I was rather fond of the Lumia 720 when it launched, so understandably I’m anticipating its follow up, the Lumia 730, to be at least as compelling if not a bit better.
The Lumia 730, like its predecessor, is aimed at the mid-range sector of the market. It has dual-SIM support, but there’s also the Lumia 735, which on the whole is exactly the same, but with added 4G LTE and wireless charging capabilities.
Lumia 730 Design
The handset follows a similar design language to its predecessor with a thin (8.9mm) polycarbonate bodyshell and a highly angular profile. It’s a neat and tidy phone, and a good size for general operation and comfortable handling, it doesn’t weigh much at 134g. A slight difference from the Lumia 720 is that the Lumia 730 embraces what has previously been a Nokia move at the lower end of the market: removable and swappable back covers. The models I handled at Nokia’s unveiling had a glossy finish and your colour choices include orange, green, white, and dark grey. Although its bodywork is now removable the Lumia 730 is no less robust feeling than the Lumia 720 and it’s a well built phone overall with a quality finish.
The controls sit in the usual place for Nokia on the right-hand side of the phone, they’ve got a high-end feel but fans of Nokia’s dedicated camera key may be disappointed to find it missing – there’s just the power and volume rocker. A microUSB port lives in the phone’s base while the 3.5mm headphone jack sits at the top.
Lumia 730 Display
The touchscreen is an AMOLED setup using Nokia’s ClearBlack technology for enhanced contrast, as well as truer blacks and deeper colours. The 4.7in touchscreen has a 720p resolution at 312ppi. For a lower cost phone image quality is fairly high, with a sharp, colourful picture, viewing angles are also fairly wide. It’s been tweaked for better readability in sunlight (though we were unable to test this indoors) and features a super sensitivity mode (the type which means you can use gloves).
Lumia 730 Hardware
The Lumia 730/735 uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor with a 1.2GHz clockspeed, Adreno 305 GPU and 1GB of RAM – it’s the same setup found inside the Lumia 830 and on both devices you’ll find snappy, responsive performance when using the well-optimised Windows Phone 8.1 software. I will of course have to put it through more rigorous testing in our full review, but my initial impression having had a quick go with one is that it offers a decent level of power.
Onboard storage is a little more telling of this phone’s market position with only 8GB inside the phone. Fortunately you also have microSD support for up to 128GB cards. The Lumia 730 has 3G connectivity while the 735 has 4G on top, both have Wi-Fi, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0, NFC and GPS. The battery pack is a 2,200mAh cell, again the same as the Lumia 830, though this time it’s removable.
Lumia 730 Software: Windows Phone 8.1 “Lumia Denim”
Along with the Lumia 830, the Lumia 730 will debut the new Lumia Denim update for Windows Phone 8.1. What’s the Lumia Denim update? Well primarily it introduces Cortana properly, including integrated voice control, so that wherever you are in the interface you can just say “Hey Cortana,” and you’re off issuing instructions or asking questions. We haven’t had the opportunity to properly test this yet, but it’s sure to be an area of thorough investigation in our full review.
Other changes include some tweaks to Nokia’s camera software suite, although the really juicy stuff is only really usable by the very high-end PureView branded stuff like the Lumia 930, 1520 and 1020, amongst others.
Apart from this, there are still positive points to Windows Phone 8.1 more generally. It introduces a proper drop-down quick settings and notifications menu, and the app drawer is now sorted alphabetically with quick access tabs. Customisation has improved with the ability to set a picture wallpaper behind the transparent tiles on the Start screen, and you can add an additional row of Live Tiles if you wish.
Overall it’s a well-optimised package and operates smoothly. There are still a few blemishes here and there – notably the People Hub remains lacklustre- but it’s heading in the right direction and the pace of change seems to be picking up too.
Lumia 730 Camera
The camera is another area we have been unable to test extensively during our limited preview window, but there’s plenty of reason to be excited about the Lumia 730’s imaging capabilities. Primarily this is because the Lumia 720 was really rather impressive at snapping quality pics for its price point, and the Lumia 730’s specs definitely build on this. It’s not PureView branded, granted, but it does have a robust sounding 6.7MP sensor with a Carl Zeiss lens, wide f/1.9 aperture, LED flash and 1080p video capture.
The other cool thing is the rumours of this being a “selfie phone” were absolutely spot on. The front-facing camera (doesn’t seem fair to call it a “secondary”) is a 5MP setup with a wide-angle lens and f/2.4 aperture. As well as Nokia’s usual array of photo software there’s a dedicated “Lumia Selfie” suite
Lumia 730 Price & Release Date
As with the Lumia 830, the Lumia 730 and 735 will be hitting stores and carriers this month at an as yet unreleased date. Microsoft has quoted RRPs for each phone with the Lumia 730 (Dual SIM) costing €199 (£157) and the Lumia 735 (4G LTE) being €219 (£173), both those prices are before taxes and subsidies mind you, so expect them to perhaps be a little higher once UK retailers and networks get their hands on them.