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At a recent and very swanky press event that offered stunning views of the Johannesburg skyline by sunsetNokia South Africa announced the Nokia Lumia 1520 Windows Phone and the Nokia Asha 500 series of smartphones.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is the first 6-inch Nokia Lumia series phone in South Africa. It sports a gorgeous full HD screen, inductive wireless charging (wireless charging plate sold separately), 4G capabilities, a 20 megapixel PureView camera, a host of innovative Nokia applications and a wonderful polycarbonate shell (available in red, yellow, white and black).

The Lumia 1520 is more ‘phablet’ than phone and is actually bigger and heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2; coming in at a sizeable 16.3cm in height, 8.54cm wide, a depth of only 0.87cm, and weighs 209 grams. Despite the Lumia 1520’s size, the phone is still able to slip easily into a pants pocket.

Although the Lumia 1520 is a little too big for my taste (I prefer being able to use a phone with one hand) the phone itself is quite beautiful. The screen is the real showcase of the device and offers a rich array of colours and a superb 368ppi pixel density.

The Lumia 1520 has all of the bells and whistles that accompany flagship mobile phones such as Dual Band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, Gorilla Glass 2 to cover the wonderful 6-inch IPS Full HD LCD display, 2G/3G/4G world band capable, microSD card slot up to 64GB (includes 16GB of internal memory) and pretty much every sensor that could possibly be packed into a phone (accelerometer, GPS, proximity etc.).

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is now available on contracts in South Africa starting from R449 per month.

Vamers - FYI - Gadgetology - Nokia Introduces the Lumia 1520 and Asha 500 Series Smartphones - Nokia Lumia 1520 Hands On

In addition to the Nokia Lumia 1520, the Finnish company also announced the Nokia Asha 500 series of smartphones.

According to Shaun Durandt, Nokia South Africa’s general manager, the Nokia Asha 201 was the best selling smartphone in South Africa for over 12 months. In fact, it helped Nokia maintain its lead as the number one mobile phone brand in South Africa in terms of overall sales. As such, the Nokia Asha series of phones is important to the Finnish company, which hopes to further solidify its presence in emerging markets with the Nokia Asha 500 series of smartphones.

The new line of ‘affordable’ Nokia smartphones consists of the Asha 500, 502 and 503.

Vamers - FYI - Gadgetology - Nokia Introduces the Lumia 1520 and Asha 500 Series Smartphones - Nokia Asha 500, 502 and 503 Hands On

Each phone in the Nokia Asha 500 series has a new ‘dual shot’ casing, which combines an inner layer of bold, bright colour surrounded by crystal-clear transparency – reminiscent of Microsoft’s now defunct range of Zune media players. The combination adds a distinctive look to the phones monobody design whilst the polycarbonate feel adds a sense of durability that accompanies the phones Gorilla Glass screens. The phones also have built in WiFi (b/g/n), GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, MicroSD slots, 3.5mm headphone jack and a Micro-USB port for charging and syncing.

The Nokia Asha 503 is 3G device that features a 3-inch touch screen and a five megapixel camera with LED flash. It has an estimated recommended retail price (RRP) of R1199.

The Nokia Asha 502 is a 2G device that features a 3-inch touch screen, a five megapixel camera with LED flash and dual sim capacity. It has an estimated recommended retail price (RRP) of R1199.

The Nokia Asha 500 is the most affordable of the new phones and is a 2G device that features a 2.8-inch touch screen and a two megapixel camera. It has an estimated recommended retail price (RRP) of R899.

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Nokia introduces wealth of innovative smartphones at Johannesburg showcase

Johannesburg, South Africa – Nokia today announced the arrival of its first 6-inch Lumia smartphone in South Africa, the Nokia Lumia 1520. The Nokia Lumia 1520 is now available in black, yellow and white on contracts starting at R449 per month. The new large screen Lumia is joined by three affordable smartphones in the shape of the Nokia Asha 500, 502 and 503, all of which feature ‘frost’ design and new Asha OS featuring Fastlane. The new Asha range is expected to arrive in South Africa starting in March 2014.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 comes with a 1080p Full HD screen with an enhanced start screen featuring an additional 3rd column of live tiles, allowing people to get to their favourite apps faster with less scrolling. Thanks to the 20MP PureView camera with optical image stabilisation, oversampling technology and zooming capabilities, people can easily capture and edit high quality pictures and tell better stories. The Nokia Lumia 1520 brings personal stories to life with Nokia Storyteller and Nokia Camera, and the bigger screen enables a fantastic Microsoft Office experience.

“We are significantly expanding our Lumia portfolio in more ways than one with the Nokia Lumia 1520,” said Shaun Durandt, Nokia’s GM for South Africa. “With our latest imaging innovations and the best from Microsoft brought to a new form factor, we’re helping people to capture the world around them and do more on the go.”


Telling stories better on a large screen

Creating the best high quality images gets even easier with Nokia Lumia 1520 and its 20MP PureView camera with optical image stabilization. Building on the imaging innovations and experiences introduced with Lumia 1020 and now optimized for a larger screen, the Lumia 1520 includes the Nokia Camera app. Nokia Camera integrates the most popular imaging modes – Pro, Smart, and video – into one seamless interface.

For outstanding video experience, the Nokia Lumia 1520 captures full HD video with crystal-clear audio. It uses Nokia Rich Recording with four microphones, providing directional stereo recording capability to capture distortion free audio from the preferred direction for accurate and clear sound. 

For the first time, PureView imaging meets HERE maps with the launch of Nokia Storyteller merging the two signature Lumia experiences together. Relive memories in an interactive way that automatically integrates pictures with location information into a chronological picture journey on a map.

Featuring integrated wireless charging, the Nokia Lumia 1520 takes advantage of the new portable wireless charging plate DC-50 from Nokia to help stay charged easily on the go. 

The all-new Asha range

The showcase also saw the announcement of three new devices in Nokia’s affordable Asha range of smartphones.

“We have expanded the Asha family with a trio of smartphones that offer consumers a choice of handset that suits their budget, each with stunning design, great social apps, and new imaging experiences,” continued Durandt.

Nokia Asha 503 is a 3.5G device, and pushes the boundaries of affordable smartphone innovation with a unique layered design and a scratch-resistant, curved Gorilla Glass screen. With a five megapixel camera and LED flash, the Nokia Asha 503 provides a smarter imaging experience through ‘swipe’ and one-touch social sharing. The Nokia Asha 503 has an estimated recommended retail price (RRP) is R1199.

Joining the Asha 503 is the dual SIM Nokia Asha 502 at an estimated RRP of R1199, and the most affordable device in the range, the Nokia Asha 500 at an estimated RRP of R899. All the new devices are built with the Nokia hallmarks of manufacturing quality and outstanding battery life.

The range features an innovation known as layered design, achieved using the ‘dual shot’ technique which is unique to Nokia. It combines an inner layer of bold, bright colour surrounded by crystal-clear transparency. The combination adds a distinctive look to the phone’s monobody design, as well as durability. The high-end design is a clear differentiator, as are the craftsmanship and attention to detail.  

The new Nokia Asha range bring a fully redesigned user interface. Swipe is the main gesture for navigating the phone – whether answering a call, viewing notifications or closing an app. Swipe also activates the built-in camera. Just swipe up from the lock screen to start the camera and touch anywhere on-screen to take a photo. The camera experience is also more social, with the option to post an image to Facebook or Twitter with just one touch.

Fastlane is the unique, second screen that acts as a shortcut to the phone’s recently accessed apps, features and content, as well as future activity, such as calendar appointments. It’s the fastest way to access an app in its last state, as well as being the social hub of the Nokia Asha range. Deeper integration with social networks now enables live updates, which alerts people with notifications on Fastlane. By clicking on the Fastlane item with new notifications, people will be directed to the relevant post, so they never miss an important update.

Nokia also took the opportunity to announce its sponsorship of World Design Capital 2014, Cape Town. Nokia’s design heritage spans many decades, designing and manufacturing handsets for millions of consumers around the world, making Nokia part of a truly global dialogue.

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Owner, founder and editor-in-chief at Vamers, Hans has a vested interest in geek culture and the interactive entertainment industry. With a Masters degree in Communications and Ludology, he is well read and versed in matters relating to video games and communication media, among many other topics of interest.