Nokia now has a Windows Smartphone for every price segment. The Lumia 520 is at the lower end retailing at Rs. 10500 and the Lumia 920 is at higher end retailing at Rs. 35999. While Nokia launched 920 and 820 earlier in India they are not affordable to the most of the public, but with the introduction of Lumia 620 last month and Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 this month Nokia has a smartphone phone for every one. The most interesting smartphone from Nokia are in the mid-range. Lumia 620 we reviewed before is a good smartphone for the first time smartphone owner. Now we have Lumia 720 which sits between Lumia 820 and 620. 720 is available from past week in India for a price of Rs. 18499. Let us see what this mid-range Lumia has to offer to the consumer.
By looking at the 720 you can immediately say Nokia has learned a lot between the first Lumia and the 720. This is the thinnest and lightest Lumia you can get hold right now. The phone looks trendy in those attractive colors and unlike the big boy Lumia 920 this phone is thin and fits the hand perfectly. 720 weighs 128gms which is 57gms less than the chunky Lumia 920 which weighs 185gms. It is a rectangle phone like the 920 but with rounded corners, at 127.9 mm x 67.5 mm x 9 mm dimensions it is the thinnest Lumia around. 720 has a matte finish on the back which feels great on the hand and visually stunning, in comparison Lumia 920 has a glossy finish which is slippery. Design wise 720 is the best Lumia phone Nokia so far produced.
Unlike the 620 it comes in a polycarbonate plastic shell and unibody design, although it is made of plastic the build quality is very good, being a Nokia you don’t have to worry about build quality though. One downside to the unibody shell is no removable battery. It is available in Red, White, Black, Yellow, Cyan colors, mine is a Cyan one and it looks gorgeous, if you are going to pick up one you should go for Cyan or Yellow.
The front of the device is mostly occupied by the 4.3-inch Clear Black IPS LCD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection. At the bottom of the screen you will find Home, Back and Search Capacitive buttons and on top you have the 1.3MP front facing camera, Nokia branding below the earpiece. The back panel is flat and has matte finish which gives the grip to hold comfortably. The back panel houses the rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics, LED Flash just beside the snapper, Nokia branding in the middle, Wireless charging connectors and the speaker grill. Being a mid-range phone doesn’t mean a mediocre camera, Nokia has given this phone a better camera at 6.7MP, f/1.9 and that too Carl Zeiss optics. Wireless charging is not baked into the 720, instead it is an option, you can add a snap on cover to get the wireless charging.
The top panel houses the 3.5mm audio jack and the pop-out micro SIM card slot. The bottom panel houses the micro USB/ charger port and the mic. The left panel houses the usual volume rocker keys, power/ lock button and the dedicated camera button. The right panel has another pop-out tray for micro SD card for memory expansion. Lumia 720 has only 8GB of internal storage and supports memory expansion with a micro SD card upto 64GB.
Specs wise it doesn’t feel much different from the Lumia 620, it uses the same components as its sibling but there are few differences between them.
- GSM/EDGE: 850 (5)/900 (8)/1800 (3)/1900 (2) MHz
- WCDMA: 850 (5)/900 (8)/1900 (2)/2100 (1) MHz
- HSPA+: 21 Mbps, (Cat 14)
- Windows Phone 8, GDR1
- CPU: MSM8227, 1.0 GHz
- RAM: 512 MB
- Storage: 8 GB + microSD Card Slot
- Display: 4.3” ClearBlack WVGA LCD, 2.25 D Glass, Super Sensitive Touch
- Camera: 6.7 MPIX, BSI, Auto-Focus, Carl Zeiss, LED flash, HD 720p @ at 30 fps
- Front Camera: Skype HD wide angle (1.3Mpix)
- Connectivity: NFC, A-GPS+GLONASS, WLAN (2.4/5Ghz) a/b/g/n, µUSB, BT 3.0, 3D Accelerometer, Proximity, Magnetometer, Automatic Light Sensor. (No Gyroscope).
- Battery: 2000 mAh battery + Wireless Charging Cover Accessory; standby 520hrs, talk time 13.5hrs
- Size: 127.9 x 67.5 x 9mm
- Weight: 128g
This phone has a 4.3-inch IPS LCD with Clear Black technology and Super Sensitive Touch. The screen resolution is 800 x 480 at 217ppi, which is sort of a let down on this phone, HD resolution would have been better. But on WP8 platform you wont notice the low resolution, somehow it disguises the display. This WVGA screen is perfectly alright and you won’t feel pixelated display, not the 720 even the 820 has WVGA screen but it is AMOLED in 820 though. The screen is bright and reproduces colors well, outdoor visibility is also good, it has good viewing angles and with Clear Black LCD it looks good under the sun also.
It runs on the Windows Phone 8 platform and not a lot has changed in WP8 since its debut and you will see almost the same features as other Lumias. WP8 has some great features though like Live Tiles support, the resizable tiles can be customized in the true sense, you can add contacts, recent updates, news etc. Live Tiles can be re arranged to a degree where your home screen looks entirely different from others. If you take little time to setup you can make it yours, you can change UI colors, resize the tiles, re arrange and more.
Nokia also throws in several useful apps to the WP8 platform. The apps you will get from Nokia with the phone include HERE Drive Beta, HERE Maps, Nokia Care, Nokia Glam Me, Nokia Music, Cinemagraph, SmartShoot and Photobeamer etc. Cinemagraph and SmartShoot we have already seen and Photobeamer is a new app to spice up the self portraits.
HERE Drive Beta is the turn-by-turn navigation app from Nokia with voice guidance. Indian users can download the UK voice app to use this app. It has support for Landmarks, Speed limits etc.
Nokia Music offers mix radios, for Indian users, the list includes several Indian regional languages along with Bollywood, devotional etc. You can listen to the mixes and also download mixes for offline listening pleasure. You can listen to the mixes already present in the collection or create your own mixes using your music collection.
Photobeamer app will allow you to display your phone pics on any screen with browser pointing to www.photobeamer.com. To use this feature select photos you want to show from your phone, go to the photobeamer website on other device, using your phone scan the QR code displayed, your photos will appear on the second device screen.
Windows Phone platform doesn’t have app collection like that of Android or iOS but the situation is not that bad and it is getting better day by day. Lumia 720 has a major drawback, it has only 512MB of RAM, that makes the matters worse, as todays apps are getting optimized for the 1GB RAM pack leaving the 512MB RAM phones like these in the dust. The problem may not be apparent now but wait for an year you have a phone at your hand you cant dispose and you cant get the latest app.
Camera and Multimedia
Lumia 720 gets the 6.7MP camera with autofocus, LED Flash and most importantly Carl Zeiss lens and f/1.9 aperture. It also comes with a 1.3MP front facing camera, it is best works under good lighting conditions, under low light conditions the photos becomes noisy. This is also a wide angle lens suitable for group shots. If you cant click a good looking selfie don’t worry Nokia has an app to deal with the front facing camera shots, Nokia Glam Me app enhances self shots and adds filters to make them better.
The Camera UI is simple, overlayed with toggles to switch between lenses (software lenses), flash on/ off, rear/ front camera and photo or video mode. The settings menu gives access to change the presets, you can select scenes from Close up to Night mode, ISO, Exposure Value, Aspect Ration, Focus Assist etc. It has a continuous focus mode when on it tries to keep the continuous focus on while shooting videos. But sometime in bright sun light you will see glare though.
The main rear camera is not a PureView Camera which is known to get better results even in the low light conditions, but still this camera manages to get shots in the low light conditions. The device comes with a dedicated camera button like other Lumias and it works at two stage, one stage to focus and other to snap. You can always tap on the screen while taking pictures for the focus to adjust, the area you tap becomes the focus spot. The shutter speed is not that great it takes more than a second between photos. The camera with f/1.9 aperture captures as much light as it can so better turn off flash indoors in lighting or the photos get overexposed and colors distorted.
Performance wise it is similar to the Lumia 620 as it uses the same processor, 1GHz Dual-Core Snapdragon S4 Processor coupled with Adreno 305 GPU. For most of the tasks it performs well, there is no lag in the usage or while opening apps. Touch sensitivity of the screen is superb and feels good without any lag. The only drawback in this phone is the RAM, as I said it above some of the apps like Asphalt 7 may not work in the device. The newer apps might require the device to have at least 1GB of RAM which is not possible in this phone. I am using this phone from past 6 days and so far I like it and didn’t had any hang ups or freeze.
It supports Quad-Band GSM and Quad-Band 3G, there is no LTE on this phone, in India LTE penetration is almost nil except 2 or 3 cities so many users wont miss this, but in US and UK users might want to have the LTE capability. Bluetooth functionality is a hit and miss, may be it is just for me the Bluetooth when paired with Lumia 920 disconnected in between. But on the other hand using NFC to transfer files, with Tap+Send feature works perfectly and transfers files immediately.
The sound quality of the phone is good, the head phones also deliver good sound quality but don’t put them at max levels. The call quality of the phone is also good. While listening music on the phone you might hear noise at higher volumes, but otherwise the sound quality is good, the phone is fairly loud.
It comes with a 2000mAh battery to power up the device, with a 4.3-inch screen and Windows Phone 8 not being a power hungry OS it lasts for long. According to Nokia it gives 13.4hours of talk time and 520 hours of standby time on 3G, and 79 hours of music play back time. In my usage the battery performed really well, it is better than my Lumia 920, usually I had to charge 920 daily but this phone stands for 2 days with browsing, Facebook, twitter on, Email and some photos.
By buying this phone you will get great build quality and best of the lot Lumia phone. Lumia 720 looks better than the Lumia 920 and also lighter and thinner at a fraction of the price. You will get quality Camera with 6.7MP and Carl Zeiss optics, the camera performance under low light is not stellar like the Lumia 920 but it is better than many cheap Android Quad-Core phones available in the market. You will also get a phone with superb battery life compared to many smartphones in the market. The screen although HD might be a better choice it performs quite well with good viewing angles, outdoor visibility and the black levels due to Clear Black are really good. The major drawback is the RAM other than that it is great device at that price. We would highly recommend this phone against any cheap Android phone.
Lumia 720 at INR 18,499 is a good bargain, but if you are not particular about the brand and build quality the Indian market is filled with choices from Indian manufacturers you will get a Quad-Core phone under Rs. 15,000.