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Nokia Lumia 520: A Bargain Windows Phone

nokia lumia 520

Windows Phone 8 has been well received by professional reviewers and users alike, but it still lags far behind Android and iOS in sales volume. Could the entry-level Nokia Lumia 520 be set to change that?

Windows Phone 8 on a budget

The Lumia 520 is the cheapest Windows Phone 8 to be released, yet it’s a match for any of the entry-level Android smartphones currently on the market. For around $150 (or 100 pounds Sterling) you get:

  • A dual-core processor
  • A 4 inch IPS screen
  • A 5 megapixel camera with HD video recording
  • 8GB of built-in memory plus a microSD card slot

Design & looks

With a 4 inch screen, the Lumia 520 isn’t really that small, but it’s a good size to hold and much more manageable than the big flagship smartphones. Weighing 124g, it’s about average for a smartphone too. That means it’s easily pocketable, but still gives you the advantages of a large screen. Build quality is solid too, despite it being made of plastic.

Hardware & specs

The Lumia 520 runs with a dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, which is plenty fast enough to run Windows Phone 8. 512MB of RAM is less than ideal, but the operating system is frugal with its memory requirements and the lack of RAM and processing power isn’t a problem in practice, with no lag at all in the user interface. This isn’t a phone for power users, but the price clearly reflects that.

The phone comes with a reasonable 8GB of memory and you can easily extend this by adding a microSD card to give up to 64GB extra storage. Microsoft also gives you 7GB of SkyDrive cloud storage.

The battery is rated at 1430mAh, which seems adequate for a device of relatively modest power requirements.


This isn’t the strongest camera phone. Although it uses a 5 megapixel camera and includes autofocus, it’s missing out on a LED flash. Nevertheless, if the lighting conditions are good, the camera can capture good quality images, and there are plenty of tools built into the user interface, including a simple photo editor and sharing buttons so that you can easily upload photos to social media sites. A dedicated camera button makes the camera quickly and easily accessible.

The camera can record 720p HD video footage. However there is no front camera, so video calling and Skype calls aren’t possible.


The Lumia 520 is a 3G phone with fast HSPA data access, plus of course Wi-Fi. Bluetooth and USB options are also included and a 3.5mm audio jack lets you plug in a set of standard-fit stereo headphones.


As an entry-level product, the Lumia 520 has its limitations. In particular, the hardware specs are limited when compared with more expensive models. Yet when compared with similarly-priced phones (mostly running Android), the Lumia 520 easily fends off the competition. For the price, it has one of the best and largest LCD screens, and one of the most capable cameras. The dual-core processor is significantly faster than most others at this price and the built-in memory is generous too.

Windows Phone 8 lacks the choice of third-party downloadable apps that are available to Android users, yet it is a very user-friendly and customisable operating system and comes with a wealth of built-in applications. The pricing of the Nokia Lumia 520 widens the choice of operating systems at this budget price point, and may bring a whole new wave of users onboard.

Written By

Steve Morris writes about smartphones, tablets, computers and future technology at tech review site S21. He blogs about science, technology and other matters at Blog Blogger Bloggest. Catch his tweets at @s21tech.



  1. Carson

    June 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    In the respect of 150$ Nokia Lumia-520 is the best one. 7 GB Skype storage is one of the best specifications. But I see Lumia series doesn’t get much popularity as the N-series.

    By the way Steve, many many thanks for the informative post.

    • Steve Morris

      June 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Hi Carson,
      The Nokia Nseries was really popular, as Symbian was the best OS of its time. Now, Windows Phone 8 is much less popular, but I think it deserves a bigger market share.
      Thanks for commenting!

      • Joseph Admin2

        June 25, 2013 at 12:49 pm

        Windows 8 might eventually catch up but I think one of Microsoft’s biggest mistake was its underestimation of the smartphone market. They joined the competition far too late.

  2. myles

    June 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Yes Nokia Lumia 520 is a great set around, specially at that price tag it is the best Windows Phone in the market at the point of time.

  3. Rohit

    June 26, 2013 at 6:52 am

    I compared the camera quality of nokia lumia 520 with the hTC desire x in gsmarena (both 5MP smartphone), their i got nokia lumia 520 camera quality is far better than desire x,
    being a great smartphone nokia lumia is not getting good response from the consumers as they prefer the android smartphones which has tremendous support of free applications,

  4. David Martin

    June 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    There is an another option comes into the market known as Nokia Lumia 925 and I am sure it will give a tough competition to Galaxy S4.

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