Review: Lumia 720 – Elegantly Smart!

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Introduction:

Nokia is using Blitzkrieg to take Lumia to the masses. They don’t want to leave any stone unturned. With the understanding that everybody has different budget and requirements, Nokia has strategically placed the Lumia range at various price points. The latest entry in the family, Lumia 720 packs most of the features that a midrange user would need. This isn’t free territory though! In a segment where Androids already have strong foothold, challenger Lumia 720 comes to face good competition.

Design:

With Lumia 720, Nokia introduces the ‘elegant design’ factor in its mid-range portfolio. Taking cue from elder sibling Lumia 920, Lumia 720 features complete unibody design in polycarbonate construction. Unlike Lumia 920, it is very slim, just 9mm thick compared to 10.7mm of Lumia 920. The only tradeoff compared to Lumia 920, not considering the camera, is the lack of wireless charging. But Nokia offers add-on shells that enable the wireless and hence would increase the thickness.
Again like Lumia 920, Lumia 720, showcases a sculpted glass front, though not curvy! Oh did we forget to mention? The screen is Gorilla Glass 2! It means you wouldn’t have to worry about shattering it when you accidently drop it. Nokia does a fantastic job of mixing the ClearBack display with the rest of the bezel and the glass atop it. You really wouldn’t be able to tell where the bezel ends and the display actually starts. The 4.3 inch display on Lumia 720 uses IPS LCD panel with WVGA resolution. The ClearBlack layer improves readability and sunlight legibility. There’s no air between the display and the glass which makes the images come alive, literally. Pair it with dark theme on Windows Phone and it becomes eye candy. The display offers vivid colors and superb viewing angles.

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Above the display, there’s earpiece. On its left is the 1.3MP wide angle HD front camera. The proximity and ambient light sensors are next to it. Below the display is a usual triplet of standard Windows Phone keys. The 3.5mm audio jack and microSIM card slot are on the top while the microUSB port is on the bottom. The left side has microSD card slot. The volume rocker,power/lock key and shutter key sit on the right side.

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The Lumia 720 features 6.7 MP snapper on the rear. Yup, you read it right it’s 6.7MP, somewhere between 5MP and 8MP. There’s also LED flash. There’s something special about its camera but we will talk about it in the camera section. As you move down further, you’ll see three dots. Those are actually connectors which enable wireless charging when an add-on wireless charging shell is used. At left bottom corner there’s a little loudspeaker grill which goes unnoticed because of its color.

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Overall, Lumia 720 has good build quality but the extra polished exteriors don’t provide a great grip! You should be extra careful while handling this phone.

Hardware, Performance and Battery:

Being a mid ranger, the Lumia 720 comes with slightly underpowered hardware. It’s powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual Core processor which is clocked at 1 GHz paired with 512 Mb of RAM. A Windows Phone otherwise runs pretty smooth on this hardware but this time around we faced some performance issues on Lumia 720. We faced stuttering in the UI. We also faced issues with apps such as apps exiting suddenly or sometimes not loading at all. Even the inbuilt apps such as Camera sometimes refused to load and the only solution was to restart the phone. We guess it is specific to Lumia 720’s software only since we didn’t see any such issues while reviewing Lumia 620. We believe this ought to get fixed by a small software update in the future!
Battery life was good as well, around 15 hrs for us. As usual, your mileage may vary.

Entertainment:

Lumia 720 offers good entertainment features. Audio quality is good. It also features Dolby surround sound. As usual it comes with Nokia Music which offers unlimited song downloads, for a limited time though. Surprisingly, There’s no FM Radio on Lumia 720!

Camera:

Apart from the great design, the Lumia 720 brings the better camera to the table. In fact, the camera is better than any other phone in the same range. It features a 6.7 MP sensor which is an odd resolution but it enables the handset to capture true widescreen pictures. Again, the sensor is backside illuminated, not to be seen on other mid rangers. Interestingly, it has a f/1.9 aperture which is lowest so far on camera phones. For the sake of comparison, Lumia 920 and HTC One have f/2.0 aperture. This should help the handset take better low light photos by letting the more light in. Nokia markets the 720 as a great lowlight photography phone. Despite all these on paper advantages, Lumia 720’s camera offers little less on resolved details in the images. Needless to say, it does offer good low light photography but expecting the same performance as Lumia 920 is too much.

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Lumia 720 is able to capture the videos in 720p videos. Video retain good quality.

 

Connectivity:

Nokia is known for its excellent call quality and network reception. And Lumia 720 doesn’t disappoint, not one bit! Apart from the various set of connectivity features like GSM, 3.5G, WiFi(b/g/n) and Bluetooth 3.0, 720 is armed with NFC connectivity too!

Nokia Apps:

Lumia 720 comes pre-loaded with few Nokia’s home brewed apps.
HERE Maps and HERE Drive together make for an excellent navigation suite. HERE Maps offer offline maps and has completely offline turn-by-turn navigation. HERE Drive is a special app for in car navigation. Like HERE Maps, this also offers complete voice guided, turn-by-turn navigation. The only catch here is that the version installed on Lumia 720 has such a navigation available in a single, particular region unlike HERE Drive+ which offers global navigation and comes installed on phones such as Lumia 620/820/920. If you want to upgrade to HERE Drive+ then you’ll need to shell out $21.

Glam Me:

An useful app to take self portraits with inbuilt editor to enhance the images.

Conclusion:

Lumia 720 is really good phone to have but wrongly priced. At the time of writing this review, it was available around INR 18,500/-. If you spend little more, you can get Lumia 820 which offers full fledged hardware, better AMOLED display and 8MP camera. Another phone that comes close to Lumia 720 is HTC’s Windows Phone 8S but it offers just 4GB of internal memory.
If we look at the Android camp, there a lot of them to tackle Lumia 720. The obvious choice would be Galaxy Grand Duos. Then there’s Xperia L and Xperia ION for INR 16,000/- and INR 20,000/- respectively. Those who crave for apps and lots of apps Android makes a sensible choice. Both of them also offer better value for money.
That is not to say Lumia 720 is any less in quality but if the price comes little down, we see no reason for not recommending this to everyone.