Review Nokia Lumia 720 Smartphone

Daniel Schuster (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 06/08/2013

The Lumia for everyone? The 720 slots neatly into the Lumia line of Windows Phone smartphones. The differences are not immediately apparent to the buyer when you consider the cheaper Lumias. We will evaluate this 4.3-inch device and whether it would be smart buy or not.

For the original German review, see here.

The Finnish company has been very busy launching new Lumia devices for a few months now. The Lumia 720 is a relatively new addition to Nokia’s portfolio and has been available since March. If you have a look at the specifications of different Lumia devices you will notice that the differences are very small. We just reviewed the Lumia 520 which was very similar to the Lumia 620 at a lower price point. Now we have the Lumia 720 which demands a premium over the price of the Lumia 620. The main difference of the bat is the larger 4.3-inch display which makes it a significantly larger phone. The retail price of 379 Euros (~$500) for the small list of additional features included in the device is aimed at a more moneyed segment. 

 

 

Case

Size comparison with the Lumia 520 (yellow)
Size comparison with the Lumia 520 (yellow)

Similar to the other Lumias we reviewed (Lumia 520 and 620) the build quality is very good. Unlike the cheaper Lumias, there is no access to the battery of the phone. The matte finish on the back does not attract fingerprints and is very resistant to pressure. Our review unit is slightly wider with dimensions of 127.9 x 67.5 x 9 mm which makes it much thinner than the Lumia 520 and the 620.

Connectivity

We really like the fact that the internal storage can be expanded via micro SD card. The slot is on the left side since the back cover cannot be removed. The layout of the other touch and hardware buttons is similar to the Lumia 520.

Right side: Volume rocker, Power button and camera trigger
Right side: Volume rocker, Power button and camera trigger
micro SD slot on the left side
micro SD slot on the left side
Top: 3.5 mm stereo jack and micro SIM slot
Top: 3.5 mm stereo jack and micro SIM slot
Bottom: micro USB port
Bottom: micro USB port

Communication & GPS

There is a small but important upgrade in regard to the WLAN module. It now uses dual band technology and can send and receive data in the 2.4 and 5 GHz networks. You also get an NFC module (Near Field Communication) and Bluetooth 3.0. We could not determine any problems or sudden connection losses with the UMTS module or the other wireless connections.

The integrated A-GPS receiver works very well indoors with decent accuracy. Combined with HERE Maps or HERE Drive from Nokia, the module delivers good results.

Software

Nokia exclusively uses the Windows operating system and has the same Windows Phone Build as on the other Lumias. Due to the restrictions on the extent of customization by Microsoft, there are no special modifications done to the OS, hence this section being as small as it is.  

Cameras & Multimedia

Nokia provides two cameras on this device. The main shooter has a resolution of 6.7 MP. It has a Carl Zeiss lens; an aperture of f/1.9 and a focal length of 26 mm. Macro shots can be taken from a distance of 10 cm. The integrated LED flash has a range of 1 meter. The camera above the touchscreen only has a resolution of 1.2 MP (aperture: f/2.4).  

One of the best ways to assess the performance of a camera is to take low-light shots. Bad lighting conditions can be easily simulated indoors. The images had problems with noise to a small extent with poor illumination in some sections. The quality couldn’t be improved even with the integrated LED flash. We expected a higher level of detail from the 6.7 MP sensor. The results of the front camera are similarly dark and obviously more blurry due to the lower resolution. Outdoors (cloudy day), the results are considerably sharper. However, the colors are a bit pale and the white of the wall is slightly reddish. The front camera has the same problem with pale colors and the pictures are blurry

Front camera: 1.2 MP
Front camera: 1.2 MP
Main camera: 6.7 MP
Main camera: 6.7 MP
Reference: Canon EOS 60D, 18 MP, Automatic
Reference: Canon EOS 60D, 18 MP, Automatic
Front camera: 1.2 MP
Front camera: 1.2 MP
Main camera: 6.7 MP
Main camera: 6.7 MP
Reference: Canon EOS 60D, 18 MP, Automatic
Reference: Canon EOS 60D, 18 MP, Automatic

Accessories & Warranty

Unfortunately, there is not much we could list here. The small box does not have the space for any interesting accessories. Besides the modular power supply unit and an On-Ear-Headset, there is just a printed Quick Start Guide. 

Like all the other Nokia devices, the Lumia 720 has a 24-month warranty for the device itself. The warranty period for the battery is limited to twelve months and six months for the PSU.

Input Devices & Handling

More than 50 % of the display is occupied by the virtual keyboard.
More than 50 % of the display is occupied by the virtual keyboard.

We already expected it – haptic feedback and handling of the touchscreen are no different from the other Lumia devices. Inputs are executed very precisely and quickly with the operating system being similarly responsive to touch. 

The virtual QWERTY keyboard occupies 50 % of the display in portrait mode. It needs even more space in the landscape mode. The layout of the keyboard is convenient however you can hardly see any content on screen while typing. 

Display

The 4.3-inch display is very bright.
The 4.3-inch display is very bright.

The main differentiator is the display. It is 4.3 inches across and has a resolution of 800 x 400 pixels (WVGA). A jump to HD-resolution would have been appropriate as the inexpensive Lumia 520 comes with the same WVGA resolution. The capacitive IPS display can present 16.7 million colors (24 bit) and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2. The Lumia 720 cannot really convince with a pixel density of 217 ppi, and we already mentioned that the resolution is too low for the display size and the price (HTC One: 468 ppi).

585
cd/m²
549
cd/m²
581
cd/m²
598
cd/m²
579
cd/m²
586
cd/m²
604
cd/m²
553
cd/m²
582
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 604 cd/m²
Average: 579.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 579 cd/m²
Black: 0.643 cd/m²
Contrast: 900:1

The average display brightness however is very high. We measured 579.7 cd/m², more than twice the brightness of the Lumia 520. Even the display of the HTC One (488.9 cd/m²) cannot keep up with that. The brightness distribution of 91 % is just slightly behind the competition (Lumia 520: 92 %, Lumia 620: 94 %).

The contrast ratio would have been in the 4-digit range if the black value had been a similarly low number. Unfortunately the contrast ratio is just 900:1 which is still a good result but worse off than the Lumia 620 (936:1).

The RGB balance indicates a distinct blue cast on the display. The DeltaE 2000 limit value of 10 is exceeded by almost 100 %. This is especially evident with purple colors. Furthermore, magenta and green are too pale. The grayscale presentation is also pale above 25 % display brightness. 

The Lumia 720 is well suited for outdoor use thanks to the extremely high display brightness. Onscreen content is always visible. Combined with the contrast, our review unit works flawless and shows very good outdoor performance - contrary to the Lumia 520.

The pictures with the viewing angles speak for it. The IPS display shows a high color fidelity even under extreme viewing angles.

Good visibility of the screen content under direct sunlight.
Good visibility of the screen content under direct sunlight.
Viewing angles of the Lumia 720.
Viewing angles Lumia 720.

Performance

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8227
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8227

Nokia really seems to like the performance of the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8227 and obviously bought quite a lot of them since it is also used in both the Lumia 520 and Lumia 620. The direct competitor HTC 8S is also equipped with this SoC.

Similar to the other devices, the processor is clocked at 1 GHz, has 512 MB RAM onboard and is supported by the Adreno 305 GPU.

The identical hardware equipment makes it easy to compare the different smartphones. Unfortunately synthetic benchmarks are still rare on the Windows Phone 8 operating system, so we mainly focus on browser benchmarks. The results really depend on the benchmark run as sometimes the Lumia 720 is ahead of the competition and sometimes it falls behind. It cannot compete with high-end devices from Apple or HTC. However, the performance of the Lumia 720 is more than sufficient for daily tasks.

Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score
Nokia Lumia 720
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
441 Points ∼2%
Nokia Lumia 620
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
460 Points ∼3% +4%
Nokia Lumia 520
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
446 Points ∼2% +1%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 4 GB Flash
477 Points ∼3% +8%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
1899 Points ∼10% +331%
Apple iPhone 5
SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
1457 Points ∼8% +230%
Browsermark
Nokia Lumia 720
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
1503 points ∼21%
Nokia Lumia 620
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
1516 points ∼21% +1%
Nokia Lumia 520
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
1351 points ∼19% -10%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 4 GB Flash
1543 points ∼21% +3%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
2152 points ∼30% +43%
Apple iPhone 5
SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
2383 points ∼33% +59%
Octane V1 - Total Score
Nokia Lumia 720
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
375 Points ∼2%
Nokia Lumia 520
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
374 Points ∼2% 0%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 4 GB Flash
380 Points ∼2% +1%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
1986 Points ∼9% +430%
Apple iPhone 5
SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
1663 Points ∼8% +343%
Mozilla Kraken 1.0 - Total Score
Nokia Lumia 720
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
72205.9 ms * ∼42%
Nokia Lumia 520
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
72771.3 ms * ∼42% -1%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 4 GB Flash
68616 ms * ∼40% +5%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
13058.6 ms * ∼8% +82%
Apple iPhone 5
SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
20380.2 ms * ∼12% +72%
Peacekeeper
Nokia Lumia 720
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
218 Points ∼4%
Nokia Lumia 620
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
214 Points ∼3% -2%
Nokia Lumia 520
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
215 Points ∼3% -1%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 4 GB Flash
197 Points ∼3% -10%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
683 Points ∼11% +213%
Apple iPhone 5
SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
863 Points ∼14% +296%
Sunspider
Nokia Lumia 720
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
2142.6 ms * ∼20%
Nokia Lumia 620
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
1435 ms * ∼14% +33%
Nokia Lumia 520
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
2179.6 ms * ∼21% -2%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
Adreno 305, S4 Plus MSM8227, 4 GB Flash
1410 ms * ∼13% +34%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
1138.1 ms * ∼11% +47%
Apple iPhone 5
SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
935.4 ms * ∼9% +56%

* ... smaller is better

Videos & Gaming

Due to the similar hardware, we can already anticipate the results of the multimedia performance tests. Videos and newer 3D games are no problem at all. This can also be seen in the review of the Lumia 520. Our trailer showed no performance issues and there were no surprises with games from the Windows Store either. 

Smartphone technology has advanced to such an extent that they can be used for a wide range of uses but they do perform one basic duty – You can make a call with them and this is one of the strongest traits of the Lumia 720. Voices are very clear and can be easily understood; the recipient determined no problems either. The supplied headset is a small drawback since the result is usually too quiet. 

Temperature

In this section, we have a closer look at the heat development under load and the behavior of the phone during idle time. A direct comparison with the smaller Lumia devices shows that the manufacturer improved the temperatures under load. We measured an average of 33.9 °C at the front and just 31.3 °C at the back. The Lumia 520 was noticeably warmer with an average temperature of 35 °C at the back. The results for the Lumia 620 were similar. Unfortunately, we cannot determine any improvements during idle. We measured an average of 31 °C which is no problem at all to the user. The modular power supply unit gets warmer with a maximum of 41.6 °C. A larger case usually improves the heat dissipation as is the case with the Lumia 720, especially under load.

Max. Load
 35.0 °C32.4 °C33.5 °C 
 34.7 °C33.5 °C35.6 °C 
 33.4 °C32.9 °C34.1 °C 
Maximum: 35.6 °C
Average: 33.9 °C
29.9 °C30.8 °C32.9 °C
30.2 °C30.4 °C32.5 °C
30.4 °C32.5 °C32.4 °C
Maximum: 32.9 °C
Average: 31.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  41.6 °C | Room Temperature 22 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speaker

The performance of the mono speaker could be better.
The performance of the mono speaker could be better.

After the good result of the Lumia 520, we had expectations of the phone in this category. Unfortunately, it is immediately apparent that our expectations were either too high or that the performance of the mono speaker is just not very convincing. Even medium volume levels produce distortions and deliver an unpleasant result. Playback with a higher volume setting is even worse. You also get additional distortions if the smartphone is lying on a flat surface since the design of the device covers the speaker. 

Power Management

Energy Consumption

Based on the identical hardware equipment and the similarly bright display, the energy consumption of our review unit should also be similar to the Lumia 620. But the 4.3-inch device is even more frugal during idle with values between 0.3 and 1.9 W. The smaller sibling consumed between 1.2 and 2.2 W. It is the same situation with the consumption under load (0.8 up to 2.2 W) for the Lumia 720. Even with maximum display brightness and maximum load on the SoC, our review unit needs less energy than the Lumia 620 with 2.8 up to 4.4 W while the 720 only consumes 3.1 up to 3.3 W. 

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 0.3 / 1.5 / 1.9 Watt
Load 3.1 / 3.3 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Compared to the Lumia 620, Nokia equipped the 520 with a 130 mAh larger battery and the jump to the Lumia 720 is even bigger. A 2,000 mAh (7.4 Wh) capacity ensure very good battery runtimes. Combined with the lower energy consumption, the battery runtimes should be significantly longer. We ran three different tests to support our assumptions. The battery keeps the device running for 3 hours and 33 minutes under load, the display brightness was set to maximum and all the wireless modules were activated. The direct opposite of this test is simulated with minimum display brightness and deactivated wireless modules; the battery ran dry after 21 hours and 40 minutes. The WLAN scenario is more realistic: The display brightness is set to Medium, which corresponds to about 226 cd/m², and web pages are constantly refreshed. The device turned off after 15 hours and 51 minutes and a full recharge of the battery took 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
21h 40min
WiFi Surfing
15h 51min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 33min

Verdict

Nokia Lumia 720 with a solid performance.
Nokia Lumia 720 with a solid performance.

At first glance, the only difference of the Lumia devices is the screen size. The SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8227 with 1 GHz is often used for entry-level and mainstream devices. A closer look however reveals other differences that make the Lumia 720. The IPS display is unrivaled in its brightness levels and has high viewing angle stability.  The battery was also improved by the Finish manufacturer; the 2,000 mAh battery is significantly more enduring than the smaller siblings. NFC and dual band WLAN are also integrated.

We can find a reason for the existence of the Lumia 720. The SoC delivers sufficient performance and the hardware is decent enough. One major drawback is the high retail price of 379 Euros. Some online shops are a bit cheaper selling the device at around 330 Euros (~$430) - but you can get more powerful devices for that kind of money, for example, the Google Nexus 4.

 

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In Review: Nokia Lumia 720. Courtesy of: Nokia
In Review: Nokia Lumia 720. Courtesy of: Nokia

Specifications

Nokia Lumia 720

:: Processor
:: Memory
512 MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
4.3 inch 3:5, 800x480 pixel, capacitive, IPS-LCD, TrueColor 24 bit, 16.7 Million colors, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
8 GB SSD, 8 GB , 5.3 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm stereo jack, Card Reader: micro SD slot, Sensors: Position sensor, Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, NFC-sensor,
:: Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a b g n ), 3.0 Bluetooth, UMTS
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9 x 67.5 x 127.9
:: Weight
0.128 kg Power Supply: 0.068 kg
:: Battery
7.4 Wh Lithium-Ion, 2,000 mAh, 3.7 Volt, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 13 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 520 h
:: Price
379 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows Phone 8
:: Additional features
Webcam: 6.7 MP, Speakers: Mono speaker, Keyboard: virtual, 24 Months Warranty

 

The Nokia Lumia 720 is 0.3 inches larger than the yellow Lumia 520.
The Nokia Lumia 720 is 0.3 inches larger than the yellow Lumia 520.
The SoC is identical but there are extreme differences with regard to the display.
The SoC is identical but there are extreme differences in regard to the display.
Both devices are available in different colors.
Both devices are available in different colors.
The back cover and the battery cannot be removed.
The back cover and the battery cannot be removed.
The main camera has a resolution of 6.7 MP and...
The main camera has a resolution of 6.7 MP and...
...uses a Carl Zeiss lens.
...uses a Carl Zeiss lens.
The micro SIM slot is at the top.
The micro SIM slot is at the top.
The necessary accessories are in the box.
The necessary accessories are in the box.
The micro SD card slot is on the left side.
The micro SD slot is on the left side.
You can navigate through Windows Phone 8 with three touch buttons.
You can navigate through Windows Phone 8 with three touch buttons.
The display is one of the brightest we have ever reviewed.
The display is one of the brightest we ever reviewed.
It is well suited for outdoor use.
It is well suited for outdoor use.
Unfortunately the black value is too high. This results in a contrast ratio of 900:1.
Unfortunately the black value is too high. This results in a contrast ratio of 900:1.

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Links

Price Comparison

Pro

+Good performance
+Very bright display
+Long battery runtimes
+Expandable storage
+Build quality
 

Cons

-Low resolution
-Price
-Non-removable battery

Shortcut

What we like

The performance is sufficient for multimedia applications and daily tasks - although it is quite boring that almost every Windows Phone 8 device uses the same SoC.  

What we miss

Nokia could improve the black value as this would also help the contrast ratio. HD resolution would be appropriate for a retail price of 379 Euros.

What surprises us

We rarely see such a bright display - a real advantage the Lumia 720.

The competition

Nokia Lumia 520

Nokia Lumia 620

HTC Windows Phone 8S

HTC One SV

Google Nexus 4

Rating

Nokia Lumia 720
08/05/2013 v3
Daniel Schuster

Chassis
86%
Keyboard
48%
Pointing Device
90%
Connectivity
44%
Weight
100%
Battery
98%
Display
84%
Games Performance
26%
Application Performance
48%
Temperature
90%
Noise
100%
Add Points
80%
Average
75%
87%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Nokia Lumia 720 Smartphone
Author: Daniel Schuster, 2013-06- 8 (Update: 2013-06-11)