Lumia 1320 – Huge phone, small price

Overview

Other than its size and the relatively low price tag, the Lumia 1320 is nothing exceptional. Retailing at $459 off contract, it is one of the cheapest phablets, and people looking for budget phablets should definitely take a look at the Lumia 1320.

Introduction

Announced alongside the Lumia 1520 during Nokia World on October 22 2013, the Lumia 1320 is a budget Windows Phone with a large screen. A 6-inch screen to be exact. Although it is a budget device, the specs are not too bad.

  • 164.2 x 85.9 x 9.8 mm
  • Dual Core 1.7 GHz Snapdragon S400
  • Adreno 305 GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB expandable storage via micro SD card
  • 6-inch 16M colours HD 720p IPS LCD display (245 ppi)
  • 5 MP, autofocus, single LED flash
  • 3400 mAh battery
  • 4G LTE

Unboxing and Design

The retail box of the Lumia 1320 is largely similar to other Lumias, with the main difference being the size (with the exception of the 1520).

Inside, you will find the usual quick start guide, charging plug, a micro USB cable (which is longer than what most manufacturers provide), and a pair of earphones. Last but not least, the handset itself.

The design philosophy of the Lumia 1320 is in line with other Lumias – a matte polycarbonate backing which feels great to the touch, with flashy options. The back is removable, leaving the option of swapping for other colours should you prefer to available. The review unit we have received is the trademark colour of the Lumia line, a bright yellow which is sure to catch a few glances from members of the public.

On the front of the phone, you will find the 6-inch 720p IPS LCD display, the standard back, start, and search key, the proximity sensor, and a VGA front-facing camera.

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The physical keys – volume rocker, power button, and a physical shutter button, are found on the right. The keys are made of plastic, instead of the aluminium or ceramic found on the higher end Lumias.

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The headphone jack is found on the top, while the charging port is found on the bottom. This leaves the left side completely bare.

The 5 MP camera and the single LED flash is found on the back. A small speaker grille is also located near the bottom, which disappointingly leaves it covered when placed flat down.

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As the back is removable, there is no need for a SIM card tray. It is instead accessible when the back is removed, along with the micro SD card slot.

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Handling

At 220g, the Lumia 1320 is certainly not light, compared to the likes of the Galaxy Mega 6.3, which has a bigger screen but is lighter at 199g. However, I’m glad to say that when the 220g is spread across the massive 6-incher, the heavy weight is not very apparent. Furthermore, you will likely be using the Lumia 1320 with both your hands since it is a massive phone which spreads the weight more, and while one-handed operation is possible, phablets are not meant to be used with only one hand.

If one-handed operation is absolutely necessary, you’ll be glad to know that the 9.8mm thickness of the device, coupled with the rounded sides, eases one-handed operation slightly. However, don’t expect yourself to be able to do anything outside simple scrolling and the likes, since even people with large hands (myself included) can barely reach the other end of the keyboard while holding it in an awkward grip which strains the thumb for maximum reach.

As for pocketability, it should be able to fit into your pants, as long as you’re not wearing anything tight fitting such as jeans. In fact, I prefer it in my pocket compared to my Lumia 1020, though it is largely due to the 1020 being thicker (with and without the hump).

Screen

The massive 6-inch 720p IPS LCD display on the Lumia 1320 is not going to wow anyone with its resolution and ppi of 245. In fact, when you hold it as close to your face as how you would hold normal sized phones, the individuals pixels can be spotted. This causes the live tiles, especially those that are static, to appear a little fuzzy. However, since phablets’ screens are larger and should be used further away than normal, this isn’t really much of a problem, though still noteworthy.

The IPS LCD display, coupled with Nokia’s ClearBlack technology, provides accurate colour reproduction and amazing viewing angles. Sunlight readability is also decent with minimal glare when the option to increase sunlight readability is turned on, though colours may not be as accurate. Generally, the screen is pleasing to look at.

Gorilla Glass 3 is protecting the screen from scratches, and I’m glad to report that in my two weeks of usage without having a screen protector on, the screen has not received a single scratch.

User experience

As the Lumia 1320 is a large screen device, it is able to display up to 3 medium tiles per row on the start screen. On my 4.5-inch Lumia 1020, I could not have more than 3 large tiles on the start screen without them taking up the entire screen. Large tiles are the tiles capable of displaying some details, unlike the small and medium tiles which usually only show the number of notifications unread.

With the extra screen real estate on the 1320, you can have up to 5 large live tiles on a single page, AND up to another 5 medium tiles as well. This means that with one glance of your start screen, you are able to view a lot more information, which is the purpose of live tiles in the first place.

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While it may not be as fast as the Lumia 1520 with a quad core processor and 2 GB of RAM, you should not be blinded by the spec sheet of WP8 devices, as you will not be able to feel the difference during day-to-day operation other than the occasional mobile gaming. That said, gaming is no slouch on the Lumia 1320, with most, if not all games being lag-free.

With a dual core Snapdragon S4 clocked at 1.7Ghz, and the fact that Windows Phone 8 is light on resources, the Lumia 1320 user experience is fluid. Even if an app requires some time to load, the animation between tapping on it and it finally opening should give up an impression of the app loading quickly, with the occasional loading sign. Bottom line, the Lumia 1320 performs just as well as any other WP8 devices even with its relatively low price tag.

Software

The Lumia 1320 runs on Nokia Black, on top of Microsoft’s WP8 GDR3. Find out what’s new in Nokia Black here.

Battery

There really isn’t much to elaborate in this section.

“The Lumia 1520 comes powered with a huge 3400mAh battery. Needless to say, battery life will not be an issue on this device. Try as I might, but I simply could not drain the battery down in a single day.”  – Editor-in-Chief Nicholas on the battery life of the 1520

With the same battery powering the lower-specs Lumia 1320, you can expect at the very least the same, if not better results. However, while excellent compared to other phones, it is expected, considering the size and weight of the device.

Camera

Fitted with a 5 MP camera, the photos captured will not wow anyone. While set in auto mode, photos tend to look cooler, and the details are what you’d expect from a 5 MP camera. Colour reproduction was subpar as well.

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In low light condition, with its f/2.4 aperture, more details were being captured, but at the expense of sky-high noise with the photo looking artificially bright.

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In daylight condition, the video turns out surprisingly well for a 5 MP camera, capturing quite a lot of details. Despite the strong wind blowing, the mics did a commendable job of picking up the rumbling o the car engines. However, in low light conditions, the quality drops by quite a margin. Noise is very apparent, and the autofocus was struggling to focus on the moving cars.

Bottom line, the camera should suffice for the occasional snaps, but don’t expect much out of it.

Conclusion

This phone is not for everyone, with it being targeted mainly at those who prefer large screen sizes. However, with the prevalence of phablets in Asia, where Galaxy Notes are readily spotted, Nokia hopes to make an impact, introducing a budget phablet. In a perfect world, people looking for a phablet would definitely give the Lumia 1320 another look, but alas, many are still avoiding WP8 like the plague, ignorant about the efforts of Microsoft.

If you are looking for a phablet and are on a tight budget, the 1320 is definitely a phone you should consider,  especially since WP8.1 is shaping up to be a very promising update.

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