The Nokia Lumia 720 is a mid-range Windows Phone that seems like a high end device. We put it through the paces while traveling around Enoshima, Fujisawa City in Japan which isn’t your typical review. Enoshima island is a lovely little island an hour train ride away from Tokyo, a great place to escape the crowds and neon lights for a day. It is also close to some nice surfing beaches and the historical temples of Kamakura. So if you’re keen to check out some of the landscape of this stunning seaside town on Japan as well as find out if you should pick up the Lumia 720 this is the review for you.
The Lumia 720 is a mid range Windows Phone with a 4.3-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display with 800 x 480 pixel resolution. The smartphone is powered by a 1GHz Dual-Core Qualcomm MSM8227 processor paired with 512MB of RAM. One of the outstanding features of this mid range Windows Phone handset is it’s 6.7 megapixel primary camera that has a large f/1.9 lens and Carl Zeiss optics, which basically gives the 720 high-end camera performance and excellent images in low-light conditions. The smartphone also gets a 1.3 megapixel camera with wide-angle lens at the front. Nokia has provided 8GB of internal storage on the Lumia 720, which can further be expanded by up to 64GB using a micro-SD card. The smartphone gets a 2,000mAh battery under the hood as well.
Connectivity is well-rounded with dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, A-GPS and NFC. It’s not a 4G phone so you’ll still have to opt for other Lumias to get that. Wireless charging isn’t built-in but a snap on cover will add this feature.
If you think this Lumia 720 might be for you here is a link to Amazon which it’s currently available for $325.
There are two distinct classes of WP8 devices. In the higher tier are the likes of the 820, 920, HTC 8X which house a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Plus / Adreno 225 GPU chips and 1GB of RAM. The 720, however, is in the lower tier, along with the 520, 620, and 8S, which share a common dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon S4 Plus with Adreno 305 GPU and 512MB of RAM, and a low resolution 800 x 480.
Sunspider benchmark came in at 1,440 while the 920 gets a better score of 914, having said that web browsing still felt quick snappy for mobile and desktop sites. Zooming is done quickly, without lag, and when zooming out to full screen it only takes a moment to fill in what was cropped out.
AnTuTu benchmarks come in at a middle of the road 7,348, the Samsung ATIV S scored 12,064, but since the 720 only comes with 512MB of RAM it won’t really matter because you won’t be able to play graphically intensive games anyways.
On the performance side, it’s a fairly standard affair for Windows Phone 8 here. While the Lumia 720 only includes a 1GHz dual-core processor, the interface and apps are quick to launch and load the majority of times. the Lumia 720 occasionally took a long time to resume apps or to transition through the animated menus of the Windows Phone UI. Some of the issues I experienced could be related to the 512MB of RAM in the handset, but It’s clear that Microsoft still needs to optimize its operating system for this particular chipset, but for the vast majority of time it works as expected.
Overall performance is good without being great, which is pretty good at this price point.
In case you somehow missed it the Lumia 720 is running Windows Phone 8, personally I’m a fan, it’s simple live tile set up is flexible and interactive and it’s very easy to navigate. The Operating system is a big deal so pondering whether WP8 is right for you isn’t wasted time. On WP8, you’re basically tied to Internet Explorer, so be ready to invest some time in moving those bookmarks across if IE isn’t your default browser elsewhere. Once you’re all set up, though, WP8 is relatively transparent and easy to use.
One of Windows Phones biggest sell feature for me is Always on Skype with no additional battery drain. I travel a lot and my skype number is often my main phone number. This will be a killer feature for many people.
The 720’s biggest software problem is actually a hardware problem: it only includes 512MB of RAM. While this was sufficient in the Windows Phone 7 era, Windows Phone 8 apps and games are starting to push the boundaries of this amount of RAM. Temple Run recently arrived on Windows Phone 8, but if you search for it on the Windows Phone Store from the Lumia 720 then it’s nowhere to be found. It’s hidden, as are other apps that simply don’t run on devices with 512MB of RAM, presumably to avoid disappointing owners.
What we didn’t like
Windows Phone 8 still lacks quality apps, and it’s surprising that nearly six months after its release the situation hasn’t changed much. Things are improving everyday, but all the best apps are still on Android and iOS ahead of Microsoft’s mobile platform. This is a big drawback to Windows Phone if you’re addicted to apps and games, but if you’re a casual smartphone user then the app selection and built-in features of Windows Phone will serve you well.
We don’t want to keep hammering on it, but 512MB of RAM is going to be a problem and the display resolution is only 800 x 480 which is pretty low compared to other handsets that are rocking 1080p displays.
The camera was excellent for a mid range phone, but if you’re thinking that you’re going to get Lumia920 quality you better adjust your expectations.
What we liked
The design is amazing, it’s light with a large battery, we wish they gave it the specifications of the 920 and didn’t force it into the midrange category.
Great battery life, if you’re a heavy user you’re going to be impressed that the 720 give you real all day battery life, if you’re a average user with moderate surfing habits you should between a day and a half to two days. Pretty much unheard of in the Android world.
The display sports a poor resolution of 800 x 480 which is pittiful compared to most other phones on the market. But we’re going to make an argument that it can be over looked and that the display is in fact a winning feature. The colors are rich and vibrant; whites are accurate; and blacks rank among the best we’ve seen which is helped by Nokia’s ClearBlack technology. The black of the screen is often indiscernible from the darkness of the bezel, making the entire front face look like it’s supporting the Live Tile grid. Viewing angles, outdoor visibility, brightness (and the auto-adjust setting) are all great. And you can even use it with gloves or finger nails which if you’re from a cold country is awesome!
If you’re keen on picking one up, you can head on over to Amazon.
If you want to check out some of the photos from my trip, here is an album: