Nokia Lumia 720 Review: Sexy, capable performer

Nokia Lumia 720

If you want a summary of this review, here it is: the Nokia Lumia 720 is one of the best mid-tier smartphones in the market. That means if you do not want a budget device and do not have the funds to splurge on a high end smartphone, you can hardly go wrong with the 720. And having used it for a few days side by side an Android smartphone, I can tell you that except you are a geek, it is a capable and credible alternative to any smartphone in the mid-tier. That means that most people will love the Lumia 720.

You can walk away from this review now if all you wanted was my verdict. I have given it. But if you want the details, stick around and read on.

Hardware

Simply put, the Nokia Lumia 720 is a stunning piece of work. I have the white unit. Maybe it is the white. Maybe not. What I do know is that the polycarbonate shell looks and feels good, and it is a phone that I don’t want to put down. The 4.3-inch display is bright and sharp and holds up under use in direct sunlight, which isn’t surprising considering that it is ClearBlack display. It also has Gorilla Glass 2 on it for extra protection. The display works well too if you have a pair of gloves on. This isn’t something that you see on competing devices.

3rd Party Apps

I have all the apps that I use regularly on my smartphones installed on the Lumia 720. At last count, all 19 of them. These include: Skype, WordPress, PhotoGrid, Bible, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Dictionary, LinkedIn, Evernote, Flashlight, and Voice Recorder, among others. ALL my needs are covered, apps-wise. I don’t do mobile gaming much, but I do have Angry Birds and Temple Run installed and running. There are thousands more in the Windows Phone Store, and many of them are free. As far as I can see, most smartphone users Will have their app needs covered on Windows Phone.

Internet and Email

What is a smartphone without internet and email? 3G is here, and works well. There is WiFi too. The 720 pulls your networ’s configuration settings as soon as you power it on with a SIM (microSIM standard) in it. The web browser is really nice to use. To be able to download files, install the free Download Manager from the Store, and you are good to go.

Setting up email was without any issues. Both my Gmail and internet email accounts were running in no time. My contacts and calendar were synchronised too once my Gmail account was set up.

Performance

The Lumia 720 is a smooth performer. Everything runs smoothly. Regulars here know how I complained about the Lumia 610 being sluggish, but that older device had only a 800 MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM. This sweetheart here runs Windows Phone 8 with a 1GHz dual core processor and 512MB of RAM. The difference is like that between night and day. Having played with the 720, it would be hell should I have to return to the 610.

Multimedia

Music on the Lumia 720 is of very good quality. It is surprisingly loud too, considering that the loudspeaker grill is at the back of the phone. It is not exactly on the same level as the flagship Lumia 920, but it comes close enough.

The 720 plays back video as well, though there was one that it threw back an error for and did not play. I am not sure what the issue with that video was, but I have been able to play a range of videos without any issues. There is no FM Radio, but the upcoming Windows Phone 8 update will fix that, we are told.

There is a microSD card slot in there, and USB mass storage is supported. I had my audio and video files copied for use on the 720 without any hassles: plug the phone to a PC with a cable, copy, paste. Bliss. Microsoft’s Zune was totally not needed.

6.1 megapixel Snapper

I am not sure that I know of many phones with a 6.1 megapixel camera, so the 720 stands in a league of its own. Pictures taken with the 720 are quite good – certainly better than what I have seen with really good 5 megapixel cameras. To launch the camera quickly, press and hold the camera button even when the display is locked. The camera app interface is simple and easy to use as well.

Video recording is present as well. No, there is no Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), but no other smartphone in this price range has it either, so that does not count against the 720.

Battery Life

The Nokia Lumia 720 takes me through a full day of intensive use and often gives the first low battery warning after 7pm. By intensive use, I mean regular email, Twitter, WhatsApp, and a sprinkling of music, camera and other uses. This is one of the best battery performances I have seen on a smartphone.

Conclusions

The Windows Phone User Interface is simple, and it is fun to use. The taste of the UI is in the using, not the looking. Windows Phone is a joy to use, and here on the 720, it is running on very capable hardware.

Nokia Lumia 920 - 720

I know that many readers will think me crazy for what I am about to say, but I have a Lumia 920 with me here as well, and I solemnly swear that it is the Lumia 720 that I feel like using everyday. Why? It is sexy, lightweight in the hand, and gets the job done. It is the most alluring Windows Phone smartphone that I have held in my hands. The Lumia 920 flagship might beat up the 720 in terms of processing power and capabilities – and it actually does in grand style – but the Lumia 720 is the one that makes my heart skip a beat everyday.

Compared to the competition, the Lumia 720 is good value for money and will get people ogling as you use it. It is not every day that one runs into a capable 4.3-inch display smartphone that costs N50,000. It shines in its class.

Mo Rating: 9/10

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8 comments

  1. Wao. this is a glowingly wonderful review.

    but..

    ((( ALL my needs are covered, apps-wise ))

    Hmm..THAT is where the problem lies.

    this is why this phone, (and any WindowsPhone.generally), can not be for me (and others that believe your phone is only as good as the VARIETY and quality of available third-party app)

    Recently, someone was asking if there is a call blacklist app for Window Phone.

    a quick on_net search showed that no such class of apps does exist for now.

    What? even some feature phones have that facility inbuilt!

    I would hazard a guess that apps to record telephone conversations would probably be missing too (could be wrong)

    Those two features are non negotiable for me in my line work.

    But then, the majority of smartphone users probably don’t give a hoot…

    Until there is an over_abundance of apps and those numerous restrictions on WP are addressed effectively, WP devices will continue to alienate certain insignificant class of users….

  2. When I first saw the Lumia 720 I fell mad for it , I knew it was d one an expandable of up to 64gb for a mid range device can you beat that….. My answer is no way, I will say NOKIA has done a great job here.

  3. I recently bought and set up Lumia 520 and Samsung Galaxy Duo for two people and I can assure you that the 520 was much more fluid.

    A friend of mine also set up Lumia 720 for someone and i was able to play extensively with the phone and i can confirm that it worth more than its price.

  4. Mr Mo, were you able to lock it permanently on 3G connection? This will determine if I should go for it or not.

    1. Mohammed,

      If you can get to a Nokia Care centre, it is very likely that you will be able to obtain a replacement battery. Or perhaps a big retailer like Slot.

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