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Nokia Lumia 520 hands-on review

Our first look at Nokia's budget-priced Lumia 520

Nokia Lumia 520 smartphone

Nokia announced a new budget Windows Phone 8 smartphone at MWC, the Lumia 520. Here's our Nokia Lumia 520 hands-on review.

Nokia has added two new smartphones to its Lumia family in the form of the 720 and 520. The latter is the new budget option instead of the already cheap Lumia 620. The Lumia range might be getting a bit crowded but the numbering system is at least fairly easy to get your head round.

Considering the Lumia 520 is now the cheapest option of Nokia's Windows Phone 8 offerings, we were surprised by what is on offer for around £140.

See alsoGroup test: what's the best Windows phone?

We noted that the 720 resembles the 920 in shape and design but in a smaller size. Well the 520 is similar but smaller still. However, at this price, we weren't surprised to find a removable cover and a flat screen rather than the sculpted one.

This little smartphone feels really nice in the hand with its shapely rear cover. Like the 620 and 820, you can get different colour covers which can be switched around easily. It's unpredictably thin and light at 9.9mm and 124g (the 620 is a chubby 11mm thick).

Nokia Lumia 520 rear cover

Apart from the design, it's the specifications of the 520 that we're really impressed with. It's cheaper than the Lumia 620 but shares many of the same components. It runs on a 1GHz dual-core processor, Adreno 305 GPU and 512MB.

Running Windows Phone 8 OS, we found the Lumia 520 nippy for a budget smartphone. There's still the bonus of Nokia software too including apps like Nokia Music, Cinemagraph and Creative Studio.

Nokia Lumia 520 side

We expected storage to be a typically budget 4GB but it's double this, in fact, at 8GB (the same at the Lumia 720) plus there's a microSD card for up to 64GB cards.

Although the 4in screen is relatively low-res at 480x800, it looks pretty good with Nokia's ClearBlack technology. We were astonished to find it uses an IPS panel making for great viewing angles. Like the Lumia 920 and 820, you can use the super sensitive screen with glove on.

Like the Lumia 620, the 520 rocks a 5Mp camera at the rear which can record video at up to 720p. Test photos looked taken on the MWC show floor looked pretty good but we'll have to wait to give the 520 a proper test before we can fully comment.

Nokia Lumia 520 screen

The first sign of cost cutting with the Lumia 520 is the lack of a front facing camera. For a cheap smartphone, this is not really a big deal in our opinion.

The only other thing we can spot is a small battery at just 1430mAh. However, we weren't able to test the battery life at MWC so this will have to wait for full inspection.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

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