Nokia Lumia 720 #1: Purchasing Decisions

Posted on May 1, 2013


Dropping your phone in water is always an uncanny situation since you start hearing voices in your head. On the one hand, if by some hand of God your phone gets fixed, the Rs.20000 you spent as little as five months back won’t be flushed down the drain (literally!). On the other, if as expected they’re not able to resuscitate your phone, you get to go out and buy a shiny new toy to play with. As the title of this post suggests, it was the latter with me.

I’ve been a Google fanboy for a long time, and still remain one. However, after years of using Android and watching it grow from scrawny Eclair to fearsome Jellybean, I decided it was time for a change. iOS was out of the question considering the maximum budget for me was Rs. 20K. Windows Phone 8 was the only other alternative and watching Youtube videos of that sleek UI in action did more than enough to convince me.

Currently, there are only two clear manufacturers for WP8: HTC and Nokia. My previous phone was a HTC Desire X, which I dropped in water. In general, HTC has been a very unlucky brand for my family. More seriously, I’ve been a big fan of Nokia’s design for a long time. Plus they’re a proven brand in India with lots of service centers in easy-to-access areas, and in addition, it has been really disheartening to witness their slump in recent years. They’ve gone from being the biggest brand in India to a relative unknown, thanks to Samsung’s Android boom. I wanted to do my part in lifting them up and decided on Nokia.

One of the many advantages of Windows Phone 8 is that there aren’t a lot of choices in each price range, so you don’t have to do as much research as in the case of Android. However, what I also found out in my research was that the specs of phones in different price ranges are very similar, which can lead to confusion. Take Nokia’s Lumia line-up for example. The Nokia Lumia 520, 620 and 720 are all powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor and sport the same 512MB of RAM. This left me in a state of bemusement, until further research demonstrated the differences more starkly.

The Lumia 520 is the cheapest of the lot conveniently slotting in at Rs.10K, and for my money it is easily the best bargain as well. There is no Android phone in the price range that packs the same amount of punch. It was my initial target, but I was convinced by people around me to aim a little higher. So I moved to the Lumia 620. It has a slightly smaller TFT screen which gives it greater pixel clarity (246ppi), but it is also slightly bulkier at 11mm thickness. That means it doesn’t look like a premium phone, at least to me. The major difference over the Lumia 520 is the addition of a front-facing camera. Without being entirely convinced, I decided to buy the 620 because of its Krait processor and sweet price at Rs.14K, and I had actually placed the order via Flipkart when Nokia announced the Lumia 720 launch in India.

I immediately cancelled my order (Thank God it hadn’t shipped yet!) and went into further analysis mode. There is a wide disparity between the 620 and the 720 in terms of price; the latter being priced around Rs.5K more than the latter at Rs.19K. Give that, as previously mentioned, they share similar specs, the decision came down to the more superficial differences between the two.

The Lumia 720 sports a custom-designed Carl-Zeiss camera which has a megapixel count of 6.7, a weird number but a high one in the price range nonetheless. This is largely irrelevant for me since I’m not a big shutterbug, especially when it comes to snapping with my mobile. It also has a better front-facing camera at 1.3 megapixels, which is again something I was never going to put to good use.

In terms of screen resolution, both the 620 and 720 are 480p. The 620′s smaller size results in better pixel clarity whereas the 720′s 4.3″ screen gave it a measly PPI of 217. This worried me in my research, but when I saw the phone in action in Youtube videos, all my fears were vanquished. The 4.3″ IPS LCD resulted in a screen with rich contrasts which was perfectly suited for the Windows Phone UI, unlike the TFT of the 620. Although the battle for screen supremacy was close, I had to side with the IPS of the 720 given that it also had Corning Gorilla Glass protection, a mandatory feature for a serial phone-abuser like me.

Another key factor which made the decision easier was the battery. The Lumia 720 has a 2000 mAh battery while the 620 is a much more conservative 1300 mAh. All reviews were already complaining about having to charge the 620 every night especially with heavy data usage, while most reviews showered praises on the longevity of the 720 saying it lasted a good one and a half to two days even under moderately heavy usage. The winner was clear in that battle, and it should’ve convinced me especially with the better screen.

Unfortunately I was still in two minds whether I should fork over the extra 5K when the 620 was such a stunning bargain at its price range. That was when the Youtube marathon started. After hours of watching people fiddle around with the 720 at various conferences, I was smitten by its superior unibody design. There was no way I could buy another phone. I was simply in love with the Nokia Lumia 720. To add to that, the Lumia 620 doesn’t come in my favorite color Red, whereas Red is easily the best color for the 720.

Flipkart made my purchasing decision easier by offering a 9 Month zero-processing fee EMI option (which is still available) as well as free Sandisk 16GB memory card. Once the Red went up for pre-order, I immediately placed my order and had to wait just a couple of days before I received the box.

In the next post, I’ll go into detail as to why the Lumia 720 looks as well-designed as it does, as well as detail my first adventures with Windows Phone 8.