updated 08:08 pm EST, Tue November 26, 2013
Initial impressions of Nokia's first Lumia tablet
Even as its mobile division gets swallowed by Microsoft, Finnish manufacturer Nokia has released a new tablet, the Lumia 2520. The new device makes Nokia one of the few manufacturers still supporting Microsoft's struggling tablet platform, with the other being Microsoft itself. We've gotten our hands on Nokia's new tablet, and have formed a few initial impressions on the Lumia 2520.
If you like Nokia's Windows Phone 8-powered Lumia handsets, you'll like the Lumia 2520. It sports the same monolithic polycarbonate design that typifies most of Nokia's other devices, sharp corners and all. That polycarbonate actually feels quite nice to the touch, and the device feels pretty solid overall. There is a bit of give to the chassis, but it's not too troubling. It would have been nice had Nokia been able to mimic the steel backing Apple put into its plastic iPhone 5c, but we're not too concerned with the 2520's build quality.
One odd note is Nokia's choice of ports on the 2520. The power port is round, much like a headphone port, and located on the same side as the 2520's headphone port. It's not too hard to imagine users experiencing a bit of confusion at this, and we're convinced there must have been a better way to handle this.
The display is immediately one of the high points of the device, and we've got the feeling it will get high marks in our eventual review. The 2520 packs a 1920x1080 screen, and our initial tests have shown it to be quite bright. It holds up okay under direct sunlight, and the understated nature of the rest of the device's design makes it really pop out.
Nokia's new tablet runs Windows RT, the red-headed stepchild of the Windows family. We're a bit partial to the (why-isn't-it-called-Metro) Modern interface, so we're willing to give WinRT a shot. The downside, of course, is that that means the 2520 won't be able to run legacy Windows apps. A crying shame, that, as we'd love to run it through a game of XCOM or Civilization 5, but we'll adapt. The upside is that it should be able to zip through the lighter operating system, aided in no small amount by its 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor.
Nokia has also packed in a good deal of its own software, including a maps feature with true offline navigating, as well as a photo program, video editor, and other offerings. We'll give those a full run through in our eventual review.
Despite the considerable amount of hype for the Power Keyboard, Nokia did not have this attachment ready for the 2520's launch. We're puzzled by this, and a bit disappointed -- as we can't yet fully evaluate the 2520's prowess as the productivity device Nokia touts it to be. Nokia assures us, though, that the Power Keyboard is on the way, and we'll reserve full judgment until we've had a chance to go hands-on with that attachment.
We're fans of Nokia's design, as well as the (really-should-be-called-Metro) Modern interface, so we're excited to put the Lumia 2520 through its paces. That said, we're pretty certain this will appeal only to a certain sort of tablet user. If you're absolutely dependent on Microsoft's Office suite, don't mind (or prefer) using the RT version, and you need a lighter form factor and longer battery life than Microsoft's own Surface, this may be the device for you. If your idea of the proper role of a tablet involves the latest apps and games, you may want to look elsewhere.
We'll have more findings up shortly in a fuller review of the 2520. Some time thereafter, we'll give a first-hand account of what it is like to use the device for an extended period of time.