Following my review of the Nokia Lumia 925 I was given an opportunity to try out another one of Nokia’s smartphone offerings – the Lumia 1320. I was loaned a bright yellow one to try out for a couple of weeks. As all my reviews here on Splodz Blogz are based on my own personal views of a product in use, I took my SIM out of my iPhone 5 once again, popped it in the Lumia, and got on with my normal (!) life.
I’ve heard many people refer to phones of this size as “phablets” – part phone, part tablet. At 164mm tall and weighing in at 220g this is a hefty gadget. Like Nokia’s of old the whole of the back cover comes off to reveal the SIM and SD card slots, giving a nice sleek look and feel to the phone. It feels very solid, has a lovely matt finish on the back cover and curved edges making it nice to hold, and has an all-glass front, six-inches of which is the screen.
Size Isn’t Everything
I simply cannot get over how big it is. Anytime any of my friends saw me with it they would exclaim (and I mean exclaim!) “Zoe that is… massive!” – no kidding. There is no better way to draw attention to yourself than to whip a bright yellow humungous phone out of your bag and answer it…! It wouldn’t fit in my jeans pocket or my coat pocket, or in my small handbag. The size issue for me was more than just the comedy, though, actually using it to talk on the phone was awkward – it’s a bit big to be holding to my ear and I felt like I couldn’t get it in the right place to hear through the speaker properly.
On the other hand, the Lumia 1320 is a good size for putting on a table and using for social media, reading/replying to emails, browsing the web, editing photos, playing games, reading books. I found doing lots of those things with it in my hands was actually a bit uncomfortable – it is too big and cumbersome to hold and type; I was always wanting to hold it in two hands which made some things difficult to do when, say, walking about. It’s strange – it’s big for a phone but not big enough to be a fully functional tablet. You can’t type properly on this; it’s too cramped for document writing or too much note taking, but you can easily make a few short notes on this.
The Screen and its Gorillas
The Lumia 1320’s six-inch screen provides a 720p HD display, which is bright and clear. The colours are lovely, really full, and the LCD IPS screen is clear from all angles (not blue from the sides like the 925). It could be clearer; if you look really closely you see that the icons are a bit blurry around the edges and text isn’t as clear as it is on some other phones I’ve used. To be fair, a lot of people probably wouldn’t notice the slight lack of crispness unless placing it next to a phone with a better display.
I would have liked full-HD when I was watching moving pictures or zooming into photos – images that I knew should have the sharpest of edges were a bit fuzzy when looking in detail. It still copied with watching television and films though, and when playing games it is clear enough despite not being exactly perfect.
The Corning Gorilla Glass screen is very strong and scratch resistant – no need for a screen protector as far as I could tell. I had to keep the phone in my bag, along with all my other rubbish, and was very happy to see that at the end of my two weeks the screen was still spotless.
Interface and Apps
With its massive size you can pretty much have everything you ever need on your main screen – and it’s very easy to swipe across to get an alphabetical list of everything you’ve got installed. You can now customise what Nokia call their “Glance screen”, which is effectively your locked screen, so you can see and access your choice of apps immediately. The interface layout is very tidy, and easy to get as you want it.
There are still those three capacitive touch screen buttons at the bottom of the screen and I still had a tendency to touch those, especially the back button, when I was just holding the phone. The rest of the buttons are very well placed, though – volume, camera and power are easy to find and use with your thumb or finger.
It’s four months since I delved deeply into Apps available for a Windows Phone 8 system and I have to say that in that time very little progress has been made in the quantity of applications available. Still no Google Authenticator, Echofon, Snapseed, Sky or The Simpsons: Tapped Out (yes, I’m still playing that!), and others such as Instagram are still in Beta mode. BBC iPlayer did work this time, though, and Netflix works well, too. They’ll get there eventually, I’m sure!
However, the suite of Apps from Nokia are improving. Having Microsoft Office is very useful, especially if you want to use the Lumia 1320 for productivity, and HERE Maps and HERE Drive (navigation) Apps are excellent (although the phone wouldn’t fit in my car phone holder, of course!).
At only 5 megapixels this isn’t a phone camera you are going to be over-impressed by, but it’s not bad. Remember when I tested out the Lumia 925 I commented on how blue my photographs were when taken inside under artificial light? The first thing I did when I took this out of the box was to take a shot of my kitchen under similar conditions, and I am very pleased to report that the 1320 does handle it a bit better, but it’s not quite a solved problem just yet.
Taking photos outside under a decent light was much more successful, and I am pleased with a number of the ones I took. There are two aspect ratios to choose from – 16:9 and 4:3 – and there are lots of other manual settings to play with inside the Nokia Camera app such as ISO and shutter speed. The Nokia Lenses suite and Creative Studio allow lots of fun too, making it easy to edit photos and share directly to any number of social networks.
Once again the size of the phone does impact the usefulness of the Lumia as a camera. While the six-inch screen makes seeing what you’re doing when you’re editing and sharing your photos very easy, it is cumbersome to hold up with one hand to take a photo.
Splodz Blogz Verdict
This was a very interesting test. My opinion is still mixed, and it’s pretty much all down to the size. It’s simply too big to be my phone – it’s awkward to carry around and looks ridiculous when it’s against the side of my face. At the same time it’s too small to be my tablet as it’s not comfortable enough for typing. This phablet is a bit of both but none of the other. I would much rather have two devices that fulfil their individual functions in a much better way.