Nokia has another colourful Lumia to add to its vibrant lineup. The 720 sits slap bang in the middle of the range above the cheap and cheerful, but below the flagship with its bigger screen and powerful camera.
Like all of the Lumia range, the 720 runs Windows Phone 8 software and comes with a host of bundled Nokia apps. It packs a 4.3-inch display, a 6.7-megapixel camera and a 1GHz dual-core processor.
Should I buy the Nokia Lumia 720?
The Lumia 720's sleek body and relatively small 4.3-inch screen make it much easier to hold than its bigger brother the 920. If you're after a Windows Phone 8 mobile that you won't struggle to get into your pocket, it's worth taking a look at.
Its screen resolution is the same as the 620's, which you can get for less than half the price. Nokia's excellent maps, navigation and local business software is on board, helping to plug the gaping gaps in the Windows Phone app store. Again though, you'll find all of that on the 620 too.
The 720 packs in a better camera than the 620, so if that's important to you and you value a physically larger screen, it's not a bad option for the price. You'll find most of the same features on the 620 though, and you'll save yourself a bundle if you opt for it over the 720. If you're after the best camera and screen in the Windows Phone world, the Lumia 920 is for you, but you'll have to shell out significantly more if you want to wedge it into your pocket -- but make sure you check out the Lumia 620 first.
Design and build quality
At 128mm long and 68mm wide, the Lumia 720 is much easier to hold in one hand than the giant smart phone beasts like the. At 9mm thick, it's slimmer than the 11mm Lumia 920, and considerably lighter too, making it a much more pocket-friendly device all round.
It sat comfortably in my hand and its 4.3-inch display didn't require me to stretch my thumbs across to hit the far corners. I certainly can't do the same on bigger phones. The glass front curves attractively at the sides to join the rounded back. Its shape is more akin to the HTC 8X, rather than the elliptical design of the 920.
The body is made from polycarbonate -- a type of plastic -- that felt quite firm. It doesn't have the same expensive, solid feel of the 920, nor the luxurious appeal of the metal Galaxy S3, for example, felt much worse, and yet will set you back more money., but then the 720 is significantly cheaper than both of those phones. I've certainly seen phones that felt cheaper than the 720 for around the same price -- the plastic casing on the
The back casing isn't removable -- a feature you'll find on the cheaper 620. While that does make it feel a little more sturdy to hold, it does mean that you can't swap your case for a fresh one when your existing one gets battered. The polycarbonate material seems pretty good at shrugging off attacks from keys in your pocket, so as long as you don't take a drill to it, it should keep looking sharp for a while.
On the sides you'll find a volume rocker, power button and dedicated camera shutter button. There's a micro-USB port at the bottom and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. Both the micro-SIM and microSD card slots are hidden in trays -- you'll need to use the included removal tool or a paperclip to access them.
It's good to see expandable storage, as the 720 only offers 8GB of internal storage. That's enough for your essential apps -- particularly if you tend to stream media, rather than store it locally -- but if you want to take a lot of photos and videos, you should factor in the price of an SD card.
The Lumia 720's 4.3-inch screen packs a resolution of 480x800 pixels, which is the same as the resolution on the 620. As the 620 is squashing the same pixels into a smaller screen size, it results in the display actually being slightly sharper -- 246 pixels per inch, rather than an inferior 217ppi on the 720. That's pretty annoying, given how much cheaper the 620 is.
Nokia put the same resolution into the Lumia 820 too. The screen still looks pretty sharp, but it's annoying that there's no improvement between the cheaper and more expensive models. It's only when you splash the cash on the 920 that you benefit from the 768x1,280-pixel resolution.
Resolution aside, it does at least look good. Black levels are very deep, resulting in strong contrast and rich colours. My favourite test video, The Art of Flight, looked as glorious as ever and fine text on Web pages was perfectly readable.
Pleasingly, Nokia has made the touch input extremely sensitive too. I was easily able to operate it while wearing woollen gloves or even using the back of my fingernail. You still need to make some sort of electrical connection though, so don't expect to use a Biro as a stylus.
Windows Phone 8
The Lumia 720 is running on the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system Windows Phone 8. Like Windows Phone 7 before it, its homescreen is made up of a bunch of colourful tiles, each showing live information. You can resize them and move them around to make sure that your most used apps are right at the top.
The gems of Windows Phone 8 are undeniably the People and Me hubs. These amalgamate your social networks, letting you see all your friends' updates in one place, as well as enabling you to post your own updates. The hubs are neat, easy to use and save you having to jump in and out of individual apps when you want to post pictures to different places.