Pros : Impressive battery life; Bright, vibrant display; standout camera; slim, good-looking chassis.
Cons : Lack of apps; back panel is easily scuffed.
Verdict : The Nokia Lumia 720 is an impressive, affordable Windows Phone 8 handset that boasts decent battery life, a bright display and impressive snapper.
Nokia has been busy with its Lumia smartphones – at the top of the range sits the 920, with a vast range of features and excellent snapper, but a bulky chassis and disappointing battery life, and the Lumia 820, which isn’t quite so hefty yet still manages to pack in the features. The Lumia 520 and 620 offer good value for money, even if they don’t boast the same camera technology.
Joining their ranks is the Lumia 720, a Windows 8 handset that sits in the middle of its stablemates and offers the Carl Zeiss technology seen in its more expensive siblings. For £250, you get that, along with a sharp, vibrant display and a good-looking chassis. For anyone who wants to get started with Windows Phone but can’t afford a top-end phone, this looks like it would be a great choice.
The back of the Lumia 720 is smooth, and while it looks good, it is easily scuffed – and will slide across a desk if it’s knocked. Nevertheless, overall design is impressive, with an all-glass front and rounded edges.
That smooth back comes right up round the edges and connects to the glass on the front, so you can’t open the back to get to the battery or other inner workings. To insert Micro SD memory or Micro SIM cards, there are compartments along the edges, which are accessed using the same technique as Apple’s phone – that is you poke a paper card in the slot. Fine if you have a paper clip to hand of course, otherwise rather infuriating.
Make it snappy
The real standout feature of the phone is the Carl Zeiss snapper, which is a 6.7 megapixel model. This is a real step up from the cheaper Lumias, and it produces realistic images that are impressive when viewed on a bigger screen. The level of detail is particularly impressive. The only thing it has problems with is really low light situations, but then there’s a flash built in, which does a good job of brightening darkened rooms without allowing your subjects to get overexposed.
The snapper doesn’t come with a vast range of neat features such as panorama mode, but it’s easy enough to add these by using a Nokia bolt-on – Smart Shoot, for instance. These can be downloaded from the online store, which still suffers from a limited choice of games and apps. In time, no doubt, this will be as well stocked as the Google Play store for Android handsets, but at present it is often necessary to choose a third-party app that either suffers from too much advertising or doesn’t work that well.
When it comes to specs, they don’t look vastly different to the Lumia 520 – onboard storage is 8MB, which can be expanded via the Micro SD memory card, and there’s 7GB of cloud storage too. Under the hood, a dual-core Snapdragon chip is teamed up with 512MB of RAM, which means that the operating system runs smoothly, the screen is responsive, and apps and games run really smoothly.
The screen on the 720 is more colourful and brighter than on the cheaper phones. It measures 4.3 inches, so it’s a decent compromise between the smaller displays on budget models and the 5inch screens seen on the top-end phones. HD photos and the WP8 live tiles all look great, and offer rich colours that make the images look really lifelike.
We were also impressed by the viewing angles. The only slight disappointment is that the 800x480 resolution is the same as that on the Lumia 620, and because it has been stretched to fit on a larger display, the pixel density is lower. While videos and photos are crisp, it doesn’t show HD films at their very best.
We feared that bright display would have dire consequences for battery life, but in actual fact we got a good day out of it when playing with apps and surfing the net. And if you’re only doing a bit of texting and emailing, you might even squeeze two days out of it. Video streaming gives you a reasonable five hours from a fully charged battery.
The Nokia Lumia 720 is very like that other impressive phone in the range – the 800. It’s got a great design, and bright, vibrant display, as well as a feature-packed camera boasting Carl Zeiss
Height: 127.9 mm
Thickness: 9 mm
Weight: 128 g
Display size: 4.3 ''
Display resolution: WVGA (800 x 480)
Display technology: IPS, ClearBlack
Touch screen technology: Super-sensitive touch
RAM: 512 MB
Onboard memory: 8 GB
Main camera sensor: 6.7 MP
Maximum 2G talk time: 23.4 h
Maximum 3G talk time: 13.4 h
Maximum 3G standby time: 520 h
Wireless charging: Yes, with accessory cover
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