The first Windows-based tablet in Nokia’s lineup, the Lumia 2520 has its work cut out for it. Although its only major Windows RT competitor is the Microsoft Surface 2, Microsoft has already had a generation of devices to experiment and learn.
In order to differentiate itself, the Lumia’s most obvious selling point is the built-in LTE connection. In fact, the Lumia 2520 is only available with LTE connectivity, eschewing WiFi altogether. It’s an interesting choice, but is it enough to win over consumers?
In many ways, the Lumia 2520’s styling is based on Nokia’s line of successful smartphones. It’s completely constructed from polycarbonate plastic, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. In fact, it feels better in the hands than the Surface 2’s magnesium body in a tablet comparison.
The chassis measures in at 10.5-by-6.6-by-0.35 inches and weighs 1.36 pounds (0.62 kg), which is 0.13 pounds lighter than the Surface 2. It may feel utterly huge compared to tablets like the uber-svelte Apple iPad Air, but the Lumia is quite manageable nonetheless.
Holding the tablet in landscape mode, the volume rocker, power and lock button and a pin-accessible hatch are lined up along the top edge. Under the hatch are the SIM and microSD card slots. Along the right edge are a micro-USB 3.0 plug and micro-HDMI out.
The left edge features your standard 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and 2.5-millimeter power socket below it. Finally, the bottom is home to a magnetic docking connector for the keyboard dock. This dock adds an additional two full-sized USB sockets and an additional battery.
Compared to tablets with only the main battery, a second power source is a welcome addition.
Resolving the Details
Lost in all of the talk about the decision to eschew WiFi in favor of LTE connectivity is the fact that Nokia has quietly fitted the Lumia 2520 with one of the better displays you’ll find in its class. At a resolution of 1,920-by-1,080 pixels, the panel isn’t appreciably sharper than the similarly specced Surface 2.
Rather, the difference comes down to brightness and color reproduction. The Lumia musters up an incredible 665 nits of brightness, which is ahead of the already solid 400-nit Surface 2. Combined with a low-reflectivity screen, the Lumia is a joy to use in virtually any lighting conditions.
Further, color reproduction is extremely accurate and vivid.
Under the Hood
The Lumia 2520 is powered by a quad-core, 2.2-gigahertz Snapdragon 800 processor, which Nokia has mated with an Adreno 330 graphics processor and two gigabytes of RAM. This hardware has been used in several Android devices, and it performs just as well with Windows RT.
Navigating and launching apps feels quick and responsive, and routine tasks rarely cause any hiccups. Though the Lumia is the more powerful of the two on paper, its performance is not dramatically different from the Surface 2 in a tablet comparison.
Battery life is also comparable, though the Lumia’s keyboard dock battery pushes its longevity well past the Surface.
The Lumia 2520 represents a bit of a gamble for Nokia. Whereas tablets such as the Surface 2 are primarily used at home, work and other areas in which wireless internet is readily available, the Nokia’s LTE-only approach means it’s intended to be a truly mobile, go-anywhere device.
This is further reinforced by the display’s superior brightness, which makes it much easier to use outside under direct sunlight. The display really is fantastic, and the Lumia’s performance is at least as good as the Surface 2.
Ultimately, the decision may come down to whether consumers are willing to take on the hefty contract needed for the Lumia’s LTE connection.