Gadget | Nokia Lumia 720 Review: A Stylish Mid-range Performer

The Nokia Lumia 720 Windows Phone 8
The Nokia Lumia 720 Windows Phone 8
The Nokia Lumia 720 Windows Phone 8

With the entrance of IOS powered iPhone and numerous Android devices, Nokia’s Golden Age simply fell into slumber along with its old symbian platform. I was one of the Nokia fans before who have lauded their remarkable hardware but always in a quandary with their software that can’t seem to catch up. Yes, Nokia deserves a second chance when they partnered with Windows Phone. I wanted to see how Nokia is doing this time around and it was perfect timing I got the opportunity to try the Nokia Lumia 720 on their Test Drive Project. For 5 days I played around with this mid-range priced looker of a phone. Here’s my take on the Nokia Lumia 720 with highlights on key features I look for on a phone.

Slim and light
Slim and light

Form Factor

The Nokia Lumia 720 is one mobile phone that I wouldn’t hesitate to show off in public. It has a gorgeous unibody design with well-placed side-buttons and a slightly beveled bright and beautiful 4.3-inch Gorilla Glass screen sporting a WVGA 16M-color Clear Black LCD Display. Despite its size, it is slim and light and comes in different colors. I just love how simple yet stylish the design is.

Instance, the unofficial Instagram app on Windows Phone
Instance, the unofficial Instagram app on Windows Phone

Enter Windows Phone 8 and Apps

It’s my first foray into a Windows Phone environment and for a market dominated by IOS and Android, Windows Phone is a refreshing change. It’s Live Tiles UI is not only an eye candy but functional, enabling quick access to favorite apps and their notifications. Live Tile elements can be resized in 3 sizes and placed across the screen. The transitions between applications was fluid. I love how bold the Metro interface is with its use of large typefaces and elements layout making it really simple to use. I didn’t have problems getting used to the messaging and phone dials. I managed to sync my Google Contacts and Calendar on the phone without a problem as well. I definitely like how the email client here works. The inclusion of Microsoft Office mobile version is a definite plus enabling users to do basic editing on Word, Powerpoint and Excel.

I’m not that impressed with the Internet Explorer browser though, while it can do most browsing functionalities, it doesn’t render some Responsive Design Sites well. I tried the UC Browser as well but gets the same problem. I hope they port in other browsers like Chrome, Firefox or Dolphin to WP8.

As many have pointed out, the Windows Store is a bit short on Apps. While we have the popular ones like Facebook, Twitter and Instance (for Instagram) it’s not that feature rich as the ones in IOS and Android. If you’re a casual user who just want to get socially connected, I think the basic functionalities would do but if you are a heavy social media user who also manage facebook pages the Windows Phone App features is limited.

The camera interface of the Nokia Lumia 720
The camera interface of the Nokia Lumia 720

Imaging

The f1.9 Carl Zeiss Lens is probably my fave feature on the phone. I think it’s the brightest in the camera-phone range that does do wonders when shooting lowlight. The 6.1MP sensor churns out photos with good exposure though the color tone tends to slightly saturate a bit to make it commercially pleasing. I really like how snappy the phone is when taking pictures and opening the application. App “lenses” can also be added like panorama and even fish eye lenses for more creative effects.

Nokia HERE Maps
Nokia HERE Maps

Nokia HERE Maps and GPS

I have always liked Nokia Maps even on their old platform as it was one of the few to offer Offline Maps by downloading data from each country. Now in the form of Nokia HERE, I find the mapping a lot better with more visual layers (like 3D buildings) and smoother panning. Even if I download the Google Maps app, there is also an option to use Nokia HERE’s mapping engine which is a lot faster to render. Based on location, Nokia HERE can also show some key establishments in the area. There’s also the separate HERE Drive which is a navigation system but is restricted only to one country.

Locking into position was not a problem with the GPS and A-GPS. I tried using the Sports Tracker app which uses the native mapping tool to track my route and it’s fairly accurate in recording my run.

Jetpack Joyride on Windows Phone 8
Jetpack Joyride on Windows Phone 8

Performance

For a mid-range phone, Nokia Lumia 720 got the essentials. A 1 GHz dual-core Krait CPU, 8GB builtin storage with expandable MicroSD slot up to 64GB, NFC (Near Field Communication), 3G to HSDPA+ (No LTE though), GPS and A-GPS. My main qualm is the very modest 512 RAM. I found that games (like the free Jetpack Joyride) too choppy. There were instances I would get “out of memory” warnings (so typical of Windows) like when I am listening to music while browsing the web. The Music Player would shut itself down so I could continue browsing.

The Battery life is quite good actually. I found that I can charge it every other day on regular use like internet, Music and a few social apps.

The Internet Explorer browser
The Internet Explorer browser

Verdict

If you were a Nokia fan before, it’s a good time to give them back a chance look again. Their Lumia line is original and offers a different experience. The Nokia Lumia 720 is one of the affordable phones in the line which has a very good balance in terms of looks and features. I really like the phone and simply find it gorgeous as I’ve said earlier. My favorite Nokia Maps in the form of Nokia Here is still there which I’m quite glad they kept  as it is way ahead of other mapping system even for IOS or Android. It sure is a handy tool for a traveler like me.

If you’re a casual phone user who likes to connect with people whether on the social media, messaging or email for basic day to day use, the phone does deliver. The only main drawback for me is the limited RAM. It’s not designed for gaming or heavy multi-tasking. As a meticulous social media user, I find the native apps a bit lacking on features (which is really a Windows Phone problem). Still it’s an excellent phone I wouldn’t mind having it around.

SRP: Php 14,590

Disclaimer: The Nokia Lumia 720 was returned to Nokia Philippines after the testing period.

The phone and the box
The phone and the box
The f1.9 Carl Zeiss lens at the back of the phone
The f1.9 Carl Zeiss lens at the back of the phone
The Photo Gallery application of the phone
The Photo Gallery application of the phone
The Nokia Lumia 720 Music Player
The Nokia Lumia 720 Music Player
The lock screen and access to Music Player controls
The lock screen and access to Music Player controls

What ya think?