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Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet hits AT&T on Nov. 15, and here’s what we know about it

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is one of the year’s most leaked smartphones, and we’ve been following its story ever since before it was revealed under the codename of the Nokia Bandit, way back in April. Nokia launched the Lumia 1520 during a busy event in Abu Dhabi on October 22, although the device’s significance was played down at the time. It’s a notable release for several reasons: it could be one of the last Nokia-branded smartphones; it’s the very first to use the new version of Windows Phone; and it’s the first phablet, or smartphone/tablet hybrid, for Windows.

Thinking about buying one? It’s out soon, but in the meantime, gorge yourself on these facts about the massive Windows phone.

Updated on 11/06/2013 by Andy: AT&T has put the Lumia 1520 up for pre-order, at a lower price than expected for the unlocked model, with a release date of November 15.

How big is it? 

Nokia hasn’t messed around when it comes to the size of its first smartphone/tablet hybrid. The screen is larger than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the HTC One Max, and the LG Optimus G Pro. At 6-inches, it’s eclipsed only by monsters like the Xperia Z Ultra. A display this big needs a serious resolution, and the 1920 x 1080 pixel count is the best you can get.

Nokia Lumia 1520 RedThe phone measures 162 x 85 x 8.7mm, which is about the same as the HTC One Max, although it’s slimmer by 1.6mm. We commented on the hefty weight of the HTC One Max, which at 217 grams is almost 50 grams heavier than the Note 3. The Lumia 1520 comes close to matching HTC’s phone, as it weighs in at 209 grams, again making Samsung’s 168 gram phablet look positively trim.

How powerful is it?

Powering the Lumia 1520 is the year’s most popular high-end processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, running at 2.2GHz and backed up by 2GB of RAM. This sees it slot in-between the Galaxy Note 3 and the HTC One Max, as the former has the same processor but with 3GB of RAM, while the latter uses a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 chip and 2GB of RAM. It does, however, match the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

How are 1080p and quad-core power possible on Windows Phone?

You may be wondering why it has taken manufacturers so long to introduce the specs we’ve been seeing on Android phones for the last year. It’s all Microsoft’s fault, as Windows Phone 8 didn’t support resolutions higher than 720p, or processors with more than two cores.

That has changed with Windows Phone 8 Update 3, which comes already installed on the Lumia 1520. At the moment, Nokia is the only manufacturer to announce a phone running the software, but that’s sure to change in the near future. 

Windows Phone 8 Update 3 also adds the ability to show another column of Live Tiles on the Home screen, bringing the total up to three, plus a new driving mode, a screen orientation lock, and improved accessibility features.

Has it got a PureView camera?

Yes, Nokia’s signature camera technology is a part of the Lumia 1520. The camera has 20-megapixels, six-lens Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, a 1/2.5-inch backside illuminated sensor and an f/2.4 aperture. A dual-LED flash will help the low-light shots. It can shoot video in 1080p and makes use of four microphones to record great sounding stereo audio using Nokia Rich Recording technology.

The new Nokia Camera app incorporates the features previously seen in the Nokia Smart Cam and Nokia Pro Cam apps, plus there’s Cinemagraph, Creative Studio, and a Panorama mode. The latest addition to its suite of photo apps is Storyteller, which adds your photos to a map, plays animations made in Cinemagraph automatically, and can pull contact information out of tagged photos.

Lumia 1520 Protective CoverWhat about the other features and accessories?

Continuing down the Lumia 1520’s spec list you’ll find 4G LTE connectivity, 32GB of internal storage, a MicroSD card slot, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, a 1.2-megapixel video call camera, and an FM radio.

The 3400mAh battery is expected to power the Lumia 1520 for a maximum of 25 hours 3G talktime. The phone has wireless charging built-in, and you can purchase Nokia’s DC-50 Wireless Charging Plate to recharge on the go. This brightly colored gadget is like on of those plug-in battery boosters, except there’s no need to plug anything in; the phone only needs to rest on top of the plate.

Nokia has also introduced a protective cover for the 1520, which operates a little like Apple’s Smart Case for the iPad. Attached to the hard shell rear is a screen cover, which can be folded round to become a stand. Nokia has remained quiet about price and availability, but according to WMPowerUser.com, it’ll cost 30 euros (about $41) and come in black, yellow, red, and white.

When and where can I buy it, and how much will it cost?

The price of an unlocked, SIM-free Lumia 1520 was thought to be $750, but AT&T is selling it for less, and it’s going on sale November 15. AT&T confirmed it would be the exclusive carrier for the 4G LTE phone in America soon after it was announced, and the phone is available to pre-order now.

By visiting the Microsoft Webstore, you can grab a Lumia 1520 either on or off contract with AT&T, and in black, white, yellow or red color schemes. If you don’t mind signing up for two years, then the upfront cost of the phone is $200, or if you’d prefer to simply buy the phone outright, it’s priced at $550, which is far more reasonable than the $750 originally expected. Should you order one, it’s set for release on November 15, and shipping starts at $10. The Nokia Lumia 1520 will also be sold in the UK, Germany, France, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, and China.