Look and feel
Nokia’s Lumia 720 reminded us of the classy Lumia 800, with its sleek and slender body, curved edges and all-glass front. Our only complaint is the smooth backing, which gets scuffed up quite easily.
Ease of Use
The 4.3-inch touchscreen is responsive and spacious enough for comfortable web browsing and video playback, while Windows Phone 8 is as user-friendly as ever.
The star of the show is the Carl Zeiss camera, which captures realistic images, although the usual collection of Nokia exclusive apps and tools makes this a value-packed Lumia smartphone.
Although the specs haven’t really improved over the affordable Lumia 520, the Lumia 720 is still packing enough power to deal with apps, games and more.
If you’re streaming video then you’ll get an average five hours from a single charge, but more modest use (emails, apps, texts) gives you a full one or two days of life.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,4/26/2013 10:42:48 AM
Ease of use
Great battery life;
Bright, vibrant screen;
Slender, attractive design
Windows Phone still lacking apps;
Easily scuffed rear end
Nokia’s next generation of Lumia smartphones is rapidly expanding. At the top end we have the flagship Lumia 920, a feature-packed beast with a fantastic camera, hampered by a bulky body and rubbish battery life, and the excellent Lumia 820 which trimmed back the weight a little, while losing surprisingly little. At the other end of the scale are the affordable four-inch Lumia 520 and 3.8-inch Lumia 620, which did away with the smart camera technology but still provide impressive value for money.
And now we have the Lumia 720, a mid-range Windows Phone 8 smartphone that sits square in the middle. For £250 you get the same Carl Zeiss camera technology of the expensive Lumias, as well as a crisp and colourful screen and slick design. If you’re ready for some Windows Phone action but don’t have the cash for one of the top-end handsets, the Lumia 720 is a fantastic option.
We loved Nokia’s Lumia 800, the company’s first ever Windows Phone mobile, with its sleek rounded design that looked great and felt comfortable in the hand. The Lumia 720 is the first Lumia since then to replicate that design perfectly. It’s an ideal weight, with enough heft to feel solid and durable, but light enough to slip into a bag or pocket and forget about. The phone also comes in a joyful range of colours, including red, blue and yellow, although we reviewed the rather classy-yet-stern black model.
The Lumia 720’s smooth rear means it will slide across a desk if knocked, so you need to be careful when setting it down, and the soft-touch surface also picks up scuffs far too easy. Despite that, we love the look and feel, including the smooth rounded corners and all-glass front panel.
The back of the Lumia 720 wraps around the edges and connects to the glass front, and there’s no way to prise it off to access the battery and other innards. You therefore insert your Micro SIM card and Micro SD memory card in special compartments along the edges, which use Apple’s ever-popular ‘stab a paper clip into the slot to access’ design. Of course, we can never find a paper clip when we need to get into the thing, which puts us on a rage level a notch above the Incredible Hulk.
Specs-wise, the Lumia 720 isn’t a massive step up from the cheaper Lumia 520, at least at first glance. You get 8GB of storage space as before, plus 7GB of cloud storage and a Micro SD memory card slot to expand it further. The same dual-core Snapdragon processor is also in place, backed up once more by 512MB of RAM. However, performance is still commendable, with Windows Phone 8 responding beautifully to every swipe and prod, and games and apps running smoothly.
However, where the Lumia 720 really sets itself apart from its little brother is its 6.7 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera. This is a serious upgrade over the hit-and-miss camera technology of lesser Lumias, capturing realistic images that look great when viewed back on a larger screen. We were particularly impressed by the level of detail, which is sharp enough to read tiny street signs from several metres away. The only time the camera struggled was in seriously low light conditions. However, the built-in flash helps to overcome darkened rooms, without overexposing your subjects.
As usual, the camera may not come loaded with cool features such as a panorama mode, but you can expand its potential by downloading Nokia bolt-ons such as Smart Shoot. These are available on the online store, which still to date has a limited selection of standard apps and games. Given time it will hopefully establish itself as Android’s Google Play store has, but until then you’re often reduced to using basic third-party apps that either don’t work as well or feature ridiculous amounts of advertising.
The Lumia 720 also boasts a brighter, more colourful screen than the cheaper Lumias. At 4.3 inches it’s a comfortable compromise between the massive five-inch displays of premium handsets, and the dinky screens sported by lower range mobiles. We found it was a great size for browsing the web, enjoying apps and even taking in feature-length movies. Everything from Windows Phone 8’s live tiles to our HD photos look fantastic, with rich colours helping to bring images to life. Viewing angles are also superb. The only downside is the resolution: you get the same 800 x 480 resolution as the Lumia 620, stretched to accommodate a larger screen, which gives you a lesser pixel density. Photos and videos are still sharp, but you don’t get the most from HD movies.
With such a bright screen on board, we worried for the Lumia 720’s battery life. After all, the Lumia 920 suffered terribly, dying well within 24 hours with even moderate use. Thankfully the Lumia 720 will happily last the day even if you’re constantly pulling it out to browse the web or fiddle with an app. In fact, if you limit yourself to the occasional email check, bit of texting and so on, you can even wring out a full 48 hours before it dies. If you’re looking to constantly watch video, expect a more modest five hours of life from full charge.
The Nokia Lumia 720 reminds us of the very first Lumia we fell in love with, the 800. It’s got the slick design and bright, colourful screen, but also the feature-packed Carl Zeiss camera and impressive battery life, making this one of our favourite Windows Phone 8 handsets.