Review: Nokia Lumia 720

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It is well known that smartphones are replacing personal computers rapidly although they are much under-powered than a personal computer. Almost all the common tasks can be done in a smartphone as good as they can be done on a personal computer. They are becoming like a necessity in our day-to-day life.  It helps us to keep connected with our family and friends through out the day. The smartphone markets are increasing competition among each other, focusing on the mid-range budget.

Quote from The Verge:

Nokia’s family of Windows Phone 8 handsets just continues to grow. The Finnish smartphone maker is pushing its Lumia devices into the low- and mid-range with devices like the Lumia 620 and 520, but a surprising entry in the form of the Lumia 720 makes Nokia’s budget smartphones a lot more interesting. While the Lumia 920 includes high-end specs and an impressive camera, it’s a bulky and heavy device that doesn’t appeal to everyone. Likewise, the Lumia 820 lacks any wow factor with a bland and hefty design and mid-range specs. But the 720 appears to combine the right size with the right design, something the middle of Nokia’s lineup has lacked.

Here I’m going to review the Nokia Lumia 720, the middle-end phone from Nokia of the Lumia series. Does it catch upto its Android rivals at the price point? Is it worth for the price it asks? Let me get those answers through this detailed review.

The phone is… SIMPLE, SLEEK, and EFFICIENT

The design is something which is special on this phone. You can say, it is one of the + point of Nokia products and they are known for it. The company seems to have improved upon with the 720. The 720 has the same solidity feel of the 920 in our hand packed into a more convenient size and weight.

Nokia made it the lightest, thinnest, the best looking Lumia till date

The Lumia 920 was ridiculed for being too heavy and keeping in mind the mistake, it seems that Nokia tried their best to reduce the weight. Yes, they’ve tried and made it the lightest, thinnest, the best looking Lumia till date. Although the 720 is a no alternate for the 920, this is how the previous Nokia flagship should have been in our opinion. The matte finish is one more excellent step up from the glossy back of the 920. No problem of the attraction of fingerprints on the 720, the screen is also smudge free.

The button placements are similar to the other members in the Lumia family. Volume rockers, lock/unlock button, and a dedicated camera button near the bottom on the right edge. A headphone/earphone jack and a microSIM slot on the top edge. A microSD slot on the left edge and a micro-USB port on the bottom.

The side bezels on the front are much thinner than on the 920 which was looking awkward making it look like a bigger display than it actually was. Even though the display on the 720 is not completely covered with no space wasted, is looks better and utilizes the space than the 920.

Below the screen are the standard Windows Phone buttons(touch sensitive) – Back, Home, Search. Holding the back button brings the multitasking window where you can see the open apps in background, basically where you can switch between apps. Holding the home button brings you the ‘Speech’. The search button found to be useless to me, most of us really doesn’t need or won’t use it. I would have preferred the button to launch some other application instead. I wish they’ll allow us to customize the button to launch any application we want in the next update.

Above the screen, it has the NOKIA logo, the call speaker just above the logo and the front facing camera left to the call speaker. At the back is the rear camera with an LED flash on the left and Carl Zeiss branding below, a NOKIA logo in the middle, three wireless charging pins on the bottom and the speaker on the bottom left corner.

Display:

On paper, you might get disappointed to know that it comes with a low resolution of 480×800 IPS LCD screen at just 217 pixels per inch. Still, in real life experience, it is not as bad as you see on the paper. Even though it is 217 pixels per inch, which is almost half to what some of the high-end smartphones provide, I can see that Nokia has done a good job to enhance the screen as much as possible, reducing the blurriness(you can see the text pixelated if you are coming from a high-end smartphone, say, you will know the difference of the pixels per pinch, still not bad for the price it asks), the colors look more natural than that of an AMOLED display. Nokia has given the 720 some of the features of its elder siblings which includes the  ”sunlight readability mode” that automatically makes the screen brighter and one of the feature of 920 which even the 820 doesn’t have which is the high sensitive touch screen, provides the ability to operate the phone with a gloves. It’s anyhow disappointing that Nokia doesn’t pack a 720p display on the mid-range devices, especially now, when the high-end Android smartphones are already with 1080p screens. Until Windows Phone 8 supports 1080p screens, the mid- range phones will continue to have a WVGA screen.

Audio and Call Quality:

One of the best thing as a hardware I found on the 720 is the speaker. The audio quality and the loudness is simply great when put on the Dolby Headphone Mode! Much better than Galaxy S3 or Note 2. As for the bundled earphones that came with the phone, I can’t say anything because I was not able to fit it into my ears. The call quality is also great.

Camera:

 

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 It takes low light images brighter than even any of the high-end Android devices including the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The 720 comes with a 6.7 MegaPixel rear snapper with Carl Zeiss, and enhanced low light performance. Most of the manufacturers tend to hesitate, to put a good enough camera on mid-ranged smartphones while they make the other parts of the phone better by cost cutting on the camera. Since the launch of the 920, we know that Nokia is focusing on the camera more than anything, on phones. Fortunately, Nokia has placed decent enough cameras on the front and the back. During the launch of the 720, Nokia had stated that some of their ‘PureView’ elements are also getting into lower price points. The “PureView” marketing term is used by Nokia on high-end devices that include features like optical imaging stabilization and improved low-light performance. Although the Lumia 720 isn’t branded PureView, it out performs other mid-rangers in the low-light performance.
It takes low light images brighter than even any of the high-end Android devices including the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. But, not upto the Lumia 920(or up). The flash also works as good as it should be. But, the images took under daylight are average. The pictures look washed out like there is fog outside. What I found is that it tries make the image brighter, even in day light. It can be fixed by an update easily as the 920 also ad issues with day light performance which an update fixed it all. The images took with the 720 look good on its screen but when viewing in a larger screen, the pics look a bit blurry and washed out.  The inbuilt Camera app let’s you change a few settings including Scenes – [Auto(default), Close-up, Night, Night Portrait, Sports, Backlight], ISO – [Auto(default), 100, 200, 400, 800], Exposure Value, White Balance, Aspect Ratio, Focus Assist Light.

It comes with some of the Smart Lenses found on its other Windows Phone 8 Lumia siblings like Bing Vision which is used to scan QR codes and Microsoft tags, Cinemagraph which can create GIFs from images(it is quite funny at times), Panorama which used to capture panoramas, Nokia Glam Me which is basically a very basic photo editor, and Smart Shoot which takes a bunch of photos and lets you decide the best photo, remove unwanted objects and choose the best face too.

Smart Shoot, one of the much advertised feature by Nokia, works good but not great. As I stated above, it takes a bunch of photos and lets you decide the best pic, best face and remove unwanted objects. Removing unwanted object, umm, I don’t  know what it does really. Choosing the best face and photo on the other side works well in most of the cases. Impressed by this feature.

Panorama – Instead of holding the phone and moving it around, it works in a different way, say, Nokia did it in a new way. [Credit for this sentence: NDTV Gadgets - Click a photograph and watch it appear on the left most corner of your screen and stay there. You are then expected to align this picture with the real world view that you see on your screen, and when the two are perfectly aligned, click another one.] Then the phone stitches these pics together.

Camera Samples:

This phone is capable of recording 720p videos which is fairly adequate for the price it asks and those recoreded with 720 look good too. However, it does not feature the OIS(Optical Image Stabilization) found on the 920, for this price, no one would expect that. The built-in mic picks up the sounds pretty well.

The front-facing is a 1.3 MegaPixel camera, which is also capable of recording 720p videos. In my opinion, it took decent enough pics and videos.

Windows Phone 8:

The user interface, it is what made me choose a Lumia. Easy to use. Fast. Smooth. There’s nothing complicated in Windows Phone(8) like as in Android. No customization – just changing the color of the live tiles, changing the size of the tiles and choosing a wallpaper for the lockscreen, nothing else! Like Tom Warren of The Verge said, “If you’re familiar with Windows Phone 8, then you won’t find many surprises here”. But, new users will find it interesting, who doesn’t need all those Apps and Games. Only problem I found is that, it’s not smooth when scrolling slowly, it applies to the whole system, everywhere, be it the Internet Explorer and other apps. You won’t find this if you are coming from a lower-end device.

It comes pre-loaded with some of the apps which includes BIGFLIX (entertainment), BookMyShow (booking tickets), Cosmopolitan (lifestyle magazine), HERE Drive, HERE Maps, Hike (messaging), Nokia Music, TripAdvisor (travel), and Zomato (food/ restaurants guide) and Photo Beamer. These apps are standard for other Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices.

Browsing in the 720 was no pain, thanks to the beautiful and fast Internet Explorer. Everything loaded much perfect as it should. As I said above, scrolling is a bit of issue, a small one. I wish it’ll be fixed in an update. Office, OneNote and Wallet also works fine as expected. I must admit that Windows Phone 8 will get you the best Office experience excluding a PC. Photo Beamer lets you beam photos to any device over WiFi, you can make use of a big screen for a wireless slideshow from the phone.

XBOX Games is your Gaming Hub, where all of your installed games appear/ where all of the games get installed. You can change the profile details/customize your gaming profile there.

No wonder how the app ‘Transfer My Data’ works. It can transfer contacts, text messages and photos from your old phone to the Lumia over Bluetooth very easily. In my case, it transferred every contact, and text messages from a Symbian phone without any hassle. The phone also comes with 1-year free Music downloading subscription from Nokia which has almost every song on the earth.

Hardware Capability:

The Lumia 720 is possible of handling most of the common tasks easily, and smoothly. May it be internet browsing, playing videos or music, checking e-Mails, editing Office files. Everything ran beautifully.

It is also capable of playing almost every apps and games that are on the Store without any problems. Some of the games I tried are: Jet Set Go, Jetpack Joyride, AE Bowling 3D, AE Fruit Slash, Drag Racing, Mini Carrom. All ran as smooth as it plays on any of the devices.
But, one disappointing factor of the Lumia 720 is that it comes with only 512MB RAM. A few games can be only run with phones with 1 GB RAM or higher. Temple Run and Asphalt 7, which was available to only for devices with 1GB RAM is now available for all devices. Asphalt 7 was released by lowering the graphics to make it smooth. Game lovers may get disappointed here.

Battery Life:

The battery life, it is huge. Lasts long, really long!

Unlike Android, Windows Phone 8 has a great management on the battery. With 2,000 mAh battery on the Lumia 720, it is one of the smartphone that lasts long, really long! It’s 350 mAh bigger than the battery found on the 820. Nokia really deserve a thumbs up for packing a big battery on a mid-ranged phone.

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BUT… Windows Phone 8 still lacks a good Market Place

It is said that even after more than 6 months the release of Windows Phone 8, the number of apps/games haven’t increased much in amount. While most of the latest apps/games are releasing on iOS or Android. If you are addicted to apps and games, you should never go for a Windows Phone 8 device. You’ll be regretting after getting one. But if you are not much towards apps and games, the Windows Phone 8 will DEFINITELY serve you well!

Conclusion:

Retailing now at Rs. 18000(approx. 303$), it is not a bad choice at all! A decent camera, well built body, nicely designed user interface, great battery life and a beautiful design at a fair price can’t make it wrong. Yes, Windows Phone 8 has a very limited number of apps compared to iOS and Android but unless you are addicted to them, Windows Phone 8 is your choice!

 

Let’s roll to the quick pros and cons of the phone.

Pros:

  • Awesome design
  • Great battery life
  • Slim and lightweight
  • Good low light camera performance

Cons:

  • Average daylight camera
  • 512MB RAM
  • Low resolution screen