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Nokia has announced two Lumia smartphones during the Mobile World Congress few months ago – the Lumia 520 and 720. This is Nokia’s strategy to deliver its innovation to more markets in more affordable price. The Lumia 520 targets the market segment currently dominated by cheap Androids while the Lumia 720 is opted to cover the mid-priced market and to fill the void between the Lumia 620 and 820.

I am pleased when I first got the Lumia 720, its light, sleek and fits perfectly on one-hand operation – thanks to its 9mm frame. It has a 4.3-inch display, just as big as the Lumia 820 or 900, that makes viewing experience great and comfortable to the eye.

The Lumia 720 sports a unibody design that comes in several colors like red, cyan, yellow, black and glossy white. It also has a wireless charging back cover accessory if you want to experience the wireless charging first seen on the Lumia 920.

Nokia Lumia 720
Dimensions 127.9 x 67.5 x 9mm (5.04 x 2.65 x 0.35 inch)
Weight 128 g (4.52 oz)
Display IPS LCD , 16M colors, 800×480 (217ppi)
Display features ClearBlack, Orientation sensor, High brightness mode, Sunlight readability enhancements, Color boosting, Corning® Gorilla® Glass 2, Ambient light sensor, Sculpted glass, Easy to clean
Screen 4.3 inch, ClearBlack, Super Sensitive Touch
Memory 8GB internal storage, up to 64GB Micro SD
Connectivity WiFi dual band, NFC, Bluetooth 3.0
DLNA via Nokia Play To
HSDPA, 21.1 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
OS Windows Phone 8
CPU Snapdragon S4 1Ghz dual-core
GPU Adreno 305
Camera 6.7 Megapixels Carl Zeiss optics
2848 x 2144 pixels, Autofocus, Led Flash
f/1.9 aperture size, 4x digital zoom
wide angle 1.3 Megapixels front-facing camera
Video 720p HD @30fps video capture (front and rear)
dual HAAC microphones Nokia Rich Recording
Sensors accelerometer, proximity, compass
Battery 2,000mAh Li-Polymer
Colors Red, Black, White, Yellow, Cyan

Getting stuck between the Lumia 620, Lumia 820 Lumia 720? This review will help you make a decision. Its just a matter of choice and some factors to consider as well. Is the Lumia 720 the right handset for you? 

The Lumia 720 is priced at around 14,590 PhP (340 USD)m and has been selling well in several markets around the world. This handset is one of the hottest Windows Phone in the market today. Tagged as the Lumia 920 ‘lite’, the Lumia 720 offers great features at a very reasonable price.

UNBOXING

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I am pleased when I first got the Lumia 720, its light, sleek and fits perfectly on one-hand operation – thanks to its 9mm frame. It has a 4.3-inch display, just as big as the Lumia 820 or 900, that makes viewing experience great and comfortable to the eye.

The box contains the basic things to start your Lumia 720. You’ll get a standard micro USB cable, a wall plug for charging, basic headphones with microphone for making calls, warranty card and manual. I just hope that the headphone has an answer and end call button.

Here’s the the unboxing video and review of the Lumia 720

SLEEK, SEXY AND COMPACT

l2Lumia 720 is probably one of the sexiest phone we’ve ever seen. The curved edges, slim body and minimalistic design makes it more appealing. Nokia has carried its design philosophy on its Lumia devices.

This design architecture has won serveral awards and citations from various award giving body. In comparison to the Lumia 920, the 720 has a slimmer profile of just 9mm and of course its lighter (128g). The Lumia 720 also came with a unibody design using polycarbonate materials.

It comes with a variety of colors, from cyan, glossy white to bright yellow, sexy red, and classy black. The rounded edges and overall aesthetic is superb, it fits right in your hand. And along with the flat back, make it really comfortable to hold.130225umia7202

In order to make this phone lighter, Nokia has omitted the in-built wireless charging. The Lumia 920 and 820 both have it built-in but it sacrifices weight.  The 920 and 820 is obviously heavier than the Lumia 720.

But you can get a wireless charging accessory back shell to charge your Lumia 720 on a compatible wireless charging device. The shells are sold separately.

The wireless charging back shell comes in variety of colors too in red, white, yellow and black. This can also serves as a protective cover, its a smart cover, indeed.

CLEARBLACK AND WVGA

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Nokia Lumia 720 comes with a 4.3-inch IPS-LCD screen with a Gorilla Glass protection. The WVGA resolution is not too bad as it sounds, especially for Windows Phone devices, because the platform itself is designed in such a way that you way that you won’t notice it.

Its pretty surprising because colors are rich, vibrant and accurate. Despite the lack of AMOLED, blacks look perfectly, thanks to ClearBlack display which helps in producing good contrast, great viewing angles and sunlight legibility. You can now use your phone even on direct sunlight without being washed out. The curved glass makes easier to navigate the entire screen.won’t notice it.

UNDER THE HOOD

snapdragon2The Lumia 720 is powered by a dual core Snapdragon processor down clocked to 1ghz and a 512mb of RAM. Despite of a lesser RAM, the phone is relatively fast and smooth – it doesn’t lag at all. Since most of heavy graphic games are compatible with Windows Phone running on 1Gb of RAM, this might concerns you especially if you’re a gamer.

But developers are trying to bring those high-end games to 512Mb RAM-enabled devices, best example is Halo: Spartan Assault and Temple Run (still waiting for a fix). Aside from that, Lumia 720 has no issues with most of the apps that you can download from the store.

The unibody design won’t let you access anything inside the cover thus the 2,000mAh battery is non-removable. The Sim card and micro SD card slot is located up top and on the left side of the handset. For you to open the port, you would need to use a door lock key which is included in the box. The battery offers an impressive 60 hours endurance rating based on tests conducted. In my experience, the test is really accurate and it even exceeds if the phone remains on stand by mode.

SMART AND PERSONAL

The Windows Phone 8 features re-sizable live tiles in three sizes, small (static tile), medium and wide. It makes customization more easier, now you can personalize your own startscreen in any way you want. You can set apps on bigger tiles depending on your liking, small static tiles are for those that don’t require live feeds.

The Lumia 720 runs on Windows Phone 8 which is the fastest, smoothest and secured mobile operating system to date. Windows Phone 8 which offers new and exciting features that was missing on Windows Phone 7.

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What makes your Lumia 720 even more smarter is the ability to function as your portable document editing device – thanks to Office 360 that offers free Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note. You can now view and edit your documents on-the-go with SkyDrive integration, you can also sync your files on the cloud, hassle free.

The Windows Phone store is the portal for downloading apps and games on your Lumia device. For the record, the store has a growing number of apps, currently at 145,000 apps. Now, the Windows Phone store is also getting famous titles that you can only see in iOS and Android devices like Temple Run, Instance (Instagram client), etc.

More on Windows Phone 8 . . .

STAY CONNECTED

wp_ss_20130707_0011Lumia 720 is a very social phone, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram (via third-party app) - name it your have it. But what makes it unique from the competition is the deep social integration. You can just sign in to Twitter and Facebook and get all your updates straight from the ‘ME Tile’ and post your updates as well, no need to open an app. The Photo Hub also lets you access not only your photos but also your friends without opening Facebook in the browser. You can just turn your data connection or WiFi on and let your Lumia do the rest.

Lumia 720 has 3G/HSDPA speeds which offers a download speed of 21.1 Mbps and upload speed of 5.76 Mbps. File sharing made easy on the Lumia 720, as it offers both NFC and Bluetooth 3.0. You can share and receive files on any Bluetooth/NFC enabled-smartphones. You can also share your data connection by turning on the internet sharing option on your handset so you and your friend can stay connected.

Despite the lack of HDMI port, Nokia has an app called PlayTo lets you enjoy your photos, videos and music on other web-enabled (DLNA) devices over the same Wi-Fi network.

Browsing in this handset was a breeze, with Internet Explorer 10, browsing is fast and smooth. Scrolling and panning is very responsive even on full desktop view. Internet Explorer 10 is the fastest mobile browser to date even faster than iOS and Android browsers. It scores 320 plus 6 bonus points on the HTML5 test over Android’s 297 points.

LOW LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY

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The Lumia 720 has a 6.7 Megapixel Carl Zeiss lens with autofocus. It captures a resolution of 2848 x 2144. But its all that, Nokia has managed to put something new on this handset. We know that you all love the low light feature on the Lumia 920′s camera but not everyone can afford it. Nokia has once said that they will continue to deliver their innovation to more people at a lower price points. That’s why they bring the low-light feature that we all wanted on the Lumia 720. But of course, its not as spectacular as the Lumia 920 but its close enough and even better that the HTC One.

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Our Lumia 720 vs HTC One Camera showdown is one of the most popular articles here. Read the rest of the article here.

Lumia 720 has no OIS nor PureView but Nokia has trimmed down the aperture size to f/1.9 that allows the camera to capture more light. Low Light results are pretty impressive for a mid-range device.

The camera UI is pretty straightforward, settings and buttons are accessible on the right side and it auto hides when you make a shot. The camera settings on Windows Phone 8 offers range of settings where you can manage your shots. From scenes and effects to white balance, contrast, saturation, sharpness and ISO. You can also set the flash on and 0ff. But you can even leave without these settings because the Auto mode lets you capture perfect shots most of the time.

Here’s some shots captured by Lumia 720

Daylight Shot

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Lowlight Shot

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See Full Gallery

The quality of images captured by the Lumia 720 has good amount of detail with great colors and enough contrast. The peculiar 6.7MP sensor did produce very pleasant photos.

Here’s the video quality test of the Lumia 720

 

The video camera can capture up to 720p HD videos at 30fps. The Lumia 720 has a dual HAAC microphones which can record audio up to 140db without distortion. So you can record concerts using your Lumia without any sweat. This audio recording technology has been used in Nokia 808 PureView, Lumia 620, 720, 820, 920 and 925. You can also use the led flash as a video light.

LUMIA EXCLUSIVES

 

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Aside from Nokia’s superb hardware and design, Nokia has made efforts in providing exclusive apps only for Lumia users which set them apart from the rest of the Windows Phone users. Nokia has invested so much in developing apps that will help differentiate their devices not only from the competition outside but also within the Windows Phone pack.

Nokia Glam Me

Lumia 720 makes your ‘selfie’ shots even better. With a 1.3 Megapixel wide-angle lens, you can take shots as good as your rear camera. But it won’t be much better without Nokia Glam ME, this app a self-portrait photo enhancement app designed to take advantage of the front-facing camera. With your Lumia 720 and Glam Me, you shots will always be picture perfect.

HERE SUITE

Nokia Lumia 720 offers the best mapping and navigation suite via HERE Maps, HERE Transit, HERE City Lens and HERE Drive - best of all its all free. HERE offers a lifetime sat-navigation with turn-by-turn voice guidance in 94 countries and true offline support – you’ll never get lost.

HERE MAPS with Livesight lets you navigate the world in the palm of your hands. You can just download your desired maps and you can access it offline. You can also get a turn-by-turn walk navigation Livesight is a cool new feature on HERE Maps. This reveals virtual signs for restaurants, galleries and shops by just looking at your phone. HERE maps let you navigate in 94 countries in full offline mode. Imagine yourself exploring the world with just your Lumia, amazing isn’t?

HERE City Lens gives you an entirely new way to see what’s around you. You can just simply hold up your phone just like taking photos and HERE City Lens will show you nearest shops, restaurants and points of interest around you – its easy as 1-2-3.

HERE Drive is your car navigation app with turn-by-turn voice guidance in 94 countries and true offline support – meaning no more data charges and saves up your battery. Want to go for an adventure? This app will take you anywhere you want to go, safe and efficient.

HERE Transit helps you take public transportation easier and faster. You can now choose the route that works best for you. HERE Transit is available in over 670 cities and 50 countries around the world. You can now travel smarter and faster.

Other Lumia exclusives like the Cinemagraph lets you shoot five frames for each picture. the you can then pick the best faces from each frame or you can remove unwanted objects on the image. Creative Studio is a great photo editing app for Lumia with filters too. You can find all the Lumia exclusive apps from the Windows Store under Nokia Collections.

IT’S PLAY TIME!

wp_ss_20130714_0021Lumia 720, like other Windows Phones, has the Xbox games portal where you can find all your installed games. Not only that, you can set your own moving avatar (no data connection needed), add, find and interact with other Xbox users, sync your score and  achievements from your Xbox account on Xbox 360, Windows 8 and RT. You can also use your Lumia 720 to interact with the Xbox 360 console via the Xbox Smart Glass. You can also see the upcoming games on Xbox and ‘Deals of the Week’ under Spotlights.

Lumia 720 enjoys a variety of games from various game titles like Gameloft, Halfbrick, Rovio, Imangi Studios, Electronic Arts (EA) and also from Microsoft’s Xbox titles. Though the 512 MB of RAM on this handset will set some limitations on some heavy-graphic games like the Modern Combat 4, Zombie HQ and N.O.V.A. 3 to name a few, but some developers tend to port their games on the 512MB Windows Phone devices like the Temple Run, that was initially intended for 1GB RAM devices. Of course, the Lumia 720 caters a different set of audience, people who are more into social, style and photography. In my experience, I have played a lot of games on the Lumia 720 and it all played well, without any lags. I have tested games like Drift Mania Championship, Sims Medieval, Sparkle 2, Temple Run, Jetpack Joyride, Civilization Revolution, Angry Birds and more.

But don’t lose hope, if you are a fan of action-based/first person shooter games, Xbox will be bringing HALO: Spartan Assaults to Windows Phone 8 and will be compatible to 512MB RAM devices.

THE COMPETITION

The Lumia 720 closest rivals are the Lumia 820 and 620 in terms of pricing and specs. But the Lumia 720 ensures that it is on a perfect spot. The Lumia 620 has a better pixel density of 246 ppi over 217 ppi on the Lumia 720, interchangeable back covers, and has an optional ip5 water and spash resistant cover accessory and lesser price. But has a smaller screen, bit bulkier, no Gorilla Glass, no in-built wireless charging option and no NFC. Lumia 620s’ imaging section is inferior compared to the Lumia 720 both rear and front camera. Lumia 620 is around 3,000 Php ($60 USD) less than the 720 but you have to give up a couple of hardware features.

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On the other hand, The Lumia 820 is a bit expensive with a 1GB of RAM, interchangeable back covers, in-built wireless charging, AMOLED display and LTE. But its heavier and thicker its 32g heavier tan the 720 (128g vs. 160g). It doesn’t have Gorilla Glass and the front camera is really bad when compared to the 720. Lumia 820 only has a VGA front camera which doesn’t work on HD video calls. Plus its a bit pricey than the Lumia 720. Though AMOLED looks good on the 820, the lack of Gorilla glass is a bit disappointing for its price point, whilst, the 720 has no AMOLED, the Clearblack compensates the display quality.

The Lumia 720 balances both price and features that you can get from the Lumia 620 and 820. This handset is an affordable, well-built phone that packs more than enough features for you to be interested. With its stunning design construction, lifetime voice guided sat-navigation, amazing camera considering its price rage, fast internet experience, big and vivid display – I could go on and on, Lumia 720 is simply an amazing piece of device.

LAST WORDS

The Nokia Lumia 720 is the perfect balance when it comes to price and features. This mid-range handset offers a great design and body construction that you can normally get on a high-end devices. Indeed, this is exactly what a high-end smartphone should look like. The Finns have made an amazing job on making this handset slimmer and lighter compared to the high-end Lumia 920.

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Aside from that, the Lumia 720 offers a camera with low-light features which you can get on the Lumia 920 minus the OIS. The wide angle, 1.3 megapixel front camera is even better than the Lumia 920 or any other Lumias I’ve tested.

Nokia Lumia 720 offers everything else what the Lumia 920 provides with a few drawbacks. But considering its price, almost half of the Lumia 920, you can never go wrong with this phone. The mid-range Lumia 720 is a great deal for people who are looking for a great smartphone without paying for more – simply irresistible.

Amongst the mid-range Windows Phone 8 in the market, Lumia 720 is one of a kind and truly remarkable. The Lumia 720 is a ‘Mid-Range Perfection’. 

**Special thanks to Nokia Philippines for the Lumia 720 review unit.
***Fuentes Manila, Nokia PH media partner