Nokia Lumia 720

19th Apr 2013 | 17:00

Nokia Lumia 720

The keystone to Nokia's Windows Phone 8 onslaught

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

We really like the Nokia Lumia 720. It's a great all round smartphone and while it doesn't do enough for us to love it, we would seriously recommend it as an alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini and HTC One S.

Like:

Slick OS; Good camera; Attractive design; Great battery life;

Dislike:

Average screen; Keyboard not great; No removable battery;

Introduction

Being the middle child is always difficult, so in that respect the Nokia Lumia 720 has it tough as it nestles slap bang in the centre of the Finnish firm's Windows Phone 8 range.

Arriving on the scene alongside the budget-focussed Nokia Lumia 520 at MWC 2013, the Lumia 720 provides a happy middle point in a line up which also includes the Lumia 620, 820 and 920.

The Nokia Lumia 720 is available for around £300 ($460/AU$445) SIM-free, while on contract you'll be able to pick it up for free from £22 per month over two years.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

This pits the Lumia 720 against the likes of the HTC One SV, Samsung Galaxy S3 mini, Motorola Razr i and Sony Xperia T.

In terms of design the 720 apes the mobile monolith which is the Lumia 920 and the dinky 520, instead of the more rounded 820 and 620.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

It sports a distinctively plastic finish, however the unibody design means the Lumia 720 has a solid construction giving it a reassuring presence in the hand - although there's not much grip to be had.

At 128g the Lumia 720 is a decent weight and it's a well balanced handset providing a relatively comfortable hold, although we would have liked the back to be a little more rounded so it hugged our palm better, but that's a minor blemish.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

We did find the red plastic was rather easy to mark and our Lumia 720 began to look grubby in next to no time - luckily though the surface wipes clean easily, which was a relief.

Our Nokia Lumia 720 turned up in a fetching shade of red, but there is a choice of four other colours if that doesn't take your fancy with blue, yellow, black and white all up for grabs.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

While the colour extends from the rear to the sides of the device the front of the Lumia 720 is dominated by a slab of glass which covers the 4.3-inch display, 800 x 480 display.

That's the same resolution as the Lumia 620, but with it's 3.8-inch display the 620 actually has a better pixel density (246ppi compared to 217ppi), resulting in the Lumia 720 screen lacking the sharpness and clarity of its smaller, cheaper brother.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

A great feature linked to the screen on the Lumia 720 is the ability to still use the phone while wearing a pair of gloves.

This is slowly becoming more common in smartphones these days, but Nokia is really leading the way with this super sensitive screen technology.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

The standard Windows Phone menu keys lie in wait below the display, housed in a swath of black bezel while above the screen is a 1.3MP wide angle camera, allowing you to have video chats with your nearest and dearest.

Down the right side you'll find the now common array of buttons which appear on all of Nokia's Lumia handsets these days - a volume rocker switch at the top, a power/lock key in the middle and a dedicated shutter button towards the base.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

All are easy to reach, although the camera key can be a little tricky if you're holding the Lumia 720 in your right hand.

Up top you'll find the microSIM slot - which requires a little tool to pop out - and a headphone slot, while on the left the only thing to note is the inclusion of a microSD port with the same set up as the SIM, so don't lose the tool which opens these.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

What these ports tell us is that there's no way to get under the cover of the Lumia 720, meaning the 2,000mAh battery is locked away out of sight with no option to remove it.

Interface

As you'll already have gathered the Nokia Lumia 720 comes running Windows Phone 8 - the latest mobile-based instalment from software giant Microsoft.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Windows Phone is getting better with each iteration and while it may not be quite hitting the heights of Android and iOS, we feel it could be there soon.

What you do get is a platform which works pretty much identically on whatever handset it's on, unlike Android which can arrive in many modified personas - some of which are better than others.

At least this means you know what you're getting when you pick up a Windows Phone and if you've used one in the past you'll have no trouble when it comes to picking up the Lumia 720.

Nokia tries to make the experience more of its own however by adding various additional features such as Nokia Music, camera smarts and its own mapping and navigation solutions - but more on those later.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

The lock screen on the Lumia 720 is the same as any other Windows Phone device, requiring you to slide up to access the phone - however there's more going on here then just a simple unlock mechanism.

Along the bottom of the screen you'll be able to see how many new texts, Facebook notifications, emails etc you have received on your shiny new Lumia 720.

If you dive into the settings menu you can also have the lock screen background changed to shots from your Facebook gallery, while also displaying details from an app such as the calendar or Twitter.

Get past the lockscreen and you're greeted with the old Live Tile formation, giving you up to the minute information from key applications without having to open them.

Hold down on a tile and you'll be able to move, resize (three sizes available) and unpin (read: delete) it.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

The 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM is plenty for Windows Phone 8 to operate on and we were able to navigate round the Lumia 720 smoothly without any hint of slowdown - making for a pleasing experience.

Slide from right to left and you'll enter the app list where you can quickly get a Live Tile back on your homescreen by holding down on an app and selecting the pin option - it's all very easy.

Apps are arranged in one long alphabetical vertical list, which can become a little cumbersome if you download lots, although a quick tap on the magnifying glass to the left of the list will allow you to search an app by name to save you scrolling for years.

There's no pull down notification bar or quick settings here - something which now exists not only in Android but also iOS 6 and BlackBerry 10.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

This makes manipulating things such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and the sort a little more laborious as you need to jump into the main settings menu, which admittedly you can pin as a Live Tile to your homescreen.

A bugbear of ours with Windows Phone 8 is the fact it hides your phone signal, battery and Wi-Fi connection icons in the top bar by default, requiring you to tap the top of the screen to have them displayed for a couple of seconds, before they hide away again.

More frustratingly in some applications you can't access these details at all, meaning you're left wondering why Facebook has stopped working - is it the phone? Have you lost signal? You just don't know.

Windows Phone 8 isn't a feature packed as Android, nor is it as polished as iOS, but running on the Nokia Lumia 720 it gives you a perfectly serviceable and straightforward smartphone experience.

Contacts and calling

Contacts

Nokia Lumia 720 review

All your contacts are stored in the People app on the Nokia Lumia 720, which is one of the main Live Tiles automatically pinned to your homescreen when you boot the handset up for the first time.

Sign into your various social and email accounts and you'll see the Lumia 720 will pull in all your buddies to the People app, including those from Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Things such as profile pictures also make the jump and on the whole the Lumia 720 does a pretty good job when it comes to matching your contacts with their various social profiles, although we did have to lend a helping hand with a few of them.

All your mates appear in a similar vein to the app list, with a cheeky picture appearing next to their name in an alphabetical list.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

You can quickly skip to a person by hitting the lettered tile at the start of each section of contacts, which brings up a grid of the alphabet allowing you to jump to a particular letter.

Dive into a contact's details and the first screen which greets you has that person's key details including phone numbers and email addresses as well as things such as their profile picture and latest status update.

A tap on any of the contact details displayed will launch the associated app, be it Phone, Messaging or the email client.

Slide sideways within a contact card and you'll be able to see your friend's social updates stream, photos from various their social galleries and your personal contact history with that person.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

The large display on the Lumia 720 means you get a decent amount of information on screen at a time and it's all very easy to see and manipulate.

Back to the main page of the people app and the same sideways swipe will see you scroll through a stream of all your social feeds in one place, your recent contacts and the Rooms and Groups panel in Windows Phone 8.

Adding a new found friend is just as easy on the Lumia 720, a quick tap on the "plus" icon at the bottom of the screen will take you to the new contact form where you'll be able to enter all manner of things about your latest buddy.

There's nothing different here to what you find on other WP 8 handsets, but the Lumia 720 does at least provide a smooth and almost flawless way to manage your contacts.

Calling

Unsurprisingly the Phone app is your main port of call when it comes to, well, actually calling someone.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

The recent calls panel is what you're greeted with upon launching the Phone app, and it allows you to immediately call anyone back with a simple tap of the phone icon next to the person's name.

At the bottom of the screen is a small menu tray with links to the People app, dial pad and the voicemail service.

The dial pad is very basic, with no smart dial or contact suggestions, leaving you to merrily tap a number in without any form of distraction.

Connection wise we didn't have any issues with dropped calls or a lack of signal, with the Lumia 720 managing to keep hold of a few bars at all times.

Call quality was acceptable and we could clearly hear what the other person was saying and vice versa.

Messaging

As with all smartphones days the Nokia Lumia 720 comes with a whole host of messaging options to make sure you're always able to keep in touch with your nearest and dearest.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Basics such as text messaging and emails are handled with dedicated apps on the Lumia 720, with both employing the same basic layout as other areas of the operating system.

Launch the messaging app and you get a list of your various conversations with people - it's all white text and a black background here though, with no colour of profile pictures present.

This does keep the app simple and clutter-free, and tapping on the particular person will see your conversation stream with them appear before your very eyes - with the text bubbles appearing the in same colour as your selected theme.

An added bonus with the messaging app is "online" mode which you can access by sliding sideways from the message list.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Set yourself to appear online using the menu at the bottom of the screen and you'll be able to instantly message friends on the likes of Facebook and MSN Messenger (which is currently being engulfed by Skype) without having to fire up separate apps.

It's a nifty, easy to use feature and if you're someone who finds themselves chatting away on Facebook's IM you'll love this - it's especially handy as the official Facebook and Twitter apps are not pre-installed, and thus allows you to get chatting without having to first download an app.

On the email side of things accounts appear separately in the app list, meaning your Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo inboxes are all accessed via their own individual apps.

This can become a little frustrating if you're on your email a lot, but luckily you can link inboxes together, allowing you to have one unified app for all your electronic mailing needs.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Just open up one email account, select "link inboxes" from the menu at the bottom and then pick the addresses you'd like to have in your own, easy to access app.

Adding a new email account is easy enough with setup wizards already in place for the likes of Google, Hotmail, Outlook and Yahoo making the process even quicker.

The 4.3-inch display on the Nokia Lumia 720 makes reading emails an enjoyable task with HTML messages appearing in their full, zoomed out glory - and you can easily zoom in for a closer look.

There are Android phones that won't let you zoom out on emails which can make viewing certain mail formats a pain, so it's good to see this option in the Windows Phone 8 client.

One sticking point with Windows Phone is its keyboard and the fact, like Apple, it's completely locked down meaning manufacturers cannot adapt it, nor can app developers offer alternatives via the Windows Phone Store.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

The stock keyboard isn't that shoddy, but when you're used to SwiftKey's incredibly intelligent next word engine and pin point accuracy everything else just seems sub-par.

With a 4.3-inch display the Lumia 720 certainly has the screen real estate to deliver a serviceable typing experience, but unfortunately we didn't seem to get on particularly well with it.

Next word prediction seemed very slow, which in turn slowed down our typing as we waited to see what it was doing - and sometimes it did nothing.

The lack of punctuation keys and symbols (apart from comma and full stop) on the main layout also frustrates, and for the grammatically pure it's a bit of a nightmare.

In terms of responsiveness the Lumia 720 is pretty sharp, but we did find accuracy was sometimes a little wayward, especially in the top corners of the board.

Internet

The Nokia Lumia 720 isn't blessed with superfast 4G connectivity, meaning you'll have to resort to a 3G connection if you fancy roaming outside of a Wi-Fi connection.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

In terms of actually viewing the web on the Lumia 720 you've got just one option - Internet Explorer (IE).

IE is an unfussy offering giving you all the basic tools required for surfing the world wide web, but none of the added extras you find on other operating systems.

If you're making the switch from Android or iOS you'll note there's no URL bar at the top of screen, with Microsoft opting to stick it at the base instead. Why? We're not quite sure, but it's not really a problem and you'll get used to its placement pretty quickly.

It's accompanied by a reload button, but any other controls are hidden away in the menu - which can be accessed by tapping the three small dots to the right of the URL box.

From the menu you can open up any number of tabs, allowing you to surf more than one website at a time - but unfortunately there's no easy way to jump between these tabs, or see how many you have open.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

This slows the browsing experience down a bit and is rather frustrating if you need to jump between several tabs quickly.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

You'll also a find favourites, browsing history and settings in the menu - the latter of which gives you a variety of options including changing the default search engine from Bing to Google.

Over 3G load speeds tended to hover around the four to six seconds mark for mobile sites, while content heavy sites were a bit more of a struggle taking around 15 seconds to fully appear - although we could pan around after about 8 seconds.

In some extreme cases we found that content rich sites could take up to half a minute to fully render on screen, so you may want to stick to mobile sites when using the Lumia 720 out and about.

Popping onto a half decent Wi-Fi network saw load times reduced by a few seconds for both mobile and desktop sites, which is to be expected.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

As the Nokia Lumia 720 comes equipped with a 4.3-inch display there's plenty of real estate to play with when it comes to browsing the web, which makes viewing sites and reading articles far easier.

You can tell the screen on the Lumia 720 does suffer a little thanks to its resolution, with images not looking as clear, and text not quite as sharp. It certainly doesn't make things unreadable, but if you take a second to stop and look you will notice the slight lack of quality.

There's no text reflow built into Internet Explorer though, so once you've zoomed in to read an article you'll find yourself feverishly sliding sideways as well as down to read all the text.

For those of you who are still avid Flash fans then there's disappointment in store for you here as the Lumia 720 doesn't support the dying format, meaning various websites and videos simply won't work.

Camera

The Nokia Lumia 720 has been equipped with a 6.7MP rear facing camera and a front facing 1.3MP snapper.

You also get a single LED flash next to the Carl Zeiss lens on the rear of the 720 - which is handy for low light conditions, while you're best off leaving the front option for the occasional video call and vanity check.

If you fancy snapping a picture then lo and behold you'll need to head over to the camera app to get things started.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Once inside you'll find pretty basic set up with simple controls to toggle the flash, switch between front and rear cameras and fiddle with things such as ISO, white balance and exposure value.

There are a handful of scene modes including sport and night, but we tended to leave the Lumia 720 in auto, as it usually did a pretty good job when it came to gauging the situation.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

If you fancy having a little more fun with your camera then hit the lenses key - which will pop up some options for you on screen, although just two are preinstalled on the Lumia 720.

What you get out of the box is Bing Vision, which allows you to scan bar codes and products which then sees the handset search the web for related things.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

The other is Smart Shoot, which detects faces and ensures everyone is smiling and has either eyes open to give you "the perfect photo" - splendid. To be fair it does work pretty well.

There are a variety of free and paid-for lenses which can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store including a range of Nokia-made options including Cinemagraph, Panorama and Nokia Glam Me in case you really want to go crazy.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

When it comes to actually taking pictures the whole screen is a live shutter button - just prod it and snap, there you have it - tap to focus included.

We found this got pretty annoying after a while, as we kept accidentally hitting the screen when trying to access the menu keys or simply adjusting our grip on the Lumia 720.

Luckily there is a dedicated shutter button on the right side of the 720 - which can also be used to launch the camera app - which makes things a whole lot easier.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

That said the shutter itself isn't particularly quick and we found the auto-focus sometimes took a good couple of seconds to settle before snapping a photo.

Image quality on the whole is pretty good and you'll be able to take some decent snaps with the Lumia 720.

Quality can be a little rough round the edges, especially in places with variable lighting, but on the whole it's a capable phone camera.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

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Nokia Lumia 720 review

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Nokia Lumia 720 review

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Nokia Lumia 720 review

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Nokia Lumia 720 review

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Nokia Lumia 720 review

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Nokia Lumia 720 review

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Nokia Lumia 720 review

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Video

Using the 6.7MP camera on the back of the Nokia Lumia 720 you're able to record in glorious 720p.

There's no separate recording app - you need to head into the camera and hit the video camera button in the menu tray.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

If you thought the choice of options in the camera section were sparse wait until you look here, as there are far fewer controls.

You can toggle the light on and off, but only when you're not recording, fiddle with the white balance and choose between 720p and WVGA recording quality.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Once again you can use the shutter button on the side of the handset to start and stop filming, or you can just prod the screen - whatever floats your boat.

In terms of video produced by the Lumia 720 it's pretty good in well lit, outdoor areas, although darker areas tend to be a little trickier for it to cope with, as you can see from the video below.

Media

With it's 4.3-inch display, microSD slot and surprisingly loud rear speaker the Nokia Lumia 720 is ready to have a real crack at being an all round media player as well as a phone.

The 8GB of internal storage may turn some users off, especially when you consider that over 2GB is take up by the operating system, but the relief in the form of a microSD slot capable of handling cards up to 64GB in size puts early fears to rest.

Putting content onto the Lumia 720 is easy, especially if you already have it saved to a microSD card, as you can slide it right on inside and away you go.

Of course you can also use the tried and tested method of physically plugging the Lumia 720 into your computer and using the old drag and drop technique to shift across music, videos and images.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Music

Your first port of call for listening to tunes is the Music + Videos app, where you'll find all the songs you may have put on your microSD card or copied onto the memory of the Lumia 720.

In terms of format support the Lumia 720 will happily play MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC tracks.

It offers up a relatively basic music player with standard controls such as play, pause, skip, shuffle and repeat - but that's about it.

You can view your songs by title, album or artist, plus there's the ability to create playlists on the fly.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

If you subscribe to Microsoft's Xbox Music streaming service you can tie in your account within the Music + Videos apps, giving you access to the vast library of tunes available over the airways with your own personal collection.

There's also a link to the Windows Phone Store from within the app, taking you to the music download area where you can purchase single tracks and whole albums and have them installed directly onto the Lumia 720.

The selection is relatively strong and pricing falls in line with the likes of iTunes, Google Play and 7Digital.

The musical offering doesn't stop there on the Lumua 720 however, with the Finnish firm also sticking its own melodic musing onto the handset in the form of Nokia Music.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

This provides a different music player where you can access all the songs stored on the phone/memory card. It's not that much different from the layout of Microsoft's stock app, but that's not the main attraction here.

Nokia Music has one big ace up its sleeve in the form of Mix radio - a free, unlimited library of music mixes available to play there and then or download for later listening sessions.

Select the genre of music you're into, such as D&B, Pop or Dance, and Mix radio will then serve up a playlist of tracks from that genre.

It's a great way to discover new music and new artists, find out more about the tunes and singers you love and considering you get it all for free it's an immensely impressive offering - and for that we applaud Nokia. *clap clap clap*

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Of course make sure you keep an eye on your data allowance, as Mix radio will happily eat into that all day, so you may want to download some mixes over Wi-Fi for offline listening.

As we've mentioned the speaker on the rear of the Nokia Lumia 720 pumps audio out at a surprisingly high volume and while bass is non-existent it's certainly not the worst internal speaker we've tested.

Plug a set of headphones into the Lumia 720 though and a range of audio settings become available to you in the settings menu.

There's an equaliser, which allows you to dabble with the treble, bass and those all important mid-tones, and a swipe sideways will take you to the Dolby Digital settings to give added oomph to your tunes.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Video

If you haven't already guessed from reading the music section the Music + Videos app is also the place you need to go to watch your favourite films and TV shows.

There's currently no video store available on Windows Phone, so you'll need to download your content from somewhere else and then transfer it onto the phone or pop it on a microSD card.

The Lumia 720 didn't have any trouble playing our AVI, WMV and MP4 file formats, plus H.264 and H.263 are also supported.

In terms of options there are far fewer in the video area than the music section, with a simple list of all the videos you have stored the only menu screen you get.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Tap on a video and it will start playing in landscape automatically to take advantage of the 4.3-inch display on the Lumia 720.

You can play, pause and scrub your video, but that's it with no advanced settings to speak of.

Playback is smooth and perfectly watchable, with the lightweight Lumia 720 proving easy to hold even during longer viewing periods.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

As we've mentioned already in this review although the Lumia 720 has a good sized screen it still has the same resolution as its smaller brother, the Lumia 620, resulting in reduced clarity.

You can notice pixels if you watch the screen for a length of time, reminding you that this is not a high-end device, but it's certainly not enough to put you off and with respectable viewing angles you and a friend or two can all comfortably gaze at the display.

Photos

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Head over to the Photos app and you'll find all your snaps housed in one place. You can easily scroll through thumbnails to find the image you want.

You can back up your albums to SkyDrive, ensuring your pictures will never be lost, even if the phone is.

It also pulls in photos from your social networks including Facebook, which makes it easier to navigate through the thousands of shots you've posted online.

Windows Phone 8 has some crude photo editing software built into the gallery which lets you crop and rotate photographs, but Nokia has also installed Creative Studio on the Lumia 720.

Creative Studio gives you a variety of editing options and a number of effects which you can apply to your shots.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Fine tuning comes in the form of tweaking the colour balance, brightness, clarity and vibrancy of an image - plus there's a tool to get rid of that pesky red eye.

Battery life and connectivity

Battery life

There's a 2000mAh battery house inside the Nokia Lumia 720 and we found it did an excellent job - comfortably keeping us going for a whole day.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Nokia reckons you can get up to 520 hours of standby time or 79 hours of music playback from the 720, and while these figures are a little unrealistic you shouldn't worry.

With moderate usage we were able to eek out two days use from the Lumia 720 before it started pining for the charger - which is pretty impressive in today's smartphone world where the nightly charging ritual is now common place.

For those more hard core users you should still be able to see out a whole day, as we were able to browse the web, fire off a number of emails, check our variois social networks and fire some rather irate birds at farmyard animals without dashing for the plug before bedtime.

We've found that the Windows Phone operating system seems to be less power hungry on the whole and coupled with modest processor inside the handset it all adds up to a more power efficient package.

The only dampener on the battery side of things is the fact that it's locked away inside the unibody design of the Lumia 720, meaning you can't pop it out to hard reset the phone, or swap a dead one for a fully charged spare.

Connectivity

Connectivity wise the Nokia Lumia 720 comes well equipped with Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and A-GPS all stuffed inside its smooth, plastic shell.

You can share your mobile internet connection with up to eight other devices using your Lumia 720 thanks to the wireless hotspot function found within Windows Phone 8 - which is handy if you quickly need some web access on your tablet or laptop and are out of Wi-Fi range.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

You'll also find a USB 2.0 port on the bottom of the handset and let's not forget the microSD slot on the left of the 720, allowing you to build on the mediocre 4GB of internal storage with cards up to 64GB in size.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

A USB cable is included in the box so you can hook the Lumia 720 up to your computer, or to the plug also provided in the box to charge the handset.

Nokia has also given the Lumia 720 NFC contactless smarts, allowing you to pair your device and share information with other compatible phones and accessories with just a tap.

Wireless charging is one of Nokia's hot topics at the moment, and while the Lumia 720 can't be charged wirelessly straight out of the box you can purchases a special case which will give it the cable free smarts.

The case hasn't gone on sale quite yet, so we're not sure how much it will set you back or if it's worth getting, but we'll update this review once we know more.

Maps and apps

Maps

Nokia has its own mapping solution now and it's no surprise the Lumia 720 comes with Here Maps and Here Drive Beta pre-installed and ready to roll.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

On firing up Here Maps - and waiting a couple of seconds for the app to load - the Lumia 720 usually took less than five seconds to pin point our location and we were able to pan and zoom quickly with relatively smooth transitions.

Obviously if your internet signal isn't particularly strong you'll find the 720 takes a little longer to render the maps, but for the most part we had a fluid mapping experience.

It's not quite as well rounded as Google Maps on Android, but you can view public transport and traffic layers, as well as get directions to and from locations around the world.

Another bonus of Here Maps is the ability to save maps to the handset, allowing you to view them when your internet connection isn't available - perfect if you're travelling aboard.

Downloadable maps are also great when you're using the Here Drive Beta satellite navigation app, as the Lumia 720 won't need to rely on your mobile connection to display the map on screen.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Once again the sat nav function is perfectly workable and does a good job of getting you from A to B - although it's not quite as feature packed as Google's offering.

The large display on the Lumia 720 helps when it comes to viewing maps and using the handset as a sat nav, giving you a good amount of information on screen at one time and although the clarity might not be quite as good as some of its rivals, it still works well.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

Apps

Windows Phone handsets tend arrive with far fewer apps pre-installed than their Android rivals, with manufacturers restraining from going too overboard before the phone has even hit your hand.

This trend continues with the Nokia Lumia 720 as it doesn't even have the almost obligatory Facebook and Twitter apps pre-installed, although a short trip to the Windows Phone store will quickly sort that out.

The Windows Phone Store is growing every month and while it's still some way off offering the vast swath of apps you get in Apple's App Store and Google Play, a lot of favourites now reside here.

It's pretty easy to navigate round the store with the layout working in a similar way to the sideways scrolling motion you get in the native Windows Phone apps. A decent number of apps are free, while paid-for options start from $0.99/£0.79/AU$0.99.

Nokia Lumia 720 review

In terms of what is included out of the box there is of course the standard things such as Alarms, Calculator and Calendar alongside the other stock apps we've mentioned throughout this review.

One of the big draws of Windows Phone is the inclusion of the mobile Microsoft Office suite and OneNote on all handsets as standard - giving you access to Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on your phone.

It's great if you need to make a quick change ahead of the meeting, or read an important document on the way to work - although the screen size can hamper more vigorous editing efforts.

There's also a handy PDF Reader present on the Lumuia 720, which we found was perfect for downloading and viewing pub menus from the internet.

You can search PDFs for a specific word or phrase, place a bookmark in the document and share it via SkyDrive - all from within the app.

Hands on gallery

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Official gallery

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Nokia Lumia 720 review

Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 720 is a great smartphone and though some may be put off that it's rocking Windows Phone 8 over Android, if you're in the market for a mid-range mobile this is certainly worth considering.

It's got a strong set of features, a decent design and sizeable screen giving you a simple, intuitive user experience.

We liked

Windows Phone 8 runs smoother than a greased up penguin on an ice rink and this makes the Lumia 720 a joy to use, allowing us to slide seamlessly between screens.

The camera on the rear of the 720 is a pretty decent offering allowing you to take some solid snaps - although make sure the lighting is good - and the ability to download extra lenses is a nice feature.

We were delighted to see a microSD slot on the Lumia 720 which makes this handset a real option for media consumption on the go, with the large screen also making movie watching a piece of cake.

We disliked

There's not a lot of grip to be hand when you're holding the Lumia 720 and we experienced many slips and drops during our testing period - luckily none were from a great height, but you might want to invest in a rubber skin.

While the screen may be generous for a mid-range handset, the quality is less impressive with sharpness suffering compared to the Lumia 620 and colours not popping like they do on the Galaxy S3 mini.

We also didn't get on with the keyboard on the Lumia 720 which seemed a little inaccurate and sluggish when it came to next word prediction.

Some won't be overly thrilled at the fact you can't get to the battery, but as the Lumia 720 will easily see out a whole day that shouldn't be a problem.

Verdict

We really like the Nokia Lumia 720, it's a great all round smartphone and while it doesn't do enough for us to love it, we would seriously recommend it.

It falls into a difficult place in the market with strong competition from the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini and HTC One S, but both of those handsets are getting on a bit and the Lumia 720 has the vitality of youth in its favour.

If Samsung does launch a Galaxy S4 mini later this year the Lumia 720 may meet its match, but it's certainly got the grunt behind it to put up one hell of a challenge.

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