At Nokia’s Oct. 22 Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi, Nokia showed it’s serious about delivering what the world (if Samsung sales are a measure) says it wants: thin, light devices with giant displays. It introduced the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320—smartphones with 6-inch displays—alongside three new Asha phones for developing markets and a 10.1-inch Lumia 2520 tablet. (For more about the tablet, click here.)
With the 1520 and 1320, Nokia showed it’s no doubt been taking notes on Samsung’s successes. It not only delivered a smartphone with a tremendous display—serious phablet territory—but it wasted no time delivering a more-affordable follow-up. The 1520 and 1320 are sister devices at a glance, each with a 6-inch display and LTE connectivity, but from there the specifications diverge, the 1520’s to the high end and the 1320’s to the midrange.
The Lumia 1520’s display is a full HD 1080p LCD with ClearBlack technology, High Brightness Mode, sunlight readability and Super Sensitive Touch technology, meaning it can be used with gloves on and will respond to just a fingernail, instead of the fingertip.
The tremendous display makes room for three rows of Windows Phone 8 tiles, which now include Nokia Camera—a single app that solves the three-cameras-apps confusion that plagued the Lumia 1020—and Microsoft Office. Documents can be opened, edited and shared (and comfortably, thanks to those 6 inches of screen real estate).
The rear camera is a 20-megapixel PureView with auto focus, Zeiss optics and optical image stabilization (OIS) technology—enabling crisper photos in low-light conditions—and the front-facing camera is a 1.2-megapixel wide angle.
For “unparalleled audio capture,” per Nokia, the phone includes four built-in microphones and a Nokia Rich Recording app. This comes alongside the Nokia Storyteller app, a new way to share videos and photos, as well as the also-free Nokia Music and Here maps app.
The 1520 measures 6.4 by 3.36 by 0.34 inches and weighs 7.37 ounces. It features wireless charging; LTE, near-field communication (NFC) and WiFi connectivity; 2GB of built-in RAM and 32GB of storage; a microSD card slot (supporting up to 64GB); a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor; and 7GB of free SkyDrive cloud-based storage.
It will come in choices of white, red, yellow and black (the black is made of recycled materials, says Nokia), will ship during the fourth quarter and will be priced at $749 before subsidies (which can be expected in the United States).
Big Screen, Little Price: Lumia 1320
The Lumia 1320 is a way to go large at a lower price, says Nokia, adding, “This does not mean there was a compromise on quality.”
The 1320 features a 720p HD display with Gorilla Glass 3 and a Super Sensitive Touch screen.
“With the best from Nokia, and the best from Microsoft, supported by LTE connections, you can play the latest Xbox games, read web content, or watch movies on the six-inch screen,” Nokia said on its Conversations blog.
Nokia Lumia 1520, 1320: 6-Inch Displays at Two Price Points
The Lumia 1320 measures 6.47 by 3.38 by 0.39 inches, weighs 7.8 ounces, has a 5-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording on the back and a 0.3-megapixel up front, a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor and a battery as big as the 1520’s (3400mAh) though without the wireless charging.
It will come in orange, yellow, white and black, begin shipping during the fourth quarter and be priced at $339 before subsidies in China, Vietnam and later other Asia markets and Europe.
Asha at the Core
For emerging markets, Nokia redesigned its Asha lineup with the Asha 500, 502 and 503.
Most dramatically, Nokia created the hardware out of what it calls “two finely crafted layers of polycarbonate” and a “crystal-clear look” with “ice-like transparency.”
Some will find this a cute look—it’s like a vibrantly colored phone is encased in a shiny, clear shell. Others, however, are sure to frustratedly think how much thinner their phone could be if Nokia hadn’t surrounded it with a seemingly useless clear shell.
On the inside, Nokia introduced Fastlane, “a swipeable record of your past, present and future,” Nokia explained on its Conversations blog. Fastlane “offers quick access, notifications and reminders for everything that’s important to you. From this second home screen, you can use a swipe gesture to simply take actions, whether that’s replying to a message, commenting on a friend’s photo or getting to your meeting on time.”
The three Asha phones have the same hardware and software, but vary in their screen sizes, cameras, pricing and SIM setups.
The single- and dual-SIM Asha 500 has a 2.8-inch capacitive-touch display, a 2-megapixel camera and a price of around $69.
The dual-SIM Asha 502 has a 3-inch capacitive-touch display, a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and price of around $89.
And finally, the single- and dual-SIM Asha 503 features a 3-inch capacitive-touch display with curved Gorilla Glass, a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and a price of around $99. (As with the other prices, that’s before taxes and subsidies.)
“Although not as glamorous as the higher-end devices, this is a vital market for Nokia to compete and be successful in, especially given the huge number of lower-end Android devices coming to market,” analyst Jack Gold, with J. Gold Associates, said of the new Asha line.
“I think Asha is one area where Nokia can maintain a leadership position, especially given its name recognition around the globe,” he said.