The Nokia 2520 is an elegant and well featured tablet but it's too expensive and its Windows RT operating system lacks apps that you can expect to get with Android or Apple tablets.
Nokia’s phone and tablet business now belongs to Microsoft and the pair partnered up before the buyout in an agreement that would see Nokia concentrate on smartphones based on Windows operating systems.
While there have been plenty of Nokia Windows phones, the 2520 is the first Windows RT tablet from Nokia.
The jury is still out on Windows RT, which cannot run the extensive software library available for regular Windows and has its own app library that must be downloaded through the Microsoft Store.
Windows RT does not have the market share that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms have and subsequently developers don’t automatically create RT versions of apps.
Where this can hurt is at special events where there is often a handy iOS and Android app accompanying the gig but nothing for Windows RT or for that matter, Windows Phone, the smartphone sibling of Windows RT.
That said, the 2520 is a cute looking thing, especially if you choose one of the optional bright colours for the polycarbonate back plate. While the review unit came in basic black, I also saw a red one that looked quite flash.
Underneath the hood there’s a 2.2Ghz, ARM-based quad core processor coupled to 2GB of system memory that makes short work of browsing, video watching, light gaming and running the RT version of Microsoft Office, bundled in as part of the package.
There’s 32GB of storage memory, which can be boosted via the unit’s micro SD card as well as nicely integrated cloud storage through Microsoft’s OneDrive service.
The 2520 has extra mobility credentials in that it can take a mobile broadband SIM card (with support for 4G LTE) and doesn’t have to tether to a smartphone for bandwidth when you are out in the wild.
The 10.1-inch screen is excellent with full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and very good viewing angles and impressive brightness. I found just 75 to 80 per cent brightness was enough to have the colours really pop out of the screen. It also works well outside in the glare. This is one of the better screens I have sampled on a tablet and beats the one on the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet while rivalling the display on Apple’s iPad Air.
Around the back there’s a useful 6.7 megapixel camera and a 1.2 megapixel camera at the front for video conferencing and selfies.
An annoyance is that you cannot charge the 2520 using a plain old USB lead like you can the Nokia smartphones. Instead there’s a proprietary charger with a cable that fits into a port on the lower left of the device.
The high-rate charger does have the advantage of goosing the tablet to 80 per cent charge capacity in an hour but you must remember to carry the thing when travelling.
I’d much prefer both options with USB cable charging available for emergencies.
There is a USB 3.0 port for plugging in thumb drives and accessories such as a mouse.
The sweet screen, 4G mobile broadband, speedy operation and bundled in Microsoft Office are all nice features to have on a tablet, which Nokia says is aimed at the mobile small business market.
If Nokia is correct about the target market then I expect many customers will plump for the optional Power Keyboard, which is both a substantial cover that completely encloses the 2520 and folds out into a stand with a decent, chiclet style keyboard with a touch pad.
The Power Keyboard also adds extra battery capacity, which bolsters the already beefy 8000 mAh internal battery and supplies an extra four to five hours of juice as well as a pair of extra USB ports. A problem with the stand is that it has only one position, unlike the neat dual angle prop stand that’s included in Microsoft’s Surface 2 tablet.
Now for the sticker shock moment. The 2520 costs a hefty $840 outright and the Power Keyboard adds an extra $240, which means you are paying well over a grand for a Windows RT tablet you can type on.
Compare that to $529 for Microsoft’s Surface 2 plus another $150 for the Surface’s Type Cover accessory keyboard and the 2520 begins looking like poor value even with the nice bits.
At the moment the 2520 is only available through Telstra and Nokia argues that many will buy it on a two-year plan that includes 4G data and hides the high outright price. Maybe, we shall see.