Reviewing the Nokia Lumia 1320 - The Affordable Windows Phone Phablet

Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

Nokia has made its entry into the "phablet" world with two models: Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520. Recently we got our hands on the more affordable model - the Lumia 1320 - and we were very curious to learn whether Windows Phone works well on a big phablet. We tested this smartphone for about a week and we are now ready to share our conclusions:

Hardware Specification & Packaging

In terms of specifications, the Lumia 1320 impresses first of all through its size. It has a 6" ClearBlack display, with an IPS LCD and a resolution of 1280 x 720. Just like most other Lumias, the screen uses super sensitive touch which makes it easy to use even when wearing gloves. This smartphone is 9.8mm (0.38 inches) thick and it weighs 220g (7.8 oz), which is quite a lot. The battery is almost as big as the smartphone itself and it has an impressive capacity of 3400 mAh. Lumia 1320 is powered by a 1.7 GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, it has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage space which can be extended with a microSD card. It has a 5 MP rear facing camera with flash and a basic 0.3 MP front facing camera. The rear camera can record full-HD video, which is good. Another positive aspect is that the Lumia 1320 works with 4G LTE networks, which is great. If you would like to know everything that it has to offer, you can find its complete hardware specifications here: Detailed specifications for the Nokia Lumia 1320.

Inside the package, you'll find the usual items: the phone, its documentation and warranty, the charger, the USB cable and a headphone set.

To get a better idea of the unboxing experience, take a look at this short unboxing video below.

Design & Build Quality

Nokia Lumia 1320 has borrowed the detachable cover design from its smaller brother - the Lumia 625. Its detachable covers are available in red, yellow, white and black. In our testing. we have used the white version you see below.

The cover doesn't easily fall off when the smartphone is accidentally dropped. Also, taking the cover off can be an adventure. You have to pay attention to the way you remove it: always use the margin on the bottom side of the screen, where the software buttons are placed. Otherwise, removing the cover will be quite hard and you will risk damaging it. When you remove the cover you will be surprised to learn that the battery is not easily replaceable as on other Lumias with a similar design. This will be a downside for users who tend to buy a backup battery for their smartphones. However, as you will see later in our testing, this smartphone may not need one, as its battery provides pretty good mileage.

The plastic cover is not exactly of high quality and it doesn’t feel sturdy enough when you have to take it off or put it back in. It feels rather fragile and I always had the impression I was about to damage it when having to use it. The quality of the screen is okay. I had no troubles with its visibility, even when using it outdoors, except on days with rather strong sunlight. The only thing you should keep in mind is that, in order to obtain the best results in terms of visibility, you should customize the display settings that are available on Windows Phone.

Also, the levels of black and white are good enough not to represent a problem while browsing through the Windows Phone operating system.

The Phone Experience on the Nokia Lumia 1320

Because of its sheer size, Nokia Lumia 1320 is the heaviest smartphone on the market. At 220g (7.8 oz), it may be too hard to comfortably carry around for many people. Personally, I had lots of issues adjusting to it. It never felt comfortable to carry around in the pockets of my jeans. Also, using it with one hand was impossible. For example, you must use both your hands when you type something. If you insist on typing with one hand, like I did on several occasions, you will quickly notice that the bottom side of your thumb will press the delete key or other keys around that area, making it impossible to text someone very quickly.

However, there are users who don’t mind the size and the weight. The quality of my phone conversations was OK and I was generally satisfied. Also, the signal strength was decent almost everywhere I went. I did not notice anything unusual in this regard. The sound quality is also average when listening to music or playing videos on this smartphone. One minor downside is that the Lumia 1320 doesn’t work with wireless networks running at the 5 GHz frequency. From a smartphone this big, with 4G LTE, I was expecting this to be included. The camera is almost identical to the one used on the Lumia 625 - meaning that it takes rather average pictures. Also, the fact that this smartphone defaults to the Camera app included in Windows Phone, doesn’t help either. In poor lighting conditions and on cloudy days, you will be rather disappointed by the quality of your pictures. However, the 1080p video recorded with it is decent and I was generally more pleased by the quality of the videos recorded with this smartphone than that of the pictures taken with it. As you would expect, the 0.3 MP front facing camera is very poor and it should be used only for quick video conversations. The battery on the Nokia Lumia 1320 is surprisingly good. In moderate use scenarios, it will last for about a day and a half, which is great, considering how big its screen is. However, if you use it heavily, it won’t last you more than a day, just like many other smartphones.

Nokia Apps for Windows Phone 8

Nokia Lumia 1320 comes with the Lumia Black update preinstalled. This means that you get access to the latest Nokia-exclusive features, including the Glance Screen which displays the clock and notifications when your smartphone switches to standby.

The only strange fact is that this smartphone uses the stock Camera app from Windows Phone and not the exclusive Nokia camera app found by default on other Lumias. However, if you head to the Store, you will be able to download and install it from there. Using the Nokia apps for the camera will produce slightly better looking pictures and you will get access to more manual controls, which is always a plus.

Performance in Benchmarks

As always in our reviews, we have also run several tests and benchmarking apps to evaluate the performance offered by Nokia Lumia 1320. In the MultiBench 2 processor tests, Lumia 1320 was about 40% faster than previous models, benefiting from the more powerful CPU. We are very curious to test it against Lumia 1520 and see how it fares against its more expensive brother. In the graphics test, it performed 4% better than the Lumia 1020, which is great, considering that its screen is much bigger.

The Nokia Lumia 1320 has also better scores than its predecessors when it comes to data transfers and the speed at which it is using the RAM memory.

The WP Bench confirms the same story. The processor on the Lumia 1320 was 30% faster than on the Lumia 920 - the fastest smartphone we have tested so far in this benchmark.

This smartphone also managed to get great scores in the other tests. For example, It transferred data to the storage space at a whopping 62.36 MB/s and when working with the RAM memory it transferred data at a rate of 48.79MB/s, making it the fastest Windows Phone we have tested so far. The graphics score also confirms that this phone will do well in all benchmarks and games that are available today for Windows Phone.

According to Sunspider, the Lumia 1320 is 23% faster than the Lumia 1020 in terms of browsing performance in Internet Explorer.

Next, we also measured the average time it takes for this smartphone to boot and display the Start screen: 31 seconds, making it the fastest booting Windows Phone we have tested so far.

The battery tests performed with WP Bench revealed another great result: the Lumia 1320 outlasted all other Windows Phones we have tested. It resisted a full 4 hours and 6 minutes.

The only downside was that WP Bench had stability issues when running on this smartphone and it crashed 3 out of 4 runs. This was very annoying and most probably this benchmark needs an update in order to run well on the Lumia 1320. As you can see from all the tests we have run, performance-wise, the Lumia 1320 beats all its predecessors in the Windows Phone ecosystem.

Product Rated
3/5

Verdict

Giving a verdict for the Nokia Lumia 1320 is rather difficult. This smartphone delivers great performance and battery life. However, its camera is rather average and it doesn’t compare to that of its siblings at the same price-point. The screen is huge and so is the entire phone. Also, it is the heaviest smartphone on the market which makes it difficult to use for many people. If you are looking for an affordable phablet with Windows Phone, then you should consider trying the Nokia Lumia 1320. But, before you purchase it, test it in a shop that has it on display. This device is not for everyone and while it has plenty of good things going for it, there are also a few quirks and issues that might convince you to go for its more expensive brother - the Nokia Lumia 1520.