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Review: Shoddy software and design mar Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet

You know that idiom about redheaded stepchildren? Well, it can be applied to the Nokia Lumia 2520, which sticks out like a sore thumb in a vast sea teeming with tablets (and not for any positive reason).

Don't get me wrong, there are hardware positives to the tablet: it's LTE-enabled (which is also a negative, but more on that later), the full-HD screen is great, the battery life is impressive (10ish hours) and its guts (2GB RAM, 2.2Ghz quad-core processor) are respectable. But the lackluster performance of the underpowered Windows 8.1 RT operating system makes me want to plant my head against my desk. Why build an exceptional tablet only to have it held back by its OS?

Simple tasks are OK

Windows RT is pretty to look at. It's fine for simple tasks. But I don't see why Nokia didn't just give users Windows 8, forgoing RT altogether. And it's that flaw that I consider the worst offense, because if I have an OS that looks like Windows 8, I want it to be Windows 8, not some stripped-down version.

The second offense is the thing's physical design. Nokia touts it as a tablet/laptop hybrid, but in order to get the full hybrid experience users have to purchase a $150 keyboard cover. The cover adds a track pad, two USB 2.0 ports and secondary battery. Without the $150 add-on to the already $400 device, the 2520 is missing features that help it break the mold. That prevents it from being a true hybrid.

Using the 2520 as a tablet is kind of fatiguing, too. It's a heavy device, coming in at 1.36 pounds (compared to the Apple iPad Air at one pound), which means wielding it one-handed won't be a truly comfortable experience for many users. Adding the aforementioned keyboard cover, and the weight jumps to nearly three pounds.

The 2520 is LTE-enabled, which is great, but it also boxes out a large cluster of potential customers who want Wi-Fi-only devices, since the 2520 comes with LTE whether you want it or not. So, immediately customers are saddled with more data fees, or they have to pony up an extra $100 to buy an unsubsidized 2520. Five hundred bucks for a tablet is asking a lot these days, especially if your company's name doesn't begin with Ap and end with ple.

A huge thing for potential owners to consider is that the Windows Store's app selection is hit-or-miss. There's no Instagram and Spotify, for example. No doubt they'll become available, but when is anyone's guess.

Admirable camera

And it's a shame a popular app like Instagram isn't available, since the 2520 has an admirable 6.7-megapixel camera with ZEISS optics that takes adequate pictures.

Nokia done goofed with the Lumia 2520. If the device ran on Windows 8, cost less and came in a Wi-Fi-only version, then it'd be a contender, and something I'd entertain buying were I in the market for a tablet. As it is, the 2520 isn't anything to write home about, and people aren't missing anything should they choose to ignore its existence.

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Richard Hall

Richard Hall is an award-winning newsroom developer, editor and blogger for NewsOK. He was born in Austin, Texas, spent his childhood in southern California and has lived in Norman since 1999. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Read more ›