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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Nokia Lumia 730 review: Not just a selfie phone.........

The selfie craze doesn't seem to be losing steam, and smartphone makers are capitalizing on it to reach more and more buyers. Nokia has jumped headfirst into the segment, though a little late, with Lumia 730 that sports a 5MP camera in front. At a price of Rs 15,000, Lumia 730 is the most affordable of the selfie smartphones available in the market today.

Is the Windows Phone 8.1-powered Lumia 730 the best selfie phone in the market right now? And has Nokia missed a few things while focussing too much on the front camera? We find out in our Nokia Lumia 730 review...

The selfie camera

Let's dive headfirst into the selfie camera part. The 5MP camera has 24mm focal length, f/12.4 aperture and wide-angle capabilities, making it the most well equipped camera unit at this price point. However, the soft flash in front is missing (which is available in the Sony Xperia C3 that costs approximately Rs 19,000 in the market right now).

If you want to make the best use of the selfie camera, then using the Lumia Selfie app is the best choice. Nokia (Microsoft actually) has preloaded the Lumia Selfie app in the smartphone, which allows you to edit the selfie once it's taken. You can not only add filters but also brighten the teeth, soften the skin tone etc. It even puts your face on magazine covers, which is a little gimmicky to be honest.



Photos taken with the selfie camera show mostly natural colours, but there's a hint of bluish tinge that we noticed consistently. The sky in this photo appears blown up; details are sufficient and more than what we have seen in any front camera shot at this price. The subject appears in full detail in Lumia 730 selfie camera's photos, but the object around it lose some of the details.



The Lumia Selfie app lets you enhance photos, and here we have used one filter that makes the photo appear livelier than the original shot. Moreover, it reduces the bluish tinge (notice the colour of the sky in the corner), making it appear a little more natural.

Apart from this, we were able to take wide-angle selfies too, cramming more people into the frame without compromising the photo. You can even take a selfie using a rear camera on Lumia 730, wherein the phone notifies you when your face and the camera lens are aligned.

Overall, it is among the good selfie cameras we have tested and easily the best you can get at Rs 15,000.

And the other one



Let's not forget the 6.7MP rear camera that's used on the back of Lumia 730. Though not as heavily advertised, this camera also holds its own. The camera setup is same as that of Lumia 720, which was launched nearly two years ago: f/1.9 aperture, 1.3.4-inch aperture and Nokia's PureView technology. Though it's not much of an upgrade, it is still pretty good.



As the photo shows, the camera captures photos with vibrant and accurate colours and captures a lot of details, thus highlighting the subject as well the objects surrounding it.



Even the dark areas don't show any noise, which is visible in photos taken with Lumia 730's selfie camera.

Design

Moving on from the cameras. Lumia 730 is an upgrade to the Lumia 720, but it looks more like Lumia 920. It has the same polycarbonate shell with glossy coating, the same rounded edges and sharp corners that we have seen in Nokia's flagship model of 2012. There are, however, a few differences; the Power button is not exactly at the centre, which makes accessing it a little difficult (though we got used to it after using the phone for a while) and there's no dedicated hardware camera key. Apart from this, Lumia 730 looks exactly like Lumia 920.



At 130grams, Lumia 730 is pretty light, and the fit and finish of the device make it a very good product to hold. The glossy sheen can be misleading, the plastic offers firm grip, so the phone never slips out of the hand. Lumia 730 is not too small in size like Moto E, but also not unwieldy. However, Microsoft should have shaved off a few millimetres off the sides as it's pretty thick at 8.7mm

Display

Lumia 730 has a 4.7-inch OLED screen with 720p resolution, which has become standard at this price point nowadays. The screen is layered with Gorilla Glass 3 and comes with Nokia's ClearBlack Display technology that renders deeper blacks and other dark shades. Being an OLED panel, it delivers extremely rich colours that pop out each time the screen animation changes.

There are no major complaints with the display of Lumia 730. The viewing angles, brightness and sunlight legibility are great, better than what the IPS touting smartphones offer in the Rs 15,000-20,000 range.



Microsoft has placed the Home, Back and Search keys on the screen itself in Lumia 730, a design choice we have seen earlier too.

Hardware

Apart from the 4.7-inch HD display and the two cameras, Lumia 730 has 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, 128GB microSD card support, 2,20mAh battery, built-in FM radio and connectivity options like 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi, microUSB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.

Software

Lumia 730 belongs to the crop of new Microsoft phones that come with Windows Phone 8.1 pre-installed. The smartphone has features like Cortana (for which you need to change the language to US English), Quiet Hours, new keyboard etc. Microsoft's Nokia unit has added a few of its own apps, but the Windows Phone 8.1 software is largely the same we have seen in earlier phones. For an in-depth look at Windows Phone 8.1, click here.

Performance

Windows Phone has been a resource-optimized software from the start and the latest version is no different. Lumia 730 is a very fast smartphone that can give Rs 25,000 Android phones a run for their money. Of course, the software is also the thing that drags it down. Popular games like Injustice: Gods Among Us are not present on Windows Store; same goes for apps like Pocket.

Nevertheless, you get most of the apps and games that iOS and Android offer. We tried our hand at Asphalt 8, and it played like a breeze. Lumia 730 shows no lag or jittering while handling the game, and 1GB RAM once again proves sufficient to power this resource hungry game.

Though Lumia 730 is not a big-screen phone, it is a decent multimedia device. The rich, vibrant colours make for a good video viewing experience, and the media player can run all the common file formats without a glitch. The audio quality, however, is not as good since the loudspeaker exhibits as sound starts breaking a little at high volumes.



One of the best things about Lumia 730 is its battery life. The 2,200mAh battery lasts over a day with moderate usage and a day with moderate-to-heavy usage. We played videos stored on the microSD card, streamed songs online, played games and accessed the internet during this battery test.

Verdict

If you are in the market for a selfie phone at a budget, then Lumia 730 is a sureshot choice. Plus, it's a well rounded smartphone that can be used as a multimedia device as well as a decent camera for casual shots. Though a few apps are missing from the Windows Phone store, there are replacements available, and the overall package more than makes up for it.