Just a few days ago we published a review of the Nokia Lumia 2520, the handsome tablet from the Finnish manufacturer running Windows 8.1 RT. While, on the whole, I did like the tablet ultimately it wasn’t for me. Despite this, I was more than happy to award it a rating of 8 out of 10. You already know what I think of the tablet, so why this second article?
My initial review was regarded by some as unfair because I expressed a dislike for modern apps. As I explained in subsequent comments, my previous experience of modern apps was in the confines of Windows 8.1 proper — the lure of the desktop has always been too much for me to resist. Using the 2520 was my first experience of being fully immersed in Windows RT, and bearing in mind the relative ‘newness’ of Windows RT, many, many people will find themselves in exactly the same position.
For me the 2520 is very much a tablet of two halves. It does some things very well, but there are other things that are found wanting. Of course, for some people this will be an absolutely perfect tablet, while other people will completely hate it. I was kind of stuck in the middle: I wanted to love, but just couldn’t. But that’s not to say it’s bad… just that’s not a device for me. Feel free to disagree, but here are my five highs and lows of Nokia’s tablet that helped me to reach my conclusion
What it gets right:
1. The screen
When using a tablet, the screen is at the forefront of its use. Here the 2520 excels; the screen is simply amazing. At 10.1″ it’s a great size for a wide variety of tasks, and the brightness and contrast levels it offers means that it can be easily used in many different lighting conditions without problem. The resolution could have been higher, but this would have impacted on battery life. Here, it seems like a perfect balance has been struck. It’s also pleadingly responsive; something I neglected to mention in the review.
2. The battery
Battery life is impressive — it’s that simple. Bearing in mind the proprietary power connection, you may well opt to leave your charger at home, and this means that battery life is more important than ever. As you can expect to get 10 hours of usage one a single charge, the tablet should see you through the entire day, even if you work at it for hours at a time.
3. LTE enabled
The need to be connected these days means that devices that only offer wifi are not used to their full potential. The chances are that you always have your mobile with you, so why not just swap out the SIM when you need to get online with the tablet? It’s much faster and easier than fiddling about with tethering! You’ll need to remember to keep a paperclip or pin to hand to pop out the drawer, but this is a minor drawback.
Few tablets are going to blow you away with their audio output, but the 2520 comes dangerously close. Sound is punchy and powerful, well-balanced and pleasing.
The hardware has been well chosen here. 2GB of RAM may seem like too little, but it’s fine for Windows RT (despite my reservations). The 2.2Ghz quad-core processor handles games and videos with aplomb, and the two cameras are more then up to the tasks of shooting IM video footage and taking photos.
What it gets wrong:
1. Windows RT
Yes, I know this is a tablet. Yes, I’m aware that RT is the tablet OS. But it is just too lacking for me. I have been lambasted for complaining about RT limitations, and told that it is as unfair to complain about the lack of functionality in desktop mode as it would be to complain that OS X is not able to run iOS apps. But there is a key difference. iOS and OS X are very separate operating systems with completely different looks. Windows RT is, essentially, built into Windows 8.1, so when moving to an RT tablet you get the look of Windows 8.1, but not all of the functionality. It is this disparity that causes an issue for me. In a nutshell, RT is not my operating system of choice. I would have hoped that a dedicated RT tablet would have swayed my opinion slightly, but it didn’t. Why not just stick Windows 8.1 on there and give users the full Windows experience?
The case is nice to look at, but very, very easily scratched. Steps have been taken to protect that all-important screen from becoming damaged, so why not treat the rest of the device in the same way. It would have been very easy to coat the plastic casing in something that would make it rather more resilient to bumps and scrapes.
3. Port positioning
I don’t think I need to say much more here than I did in my review — having two virtually identical ports (in this case the power and headphone sockets) so close to each other is just asking for trouble. It is a very odd design decision, and one that spoil the experience of using the tablet.
4. No USB charging
Sure, this isn’t an accusation that can be levelled only at the 2520 — it something that affects iPads and numerous other tablets. But this does not mean it is right. Mobile phone manufacturers have gradually moved to USB chargers so this is now all but standard; why should tablets be any different? The need to carry around a single charger would make life a great deal easier, and also open up the possibility of small savings as devices could be sold without chargers for those who had already amassed a collection.
5. No kickstand
This is a problem that affects many tablets, but the Surface range has set the standard. A kickstand or some other form of prop should be included as standard with all tablets — it would make movie watching so much easier, and many other app would benefit as well.
What are your highs and lows for this tablet? What do you look for when deciding on a portable device? Does Windows RT put you off or would you specifically look for an RT device?