When the opportunity came up a few weeks ago to try out and review a Nokia Lumia 1320 I jumped on the chance. While I had seen them in my local phone shops, I had not really had a chance to play with one or try it out. It looked impressive with all of it’s phablet, 6″ screen glory but I didn’t know if this was a phone with all show and no go. After all, it was the little brother of the almighty Lumia 1520.
Having used it now in earnest for two solid weeks and full fledge adopting it as my daily driver, I can honestly say that the Lumia 1320 is nothing short of impressive. For a device this big with this unbelievable battery life, to be priced at just $229 US/ £219 UK, it is an incredible value. It is powerful and if you can get around the average camera built into it, this should be on your list of considerations when it comes to your next Windows Phone.
Let’s start with the basics, the specifications of the Lumia 1320.
- Height: 164.2 mm
- Width: 85.9 mm
- Thickness2: 9.8 mm
- Weight: 220 g
Obviously the first thing you notice about the Lumia 1320 is the size. It is huge compared to an iPhone 5s, my other primary phone to this point. In fact it is so big that when I go back to the iPhone I feel very “cramped” on the 4″ display of that device. Although it is big, as I pointed out in my first impressions post, it is comfortable to hold in your hands. I have no issue with it and in fact can easily thumb type with it.
The second thing you will notice is the weight. At 220g (7.76oz) it is heavy, I’m not going to lie. But let’s compare it to a near rival in the Apple iPad Mini. It is 314g or 11.07oz so yes you gain an extra inch of screen space but you also gain almost 4 more ounces in weight. Plus the Mini isn’t a phone. Look, this is a horses for courses discussion but I don’t find the weight of the Lumia 1320 a huge distraction. Yes you notice it but I’m personally willing to take on that weight for the battery life (which I’ll discuss later).
The 1320 is powered by the powerful dual-core 1.7Ghz Snapdragon S4 processor, has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage which is expandable with a MicroSD card. The display is a 6″ with 1280 x 720 HD720 resolution that is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The display has a 16:9 ratio and can display in 720p HD and is the Nokia ClearBlack IPS LCD technology. It also sports the Lumia super sensitive touch technology which means you can use the 1320 while wearing gloves.
The Lumia 1320 supports GSM, LTE and WCDMA networks, has Bluetooth and an accelerometer built in.
Overall the specifications of the 1320 aren’t bad at all. They are certainly in the middle of the road as far as Windows Phone devices are concerned and the processor certainly is up to the task when it comes to powering the mammoth display.
There is no getting around the size of the Lumia 1320. It is big. Compared to other Windows Phone devices, save the 1520, it dwarfs them in comparison. But it isn’t overly huge to the point that it is not practical. Nokia has done a good job of designing the edge of the 1320 so it has a bit of a ridge making it easy to hold comfortably – and equally as important securely – in your hand. You can also easily slip the 1320 into a back pocket in your jeans without having to force it.
The back of the 1320 is smooth as well and flat which also helps in holding it securely. I have a black backed 1320 (you can get it in yellow, red, white or black) and it is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. Nothing horrible but you’ll notice it.
Much like the Lumia 635 I reviewed last week, I expected to be disappointed in the performance of the Lumia 1320. My biggest
concern was if the processor could keep up and manage the 6″ display on the device. This, like the 635, proved to be unfounded. The 1320 is snappy and responsive, with no lag at all even with multiple applications running in the background. This is aided by the 1GB of RAM onboard and allows even intensive activities to be done flowingly on the 1320. In my review I posted last week of Assassin’s Creed Pirates, that was all done from the 1320 and it has no problem with this graphically intense game.
I ran the My Phone performance app on the 1320 and it was benchmarked above most of the Lumia lineup today. That, I think, is in large part to the Snapdragon S4 processor, it’s speed and the RAM onboard. If you are looking for a reason not to buy a 1320, performance isn’t a reason. It will easily keep up with what you are doing day-to-day and even a bit of lunch time or after hours gaming.
Yeah, it’s impressive. Pretty much end of discussion. The 6″ display is crisp and with its ability to handle HD video, there is nothing to fault on the display of the Lumia 1320. The ClearBlack technology that Nokia uses really gives bright, crisp viewing even in very bright light but is easy on the eye in low light. Part of this is also due to Windows Phone itself doing a great job of scaling text and graphics. Add those two together and you get a nice, eye appealing result.
The touchscreen technology of the 1320 is outstanding. Because it has the more sensitive technology, swipes were effortless and smooth. Again, I’ll go back to Assassin’s Creed Pirates. That is a swipe and touch intensive game. The touchscreen performed perfectly and any time I missed a cannon shot on an enemy ship was gunners error, not the display.
I seriously contend that the biggest problem you will have with the Lumia 1320’s display is when you go back to another device. It is going to feel cramped. even a 5″ HTC One M8 feels cramped after using the 1320 and the iPhone 5s feels really cramped. Once you get use to the size of this display, it is hard to go back smaller.
Memory & RAM
The Lumia 1320 is a mixed result when it comes to memory and RAM. On the negative side, it only comes with 8GB of onboard memory storage. That, out of the box, is on the low end and you are virtually compelled to take advantage of the MicroSD slot in the phone. That said, is 8GB really a big deal when you have a memory slot? I don’t know for sure but I know that some will be put off by it. For me, I slapped a 64GB MicroSD card into it – it will accept up to a 128GB – and instantly I had 72GB of total storage. That I can live with and it is certainly less expensive doing this than it is to buy say a 64GB iPhone 5s.
On the plus side, the Lumia 1320 comes with 1GB of RAM. You will notice this when it comes to the responsiveness of apps as it isn’t as processor intensive. This, in a contemporary smartphone, should be the minimum and Nokia hit it. That extra bit of RAM makes it feel responsive in every way and works in harmony with the processor.
I understand why Nokia limited the onboard storage – to keep the cost low – but given how cheap memory is these days (just look at the cost of the MicroSD card I bought at $19) it seems that a minimum of 16GB would be in order. It is a problem but it is a workable problem.
This is where the big trade-off happens between the Lumia 1520 and the Lumia 1320. The 1320 comes with a 5MP rear facing camera and a 640×480 VGA front facing camera. Neither are really much to write home about but they do perform better than I expected. In daylight the rear facing camera did very well, producing vibrant colours and nice resolution. I was a bit surprised as I didn’t expect it to do nearly as well as it did to be honest. Indoors it does a good job and you have the benefit of having a flash built into the 1320, something many of the budget conscious Lumia’s do not have. That’s a big plus. Now personally, I hate flash photography as it all looks washed out but the 1320 did pretty good I must admit.
The front facing camera will do the job when it comes to things like Skype and the odd selfie here and there. It’s not brilliant but it’s not horrible and hey, it has one! That’s a rare thing on Windows Phone’s these days for some reason.
I do like the fact that Nokia has positioned the camera on the back of the 1320 high up so you aren’t catching the random finger. As I said in my 635 review, this was my biggest complaint around my 520. That wasn’t an issue at all on the 1320.
The battery life is where the Lumia 1320 shines and shines brightly. It is powered by a 3400mAh built-in battery that delivers an incredible amount of performance. During my testing and using the 1320 as my daily phone, I averaged 3-4 hours a day of calls (pretty much normal, sadly), Twitter, Facebook and even a bit of podcast listening or watching. I generally would end the day with 15-25% battery left. No way in hell I’d ever get that out of my iPhone. Period. Generally with my iPhone I’m searching for power by mid-day. Even with my HTC One M8 I’m down to 5-10% by the end of the day if I make it my daily phone.
Put it this way: I get just as much battery life out of the Lumia 1320 as I do my iPad Air and that is including a huge number of phone calls. I really can’t say enough good things about the battery performance.
Now you remember at the beginning of this review I pointed out the weight of the Lumia 1320. Now you know why. That 3400mAh battery comes at a cost and it is weight. Personally, I’ll live with it. Knowing that I can easily cruise through an entire day and not even have to worry about charging my phone is a huge advantage in my book.
Windows Phone 8.1 and Lumia Cyan
The Lumia 1320 comes out of the box with Windows Phone 8.0 and Lumia Black. At the time of this review the Windows Phone 8.1 update and supporting Lumia Cyan update has rolled out to virtually every variant of the 1320 globally. If you are looking at the 1320 be sure to double-check and make sure that they are available on your carrier in your country. You can do that on my upgrade guide.
I upgraded my review 1320 with no problems at all as it is the country variant here in the UK and the upgrade is available.
Remember that the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 is only available as part of the Preview for Developers (which you can download form the Windows Phone Store) which brings Cortana outside of the US along with Live Folders.
Finally, we come to price. Here in the UK the average price of the Lumia 1320 unlocked is around £219. In the US, on Cricket, it comes unlocked at $229. For what the 1320 offers in performance and usability, it is a steal of a deal in my opinion. Nokia positions this phone as the affordable Windows Phone Phablet. I think it checks all the boxes in that respect.
I’m very impressed with the Lumia 1320 on the whole. The performance is outstanding and the battery life I’m still fawning over. Yes you do sacrifice on the camera when you compare it to other devices that are out there, including other Lumia’s. But I’m willing to live with it for the gorgeous display, snappy performance and did I mention the battery life? Also, for the price of just over £200, it is hard to argue with the value for what you get. If you are looking for a Phablet without the massive costs, give this one a serious consideration.
The Lumia 1320 is available worldwide through a variety of carriers and unlocked. For more information, check out the Lumia 1320 page on the Nokia website