The Good Nokia’s Lumia 521 packs in a better camera and more software features than you might expect for its $150 off-contract price tag.
The Bad No LTE, poor screen quality, and no camera flash make it a reminder that the 521 was not built as a premium smartphone.
The Bottom Line Nokia’s Lumia 521 is one of the best profitable smartphones on any platform, but skip it if LTE is critical.
If you value everything, use the Nokia Lumia 521. from T-Mobile, which costs $ 150 (or $ 130 if you can get it from Walmart), the Windows Phone 8 brings high performance and Nokia signatures to the best value the price.
Its biggest downside is the obvious decrease in screen and camera quality compared to discontinued ones Lumia 810 and upcoming The flagship Lumia 925 – is that 521 does not have LTE support. However, 3G speed will not twist you; The 521 will still ride on the 4G HSPA + TG Mobile network.
Most smartphones at $ 150 give you what you pay for, which is cheap, functional hardware that sometimes struggles with OS requirements. The Lumia 521 delivers an above average experience that is more than the price, as long as you do not need the fastest T-Mobile data rate. T-Mobile customers looking for a fuller package should roll out the Lumia 810 or withstand and save on the Lumia 925, which will definitely cost hundreds of dollars more.
Meet the ultrabudget Nokia Lumia 521 (pictures)
Design and build
The Lumia 521 polycarbonate is matt white and square, smaller than its other Lumia brothers – 4.7 inches by 2.5 inches wide – but still typically thick at a standard 0.4-inch depth.
At 4.4 ounces, it feels sturdy and substantial, and the prominent curve of the back plate balloon comes out comfortably in the hand. He slipped into my back pocket just fine, though his curved size made him stand out a little.
The contrast of the black buttons and screen paired with the white backing and border is striking. However, in terms of appearance, the dull white color of the 521, the dense black shell and the faded display keep it in its budget spot. Also, this is not very bright with automatic settings. I needed to turn off the automatic brightness and set the middle screen to make my viewers happy.
Speaking of this screen, the 521 has a 4-inch WVGA LCD (800×480 pixels resolution) that lacks the brilliant ClearBlack filter and the lush brilliance of the high-quality Nokia Lumia line. This is an expected compromise to fight for cost reductions. However, Nokia has enabled the sensitivity on the high screen of other Lumia phones, which means that you do not have to remove the gloves for the 521.
I think typing in Lumias is more convenient with larger screens, but 4 inches is hardly enough, and fortunately, the standard Windows Phone keyboard is nice and accurate.
Now for a tour of other external hardware meetings. The right spine section has Lumia buttons for the volume, power, and shutter of the camera. Above is a 3.5mm headphone jack, and below is a Micro-USB charging port. The Lumia 521 does not have a front-facing camera (another consideration for the cost), but there is a 5-megapixel shooter on the back – though not a flash.
You may not know this looking, but you can remove the back cover to get into the micro-SIM and microSD card slots under the deck. The first time, it was difficult to break away (pull, twist your fingers and pull the case), but it relaxed after that.
OS and apps
A Windows Phone 8 is basic The Lumia 521 also includes all of Nokia’s custom software that helps distinguish its phones from those of other Windows manufacturers.
You’ll find Nokia Maps and Here Drive turn-by-turn apps, Nokia Music that mixes songs, and various apps to help you work with in-camera cameras. Lenses, attachments that attach to the camera application, add additional shooting modes and options such as Panorama and Smart Shoot, nice touches to bare-bones equipment.
In addition to Nokia shipping, T-Mobile also distributes its own applications such as Ringtones, Scout, T-Mobile TV and a data transfer application. For the most part, pre-downloads are at least only Microsoft eco-systems (such as Office and the digital wallet) and additional Nokia applications.
Reminder, Windows Phone lets you change theme colors, toggle tasks and voice search, and define songs and resize dynamic live tiles on your home screen.
The OS has all your expected Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS connections, as well as support for multiple mailboxes and social networks. There is no NFC on board, so you won’t be able to use Tap + Send to share photos, for example. Wireless charging also sidelined, trying to reduce costs.
Camera and video
Although the 5 megapixel camera has no flash, it did take decent photos. The images looked better in low-light scenarios, though even the low-light dessert looked much better than other cameras.
Overall, the Lumia 521 does not make the photos as clear, detailed or rich as other smartphone cameras. However, the photos are better than the average phone price. In other words, you’ve never bought a Lumia 521 for the camera, but budget seekers should be happy with what they get.
As is usual with Windows Phone, frame time is slower than on other smartphones. It is very possible to miss the moment. However, I am very grateful for the built-in autofocus.
One of the tests is our indoor studio shot, which we take with each smartphone camera (see our comparison gallery here). The colors were even and the objects were more or less sharp. Smartphone cameras often throw in brown, red, or bluish tones. Fortunately, 521 did not.
In addition to taking pictures, the Lumia 520 shoots 720p HD video. Without flash you will need to monitor the environment, but overall autofocus jumped at the right times and the image looked as detailed and crisp as you expected for 720p HD. I will be more than happy to upload a quick video to YouTube or social media, though I probably don’t want to shoot the full-length feature for playback on a large HD TV.
I was able to comfortably make long phone calls while testing the quality of Lumia 521 calls in San Francisco using the T-Mobile network (GSM 850/900/1800/1900). There was some leakage in the stream and I had to set the volume to really hear. In addition, I did not detect background noise in my calls, and the voices sounded natural.
At the end of the line, my lead testing partner had a degraded experience. Although he said I sounded loud enough, my voice was echoing and empty, though understandable. He heard additional distortions on the high top, and noticed that the quality of my voice was a bit impetuous.
Nokia Lumia 521 call quality sampleListen now:
I checked the loudspeaker while holding the device at hip level. The volume immediately jumped. The voices were natural and quite clear, given the nature of the loudspeaker. The sound quality was not too echoing or empty, and although it did not provide absolute clarity, I was able to continue the conversation indoors for long enough without wanting to go back to a standard earphone.
The call quality was not much different from the speakerphone switch and the standard for my subscriber, although he noticed that turning on the speaker reduced the distortion peaks he heard as I spoke to the phone in my ear. Otherwise, the audio features were maintained throughout the transition.
Without the built-in 4G LTE, the Lumia 521 will never load websites or upload photos as smartly as LTE-ready T-Mobile phones. However, 4G HSPA + support means that the 521 is also not stuck in 3G limbo-land.
The speed results obtained through the Speedtest.net application (which we also use for Android and iOS) were consistent with other 4G HSPA + T-Mobile phones I tested in San Francisco. The downlink speed of 3 or 5 Mbps was approximately correct, with a much lower download speed.
Real-world tests designed to power data and processor speed also showed the Lumia 521 in the middle of the pack, exactly where you expected it to be. The download took much longer than 4G HSPA +, not the fastest LTE network, but the boot time was not so long that I wanted to disappoint the phone. Fortunately, it took a little less than 10 seconds to download mobile-optimized sites like m.cnet.com.
It’s worth noting that while T-Mobile’s LTE network is still in its infancy, available in seven cities, most T-Mobile clients use HSPA + on non-LTE phones. With the growth of the LTE network, speed and coverage can change and change. So far, however, we have been impressed with the speed of the 4G carrier . New phones need LTE compatibility to stay attractive.
|Nokia Lumia 521 (T-Mobile 4G, no LTE)|
|Download Endomondo (3MB)||42 seconds|
|Load up Endomondo mobile app||5.3 seconds|
|CNET mobile site load||9.5 seconds|
|CNET desktop site load||28 seconds|
|Boot time to lock screen||38 seconds|
|Camera boot time||3 seconds|
|Camera, shot-to-shot time||2.5 seconds with autofocus|
As for the processor, the Lumia 521 comes with a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8270 processor compared to a dual-core processor for more powerful phones. 521 is not as nimble as it is, which means gamers among you may not see the same clarity or detailed gameplay in difficult graphics games.
Internal storage is 8GB, and phone owners have access to 7.2GB and less than 512MB of RAM compared to 1GB or 2GB in today’s top phones on any platform.
The 1430 mAh 521 removable battery has a capacity of up to 9.6 hours of talk time and 15 days of standby time. It has a digital absorption coefficient of 1.02 watts per kilogram.
Do you have to buy it or miss it?
Although it lacks 4G LTE support, the Nokia Lumia 521 for $ 150 still gives you a little for your money. Pricing is the main offer of this phone, but everything you need seems to work, the hardware is solid, and the camera is better than average. This is a good purchase for anyone looking for a non-contract smartphone with a wallet.
Buy the Lumia 521 if you …
– Want one of the cheapest smartphones
– Check the handset out of contract
– Offer strong camera with HD video capture
– Enjoy the Windows Phone ecosystem
Skip the Lumia 521 if you …
– 4G LTE speed priorities
-Look for slimmer, more sophisticated equipment (hold on to T-Mobile’s Nokia Lumia 925)
– Decide that price is not a problem