Nokia has been pushing a lot of Windows Phone devices lately, mainly to cover all price categories as possible — from entry-level up to the top high-end models. The two latest Lumia devices fall under the entry-level (Lumia 520) and the mid-range (Lumia 720) categories. In this review, we will tackle the Nokia Lumia 720 specifically, and how it positions against the other Windows Phones and smartphones.
Hardware and Design
“The Lumia 720 is flawless.”
Nokia is known to making smartphones with blocky and rectangular corners. That characteristic makes holding them somewhat tiring, and gives you an impression that it is somewhat old. Well, it’s kind of. The design Nokia used on the Lumia 920 has been there since 2011, when the N9 was announced. Some people want a change in that aspect. Thankfully, that change has come in the form of Lumia 720.
The Nokia Lumia 720 is not your typical Lumia device. It is light and slim. It is easy to hold in one hand despite it having a 4.3-inch screen. The glass blends into the curved edges which makes for a seamless ‘flow’ around the phone. There’s no abrupt edges anywhere which makes it feel ergonomic and comfortable in one-handed use. If the Lumia 720 was a skin of a person and I were to describe it, I would say it’s a flawless one.
Moving forward, there is Nokia’s usual button placement. Volume rocker to the right, followed by the power button, the camera button, and the microUSB port at the bottom which is being accompanied by the microphone. The microSD card slot can be found on the left side, and the 3.5mm headphone jack and the micro-SIM card slot at the top — both of which are flush which maintains a clean look overall. Both slots can be accessed easily by using the PIN tool included in the box.
The front is ruled by the 4.3-inch IPS ClearBlack display, with the trio of Windows Phone buttons below, and the front-facing camera and the earpiece at the top. Unfortunately, the bezel at the bottom is still asymmetrical and bears that extra space as on the other Lumia phones. Had it not been there, the looks would have been perfect. It’s not that of a deal breaker though.
The screen by the way sports a WVGA (800x480) resolution, which equates to 217ppi. The colors on the screen look a little washed out, and sometimes the graphics look as if they undergone a compression which is most noticeable when you’re playing games or watching videos. I wish Nokia had put something better on the screen, but until Windows Phone support 1080p screens, it looks like we’re going to be stuck with mid-range devices with this screen resolution.
Everybody should now be familiar that Nokia now uses Windows Phone for their smartphones. The Lumia 720 is no different, it runs on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system. We’ve mentioned in our review of the OS that it still badly lacks some major apps, though it really is worth noting that Microsoft (and Nokia) is doing what they can to attract big-name developers to bring their apps to Windows Phone.
Over the past 6 months, we’ve seen some major apps hit the Windows Phone Store like Pandora, YouTube, Temple Run, Camera360, Hulu, Twitter, and many more. Aside from that, Microsoft is working with the developers too to update existing apps like Facebook,
Apart from the apps available on the Store, Nokia also has its ever-growing own suite of apps. The Nokia Collection offers apps exclusive to the Lumia devices, which is a really good testament to their commitment of providing the best experience available to their customers.
Among those apps are Nokia Drive, Cinemagraph, and Nokia City Lens. Nokia Drive, we all know it, offers free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation with the aid of offline maps — perfect for travel junkies. If you’re a GIF-addict, you should try Cinemagraph. It basically captures multiple sequences of a scene, and after that you can select a subject to mask and animate it. Lastly, the City Lens app gives you an augmented reality view of points of interests around your location. Found the address of a restaurant you’re looking for but don’t know where exactly is it? City Lens is the app for that.
The Lumia 720 can play most of the casual games on the Store, but some of those with intense graphics might probably not install due to the 1GB RAM requirement. Yes, unfortunately, Nokia has decided to go with a 512MB of RAM on the 720.
The Lumia 720 handled most of the day-to-day activities that you would do on a smartphone easily. I only faced minor lags when launching and switching between apps, but once you’re the app is running, there are almost no hiccups at all.
With a 2,000mAh battery, the Lumia 720 trumps almost all other mid-range smartphones. On my usual moderate to heavy usage, the Lumia 720 lasted a little short of 24 hours. I believe that’s pretty impressive since the Wi-Fi and cellular data was always on. In my terms, moderate to heavy usage consists of three 2-minute calls, sending a few SMS, 1 hour gaming, 1 movie streamed from the Internet, and using apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
The Lumia 720 supports the Qi wireless charging standard too, with the use of a separate case. I haven’t tried that though as I don’t have a wireless charger and the case.
The camera of the Lumia 720 is one of the best, if not really the best, cameras in smartphones today. Don’t be fooled by the 6.7 Megapixels sensor it has, it really means nothing. You’ve got to use it to see how amazing it's camera quality is. We found the Lumia 720’s camera to be outstanding in low-light. Check out the samples we took below.
What I really liked about the Lumia 720’s camera is that it takes photos with the right colors even the lighting conditions are not good. For example, when I was at an event, my Note 2 takes bluish shots due to the all-blue lighting at the venue. The Lumia 720, meanwhile, managed to take photos with the true color tones.
I think, it was so good that Nokia should have added the PureView label on the Lumia 720. That really says it all.
Here’s my final say on the Lumia 720. If you want a PureView-like camera which you can find on the Lumia 920, a good Windows Phone experience and a phone that can last a day, but does not have the budget, go for the Lumia 720.
However, if the display quality and the low amount of RAM are stopping you, I suggest that you go for the Lumia 920. You’ll also get LTE with that.
Slim body and solid build quality
Easy to hold
Amazing camera quality
Long-lasting battery life
Display quality is not that good, though still acceptable
Nokia Lumia 720 Specifications and Features
4.3-inch IPS ClearBlack WVGA (800x480) display with Super Sensitive Touch
1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor
6.7 Megapixels autofocus camera with Carl Zeiss optics and LED flash, f/1.9 aperture
1.3 Megapixel front-facing camera
HD 720p video recording at 30fps
8 mass memory, expandable by 64GB using microSD
GSM - 850/900/1800/1900
3G/HSPA+ - 850/900/1900/2100
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
2,000mAh battery capacity with wireless charging
Windows Phone 8 OS