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Nokia Lumia 720 Review: Crazy Battery Life and Amazing Camera

Our full review of the Nokia Lumia 720!
Our full review of the Nokia Lumia 720!

Review: Nokia Lumia 720

The good folks over at Nokia Philippines sent us a loaner review unit of the Nokia Lumia 720 a few weeks ago. We’ve used it as a substitute for our Nokia Lumia 920, the primary handset of this writer. We’ve spent well over two weeks already with it and we can safely say that it’s a device worthy of your attention especially if you’re looking into getting into the Windows Phone ecosystem but don’t have enough budget for the Nokia Lumia 920.

Nokia Lumia 720 Spec Sheet

  • 1GHz Dual-core ARM CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processor
  • Adren 305 Graphics
  • 512MB RAM
  • 8GB Internal Storage, expandable up to 64GB via microSD
  • 4.3-inches IPS LCD Capacitive Touchscreen, 800 x 480 pixels (~217ppi)
  • Nokia ClearBlack Display, Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • 6.7-megapixels rear-facing camera with autofocus, LED Flash, Carl Zeiss optics, F1.9 Aperture
  • Records video 720p@30fps
  • 1.3-megapixels front-facing camera
  • WiFi a/b/g/n, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC, 3G, HSDPA
  • GPS/A-GPS with GLONASS
  • 2,000mAh Battery
  • Microsoft Windows Phone 8 OS
  • SRP: Php14,590

Read on for our full review!

Design: Slim, sezzy, and easy to use with one hand

Probably one of the thinnest Lumia devices, lol.
Probably one of the thinnest Lumia devices, lol.

While it looks like the other Lumias, the Nokia Lumia 720 is actually one of the thinnest ones among the bunch. The slim and sleek form factor makes it ideal for one-handed use which is something that’s hard to do with the bigger Nokia Lumia 820 or Lumia 920. It’s also not just the sides but also how they designed the chassis. The edges are perfectly curved which lets the Lumia 720 rest comfortably in one’s palm. In short — it’s lightweight, thin, and ergonomic. Awesome.

Easy to text with one hand
Easy to text with one hand

The 4.3-inch display has a resolution of 480×800 which comes out to around 217 pixels per inch. In the world of Android devices that’s woefully low. However for some reason the Metro User Interface (Live Tiles) still looks strikingly good despite the resolution. Microsoft was definitely able to make the Windows Phone 8 operating system a very scaleable experience. Don’t get me wrong though — the moment you step out of the Windows Phone UI and start playing graphics intensive applications the resolution shows, hehe.

Glossy back
Glossy back
The 217ppi becomes apparent and obvious when playing games
The 217ppi becomes apparent and obvious when playing games

The Lumia 720 sports a unibody design so that means the back panel isn’t removable. There are clip-on Qi-enabled clip on covers you can buy though which actually facilitates the wireless charging experience. Unfortunately you’ll have to shell out more cash for that and we don’t know yet when Nokia Philippines will start offering peripherals.

Over-all we’re pretty happy with the form factor and design of the Nokia Lumia 720. We were actually thinking that Nokia should just make the next generation high-end Lumia to have the same chassis as the Lumia 720 and it would be the perfect everyday workhorse smartphone, lol.

Software: Full Lumia and Windows Phone 8 Experience… Sans Demanding Games

Windows Phone is getting a lot of new apps but we're still waiting for Instagram. -.-
Windows Phone is getting a lot of new apps but we’re still waiting for Instagram. -.-

Now we get to the software — Windows Phone 8. Let’s get straight into the question that we get asked over and over again when people see we have a Windows Phone smartphone. Are there enough apps? In all honesty most of what you need you will already find in the Windows store. The only app we’ve been itching to get is really Instagram but we’ve heard that it should be coming soon. Note though that while a lot of apps are already there, I don’t think that the Windows store is a priority when it comes to app updates. Hopefully that will change in the future.

One of our favorite games on the Nokia Lumia 720 -- Asphalt 7
One of our favorite games on the Nokia Lumia 720 — Asphalt 7

When it comes to gaming, you will be able to play most of the games in the store however the more demanding ones won’t run due to the 512MB RAM of the Lumia 720. This is quite a bummer since the only thing holding back this phone from getting a perfect review from us is that. Nokia should have just stuffed 1GB RAM in this thing so that all the latest games will run without any problem.

All the other usual suspects like social networking apps (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) are all there but note that the Facebook Windows Phone app is just terrible. We actually end up just opening it on the mobile browser. The good news though is that Facebook is working on a much better app that resembles the one we see on Android and iOS. Keeping our fingers crossed for the immediate release.

HERE apps FTW!
HERE apps FTW!

Compared to other Windows Phones, the Nokia Lumia 720 already has an advantage for just being a Lumia. Nokia has a pretty big stable already of exclusive Windows apps ranging from games to productivity stuff. The best ones of course though are the HERE travel, driving, and map apps. All of them work very well and the user interface of those apps are amazing. Definitely a huge help if you’re out of the country often.

Apps you need to get if you have a Windows Phone

If ever you end up buying a Lumia, here’s a quick list of the best apps that we’ve used so far.

Battery Level for WP8 – Displays battery percentage as a live tile
Clearer – Best To Do app ever.
Connectivity Shortcuts – For creating live tiles for WiFi, 3G, etc.
Evernote – ‘Duh.
Metrotube – Best Youtube app right now on Windows Phone 8.
MMDA – Must have for any smartphone.
TileSpace – Lets you organize and cluster your live tiles neatly.
Weave News Reader – Best RSS reader app for us.
Xpense Tracker – If you’re into personal finance, get this one.

Apps, apps, apps!
Apps, apps, apps!

Camera: Pureview quality

The camera of the Nokia Lumia 720 was so good we made a separate article for it. Leaps and bounds better compared to the 8-megapixel and 12-megapixel shooters of even the high-end Android smartphones. We were immensely impressed with the picture quality we got using the 6.7-megapixel shooter of the 720.

One of the pics we took with the Nokia Lumia 720
One of the pics we took with the Nokia Lumia 720

Battery life: Built to Last!

The Nokia Lumia 720 has ridiculously long battery life. Even if it says 2,000mAh, Microsoft and Nokia were able to optimize Windows Phone 8 for the Lumia 720 so that it can actually last you the whole day even with crazy heavy usage (3G, Texting, Calling, Gaming, Browsing, etc). You’ll only need to charge late in the evening before you sleep! Impressive right?

If you’re a light-moderate user the Nokia Lumia 720 will last you at least a day and a half. Cool eh?

Verdict

Two thumbs up for the Nokia Lumia 720
Two thumbs up for the Nokia Lumia 720

The Nokia Lumia 720 is a pretty good smartphone. It has great Lumia hardware styling and design, a phenomenal camera, and an equally impressive battery life rating. There are shortcomings like the RAM and the display quality but we’re able to forgive those given all the nice things we loved about it.

So what’s our final verdict? Well personally we still think the Nokia Lumia 920 deserves the top spot for best Windows Phone out there. If you like Windows Phones then that’s your obvious choice. However if you don’t have budget to afford the Lumia 920 then this is a very good alternative.

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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2 Comments

  1. I just bought this phone and totally agree with the review. Only i noticed is that the speakers are a lot louder when playing music compared when you’re using headphones. Overall its a good windows experience even with the 512RAM as I am not really a gamer . Battery life is outstanding too!

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