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Nokia Lumia 735 review

Andy Vandervell




  • Recommended by TR

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Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Nokia Lumia 735
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 735


Our Score:



  • Smart, colourful design
  • Good low-light photos
  • Great for selfies and group shots
  • Bursting with features


  • Sluggish in some games
  • Slightly grainy, oversaturated screen
  • No HDR camera mode
  • Weak built-in speaker

Key Features

  • 4.7-inch, 1,280 x 720 AMOLED screen; 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage; microSD slot; NFC
  • Manufacturer: Nokia
  • Review Price: £190.00

Review Update 03/11/2014: Not much has changed for the Lumia 735 since we first reviewed it, but if you're considering buying one it's worth knowing about the forthcoming Lumia Denim software update. It was announced with great fanfare in September and Microsoft originally planned to release it this year, but it now looks like it will arrive some time in early 2015. It's a shame it's taken so long, but Lumia Denim should address some of our criticisms of the Lumia 735 and make it an even better phone.

The main new features concern the camera and the camera software, namely a new camera app. It adds one simple but much requested feature, HDR photo capture. Microsoft's system works a bit differently, though, and is dubbed Rich Capture. When enabled, Rich Capture automatically takes HDR photos and captures multiple versions of the scene, using different levels of exposure for each shot and then merging them. The clever bit comes afterwards as you can select the ideal image from these multiple exposures using a simple slider. If it works as well as it looks like it does, it should make the camera experience on the Lumia 735 even better.

Rich Capture becomes even smarter when flash is enabled in dark conditions. In this situation Rich Capture captures multiple shots with and without flash, which you can then merge and adjust using a slider to get the perfect low light exposure. The new camera app will also bring an improved burst mode and should make the camera app slightly faster. All told, if it delivers on all these promises then it will be a serious upgrade to the Lumia 735.

What is the Nokia Lumia 735?

There’s a decent chance the Nokia Lumia 735 is one of the last Nokia branded smartphones ever. Microsoft bought Nokia’s phone division earlier this year and is expected to drop the Nokia name in future. That’s a sobering thought for anyone who has bought Nokia phones over the years, but the good news is the Nokia Lumia 735 is a decent last hurrah.

The Lumia 735, which of course runs Windows Phone, is pitched as the ultimate selfie phone thanks to an ultra-wide, 5-megapixel front-facing camera. But it’s also a capable, 4.7-inch mid-range smartphone that includes 4G, NFC and even supports wireless charging with additional accessories. It has some wrinkles, but it’s free on contracts from £18 a month or £190 SIM-free, making it a decent value option if you fancy something different from the Android rivals like the Moto G 2 or Sony Xperia M2.

Need help choosing a phone? Read our Mobile Phone Buyer's Guide

Nokia Lumia 735: Design & Features

The Lumia 735 sticks to the standard Lumia formula: it’s plastic and it’s colourful. We’ve seen the green and orange versions, which are bold, striking shades with a glossy sheen. There are white and black versions, too, but of the four we’d pick the green. The orange is a little too garish, while the black and white are just a tad dull.

We like the design, though. The smooth, curved shape is comfortable and the Lumia 735 has an unfussy quality that instantly endears itself. The only thing we’d change is the location of the power/standby button on the right edge — it’s about halfway down and a real pain if you use your phone in a cradle when driving.

Like most phones this price, the rear is removable and the battery is user replaceable. There’s a microSD card slot in there as well, so you can expand the 8GB built-in storage. This removable rear comes with one small complaint, though, as the case creaks a little when held tight or pressured at specific points. This gives it a slightly cheap feel, though the actual build quality is good — we dropped our Lumia 735 a couple of times with no ill effects, not even a scratch.

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Another benefit to the removable rear is that you can buy an optional Wireless Charging Shell and Nokia Wireless Charging Plate. Both are still listed as ‘coming soon’ but they’re neat options to have, even if they cost extra. Likewise, the Lumia 735 is unique among phones this price in including NFC.

In theory this allows for wireless payments, though in practice you’ll use it more for speeding up pairing with NFC equipped Bluetooth devices. That includes another upcoming accessory, the Microsoft Screen Sharing tool, which will let you beam your phone’s screen to a TV wirelessly using NFC to pair.

All of which means the Lumia 735 is a feature-packed phone for the price. They’re not all the kind of features you’ll use all the time, if at all if you don’t buy the accessories, but few phones this price can match it in this regard.

The Lumia 735 is powered by a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, has 1GB RAM and includes the usual niceties such as Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and 802.11n Wi-Fi. There’s even an FM radio, a feature we don’t see often anymore. The cameras are 6.7-megapixels at the rear and 5-megapixels on the front, which means the rear one is unusually high and the front one is unusually low. We’ll get onto those in detail a bit later.

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Nokia Lumia 735: Screen

First, though, the Lumia 735’s screen. It’s a 4.7-inch, AMOLED screen with a 1,280 x 720 resolution and it’s much like most AMOLED screens you’ll have seen, particularly among cheaper phones. Blacks are completely black, but colours — while rich — are overstated.

This combination means photos and videos look rich, deep and full of contrast, but also unrealistic. Skins tones have a ruddy, tanned complexion that’s out of character, something we noticed most when viewing photos taken on the phone than in online videos and films. We also found the screen tends to ‘crush’ the dark parts of videos so that, in one example, someone wearing a dark shirt seemed to merge into the dark background.

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The other issue is that the Lumia 735’s screen doesn’t look as sharp as its 1,280 x 720 resolution suggests. Despite squeezing in 316 pixels per inch (ppi), only slightly less than the 326ppi of the new iPhone 6, it has a slightly grainy, pixellated quality. This is down to the way the sub-pixels are arranged (referred to as PenTile), which means the screen falls short of Moto G and Moto G 2 whose 720p LCD screen look sharper.

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These issues make the screen sound worse than it really is, though. Yes, colours are too much sometimes, but some people will like the punchy, contrasty look — it certainly works well with Windows Phone’s standard dark and colourful interface. Moreover, the most recent Lumia firmware update lets you tweak the colour settings, so you can tone down the colours somewhat. On balance, it’s a better screen than on the Sony Xperia M2 (960 x 540, 229ppi), it’s just not as good as the Moto G 2’s sharper, LCD display.

It also works well when outdoors. Again, it’s not quite as bright as the Moto G 2’s LCD screen, but it handles bright sunlight well and remains useable and the auto brightness system does a good job picking the right setting for the conditions.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


October 7, 2014, 4:12 pm

It's already under £200 from most stores.
Carphone Warehouse are selling it for £129 on PAYG Upgrade or £159 on PAYG including £10 top-up. PAYG phones from CPW are unlocked to any network, they are just a SIM free phone paired with a SIM card.


October 7, 2014, 5:04 pm

So it is, in fact Microsoft has just listed it as £190 SIM-free, much less than other stores. I've updated the review and given it a Recommended on account of the lower price.

Edit: The update should appear shortly.


October 8, 2014, 7:19 am

Shocker - I updated an old, abandoned Nokia 520 to 8.1 the other day and I was actually impressed! The first WP i've picked up since throwing my useless Lumia 800 off a bridge in frustration. Windows phone has come a long way in the last 3 years. Where it's at now, in terms of development and app availability, is where it should have been at launch.

The 735 looks like a great option and excellent value for money. The build quality is excellent, call quality is excellent (i'd forgotten how much I miss a phone with great reception and clear sound quality. Too many shoddy Android phones have gotten me used to 'Fox hole' audio). However, I still can't forgive it's awful tile interface...so it's back in the draw and back to Android.

As a side: I bought a Moto G 4G as a back up the other day. What a fantastic little bit of kit. Excellent build quality. I prefer using it over the Nexus 5 and it makes me wish manufactures would make a more top end Android phones in this size...with huge batteries. Great value for money too.

ME Monzon

October 12, 2014, 9:34 pm

Please tell me this phone is coming to T-Mobile!


October 29, 2014, 10:51 am

Moto G 2 is not faster, it uses the same 4x1200mhz chipset.
And has the same resolution screen.
And smaller battery and no qi charging, and only 5mp camera, and only 1.3mp ffc camera, and it is much bulkier being 11mm thick and 143g in weight.
And it lacks NFC.
And it lacks Miracast.
And it lacks "sensor core" (buil-in pedometer and such)


December 6, 2014, 8:48 pm

The updated review mentions that the you need to wait for the Lumia Denim update before the new camera features would be available. This is odd because both the 735 and 830 come with Lumia Denim pre-installed. A bit of an oversight from the reviewer.
The only thing needed is an update to the Lumia Camera app, not a firmware update.


December 23, 2014, 11:06 am

just got one, love the amoled screen its bright and beautiful and soothes the brain of a black level obsessive like me. one thing they have done so right on this phone is the lack of capacitive buttons. this means you can actually hold the phone easily without hitting back or search. very nice. will be using QI charging - great.


January 14, 2015, 9:08 pm

>Slightly grainy, oversaturated screen

What?! Rubbish. Lumia 735, 312 ppi : iPhone 6 326 ppi (almost identical ppi)
The 735 has a beautiful screen. You can also adjust the display if you think its too saturated (I don't think it is, and I haven't heard any of our 2000 users at work _ever_ mention saturation) Go into Setting, Display, Colour Profile, Advanced and you can change temperature, tint and saturation. If your screen was grainy its broken, its a beautiful screen on the Lumia 735. This is one of the best value phones on the market.


January 16, 2015, 11:11 am

Those ppi figures are misleading because the 735 has an AMOLED screen with PenTile sub pixels. That means the impression of sharpness is reduced compared to LCD screens, which don't have the problem. It's not a huge problem, but in no way is the screen as sharp a similar resolution LCD screen.

As for colours, I generally take the view I shouldn't have to faff about in the settings to get colours looking 'correct'. It's great that you can for people that don't mind doing that, but it shouldn't be necessary unless you really want to. On the other hand, lots of people won't mind a slightly oversaturated screen, but it would be remiss of us not to mention it.


January 16, 2015, 11:38 am

Agh, pentile hate. I really do suspect you had a bad unit, I've literally just seen hundreds of these and they do not appear grainy. Not like the pentiles of old where you would see the matrix, you simply cannot on 735.
I showed your response to the people around, me, I took a 735, a Samsung Note, and got an iPhone 6 from the guy nextdoor and we were all squinting. The iPhone is marginally sharper but we are talking about degrees of ridiculously small. This is firmly spectard country. No normal human is going to care about the difference, and certainly I've not heard anyone in 2000 people call up and say "hey this 735 is a bit over saturated)
You were remiss not to mention super-sensitive touch? So pls don't claim thoroughness. The article just comes off as faint praise, clearly you are an iPhone or Android man - that's fine but I don't think there is any need to be critical of the screen as its really good and compares favourably to screens in this price range certainly.


January 16, 2015, 12:39 pm

It wasn't faulty and I gave the phone a Recommended Award -- it's really good phone, hence the award. Arguing over minutiae doesn't change that either way.

I'm hoping to get it back in to try the new camera features that are rolling out now, which will hopefully address any remaining issues.


January 16, 2015, 12:41 pm

The Moto G is faster running the same games. It's all in the review. That might not be the fault of hardware, but there is a difference.


February 26, 2015, 11:33 pm

I really like this phone. It integrates fantastically with Office. The screen is excellent. Battery life isn't great. But I think the browser is absolutely rubbish: really sluggish; renders pages really slowly; struggles to display things very well at all; fails to react at all to loads of links on pages, which is very frustrating - it's crap as a browser. The other big irritation is lack of apps eg why isn't there an app for Sonos or even Bose soundtouch? I can get both on my PC but neither on my Windows phone - I couldn't give a toss about games, but sensible stuff is sorely missing and MS need to do more to get more apps written by other hardware manufacturers. And the same for magazines and newspapers - it's a disgrace how little there is available.


March 16, 2015, 4:13 pm

This is my first windows phone and I am very impressed very easy to use and its excellent despite the low price. I still have sasumg note 3 as my main phone three Three Ireland contract. This window phone is being used for my three UK sim card. The windows phone is a nice change from years of use on android and iphone. To be honest I do like the windows phone more and more.

Fabio Rodela

September 25, 2015, 9:26 pm

I find the 735 an excellent multipurpose cellphone. The only problems I have with it is the weak battery power, the need to delete and reinstall certain apps, like MSN Meteo, and the power consumed by the internal GPS. Keeping the phone charging during GPS usage (only GPS and stand-by phone service running), the phone slowly drains the battery until it shuts down. One more thing, it's hard to control and close opened apps. Windows store has all the essentials you'll need to make your 735 work fine.

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