Lumia 1320, A couple A Weeks On!

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Yes it’s big, and I’m pretty sure that I said it was a two-handed phone on my first look at the 1320, and that is definitely the case, in fact it really is unpocketable in many cases. I’m used to carrying more than one phone, but when the phone doesn’t fit in a back pocket of your jeans, it never will in a front pocket. I’m in the habit of wearing work clothes, so I often have those side pockets on the legs of shorts and trousers that the 1320 will fit into nicely, and it’s actually more reassuring having it placed down there then sticking out of a pocket like in the shot above. Rather than being a criticism of the phone, it’s a generality about the phablet form factor, and while I see people with a lot smaller hands than I with huge phones, portability/mobility is one of the keystones for me when choosing a device.

Of course there are huge plus’s to the form factor as well.  Putting aside my preconceived misgivings, what you get is a screen that is big enough to read comfortably on, without upping the text size with the phone or apps settings. With Nokia’s attention to detail, the ability to read the screen in bright sunlight, tweak the vibrancy of the colours to your taste and up the sensitivity of it’s touch response, you end up with a touch interface that is very comfortable to work on. I mean “work” sorry to swear, having office, and OneDrive access via the phone I have been really productive on the go, start on the PC and take your work to the phone any where you go with ease. One thing that is fairly noticeable though, even more so on a screen this large is that the landscape keyboard is still lacking full width, meaning typing in what is a natural position on a screen this size is still a reach. I would think Microsoft would address this now that the form factor seems to be entrenched.

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I actually find myself typing two-handed in landscape and portrait mode on the 1320, the WP keyboard is very good, still the best software keyboard out of all I have tried, third-party or otherwise. It’s actually surprising, it takes me back to the HTC Tytn II/Tilt, and it’s hardware keyboard, and the muscle memory or something like that, has brought me back to a fair typing speed pretty quickly.

Overall the mechanics, size and weight of the phone balance to make a very good usage scenario which, is either great design or just the benefit of familiarity.

I have to give full praise to Nokia, the 1320 is just right in terms of ergonomics, it’s smooth rounded body is a pleasure to hold, feels solid in the hand, and has just the right amount of silkiness and grip to make it easy to pull out of a pocket. In fact it makes me feel more confident, less likely that it will slip out of my puny paws than fishing for the 1020 doeswp_ss_20140228_0008

Coming with the title of “budget phone” doesn’t help people’s perception of the device though, the term suggests something sub par at best , and coming in at AU$409 outright from Telstra, it cane be seen as a great deal. In my mind though, the whole way the phone was initially presented makes it feel like there’s something missing.

There are concessions, but not the type you would expect, nothing has been lost from the build, feel or use experience with the 1320, and it would be nit-picking to point out the features that are missing, SO let’s nit pick.

Of course there is a smaller processor, a 1.7 Ghz Qualcomm 400 dual core processor, and 1 Gb of ram, nothing to sneeze at as far as running Windows Phone goes, until you get to running things like Nokia camera on the phone, and notice that it takes a fair while longer to process images than the 1020. Of course the phone has LTE, Telstra 4G built-in and there is no issue with data speeds at all, most sites seem to render fairly well. Even though the screen resolution is 720p, it only has a pixel density of 245 ppi, which on a big screen like this might seem lacking, but no, I haven’t been disappointed, and the viewing angles are really good.

Nokia has worked really hard to bring a great imaging experience to their Lumia Windows Phones, so a 5 Mega Pixel main shooter, with a simple LED flash on the 1320 is a[so a concession to affordability, although I must say that it does take great usable photos for what it is.

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In fact, surprisingly good. the photos above are Lumia 1020 vs 1320 images side by side, and on your phone or pc screen, I would say you have to zoom in a long way to see the difference, although the overall dimensions might give it away. The 1320 is of course less refined, but for  a simple point and shoot experience, it will do just fine. Again here, Screen size is a factor, while taking shots and viewing editing them. The size of the phone itself feels ungainly for shooting quickly. While not in need of more power, I would like to see a camera, shooting case for the 1320, to make it easy to mount on a tripod. That’s all it would be for by the way, there is no wireless charging, or NFC, another penny-pinching decision I’m sure.

While there is no NFC/Tap to Share available the phone does support bluetooth 4.0, which seems to be able to connect better to more devices, from other Nokia’s, the HTC One, the HTC 8X, bluetooth speakers, and an old headset that I have. Transferring files, large files between phones is still interminably slow, but it really is not something that is common these days. More devices seem to be compatible and that is a good thing.

Of all of the cost saving concessions probably the most significant is the lack of built-in storage, the phone only comes with 8 Gb of internal memory, with support for up o 64 Gb Micro SD for expansion. Now that may not be such a concern, considering what we are expecting in terms of apps and the SD card in the Windows Phone 8.1 update, but for the moment it is a limitation. After the OS there is about 4.2 Gb of  room left for apps and the inevitable “OTHER” file, that is a cache of information that supports parts of the OS. Thus the useable storage for apps is again reduced.

Speaking of apps, Telstra does include a number of apps in the phone, which can of course be uninstalled, and some others that are Nokia included.

Some might be a little irrelevant, Telstra includes Garmin navigation, which is of course negated by Here maps and Here drive. The Telstra One App which is reallly just a portal to BigPond news weather and the rest sports and the like. There’s accuweather, which is quite a good free app, but there is nothing included that I would consider necessary. Funnily enough Telstra does not include it’s own 24/7 app on the phone, which is a way to watch and manage your post paid account with the carrier. Nokia camera which allows for some of the better editing and effects that can be applied to your shots, is not pre-installed. It seems a little random indeed. It makes me wonder if Telstra has a finger on the pulse of what is going on with the OS, thankfully Nokia include their own catalogue of apps in the store to give people a good guide to what’s available.

I have been given a Lumia handset by Telstra free of charge to review. The comments expressed by me reflect my user experience and personal opinion

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