Love the Lumia 520

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  • Updated 5 years ago
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A few days ago, I bought a handlebar mount for my bicycle because I got tired of wearing my phone in an armband that would slide around every time I hit a pothole. I popped my HTC One into a pretty solid case AND cut off the straps of the armband and fashioned a protective sleeve for additional protection. But, I still wasn't happy with the setup. I didn't like having a $700 phone secured to a bicycle with plastic, no matter how good the case. I ride fairly hard and it's my primary method of transport outside winter. I'm always being pushed around by motorists and almost half of our bike trails in London are in serious need of repair. I ride a vintage steel road bike which can handle the punishment, but I'm not sure how much punishment the phone cradle can take. Also, I was not happy with ~3 hours of battery life of my HTC One (music/gps). ~4 if I didn't listen to anything. My BlackBerry Z10 was just as bad.

So, I was going to buy a used iPhone 4 on Kijiji for $150-200 and use that as my bike computer and backup phone. But then I thought, why not just buy a Lumia 520 from Koodo? It's only $150. It's a choice that I don't regret. Here's what's included:







I don't know why Nokia opted for an actual DC wall charger (micro-USB tip) + micro-USB cable instead of a wall plug, but I like it. You can never have too many USB cables. There's a wired headset as well, which is nice The back cover is removable and so is the battery. Next to the micro-SIM slot is a micro-SD slot accepting cards up to 64 GB (in addition to the 8 GB on-board and 7 GB SkyDrive).

The display is neither too big, nor too small at a respectable 4". It's not as brilliant as on other Lumias that I've owned, but it's as sensitive as the one on the 920, meaning you can use it with gloves (and this is a huge bonus on a bike). It sports a decent dual-core processor and 512 MB of RAM. It won't win any performance awards, but the phone is almost as snappy as my Lumia 920 was. For comparison, entry-level Androids such as the Ace 2 X come with only a single-core, and Android is certainly more demanding hardware-wise. The battery life so far is comparable to my HTC one when used as a bike computer (having the GPS on is taxing), but as this phone isn't meant to replace my One as a phone, I don't care. I'm not tethered to a USB cable after my ride. I can easily buy extra batteries (~$20) and external backups (~$5-30, depending on size) to use on 100k rides.

There is also the added value of Nokia Music (ad-free online AND offline streaming music service) and HERE Maps and Drive. Now, it's important to note that this isn't the Drive+ app, which gives you free worldwide navigation. You only get the navigation license for the country/region your SIM card belongs to. But, if you get the phone unlocked, you can use the app to navigate in a country you're visiting, providing that you get a local SIM (factory reset may be necessary). You can still download any map for offline use in the Maps app, but navigation is single region only. As for other apps, most of the major players are there, or there's a 3rd party solution.

In fact, I can only find two negative things to say about this phone. There is no camera flash, and there's no front-facing camera. I think that Nokia should've included a flash. As for the front-facing camera, I almost never use it on my phones, so that's a non-issue for me. But, at $150, I can forgive these things. Also, I wish that Koodo offered other colour options, or at least sold the other back-plates, but I ordered a white one from eBay for $8, so I'm still happy.

In conclusion, if you're on a budget or if you need a cheap backup phone: the Lumia 520 should be your first choice. If you're apprehensive about switching to Windows Phone, take advantage of Koodo's 14-day return policy. Get the phone and see if it fits your lifestyle. I'm sure you won't be disappointed..

Koodo, you've got a winner with the 520. I initially suggested the 620 ($250 at Telus) but that was before the 520 was announced. I'm sure this phone will become a best-seller in no time.
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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Posted 5 years ago

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MarcusG

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The 620 is Actually $200 on Telus TeamWebstore right now
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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That's not a retail outlet. It's $250 on their website. See below.
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MarcusG

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Ask any telus employee, they'll give you an access....however this quote says it best:
"Rule of thumb: If a device is available on both Koodo and Telus, the Telus price with team web store discount will still be more expensive than on Koodo."

Someone on another board,
http://www.howardforums.com/showthrea...
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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Sophia, Mobile Master

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Lovely review, thanks Phil (if I may call you so) :D
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MarcusG

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See I thought his name was P-Tor
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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Haha, I'm liking P-Tor. Reminds me of:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBprFv...
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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Thanks Sophia!
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Yannick

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Thanks for the review, Philosoraptor ! Awesome work :)
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Some random Mobile Master, Mobile Master

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I was SO tempted to pick one up to play with, however, I could not live without an LED flash. Not because of pictures, but because I use it as a flashlight all the time on my other phones. For this reason alone, I agree with Philo that the 620 should have come to Koodo, but anyway, these 520's will likely sell like hotcakes!
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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@ Sophia:

There's no more Hotmail, Sophia. It's been rebranded to Outlook.

Gmail is my primary account and mail/contacts/calendar syncs flawlessly on my WP devices.

@TopperCNC:

The flashlight problem could be remedied with an app that turns the screen white. No solution to a lack of a flash for photos, though. And though I was for the 620 initially, there's no way I'd be spending an extra $100 for the minimal upgrades.
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Some random Mobile Master, Mobile Master

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Yeah the whitescreen flashlight works, but is nowhere near the intensity of a LED flash for when, you know, you just NEED to blind a friend :oP
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Some random Mobile Master, Mobile Master

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Speaking of Gmail/Contacts/Calendar on WP8... What do you use Philosoraptor? Google's turned off ActiveSync for new WP devices last Feb, but they let CalDav and CardDav live a couple of days ago... You're probably using IMAP for your Gmail, but what do you use for contacts/calendar? CalDav and CardDav aren't out yet for WP, so it got me wondering...
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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http://gigaom.com/2013/01/31/good-new...

They turned it back on within a month.
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Some random Mobile Master, Mobile Master

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July 31st it is then, hehe! Well, it's great news, and bad news for my wallet as it just so happens that I'm itching right now.... hmmmm.... thanx Philo!
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Some random Mobile Master, Mobile Master

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Hey Philo... Is your 520 carrier-branded like the old Lumia 610 was? I mean, do you have the Koodo startup chime and all the other little things carriers think of, or is it completely clean, ala iPhone?
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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The only branding a 610 could have had was the Koodo splash screen, but WP has always allowed you to uninstall any carrier bloatware.

There is no carrier splash screen on my 520. I just restarted it and greeted only by the blue Windows Phone screen.
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Some random Mobile Master, Mobile Master

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Alright! Thanx Philo!
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MarcusG

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P-tor,

Just wondering can you plug in a Keyboard or Joypad directly into the 520 via an OTG cable and use it? If so it would make a nice portable little office item + game device
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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No. Windows Phone does not support USB OTG. I don't know if they plan to add the support anytime in the future. Plus, the 520 only has 512 MB RAM which wouldn't make it an ideal gaming device anyway.
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MarcusG

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Dang...
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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I'm more disappointed with no MHL or MHL-alternative video output than a lack of OTG.
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MarcusG

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I don't believe that MHL is on the ACE or the low end HTC either
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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Yeah, but no WP8 phone has video-out, not even the Lumia 920.

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