Like virtually every aspect of the Lumia 720, the call quality of the phone is decent. It uses an additional microphone to provide active noise cancellation in noisy environments, and the earpiece speaker offers decent clarity, with a mids-heavy sound that cuts through in ambient noise pretty well.
Battery life is also commendable. The Lumia 720 has a 2,000mAh battery, and with moderate use we coasted through a day and half without a charge. Light users should be able to squeeze two days out of the phone.
The Nokia Lumia 720 has two cameras. There’s a 6.1-megapixel sensor on the rear with an LED flash and a basic 1.3MP video chat camera on the front.
Photos are high on contrast and have punchy colours for a mid-range phone. The Nokia Lumia 720 doesn’t have the optical image stabilisation of the Lumia 920 or the (relatively) huge sensor of the PureView 808. However, it's an above average camera for a mid-range phone, no doubt in part to the fast f/1.9 lens used.
It also benefits from the ease of the camera interface of Windows Phone 8. It’s very stripped-back, and you can take a photo with a single press on the touchscreen preview – which makes the phone both on focus on that spot and take a snap.
However, it doesn’t give you instant access to a bunch of neat filters and such, which you get with an Android phone. Instead you have to apply what Microsoft calls lenses, which are filters or mini-apps for the camera.
The Nokia Lumia comes with Bing Vision and Smart Shoot lenses pre-installed. These are augmented reality and burst mode apps – the latter designed to take a bunch of photos of people in a row in order to let you pick and save the best.
There’s tons of functionality missing from the app as standard – HDR, panorama, standard filters and more. You can download extra lenses that supply these features from the Windows Marketplace, but as with any app store-based activity it’s a crapshoot. And many of the lenses aren’t free. Lenses are a great idea, but we’d like to see the basics like HDR and panorama included as standard.
As with any low-end or mid-range phone that isn’t a complete car crash, the Nokia Lumia 720 lives and dies by its price. It’s available from £239 SIM-free, meaning it is level with the Google Nexus 4, £80 more than the HTC 8S and and around £100 more expensive than its baby brother, the Lumia 620.
It can’t compete with the Nexus 4, which is just about as slick, has a far superior screen and stronger apps selection. And although it offers reasonable value the Lumia 720 isn’t quite the Windows star the Nokia Lumia 620 is, despite being superior in most respects. Our advice is to wait for the inevitable price drop if you can.
The Nokia Lumia 720 is a good-looking phone that offers the snappy performance you can expect of a Windows Phone 8 device. We’d like to see it sell a little under its standard retail price thanks to its ageing screen technology, given a more bitter edge by the still-limited apps and games selection of Windows Phone. However, it’s a more-than-sound introduction to the Windows Phone 8 platform if that’s what you’re after.