As I’ve stated in past reviews, it’s getting more and more difficult to review smartphones and tablets. The reason for this is that almost every tablet on the market does what the majority of people want a tablet to do. That is, allows them to check email, update social media sites, browse the Internet, use apps and play games.
So what remains left to review are the features that make each tablet unique. And that’s exactly how I’m going to review the Nokia Lumia 2520.
Windows 8 and Office 2013
But first, a little background on the Lumia 2520. The Lumia 2520 is a Windows-based tablet (running Windows RT 8.1). That means, for all intents and purposes, the interface looks and feels just like Windows 8.1 does on a desktop PC.
Here’s the irony though. I don’t particularly like Windows 8.1 on a desktop. But on a tablet it feels a lot more natural and intuitive. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not ready to jump on the Windows 8 bandwagon. I’m just saying that the interface feels better on a tablet than it does on a PC.
The Lumia 2520 has a true HD 1920 x 1080 display which means it might look wider and shorter if you are used to the shape of an iPad. While this means it’s the perfect size for watching video, it also makes it difficult to use the keyboard. When I held the Lumia 2520 in both hands, my thumbs could barely reach the middle keys on the on-screen keyboard. My advice? If you are going to use the Lumia 2520, plan on getting the optional keyboard accessory.
One nice feature of the Lumia 2520 is that it comes with Office 2013 pre-installed. And, since you can store your Office documents in OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive), it’s easy to share your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. documents with your laptop or desktop PC.
Nokia specific apps
The Lumia 2520 comes loaded with a few Nokia specific apps that I’m sure they hope sway you towards the purchase of their tablet over the more popular Surface 2. While useful, none of these apps really blew me away and certainly weren’t unique enough to set the Lumia 2520 apart from its competitors.
Nokia Video Director
One such app is the Video Director. This app reminds me a lot of Animoto. The premise is that you select a bunch of videos and photos, choose a transition method and video style and then add some music. Top it off with some intro and outro titles and then let Video Director create your video masterpiece.
It’s pretty simple to use although I had a hard time initially figuring out how to select my videos and photos. In the end, I still like Animoto’s videos better but you can’t beat the price of Video Director given that it comes pre-installed at no additional cost on the Lumia 2520.
Nokia Storyteller is another custom app. Storyteller allows you to see your videos and photos overlayed on to a map. The idea is that you can see where all of your videos and photos were taken, thus creating your own “story” from your video and photos. I gave it a try but didn’t spend a lot of time with it as I didn’t find it all that impressive of a feature. If you want to see it in action though, here’s a quick video showing Storyteller in action:
If you can not see the embedded video above please use the following link: Nokia Lumia 1520 – Create your own story with Nokia Storyteller
The best way for me to describe HERE maps is that it’s like a friendlier version of Google Maps. There are specific links for finding places to eat, drink, go out or shopping as well as links for sights & museums and accomodations. HERE maps will even give you virtual signs on your screen to help you get to your destination.
I can see this being a convenient app but 99 times out of 100 when I need this, I wouldn’t have my tablet with me and would instead use Google Maps and/or Yelp on my smartphone. I’m not dogging HERE maps. Rather, I’m saying it would be more useful to me when I’m home planning my day instead of out and about trying to find where to eat lunch.
Nokia Mix Radio
Mix Radio feels like yet another Pandora. Again, it’s built in which makes it convenient but I have a feeling more people are familiar with Pandora and would just as soon download it then use Mix Radio. Either way, you enter the name of your favorite artist and Mix Radio begins playing music by that artist followed by other related songs.
There’s nothing I don’t particularly like about the Nokia Lumia 2520. It’s just not my kind of tablet (I’m more of an Apple/Android kind of guy). I’ve also heard from other reviewers that Microsoft’s Surface 2 is a better tablet. I can’t really comment on that because I haven’t done any kind of hands-on review of the Surface 2 in order to make a comparison. I guess I’ll add that one to my list.
Note: The Nokia Lumia 2520 in this review was provided to me by Verizon Wireless and can be purchased at your local Verizon Wireless store or at www.verizonwireless.com.