Nokia's first tablet - Lumia 2520 hands-on review

At Nokia World in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Nokia unveiled its first tablet, the Lumia 2520. This 10.1-inch screen device sports a curved design, is running Windows 8.1 RT, and has support for LTE.
Nokia, which has spent years developing phones, is a bit late to the tablet game. It's no stranger to competition when it comes to fighting for a piece of the cell phone pie, up against mobile manufacturers, such as Samsung and Motorola, but now the Finnish firm has to also go up against PC manufacturers that are building tablets, including HP, Dell, and Toshiba.
The 2520 is one of only two tablets on the market that ship with Windows 8.1 RT. The other is Microsoft's Surface 2. That, in a way, pits Nokia versus Microsoft, which makes for an interesting battle, considering that Microsoft is on the path to purchase Nokia’s device division.
I had the chance to see the tablet before its launch and what strikes me most about the 2520 is its design. The tablet has a smooth polycarbonate unibody chassis that covers the back and wraps around the sides of the tablet. The back has a slightly curved design that doesn't wobble much when placed on a flat surface, and its thin edges make it comfortable to hold. Overall, it feels high quality and solid. Compared with the Surface 2, it feels more compact, thinner, and lighter.
The 2520's screen closely matches the one on the Surface 2. It's 10.1 inches diagonally and has a full HD 1,920x1,080-pixel (218ppi) display. Like the Lumia smartphones, the 2520 uses Nokia's ClearBlack Display filter, which promises to cut down on glare when you're outside. That's important, because unlike a smartphone, on which you might just be quickly checking your e-mail or taking a photo, you're more likely to spend more time on your tablet outside, reading or watching a video. If the screen's performance outdoors is as good as Nokia says it is, it will make it much easier to use your tablet in sunlight.
The volume rocker and power/lock button are both on the top edge, with USB 3.0 and HDMI ports on the right side. The left side houses the headphone jack and charging port. There's a 6.7-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel HD front-facing camera for Skype calls.
The 2520 has an 8,000mAh battery, which Nokia says will last for 10 hours with normal use. Instead of Micro-USB, the tablet uses a proprietary charger that comes with a feature called "fast charging," which will quickly power up your battery if you're in a rush. With it, you can get a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes, and up to 80 percent in an hour.
A Snapdragon 800 processor with a 8974 chipset for LTE powers the 2520. It's the only RT tablet with LTE (so far), and Nokia says it will only build tablets that have both LTE and Wi-Fi, hoping to play up the idea that you can and should take them with you everywhere.
Windows RT and Nokia apps
Like I mentioned before, the Lumia 2520 is running Windows 8.1 RT. This is a paired-down version of the operating system meant to run on devices with ARM processors (the type of processor commonly used in mobile phones). Nokia says it went with RT because it allows for better battery life, wakes up from sleep faster, and helps keep the tablet thinner, since an x86 processor needed to run Windows 8.1 is thicker than an ARM processor.
Because it's running RT, the tablet comes with the full suite of Microsoft Office for free. It also has other Microsoft apps, such as Mail, Xbox Music, and SkyDrive, preinstalled. Nokia also added a few of its own apps, including Nokia Camera, which combines Smart Cam and Pro Cam features into one app so you can take motion shots and fine-tune the camera settings at the same time.
Another app from Nokia, which is making its debut on the 2520, is called Video Director. This is a video-editing app that lets you edit individual clips and stitch them together into a longer movie. You can add title screens, sound effects, music, and design elements. Video Director won't be available on Lumia phones, but you can use a separate mobile app to move videos you've shot on your Windows Phone to the tablet for editing.
Keyboard cover
To go along with the tablet, Nokia is selling a keyboard cover with a full touch pad and stand for $150. It looks a bit like Microsoft's Type Cover for the Surfaces, but the keyboard part is thicker than the portion that houses the touch pad. The cover also gives the 2520 an extra 5 hours of battery life.
I didn't get a chance to spend time with the cover, but it looks sturdy. We'll have a full review of it as soon as we get our hands on one.
Nokia is well-known for design and that shows in the Lumia 2520. It's pleasing to look at and feels great to hold.
Picking Windows RT over the full-size operating system is an interesting bet, given that RT was a flop in 2012 when Microsoft first announced it -- largely because consumers had a hard time figuring out why they should use it. Nokia will need to convince potential customers that the 2520 can do everything they need it to. For now, the company is hoping that the LTE support and Office Suite will entice buyers who need a portable productivity machine.
Nokia's Lumia 2520 tablet comes in glossy red and white, and a matte finish in black and cyan. Stay tuned for more details on price and availability.