A while back, I posted about three devices I had my eye on, and fell within my 30k budget. I never said which one I would go for eventually, but the ones who follow me on Twitter know that I’ve been using a Nokia Lumia 520 for the past two weeks.
How I got a yellow one (I wanted white) is a long story that involves some shenanigans with the vendor. But no matter. Right now, I have a few things to say about this interesting device.
This is not a review, so you will forgive me if I don’t reel off the specs or read out the results of processor and battery benchmarks. Okay, so it’s got a 4″ LCD screen, is powered by a 1Ghz Qualcomm processor, scurries along on 512 megs of RAM, packs a 5 megapixel shooter, 8 gigs of internal memory (expandable via SD card), blah, blah. If you want the geeky review of the 520, I doubt anyone can top the one on GSM Arena.
Lumia swag is real
The 520 does not look like a 30k phone…you could actually fool most people that it costs three times as much. When you dig into the specs, you can see how it can be that cheap, but you’d never guess by just looking at it. Frankly, I’m tired of watching people’s jaws sag when I tell then how much it is. I’ma just keep the swag, abeg.
Nokia + WP8 + 30k = #Winning
Hands down, the 520 is the best buy you can snag for 30k. Quote me. you will not find a better device at that price. Not now. Not with this build quality, and certainly not on Windows Phone 8, which is amazing in it’s own right.
Or you know of one, perhaps? Let’s hear it. All 30k Android devices are just horrible. I’ve been there, done that and have the phone turned mobile WiFi hotspot to prove it. Yes, where my Samsung Galaxy Pro failed as a phone, it now excels as a WiFi hotspot. 30k is too much to pay for a mobile hotspot.
Tecno Phantom et al, you say? I’m taking all the hype with a healthy pinch. If some of the complaints I’ve heard on Twitter are anything to go by, Tecno still needs to prove that they can execute not just on features but also on overall build quality. We’ll see.
It’s a Nokia!
Once upon a time, I’d have said “dazall!”
Unfortunately, Nokia no longer commands that sort of respect. Even so, they still make some of the best mobile hardware out there…nothing like the feature frippery in puny plastic packages that some OEMs are bamboozling us with. I’m repeating myself, I know, but has to be said.
And when it comes to after sales support of their already hardy devices, nobody in Nigeria can touch them.
Actually, the phone has a camera. But the way I see it, you might as well pretend it doesn’t. You needn’t bother, unless you’ll be sure to take all your pictures outdoors, and in hot blazing sunlight. Without flash to assist the mediocre 5 megapixel shooter, there’s just no point.
For instance, this picture could have been so much more. No indoor photography for you :/
Under the right conditions, perhaps?
But then, it’s a 30k phone, so there.
Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 8 is a truly great mobile operating system, very refreshing. It is also a world of annoyance, and is probably responsible for most my gripes with the Lumia 520.
First of all, no apps. That make sense. Yet. We hope. But not holding breath.
Second of all, the multitasking is shit. On this phone, at least. I don’t quite know if it’s the 520’s meager 512mb or a Windows Phone 8 specific glitch, but apps I’m running in the background keep dying on me. The most obvious is Deezer, which should keep playing in the background no matter what. It just goes mute for no apparent reason, and abruptly restarts when I switch back to it. I suppose killing “idle” apps is the phone’s way of conserving resources. But asides that, WP8 doesn’t appear to be really multitasking…more like it saves grainy screenshots of your open apps, and quickly reboots them when you switch back.
I’m sure I had other reasons to hate on WP8 when I started writing this article that I forget at the moment. No, wait a minute…
You’re married to Internet Explorer. Ugh.
IE is so bad, it deserves it’s own sub-head. It’s just a stupid browser and a data hog, designed to punish anyone stupid enough to buy a Windows Phone. I was ecstatic at downloading the much more sensible UC Browser…until a few minutes later when I discovered I couldn’t make it the default browser. So yeah, you can snub IE all you want, but if you click links from apps, which I tend to do a lot, it still opens in IE. Either way, the evil empire wins. I wonder if that’s why Google and Firefox can’t be bothered with making browsers for Windows Phone.
Ugh, I say.
Beware the camera button
The first 520 that came to me was defective out of the box — bad shutter button.
I’ve heard quite a few complaints about the same problem, and I’ve concluded that there’s definitely a pattern here with the Lumia 520.
If you’re gonna get this phone, be certain that the button works before you leave the store. The way to know is that on a Lumia — any Lumia — holding the dedicated shutter key launches the camera app directly, even when the phone is locked. You can see that demonstrated here (at 00:32).
After a lot of palaver that lasted almost three weeks, my Lumia was eventually replaced by the vendor, and I haven’t had trouble with the shutter button since. That explains how I got a yellow phone, instead of white.
Penny wise, data foolish
IE positively drinks data by the barrel, but I’m not sure I can say the same for the phone itself. Compared to Android, it does seem data efficient in some respects, but the background data that keeps those pretty live tiles winking at you can quickly become a problem if you’re not on WiFi, and plan on using one of the lesser data plans. Phone drank my first 200mb plan in less than three days. To be fair, I was installing apps and things, but that was no excuse for the vaunted “people” app to guzzle 48mb, all by itself.
Turning background data off, via a pre-installed app called Data Sense solved the problem somewhat. Except that without the dynamic updates and toast notifications, the device starts feeling much less awesome.
The Lumia 520 might be penny wise, but it’s relatively data foolish and certainly high maintenance, compared to BlackBerries that now need no more than N1,500 a month to use comfortably. I’m thinking you’ll need to allocate a minimum of 1gb per month, if you’re gonna get the most out of this device.
Typing on glass isn’t that bad
I was anxious about whether I would be able to do without a QWERTY smartphone. Well, I’ve done so for more than two weeks now, and I haven’t died. Typing on glass isn’t that bad once you get the hang of it. I haven’t even felt the need to soup it up with one of them new-fangled software keyboards — if there are any in the Store, that is.
But I think I will always want a physical keyboard.
That’s my Nokia Lumia 520 non-review, the good, the bad and the tolerable. And yeah, that’s me and my Lumia. Maybe yellow wasn’t so bad after all.