Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Nokia Lumia 720 on Test Drive

Thanks to the Nokia Test Drive program that I participated in, I was recently able to have a first-hand experience on the Nokia Lumia 720. Basically, I signed up at the Nokia Philippines Facebook page, received a confirmation email and picked up the device at a Nokia Store in my area. Read on as I share my five-day get-to-know session with this Windows 8 phone.

Hello, 720. Along with the requirements to be passed and the documents to be signed, there was an initial product demo given to me by a Nokia personnel to give me a jumpstart of the essential features of the phone. NAD Barbie expertly showed product knowledge while taking me through the checklist. Nokia’s very own Here suite was also highlighted and I must say it’s pretty neat. More on that later.

Some Specs. The phone has Corning Gorilla Glass 2 which makes it tough to break and resistant to scratches. It is capable of high-speed mobile internet. It has wi-fi, a micro-SD slot which supports up to 64 GB, micro-USB for your charging and PC connection needs, bluetooth, and all other goods that a smartphone should have. For music junkies like me, you’ll be glad to know it’s recognized as an MTP device and it’s also got a Dolby sound enhancement feature for your headphones. And oh, you’ll need a micro-SIM for this phone too!

The Nokia Lumia 720 loaned to
me for the Test Drive program.

I was loaned a yellow Nokia Lumia 720. They’ve got a lot of other different colors too: red, white, black and blue. That means you could pick the bright, vibrant hue which suits you best. The phone fit enough in my hand and felt solid with just the right amount of weight.

Similar to Android needing a Google account, this Windows Phone 8 device also needed a Microsoft account. If you can’t sign in even with correct credentials, check if your phone’s date and time has been correctly set.

Ease of Use. It was my first time using a Windows 8 phone and it probably didn’t even take me five minutes to get familiar with the environment. It was very easy to use; navigating and getting to where I needed to go was a breeze. So if you’re hesitating to get the phone because you’re afraid it will be difficult to switch from your iOS or Android device, don’t worry, you’ll adapt to Windows 8 in no time!

The Good. The phone is very fast and responsive; never did it lag even once. Its display is crisp and sharp. It plays 720p videos without a hiccup. Its 6.1 MP rear camera with LED flash and 1.3 MP front camera are very capable; picture and video quality is very satisfactory. The live tiles are resizable, allowing you to make the more important apps have more prominence on your screen. Calls are clear. Battery life is awesome: it went more than one day with texting, calling, surfing via wi-fi, watching videos, listening to music, using the camera and playing some games.

Another great thing about the Lumia 720 is its integration with SkyDrive. Photos are automatically uploaded, and my files and calendars are synced. It has Microsoft Office, so accessing documents, spreadsheets and presentations from the cloud is possible with Word, Excel and PowerPoint! And if you’re using OneNote, the phone’s also got that installed. Your social media needs are covered with available apps for Facebook and Twitter among others. Then, I added in Skype and I was good to go.

Swohoku gets his pic taken
using the Nokia Lumia 720.
Nokia has also included its Here suite that makes the phone even more packed with useful features. Drive Beta for your GPS navigation, Maps which can even identify the roads that Google Maps don’t name, and City Lens which even lists the bakeshop and the carenderia in the neighborhood! The level of detail and accuracy is just impressive.

Drawbacks. My hands aren’t really that big, so texting with one hand was a little difficult. But I was able to adjust, so using two hands proved to be rather just fine. And it’s probably just my unit, but where my Nokia 3110c’s signal is strong from the same network, the Lumia 720 would sometimes get no signal or just one bar. Multiple times, I had to deal with trying to send my message again and again until it finally succeeded. The predictive text input can be very smart sometimes but not at all times. You also can’t listen to FM radio (for now) on this one.

Also on the downside are the games at the Microsoft Marketplace. While the ability to connect to Xbox is nice, there aren’t just enough titles that I prefer, compared to Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store. I found equivalents to particular games, but playing these somehow isn’t as enjoyable as the original ones. Good thing Angry Birds became available as a free download during my Test Drive period, so this became the game that I played with the most (although it made the phone restart once while I was playing). Over time, the Marketplace could improve. Meantime, there are cool Xbox games to purchase if you really need your gaming fix.

Drive Complete. Now that I’ve test-driven the phone, I can say that it’s simple and straightforward, yet equipped and loaded with the good stuff. It’s got what you need and some of what you would want. Here are its full technical specifications from GSM Arena. Priced at P14,590.00, the Nokia Lumia 720 is for those who are looking for a phone which would enable them to become productive and connected, and have some fun while they’re at it.

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