebook and Skydrive AND my Social Network friends photos integrated as well AND a LIVE FEED of photos from social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Awesome. The Windows Phone OS created a seamless portal to the web. Though some data was online, you could view and interact with it as if it was on the device. Awesome. GAME HUB– Xbox gaming integration, achievements, Xbox Avatar. Nuff’ said. MUSIC and VIDEO Hub- All my music that I load. Plus with the Music Pass I could listen to as much streaming music as I want. Watch and listen to Podcasts, etc.
OFFICE HUB-Word, Excel, PowerPoint (One Note then) all in one place. Create documents and save to the device or seamlessly to Skydrive to access from anywhere, from any device later. BING– And that awesome Bing button that gives you quick built in options for doing Shazaam Style music identification, various forms of optical scanning(barcode, book cover, language translation, etc). LOCAL SCOUT– Suggestions based upon my location for places to eat and things to do.(Note some of the finer points I discovered in use though most of this I discovered via research).
So after all this I set my eyes on the HTC Titan, with its 4.7″ display 8 megapixel camera and shipping with Windows Phone 7.5(Mango) and its 500 modifications to the Windows Phone OS. I got it. It was BIG. I was happy.
Maybe a couple of months later the Titan 2 came out with a 16 megapixel camera. Really HTC?
We won’t go there. But we will go here. Windows Phone 8 was announced. “Hope I can upgrade, hope I can upgrade, hope I can upgrade.”
Microsoft: Windows Phone 7.5 devices won’t be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8.
Microsoft: But you can get Windows Phone 7.8 with the new Start Screen.
“I love the Start Screen with the resizable tiles. COOL!”
Months pass. More months pass. Turns out HTC passed on providing the 7.8 upgrade. “Bummer.”

Nokia. They were doing great things. Getting great exclusive apps to the platform. Building awesome phones. Camera technology was, (excuse my slang), off the hook. I bought my wife the 920 for Christmas 2012. I wanted one. I was still in contract with my Titan. (Which I still liked by the way).
I started hearing some rumors(I’m a tech head, I follow tech news). I liked my big screen and hoped Nokia would make a big screen device. I heard and read some rumors of that possibly happening. But something else happened first. They went big another way. 41 megapixels big.
Early August 2013 so did I. I got the Nokia Lumia 1020. I LOVE THIS PHONE(Hold on I haven’t forgotten this is a 1520 review). Awesome photos, great Amoled clear black display. Did I mention AWESOME PHOTOS? Oh yeah, I did.
Anyway I bought this device after yearning for Windows Phone 8, and liking what the reviews were showing about the camera. I fancy myself an amateur, amateur mobile photographer. The 1020 is a great tool.
All that said. It had not satiated my desire for a large screen device. The 1020 at 4.5″ was .2″ smaller than my Titan. There were rumors if a 6″ Lumia. I saw pictures of part of it via the rumor mill on the web. It was HUGE. I wanted it.
I read about it. Followed its development. Noted its entry in the market. And then I SAW IT. I was in an ATT store. It wasn’t supposed to be available for a week or so. So when I looked over to the Windows Phone section and saw this BIG SCREEN device that towered over all of the other devices on the display I was drawn in. It was “it”. The Nokia Lumia 1520 in black. I picked it up. “HOLY COW” this thing was light. And THIN! The matte finish was smoothe, the edges were tapered. This smoothe black slate, was SURPRISINGLY sleek. Svelte. I turned it on. The 1080p HD screen was absolutely beautiful. The additional rolls of tiles on the large display did more for the home screen than I thought it could do. Its hard to put into words. But it seems to optimize the Windows Phone experience and OS. It looks like that’s the arrangement WP was meant for. You have to see it.
Then I opened Word. I Write. Word on the large display and the large keys was, beautiful. If I wasn’t sold before I was sold now. I needed(well actually I need food, clothes and shelter. And air. I need air). I wanted this phone.

Microsoft’s 12 days of deals before Christmas 2013. The first 20 customers at the Microsoft store get the 1520 free on contract. I follow the tech rumor mill, I saw the leak. I had a heads up about a week or so ahead. But how did it work? Did I have to camp out? Drive all the way there then find that the first 20 in line got the deal? I wasn’t camping out. I didn’t want it THAT bad.
So the day of the deal, I called the store, (paraphrased) “Hi do you have any more 1520’s available under the free on contract deal.”
Guess I wasn’t getting the 1520.
Then I remembered. There’s another Microsoft store in my area. I called them.(paraprased)
“Hi do you have any more 1520’s available under the free on contract deal?”
“My name is…..I’ll be right there.”

I own the 16 gig version with expandable micro SD up to 64 GB and as I described above the build and display are awesome. Videos are beautiful. The photos I take with the 1020 and transfer to the 1520 look incredible on the 1520 HD display. The 1520’s camera is great in it’s own right,and if I owned exclusively the 1520, I would likely be more or less satisfied with the camera. But the 1020 takes the cake with photography and I use both devices as tools.
The 1520 is also great for surfing the web due to the large and beautiful display.
The Home Screens setup which allows for more Tiles- AWESOME. I think Microsoft with the Live Tiles is ahead of its time. The live data dynamically updating on, flipping, colorful, customizable, live tiles, observable at a glance on a 6 inch “portable computer” that I can stick in my pocket giving me weather, email, social network updates, messages, pictures etc. is like something out of sci-fiction. IOS and Android(even with widgets) seem dull in comparison. –

You really have to see it. Play around with it in the store, arrange the tile as you would like to see them if it was your device to get a feel. Yes I think Microsoft is ahead of the time with Windows Phones 8 live tiles. And on this device they really shine. If you’ve never tried it, its different than iOS and Android but when you learn the OS, which is a cinch, WOW, its AWESOME! Also you often hear Window Phone doesn’t have a notification center like iOS and Android , and though there is no comprehensive centralized notification center as found on Android and iOS, as I mentioned Live Tiles provide updated info and notifications, but also the “Me” Tile which is like your command center on Windows Phone and displays your image it also brings notifications to the surface by providing alerts/notifications from the OS level integrated Social networks of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn by displaying notifications on the live “Me” tile itself allowing you to see those at a glance. But the “Me” tile takes things further allowing you to see your (Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn) notifications by clicking the “Me” tile, and swiping left you reach the NOTIFICATIONS page and can view all of your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn notifications(mentions, likes, comments, retweets, LinkedIn requests, etc.) located in that one centralized location/center. So Windows Phone DOES have a notification center just not as comprehensive as the one coming in the Windows Phone 8.1 update this Spring or that found on the two leading platforms. But to fail to communicate that there is a degree of centralized notification accessible on WP and leave an impression that such functionality is completely absent from the platform would not fairly communicate the scope of what one DOES get with the 1520 or any Windows Phone 8 device.

It probably doesn’t need to be mentioned that gaming on such a great screen is simply awesome. But I’ll say it. It’s simply awesome.
Now the Windows Phone OS has never needed bleeding edge specs because the OS is optimized for running on low spec hardware. Windows Phone even on low end devices is smooth, fast and zippy. So adding a quad core chip with 2 gigs of RAM adds a tad more zip,and enables the device to handle more intensive programs like graphics intensive games. Mostly because the OS didn’t really NEED high specs(though again there are some noticeable improvement) it future proofs the device for requirements that may be dictated by later upgrades to the OS and it puts it on par spec for spec with many Android devices on the market (which DO need high specs to run as smooth as WP). Bragging rights.

So, yeah this thing is FAST. It has the latest cutting edge hardware. And if you didn’t know Windows Phone is a “light” OS and is designed to run buttery smooth on low and midrange hardware -which it does! Unlike Android, which (until Kit Kat which is on less than 5% Android devices) requires high end specs to run smoothly and still stutters and hangs, Windows Phone is swift and smooth and on the 1520 with its quad-core innards and 2gigs of RAM, an OS which ran great on less, is like a race car with nitro on the 1520.

The other functions like “ROOMs” which allow you to have a private chat room experience with other WP8 users, which I use with my family and wife is AWESOME. The “SHARED NOTE” aspect is VERY useful when grocery shopping with my wife, we split up and using a shared shopping list which we can update and sync as we get or add items is super handy and efficient. It cuts grocery shopping time down DRAMATICALLY! The “SHARED CALENDAR” helps to keep the family on top of events. I have to say this ROOM functionality, using CHAT and the SHARED NOTE and CALENDAR was an AWESOME tool for my family and I as we planned my mother in laws surprise 60th birthday party!
Now I don’t have kids yet, but sis-in-laws do. Kid Zone is an understated little miracle on WP. It allows you to create a separate profile for your little one to play around with only games and apps YOU specify. Yep, all of your stuff and settings are locked away safely behind your profile.
The only cons I have is that as a phablet(I don’t like this word) the OS should have a couple of tweaks to utilize the extra screen real estate. Multiple apps simultaneously on screen. It is a “Windows” Phone. A pen would be cool too. Even my Windows Mobile devices of old had handwriting recognition. Some modernizing of that application(digitizer) would be nice. Come on don’t get mad, everything can get better. 🙂
The phone is a delight. Its fun. Its useful. Its Awesome. All said I love the 1520 and I highly recommend it. Go get one now.


New Chapter: A few weeks ago I was walking out of my home with my wife on my way to church with my 1520 in hand. Of course my device was protected by a leather flip cover. I was just finishing a task on the device while stepping out into the parking lot. “Slip”, “swoosh”, “smack”, my device escaped from my hands and landed face down on the asphalt! Noooooooooooo!

Heart racing. Don’t be cracked, don’t be cracked, I reach for the device, don’t be cracked, pick it up, don’t be cracked, turn it over don’t be… CRACKED!!!!

OH MY GOODNESS! NO! Cracked was an understatement. The screen was shattered. Pout.

Well, I had determined that since I had insurance on the device, I’d eat the $200 deductible at some point and get a replacement. You see, because though the screen was a mess, it still worked! Albeit I quite literally had to wipe tiny shards of glass from my fingers after using it. No joke.

Well I’ve been blessed to have met someone who after hearing of my tragedy literally hooked me up with a BRAND NEW 1520. The international version at that. You know the one WITHOUT the ATT branding but WITH the built in wireless QI charging and the 32GB of memory. The expandable memory on my now defunct ATT device(whose screen became progressively worse over time and is no longer functional) was cool. But the 16GB on board was rather limiting. Especially in the pre 8.1 OS where apps were restricted from the SD card. Needless to say, I am enjoying the extra 16 GB.

Well, this concludes this chapter of my journey to the Nokia Lumia 1520 and if my benefactor is reading this, thanks again!


  1. The WinPhan says:

    Simply beautiful piece man!! I felt like I’ve walked your path and could relate to your total experience! I really enjoy your creative writing style and am exciting to have you in my RSS app, these are the types of articles I like most!! Great job.

  2. Gregory Lim says:

    Read you post at WPCentral and followed your link. Wonderful piece! Love your pictures; and linking that dragonfly picture with Is40:31 was very clever too. Thanks!

    • JLWord says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I will try to continue to write pieces people find relevant(especially WP Fans 😊) Again thanks and glad you liked the picture as well. I hope you took the opportunity to follow so that you can be alerted to new posts. If you like a piece please feel free to share as well.Thanks!

  3. Paul Autry (05Paris in WPC) says:

    You forgot the sync-abilities of the Windows Phone…the pictures, the documents, the email, the appointments and now Onenote. I really like the one-ecosystem that Windows provides now; make one entry and it appears on all your media from Desktop, to laptop, to tablet and phone.

    • JLWord says:

      Hi Paul:
      Thanks for the read and the commenct! Great points.Thanks for contributiting. I’m with you on the unity of the Windows ecosystem. I think that it will only get better from here. If you enjoy the site please give it a follow and share with your friends. I have a few more interesting posts brewing. Hope you’ll be back to check them out. Thanks again Paul. 🙂

  4. Vince Mirano says:

    Nice write up 🙂 I am a Nokia cellphone user forever. From 5110 to 3210 to 3530 to 3310 to 6630 to 5800 xpressmusic and finally to a white matte, 32gb, Nokia Lumia 1520. And I’ll probably get a future Nokia release after 2 years or so when new and better technologies are created/develop. I’ve always known how innovative and more unique Nokia is than other brands and knew that they will make something that will compete with the other big brands (Apple, Samsung), hence my loyalty to Nokia. I also love how durable their phones are. I always make fun of its durability by joking around that “if my Nokia falls on the floor, you’d rather check the crack on the floor than my phone”. I’m a graphic artist but I’m not a big fan of photography nor have any knowledge how to use a DSLR camera, yet Lumia 1520 was able to catch my interest in photography and even though Lumia 1520 is 21 megapixels short of Lumia 1020, I still appreciate the beauty that the Lumia 1520’s camera can take. And they say it has no apps? Well it may not have a million apps but it has all essential and necessary apps needed. You don’t need all apps in your phone when its functionality are just the same or when you seldom use the other apps. I love this phone and I just hope more people will be convinced that Nokia and Windows Phone has evolved and has improved over the years. 🙂

    • JLWord says:

      Hi Vince:
      I appreciate your visit and your input! Nokia has incredible design. I, just like you, am enjoying my 1520 immensely! As a graphic artist and one who is enjoying the camera on the 1520 have you tried out the Fantasia app from the Windows Phone Store? It’s really great! I’m sure your desktop tools are on a much higher level but as an editing app on the bright, 6″, clearblack display of the Lumia 1520 I really think that you’d enjoy it. Again thanks for the read and the input Vince. If you like the site, please hit the follow button and share with friends. I have some more interesting articles coming down the pipe REAL SOON! Hope your around to read them. Thanks Again! ENJOY your 1520!

      • Vince Mirano says:

        Sure no prob 🙂 I’ve read your latest write up about Cortana and wow its very informative and leaves your readers optimistic about the feature and I hope it ends up as how you expect it. Good job. More power to you.

  5. Aman Bhardwaj says:

    Nicely written piece u have there brother..Be an writer in WPCentral..U should be one..And I can relate at the point of 7.5 not upgradable to 8..Happened with me also..

    • JLWord says:

      Thank you Aman for your encouraging comment. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the site and for leaving the kind comment. I am glad that you enjoyed the article and that you could relate. If you like the site please give it a follow and share with friends! I have some articles that will be posted soon that I hope you will enjoy. Thanks again!

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