Back in September, I was at the launch of two of the brand new Nokia Lumia phone. In fact, it turns out they were the last Nokia branded Lumia phones. And they were released for a purpose. They wanted to fill the gap between the really cheap end of the market and the higher end Lumia 930 and 1020. These two devices, of course, were the Lumia 735 and the Lumia 830. Of course, I got my hands on those and I’ve already reviewed and featured the Lumia 830 as one of my favorite Lumia phones ever made. But the Lumia 735, I haven’t really had much chance to get until a couple of weeks ago when the folks at Microsoft kindly sent me these.
When you’re looking at the design of the 735, you’ll notice straight away that this phone is most certainly a Lumia. In fact, it’s curved, brightly colored plastic shell pays homage to the earliest Lumia devices. As does the black Gorilla Glass 3 panel on the front, which has a really nice, slightly curved edges. In size, it’s comparable to an iPhone 6; at least when you compare the length and the width. At 8.9mm thin though, it’s a full 2mm thicker. But that doesn’t mean it’s more uncomfortable to hold. The curved edges, the back and subtly touched finish make for a very ergonomic and really nice to hold in hand. Perhaps, the nicest in hand feel from any phone all year, except for the new Moto X.
The Lumia 735 is very light and the back is removable so you can change the color if you get bored. The volume and power buttons are easy to reach on the right hand edge but I can’t help but feel that they should swap positions or at least be placed further apart. I often found myself pressing volume instead of power/sleep or the other way around. Also, there’s no camera shutter button that you might find on the higher end Lumias. With that said, the in hand feel is fantastic and it does look and feel that it is really solidly built. It doesn’t feel cheap at all.
The 4.7-inch AMOLED display on the front boasts of a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. That gives it a pixel density of 312ppi. The colors are really vivid, sometimes a little too much. The blacks are very deep and dark as you would expect on an AMOLED, which gives the screen an overall contrast that’s really high. And being AMOLED, it’s not the sharpest. At arm’s length, it’s decent enough. Movies and games are given plenty of life but text is fuzzy up close and pixels are noticeable. Thankfully, it’s bright and colorful enough to make you forget that. Get stuck into a game, watch your favorite movie or video and close up shot doesn’t seem to matter anymore. The content on screen has life, it has color, it has something about it that’s attractive. It may not be the best display in the market but it’s a fantastic display for a cheap phone.
Perhaps the one area that Nokia has slightly skimped on is the back camera. It has a 6.7MP Carl Zeiss lens and images are not particularly sharp. But they’re good enough, at least if you can get it to take the one that you would like to take. Taking pictures can be frustrating because the shutter speed isn’t that fast. What that means is that when you’re in a situation where it’s not amazingly brightly lit, you will get some blur. That said, the colors are pretty natural, depth of field can be achieved. And you can get some good shots, especially if you’re outdoors with really good light.
And the less about the video quality, the better. Like a lot of Lumia devices, the end result when you record video isn’t particularly good. It’s not well-balanced. The colors aren’t full of life or even natural and it doesn’t expose or adjust to the lighting levels very well. But the front camera is a 5MP selfie camera, which means you can take some fantastic self-portraits and actually, it wasn’t too bad. So if you’re into selfies, it’s actually a phone that you should consider.
I noticed that it had some compromises when it came to speed, performance and battery life. In most phones that I’ve used with the 400 series Quad-Core Snapdragon processor, performance has never been an issue. For the most part, it’s not here either. But every once in a while, if the phone’s got background processes going on whether that’s downloading or uploading content, the device grinds to a halt; at times completely unresponsive. But most of the other times, at least 90% of the time, it runs pretty well. There might be some stutter, some lag here and there (which is to be expected), all in all, it does a good job of packing Windows 8.1
And the 2200 mAh battery is decent enough as well because in most cases, it got me through a full day’s use with no problem. It’s particularly efficient when it’s on standby. And you can recharge it using cheap powered wireless charging. Of course, it’s removable so if it goes flat and you don’t have a charger on hand, you can replace it with a full one.
As a wrap-up, for the money it’s really hard to argue against buying the 735. It’s available quite cheap, especially if you try to find it on Amazon, eBay or on Google Shopping. You can find it really really well-priced. Considering the performance, build quality, how it feels on hand, the way it works, it’s actually not much not to like. Of course, it’s not going to match up to the flagship phones but it wasn’t designed to do. The 735 is a great device for the money and is certainly one for the budget conscious to buy without feeling like you’re going to miss out on too much.