There are a lot of things about this phone that remind me of the legendary Nokia brick phones of old. Battery life is absolutely not one of them. This is the first time I’m getting the chance to fully test battery life on a Windows Phone 8 device. Until now, I haven’t seen the option to set display timeout to “never” on one of the Nokia devices—the maximum was 5 minutes on the 920, 820, and 810. The 521 has a 1430 mAh 3.7V battery, putting it at 5.29 Wh—a far cry from the 9+ Wh batteries we see in a lot of higher end phones these days. This results in battery life being...not great—easily one of the poorest results we’ve seen in the 2013 Smartphone Bench after the original Galaxy Note and the notoriously short-lived Galaxy Nexus.

It’s worth noting, too, that the 521 is using single-carrier HSPA+ as the air interface during our mobile broadband test. That’s technically 4G, but obviously offers less bandwidth than the DC-HSPA+ we’re used to seeing on T-Mobile.

AT Smartphone Bench 2013: Web Browsing Battery Life (3G/4G LTE)

AT Smartphone Bench 2013: Web Browsing Battery Life (WiFi)

Cellular Talk Time

I did the battery life testing at the medium brightness setting (191 nits), since that was the closest to the 200 nits we use as the baseline and well within the margin of error. Talk time is a bit more respectable, indicating that the display and backlight are perhaps a bit less efficient than in other devices.

When you think about these results in the context of the battery capacity, the 521 is actually pretty efficient from a power standpoint. Obviously, with a dual-core CPU clocked so low combined with a relatively small display, this makes sense; I just wish that Nokia had specced at least a slightly larger battery to get more competitive runtimes.

Meet the Lumia 521 Performance, IE10 Mobile, and Cellular
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  • toraji - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    forgot to mention the home button.........
  • OoklaTheMok - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Also, many of the Google issues are because of Google, not Windows Phone. Google finally just allowed Microsoft to release their sanctioned YouTube app. Microsoft had released it a long time ago, but Google intentionally kept breaking its functionality when the app would contact the YouTube service.

    And the Maps issue is another case of Google going out of their way to inhibit WP functionality with Google services. Their mobile maps implementation is hard coded to only work correctly, for touch, with WebKit based browsers. IE9 in WP8 is more than capable of being functional, but Google just doesn't want to allow it. Their initial arguments as to why have already been completely proven false. Besides, who would want to use Google maps when we have Nokia's Here Maps with offline support?
  • OoklaTheMok - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    "There is no equivalent to Siri or Google Now."

    Windows Phone has had voice since search before iOS and Google had theirs, it just doesn't have a fancy name. Its not as sexy, or comprehensive as Sri, but it works better based on search competitions I have conducted with people. Frankly, I'd rather have it do a few things really well, than everything mediocre.
  • pandemonium - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    Patiently awaiting the 1020 review. That'll be the deciding factor for me to upgrade to it or not.

    I've already played with it and I'm pretty impressed. The camera easily outperformed my N8 in both results and functionality. My curiousity is the battery life performance. I'm expecting good, but not great and just don't want to get results that are poor. :P
  • toraji - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    there are so many true reviews out there, don't wait for the one from anadtech. You want a true review? Look around

    this one might put you in the right direction
  • fabarati - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    Hey, is that an Asus W3J?
  • VivekGowri - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    Hahaha, I think you know the answer to that.
  • Nexus4Life - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    Interesting review. It's good to also see what can be bought on a budget. Especially in these difficult times.
  • asendra - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    Not even 2 hours ago I had to decide for what budget phone to buy for my father and my sister. All the android options available were mostly crap (android on a low budget phone is just garbage..) so I started looking into windows phone options.

    Here in Europe Nokia has very good track record in this price range, so the options were the lumia 520, the lumia 620 (only 10€ more), and, surprisingly enough, the HTC 8X for the same price (yeah, I don't even know how, they were phasing them out at the store I went..)

    I ended up getting them the 8X because hardware wise is night and day (the 8X being the same as the lumia 920, minus the camera). I hope I made the right decision.. the only thing which made me doubt is the HERE nokia apps, but I've read the maps one, and a few others are no longer nokia exclusive.
  • skiboysteve - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    Wow what a find!

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