Well folks, this probably won’t come as much of a shock, but those persistent rumors of a pair of Nokia Lumia phablets were true after all. Nokia officially pulled back the curtains on the Lumia 1520 and 1320 at its big Nokia World show in Abu Dhabi today, and it’s clear that the company isn’t backing down the from challenge laid down by its mobile rivals.
First up is the flagship 1520 which — in accordance with plenty of leaks — features one of Nokia’s 6-inch ClearBlack LCD displays running at 1080p. It sounds like an incremental boost on paper, but seeing it in person is a very different experience. You can now fit an extra column of live tiles onto the homescreen, and once it’s fully loaded that constant blinking and updating makes the thing feel almost alive.
Nokia and Microsoft never seemed to feel much pressure when it came to competing in the spec sheet arms races that dominate the smartphone space, but the 1520’s internals put the thing right up there with the best of them. To wit: the 1520 sports one of Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 800 chipsets clocked at 2.2 GHz along with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal flash storage, and a microSD card slot.
Nokia’s big camera push continues here too, but not to the extent we saw in the curious Lumia 1020 — instead, the the company outfitted the 1520 with a 20-megapixel sensor rather than a 41-megapixel whopper in a bid to keep the device as slim as possible.
The 1320 on the other hand also packs a 6-inch display, but the particulars couldn’t be any more different. There’s a dual-core processor running the show in there rather than the quad-core affair seen in its bigger brother, while a lowly 5-megapixel shooter sits pretty on the devices rear-end. Despite being made of the same polycarbonate that the 1520 is, the 1320’s look and feel couldn’t be any more different than its premium counterpart — it features the same sorts of curvaceous, rounded edges that have so far been a hallmark of Nokia’s lower-end Windows Phones.
But easily the most interesting thing about the 1320 is its price tag — according to Nokia, it’s going to cost about $339 completely unsubsidized when it hits Europe and Asia later this year. That’s not nearly as cheap as say, the Lumia 520, but it’s a very, very attractive price point for a big-screen Windows Phone experience.
I got the chance to briefly play with both devices in New York — sadly hands-on photos and videos were strictly verboten — but I couldn’t shake the feeling that Windows Phone may finally hit its stride on these sorts of big-screen devices. And of course, it’s hard to contest the notion that Nokia knows how to put together a solid device. Despite their considerable sizes, both devices felt awfully comfortable as I manhandled them — as much as I liked the more traditional Lumia design language used on the 1520, the rounded contours of the 1320 seemed just a hair more appealing.
One could argue that Nokia is just struggling to play catch up in a market that has already embraced these sorts of big-screen devices, and those people would have a point. That said, this phablet duo has me more excited for the future of Windows Phone than just about any other device that preceded them, and I doubt I’m alone there. Surely that’s got to count for something.
This is a developing story, please refresh for updates.