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.