It is hard not to be overwhelmed with the Lumia 1320. It’s not that there aren’t any phablets in the market, it’s just that the 6-inch screen territory is a whole different ballgame.
The front of the phone is, quite unsurprisingly, dominated entirely by the screen. It measures 6-inch for those keeping count. Beneath the screen are the three capacitive buttons that are part of the chassis requirement for Windows Phone. On the top is the Nokia logo, along with a front facing camera and your usual assortment of sensors. Compared to what we’ve seen from LG and such, the Lumia 1320 has relatively large bezels, particularly at the bottom. I can’t help but feel that the phone would do much better with software based navigation keys. But that is not something we will be seeing until Windows Phone 8.1. And even then, the Lumia 1320 will not get them since this is a hardware related issue that can’t be solved via software.
The back of the phone is almost entirely plain, save for the small speaker grill, a camera and an LED flash. The back cover can be removed to reveal a battery that cannot be replaced, a microSD card slot and a micro SIM card slot. Taking this cover off is quite an ordeal, so if you regularly swap microSD cards, it can get a tad annoying.
On the side you will find your regular three button arrangement: volume rocker, power button and a camera shutter key. On the top is a 3.5mm port and at the bottom is a micro USB port.
The Nokia Lumia 1320 is neither the slimmest, nor the lightest phone in the market. In fact, it is far from being the thinnest or the lightest even in its respective category. At 220g in weight and 9.8mm thick, it is pushing the boundaries of what can be considered easy to use. The 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega from Samsung for example, weighs just 199g and 8mm in thickness. The Galaxy Mega, despite its 6.3-inch screen, is only 3mm longer than the Lumia 1320. Neither of these two phones are usable with one hand, but Samsung I believe has done a much better job of it. That is not to say that Lumia 1320 is bad, it’s just that I would advise any potential buyer to have a hands-on experience before purchasing it.
Luckily though the built is as strong as we would expect from Nokia. The plastic is not the beautiful looking one found on the Lumia 1020 or 1520, it leans more towards what Nokia has on the Lumia 520. But it is a strongly built phone. Don’t forget that this is not a flagship phone. For its price, I believe its just as good, if not better than other phones in the market.
At a colossal 6-inch diagonal, the display is easily the highlight of the Lumia 1320. It is why anyone would buy this phone over any other Windows Phone. However because this is not a flagship phone, Nokia had to make a few compromises.
The first compromise is the resolution. The 6-inch panel has 1280 x 720 pixels, nearly the same number of pixels you’d find in the Lumia 1020 we reviewed a few months ago; that phone has a 4.5-inch screen. This results in a pixel density of 245 on the Lumia 1320. On any other phone I’d say this is below par, but on the Lumia 1320, for some reason, it did not trouble me all that much. Sure if you pixel peep, you may find them. But because the screen is so big, more often than not you’d find yourself looking at it from a greater distance than, say, an iPhone 5. Pixel density is not great, but it’s not that big of a problem as some may presume.
Though the colors, viewing angles and contrast leave a bit to be desired. It is an IPS panel, but viewing angles are rather narrow. There is great loss of contrast if you look at the screen from an angle. Colors are quite muted generally, especially compared to AMOLED panels on some of the other Lumia phones. Sunlight legibility however, is great. Nokia provides a dedicated toggle switch for sunlight mode.