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Nokia Lumia 720 – Unboxing and first impressions (Hint: It's awesome)

Just as we’re wrapping up our Lumia 520 review, our Lumia 720 showed up today - in yellow no less. Huzzah! So instead of keeping it to ourselves we figured we’d unbox and give a brief tour of the newest mid-range Lumia with Windows Phone 8.

As you’ll be able to determine from the video, we’re really excited about this phone. Fetching for ~$350 off contract, the Lumia 720 has a lot going for it...

Nokia Lumia 720 specifications

  • It’s thin (9 mm) and light (128 g)
  • 2000mAh battery (13-15 hours talk time)
  • Expandable memory via microSD
  • Unibody design
  • Optional wireless rechargeable backplates
  • ClearBlack 4.3” IPS display with Super Sensitive Touch
  • NFC
  • 6.7MP rear camera with a super low f/1.9 lens for a larger aperture; front facing camera

In our short time with it, we love every aspect of the Lumia 720. The audio for phone calls was stellar (loud and crisp), screen responsiveness is better than the 520 and 620, the rear speaker cranks and the main camera ranks as high or higher than the Lumia 810/820. All tucked away in a thin, svelte and shockingly light body, what’s not to like?

Yeah, make no mistake even though this “only” has HSPA 3G here on AT&T, we’re making this our daily driver for awhile

Look for our review in the coming week.

Family shot (L to R): Lumia 520, 620, 720 and 920 (820 was out at a party)

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

148 Comments
  • If this had 1GB RAM it would be a killer deal. As of right now it doesn't make sense shelling out the extra cash for this over Lumia 620; in my opinion.
  • You should have a debate with Nokia's product managers: "One important factor we had too look into with both the Lumia 720 and 520 was avoiding the low memory and app restrictions (basically avoiding another Lumia 610 scenario). We actually had early prototypes running on 1Gb of ram and other running on 512Mb; the users testing them out couldn’t tell which was which."
  • The low memory app restriction scenario for WP7 was 256MB and for WP8 it's 512MB. You never know what awesome new app will come and will be incompatible with 512MB phones for no reason what so ever, like TuneIn and Temple Run
  • Tunein works perfectly on my Lumia 620
  • Uhhm thats called a bad app with poor memory management then. Has nothing to do with the phone.
  • Lumia 720 owner here.. 512mb will cut you out not only games :( i discovered some days ago even microsoft research's faceswap doesn't work :(
    what the hell :(
  • How can that be, those came out for wp7.
  • i'm asking myself the same thing :\
    2 screenshot as proof:
    http://i48.tinypic.com/2hzmkaa.png
    http://i50.tinypic.com/15cd34p.png
  • Because Windows Phone 8 is a memory hog.  It have larger footprint than Windows Phone 7, would be my reasoning.
  • Personalyl I would get Lumia 720 because of the screen. There's a big difference between 620 and 720 screen imo. 
  • If it had 1GB of ram, this wouldn't be budget phone anymore. The whole point of 512mb is to make it cheap as possible.
  • First, 5, 6, 7, 8 ,9.... 700s should be midrange devices as they fall smack in the middle.
    Second, have you seen the BOM's for smart phones? iSupply lists the iPhone 5's 1 gig of RAM at $10.45. That makes it about 5% of the total cost of the iPhone ($199). Not to ignore the fact that 512 RAM costs something in that range of $0.01 and $10.45, is someone going to freak out by this slight change? Charge us the difference...instead of starting at $429, start it at $439.49.
    As I posted earlier today on a different thread, Nokia should bump the 500, 600, 700 series down a notch and have a new 700 series with lower-end specs (read similar to the current 620/720) but with the same amount of RAM as the higher end. I feel they have a gap they are losing here. Looking on Expansys, they have phones essentially every $100 or so from the $200s up to the $600s, except nothing in the $400 range. Now, given how few people actually care to look at BOMs when they are picking out a phone, why not take the current 720 componets and dump a 1 gig chip in and charge around $450 for it unlocked at launch? Not only do you have a more complete offering, but people in the midrange won't all of a sudden find shock when their device doesn't work with every app. While I realize a midrange device has sacrifices, it actually kind of bothered me a bit when I tried downloading a couple apps on my 710 and got errors because I lacked a gyroscope or something. Midrange is that point where you are enough money so you expect to have access to everything in the app store, but perhaps not every luxury as the highend.
    It's midrage... give me the same features as the highend, but slower or less capable. Start removing features after this midrange point. The exceptions here would be features with significant costs associated with them- perhaps a fingerprint scanner, crazy camera, etc. Sales tax is often more than the 5% associated (at least on the iPhone 5) with 1 gig of RAM.
  • 199 dollar Iphone costs 600 + dollars and above. So ask Apple to add 2 GB ram and see if they will give it to you for 620 dollars +.
     
    You dont know anything. If you want buy it or else dont.. Go and buy your Galaxy with 4 GB Ram for current rate + 20 dollars. All you can do is complain.
     
    It is all the features that these guys sell it and it is not about actual cost. You are mad.
  • This is business. Which is why you can rant here why some people are managing billion dollars business. Price discrimination is an important element making a product worth what it worth. Non of these phones will get 1Gb until the next 8 series gets 2Gb and above. You said you did research, then you should realized that 800 is a budget 900, 700 is a budget 800. And 600 you pay more for a premium SW package while 500 is all you need from a 600 but without the premium SW. Clear and well structured.
  • @Hiume:
    That's not remotely accurate. There are certain features on 700, 600, and 500 that don't necessarily follow that. One would consider a larger screen to be a higher end feature- 500 is larger than 600. Technically, the 700 series has the best aperture for low light pictures out of any of the phones (including the 920). There was just an article today on how the 700 lacks the Here+ while the 620 has it. I think many would argue battery life would be considered a higher end aspect of a phone and the 700 is getting touted there. The 700, 600, and 500 all share the same dual core 1.0 ghz CPU...doesn't seem like much differentiation going on there. I'm sure there are others, but I haven't spend nearly enough time looking at the spec sheets for these phones. 800 has an AMOLED screen while 920 and 720 both are IPS.
    Part of Nokia's issue right now with these phones is that they are all so similar and yet different, but not necessarily in the most logical of ways. I completely agree with you- it should follow that every phone is a slightly cheaper, less feature-packed than the model level above it. The issue is that it isn't happening that way.
    @rmichael75:
    If you read what I wrote, you'd recognize that I proposed taking a 720, adding potentially $10 of hardware to it, yet charging $100 more for it. Perhaps you should read things before suggesting someone doesn't know what they are talking about. Apple is doing this as a product differentiation as it positions itself as a luxury good. Are you going to tell me I can follow that same triple the BOM and get the sales price formula for everything? No. For a high end device, a company can get away with higher mark ups. What's stopping Google or Amazon from charging significantly more for their 7" tablets? Nothing. They aren't trying to position them as high end goods.
    As I just stated above, there are 5 product lines (5-9). If I go and buy a car that's barebone (aka 500 series), I would expect few, if any extras, luxuries, etc. If I buy a midrage package for said car (700), I would expect many of the same things included in the completely upgraded editon (900) with perhaps no leather seats (built in wireless charging), but I'd at least expect to have USB, bluetooth, line in, etc. and an average sound system, power locks/windows/etc. That's what I'm suggesting Nokia does- the middle phone shouldn't have compromises with app compatibility- speed of apps, sure. Lower quality camera, speakers, display, shorter battery life, lower quality/resolution screen, sure. I'm not asking for the world here. I'm asking for a midrange product to behave like one. I should have EVERY feature that the 520 and 620 have, but I don't- no Here+. 
    And since you missed it the first time, from my original post:
    "Now, given how few people actually care to look at BOMs when they are picking out a phone, why not take the current 720 componets and dump a 1 gig chip in and charge around $450 for it unlocked at launch?"
  • All I'm saying is that I'm a pretty big Windows Phone/smartphone user and I could care less about 512MB of memory. I'm using this phone over my 920 and the only thing that bothers me is the lack of LTE, but not the RAM--so there's like 5 apps/games that I can't play, that pales to what WP7 users are facing with new apps/games these days.
  • That "5" will steadily rise in the future. Our issue isn't that we're getting fleeced for our dollars (not really) but rather that they're putting out superior phones (720, is arguably better than the 820) but crippling them with inferior hardware in order to "set them apart" with an insanely good design and internals (best camera), but with really crappy 512mb ram that ISN'T FUTUREPROOF. How long will it be before apps come out that can't run on this beautiful masterpiece with really crappy 2009-era RAM? 3 months, 6 months or maybe just under a year? Even mid-tier Android flagships can last longer than that. Nokia has always, always sucked at hardware internals (their flagship phones consistently had the lowest ram among all phone-makers) but excelled at design and build quality. It doesn't make sense that you put out a phone that is nearly as good as the 920 but cripple it intentionally to prevent the inferior 820 from being cannibalized when you could have bumped the 720 to 820 status (by swapping them around, way back on the drawing board and planning stages) and given its memory a boost.
  • While I agree with you, isn't every phone crippled in some way? There's always something missing that makes one phone better/worse for someone. You want more RAM, someone else will want a bigger screen, someone else will want a better camera. Why doesn't the 720 have all of these and just charge a minimal amount over the current price. Well then it'd be a different phone. Everything is released with particular specs to hit a particular market; there's rarely one phone that meets ALL our needs and hits the right price point. At least Nokia aren't Apple and just have one device that's meant to somehow meet what everyone wants. Until phones get like computers and we can get them custom built we'll have to accept some compromises.
    If anything the 720 is too good for the price range it's in. They have given it too many good features and so people want just that bit more than would make getting a more expensive phone unneccesary.
  • Completely agree, very well said
  • I guess it depends on what you're looking for.  While I wish it had 1GB, there aren't any other 4.3" WP8 devices out there (which for me is the optimal screen size).  This also sports a bigger camera and a massive battery in a thinner form factor.
  • The Lumia 820 has a 4.3 screen.
  • Ah, so it does. Excuse my brainfart.
  • I agree. It seems a big jump from £129 to £299 (O2 UK PAYG prices)
  • That is O2's fault, they are selling a phone on payg at the same price as unlocked, which no-one ever does.  I'm just going to wait until it comes to Carphone Warehouse, by August I won't be expecting more than £170 for it (if it ever goes below £130 I'll definitly buy it). Another example of O2 overpricing is the 520 is £119.99 on their site, O2 locked, and at Carphone Warehouse it is £99.95 O2 but unlocked.
  • +1 Although it isn't 1GB RAM installed in L720, the features and the price offered to buy L720, it's a bang deal for a mid-high range phone.
  • I think 720 is going to do very well.. It might be the one carrying the banner. I preordered one too.
  • Yeah, I think this is the flagship for mid-range Nokia smartphones, and the alternative killer phone after the 920s ;)
  • Kind of agree.  I won my wife a Lumia 920 but she is having a hard time adjusting to the size.  I might get her a 620.
  • Haha admit it, you want to get her the 620 so you can have the 920.
  • Thats what she said!!  Oh wait she really did.  lol :)
  • Agree, i find the size of 920 to be too big and cumbersome. And i wonder why the front lower area is not symmetrical to the upper area. Such a waste of space, the 920 could be smaller.the screen is only 4.5", the size of the phone is almost the same as the 5" galaxy 4.
     
    i don't like big screen, but i think nokia can make 920 smaller in terms of phone dimension
  • That's why I got rid of my 920 for an Android until I can buya  720
  • About the bottom area was not symmetrical.  I wondered the same thing unbtil I realized that when you hold the 920 on it side, that extra space lets your hand hold ot without touching the three buttons.  Once I realized that why, it made complete sense.
  • Nokia wouldn't make that.. if 720 got a 1  GB RAM, it will be a killer for 920..
    they won't be that silly to make a carnibal product for their flagship..
    the one that would do that in this world is only samsung.
  • Steve Jobs answered the cannibal question perfectly, would you rather cannibalize your own product or have another company do it for you? This should be a no-brainer.
  • Also I hope the next flagship Lumia has a matte Yellow finish like this.
  • I was about to give the exact same comment.. I was really tempted to buy a non-black 920, but didn't quite like the shiny finish. Hope the next phone comes in matte - and ideally also in grey.. (Please!)
  • the grey Lumia 920 is matte
  • They should release a 1gb version with a similar spec. Else looks like it will be 820 for me.
  • I  think that's what the 928 is gonna be. Except bigger. I personally would perfer a 4.3 or even a 4.
  • I agree. I want a high end or at least a mid-high end win8 phone with a 4" screen. There's a demand for it but phone makers don't seem to be willing to make one.
  • make a 620 with 4" or 4.3". Put in stage 2 pureview like in 920, make it splash proof then i'm sold. I'm buying 920 mostly because of its camera, but the size really brings me down. I thought the 720 is good compromise, i don't play games that much so i'm fine with 512MB RAM. But then i found out that the size is just slightly smaller than 920
    Nokia should pay attention to this market segment, not everybody like the big screen phones
     
     
    N
  • Off/On-topic. I've always wanted a Dakar Yellow M3. If I ever get one, my phone will have to be yellow to match, because that is too damn awesome looking. 
  • LOL-- The yellow looks a little washed out on the M3.  The yellow lumia, would be a much darker shade than the car.  IMO - Not really much into cars... But  I've always wanted to get a red GTI - A red lumia would match it perfectly.  xD
  • I am completely jealous Dan!!!!! I have the 920 but I think the 720 is actually the phone for me. And its yellow!!!! GD it!!!! I'm excited for you, enjoy!
  • I want a CDMA unlocked Lumia option!
  • Good luck with that, when LTE is the norm (Verizon does a full LTE network and kills the 3g), then you might see that support, as LTE needs a SIM card...
     
    but, a Unlocked CDMA version for Sprint or Verizon, dont see that ever happening...and if it did, would one of those carriers actually activate it for you ?
  • Verizon would love to
  • Take a CDMA based Sprint phone (hint: It will work 100% on Verizon's 3g network) like the Arrive and CALL Verizon....They wont activate it even if it is fully unlocked. Maybe sometine in the future but, now, I would not buy a phone based on that, even if you work at Verizon, as stories can change with Verizon depending on who you talk to and what day you call
  • You can get a Lumia 820 for the same price on eBay...
  • And if you're willing to go used, you can get a 920 for $50 cheaper.
  • True, but there is a significant difference in size and weight between the 720 and 920. It can be a deciding factor. Plus: expandable storage (32GB vs 72GB is a big deal for some). I mean, this phone is even a hair lighter than the HTC 8X...it's really nimble.
  • I just wish Microsoft allowed apps or at lease games to be added to the SD card. 8 gigs for apps, games and software is not enough. I have 25 gigs left on my SD and nothing but music and pictures to put one it.
  • or map to sd card? Though games would be sweet!
  • The design alone makes a statement for the L720..
  • What about Here Drive without the + ?
    If I have to pay for the + maybe the 620 or 820 is the better deal.
  • Would have wanted to pick this up as well, but am not going to as I"m planning to use the phone as a navigation device abroad. Now considering the 620. Too bad Nokia :(
  • What is the difference betwenn + and non + version? I heard there is a limit of one offline map download or something but I am not familiar with details
  • HERE Drive just allows offline navigation based on a region or country. HERE Drive+, on the other hand, allows global offline navigation. GSM Arena did hint that non-Nokia phones will have to pay to upgrade the former to the latter. Not too sure about the 720 and 520's case, though.
     
    You can still download as many offline maps as possible and still use HERE Maps for the walk navigation regardless of where you are.
  • So nice that .7 of extra pixels for the camera. Everything needs to be the same shape! Otherwise sounds like a perfect phone for TMobile.
  • Rad! Is GDR2 on there?
  • One word epic!
  • magical...
  • $350 on eBay??
  • Looks like a really nice phone but, with 512mb and only 8gb, it's lower end. I have 16gb in my 8x and I can't install any more apps, so the limits with this is pretty huge if you like your apps.
     
    Wish MS would allow apps to be installed to MicroSD cards, then that problem would resolve itself.
     
    I like the look of it, hoping this is a sign what will come with the 928 (hint:MicroSD)
  • They should at least allow the maps to be downloaded on the micro sd card, if apps are not viable. I have not downloaded maps due to space it takes up.
  • How much of "other" memory does your phone have?
  • My 8x normally gets large but, that "Shrink Storage" app really works. at one point I was almost 6gb other and it dropped it down to 2.54gb...
     
    If Microsoft allowed SD storage, it would prob have to make a hidden/encrypted  partition because it would allow people to "crack" games if all the files where in there (there is already a hack for7.8  unlocked phones to "crack" games after they are installed). take a 64gb and give 20gb to apps, still 44gb for media and music would be epic...
  • Microsoft does allows sd storage to my knowledge 
  • Yes, MicroSD for media, podcasts, pictures, etc but, officially you can NOT install any Apps/games to the SD card. The major limit with this phone is you only have 8gb for apps/games, if you like games and the newer ones, that might just allow for 3-4 games before your out of space. That is possibly a major flaw with this unit and the design of WP8 with SD cards. Of course, this depends on the user.
  • Does the 720 have HAAC mics on board?
  • Yes, High Dynamic mics are on board.
  • Ah thanks, good to know.
  • This phone has everything going for it, except 1 GB ram. Is ram that expensive? They could have cut down on the NFC and/or wireless charging and included that additional ram. Would have been a killer phone then. It may still sell very well since the WP8 OS is butter smooth even on 512 ram :) Some apps and games are the issue.
  • But AFAIK, there are like maybe 5 apps/games that fall into that category...I personally think this is more of a mental barrier for people than a real one. Put it another way: it doesn't bother me any...
  • It's enough to bother people like myself. As new games are being released with 1gb needed. Maybe they patch them later but, if it's worth it to you to wait or might not even get the chance to play it because they cant' make it run on less.  We have seen a few games come out, then patched LATER. How does one know this will not keep happening like this ? Also does this make devs strip a game down so it can run on a 512mb phone ? So do the 1gb  users suffer because of this ?
     
    it also comes down to 8gb in this phone, it's not a lot of space if you like games, this will fill up very quickly.
    512mb/8gb is a big downer on this phone.
  • hey dan, even microsoft have an app (NOT a game) that requires 1 GB ram so the future doesn't look that bright www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/face-swap/0f55f905-77d3-4e09-8f2a-d...
  • That app hasn't been updated since August of 2012--pre Windows Phone 8. So either one of two things: (1) MSR has abandoned it or (2) a proper WP8 version will come out and work on 512MB devices.  Either way, that's but a single example out of 130K apps, hardly a "OMG the sky is falling" moment.
  • www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/vneslight/3d8e51b8-1884-4aa7-bb2c-2...
  • Thanks, I love VNESLight Pro. Just installed it on my new Lumia 720. Point?
  • i don't own a 512 ram device (gonna buy a red 720) so when i see the 'not available for all phones' line under the resolution requirements on the app store website i thought that meant 512 mb ram devices.....but if it's not for that why is it written on vnes's app website ??
  • Thanks for the intro.
    Would be great to see a "family shot" with all of them on, to get an idea of the tile size.
  • Really nice phone...I love the matte finish, I don't know why Nokia didn't do that with the 920 from the start.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing what changes are coming to HTC & Samsung once those WP8 devices are revealed by Sprint in the coming weeks.
  • Wow! Finally my love is here! Was waiting for you for such a long time... Now you are here; that too in that hot yellow outfit! :D
  • Speak of which, http://openwalls.com/image?id=9083.
  • Where js the 820 or 820 variant in the picture? :)
  • My girl is so pissed Tmobile didnt pick this up lol i just sent her that video and now she is REALLY pissed haha, that is one sexy device.
     
    She says the 810(tmobile) just looks too traditional (black, squared slab)
  • I agree 100%. 810 is nice but it's quite boring by comparison. T-Mo (and all US carriers) should seriously consider this phone, imo.
  • Based on http://www.wpcentral.com/nokia-lumia-720-teases-us-passes-through-fcc I doubt any US carrier but AT&T will be getting this phone.
  • It looks thicker than it actually is to me.
  • All Nokia phones have that prblems. They are not photogenic.:)
  • im actualy quite sad that the 720 has a better battery then the 820
  • Yeah the 820 battery is terrible! But we have other things going for our phone....not many but some!