Nokia Lumia 735 Review – Just Another Mid-Ranger, but with a Twist
One of the first to come with Lumia Denim on board
The Lumia 735 and Lumia 830 are perhaps Microsoft’s last handsets to carry the Nokia brand, which is a major change for the future of Windows Phone. The Redmond-based company has already confirmed that all smartphones to be launched from now on will be simply called Microsoft Lumia.
But that’s not the only reason these smartphones may stand out from other Windows Phone devices. Nokia Lumia 735 and Lumia 830 are the first to ship with the Lumia Denim firmware onboard.
Lumia Denim is Microsoft’s latest firmware for Lumia devices and is meant to further differentiate them from other Windows Phone handsets on the market.
Other than that, the Lumia 735 is a budget-friendly handset that offers more than decent specs, especially for a Windows Phone device that doesn’t need top-of-the-line hardware to run smoothly.
It’s also worth mentioning that Microsoft has been advertising the Lumia 735 as a “selfie phone” rather than an affordable Windows Phone handset, which is a smart move considering that handsets with similar specs to Lumia 735’s have been launched on the market before.
The Lumia 735 packs a 5-megapixel camera in the front, which makes it unique. No other Windows Phone handset comes with such a front-facing camera, so Microsoft was right to advertise it as the “selfie phone.”
Unveiled back in September at IFA 2014 trade fair, Nokia Lumia 735 is now available for purchase in some countries for around $330 (€255) outright.
If you, by any chance, owned the older Nokia Lumia 920, you’ll have a surprise when unboxing the Lumia 735. They look pretty much the same but they have different sizes and weights (thank God). The latter was a real issue for the Lumia 920, which weighs almost 200g (well, just 185g), while the Lumia 735 weighs only 134g (battery included), although it’s slightly bigger than the former.
That should give you an idea of how fast technology advances and how hard Nokia, and now Microsoft, is trying to innovate in order to bring the best products possible in the hands of customers as quickly as possible.
Nokia Lumia 735 features the same rectangular form factor with rounded edges, but despite what you may think at first glance, it does not have a unibody chassis.
Although the battery cover is made of plastic, it doesn’t feel too cheap. Unfortunately, even though I find the idea of a removable battery great, Lumia 735’s back cover is very hard to pull out. In fact, had the smartphone not had a sticker on its back showing you how to pull it out, you wouldn’t have known that it’s even possible to do that.
Thumbs up for Microsoft for making it so less obvious that you can remove the back of the smartphone, but I wish they would have made it slightly easier.
Aside from that, the Lumia 735 doesn’t stand out from other Nokia smartphones, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The bezels on the front side from below and above the display are still quite large in comparison with other handsets powered by different mobile platforms.
The left side of the device has been kept clean, so there aren’t any buttons on ports here, while the right edge has the lock/unlock button and the volume key. The bottom side features the microSUB 2.0 port, while the 3.5mm audio jack has been placed on top.
The 6.7-megapixel camera on the back features a small LED flash to its left and there’s also a loudspeaker grill to the bottom right corner of the battery cover.
In order to insert your nanoSIM card, you will have to pull out both the back cover and the battery, and the same goes for the microSD memory card.
Overall, Nokia Lumia 735 looks and feel like a mid-range smartphone. While it won’t impress anyone, it surely won’t disappoint those who go for it for its affordable price.
Microsoft’s designers did quite a decent job with the Lumia 735, as the back cover is made from a special plastic that slightly improves your grip on the phone. Also, it’s a lot lighter than the Lumia 920, which is great.
Display and Camera
Although it’s been priced in the mid-range tier, Microsoft is trying to offer premium features to those who decide to upgrade to Lumia 735 or switch to this smartphone from another operating system.
This is why the Lumia 735 comes with a top-notch 4.7-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (720p) resolution. The screen also features Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coating for better protection against scratches and ClearBlack technology.
I did not have any issues reading the display even in strong sunlight, which proves once again that ClearBlack technology does a great job when it comes to improving visual image quality and reducing reflections on the screen while outdoors.
Keep in mind that Nokia Lumia 735 does not have the Glance feature, but you can double-tap on the screen to wake it up instead of using the lock/unlock button on the right side.
Moving on to camera, it’s worth mentioning that this is Microsoft’s first “selfie phone.” The Lumia 735 packs a 5-megapixel camera in the front, which, besides the fact that it takes great selfies, can also capture full HD (1080p) video.
The 6.7-megapixel camera on the back features Carl Zeiss optics, which is unusual for a mid-range smartphone, but quite normal for a Microsoft/Nokia handset in this price range. Unfortunately, Lumia 735’s camera doesn’t do a great job and can’t be compared with anything Nokia/Microsoft included in its high-end smartphones.
However, for a mid-range device, Lumia 735 takes decent pictures. They’re far from great, but they are decent enough. I’ve taken some pics with the camera, and from what I can tell the color accuracy is a bit off and the noise level is slightly higher than normal.
Nokia Lumia 735 does not feature a dedicated camera button, so you will have to use the touch key on the display. The camera focuses pretty fast and I haven’t noticed any lags while saving pictures.
The smartphone comes with Lumia Camera application installed, but you can install additional Lenses for more variation. The camera UI is intuitive and easy to use with as few options as possible. You can shoot pictures in either 16:9 or 4:3 ratio, but you can also take panorama images.
You can also capture full HD (1080p) video at 30fps if movies are your thing. The Lumia 735 isn’t too great when it comes to shooting video, but for a mid-range handset, it is quite worthy.
Menu and Software
Just like some of the smartphones launched by Microsoft this year, Nokia Lumia 735 comes with the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system onboard. However, the handset does provide users with something new that hasn’t been yet included on any other Windows Phone device: Lumia Denim.
Lumia Denim is the latest firmware exclusively available on Microsoft Lumia smartphones. It brings lots of new camera-related features as well as the passive-listening Cortana.
As mentioned earlier, Nokia Lumia 735’s camera is quite fast when taking and saving pictures and that’s the result of Lumia Denim being included in the phone’s firmware.
Lumia Denim also brings 4K video recording, but this feature is not available for Lumia 735’s camera. In addition, pictures shot in low-light conditions should look better with this particular firmware installed.
Nokia Lumia 730, 735, and 830 are the only smartphones that come with Lumia Denim out of the box, but Microsoft confirmed that at least two devices, Lumia 930 and 1520, would get the update as well by the end of this year.
Aside from that, Nokia Lumia 735 doesn’t come with anything else in terms of software. It’s the same Metro UI and Windows Phone apps and services that are part of Microsoft’s mobile ecosystem.
It has become standard even for mid-range handsets to offer LTE support, the fastest mobile data technology. Nokia Lumia 735 does offer LTE Cat.4 (150Mbps download, 50Mbps upload), along with HSPA+, Wi-Fi, GPS with A-GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP.
Although the smartphone includes microUSB 2.0 port, don’t expect it to support USB on-the-go. However, this feature may be added next year via software update.
Software-wise, Lumia 735 comes with the HERE and Bing suite of apps and services, all of them free to use. With Internet Explorer 11 Microsoft made a huge step into the right direction, but there still are things that need to be fixed.
I did not encounter any issues with the signal reception, but Lumia 735 seems to have the same problem that affects most of the other Windows Phone handsets. I’m talking about the fact that you can’t switch from 4G to 3G connectivity.
I mean you can do that from the SIM settings menu, but the phone keeps connecting to the 4G network. Switching to EDGE does work flawlessly though.
Processor and Memory
Nokia Lumia 735 is equipped with a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, an Adreno 305 graphics processing unit, and 1GB of RAM. This is the standard hardware configuration for affordable smartphones, but unlike Android devices, Windows Phone handsets work smooth even with these specs.
You won’t have any issues whatsoever like lag, freezes, or crashes. Nokia Lumia 735 behaves just like a high-end Windows Phone handset in day-to-day use. The only way to differentiate it from other Windows Phone smartphones in terms of performance is through mobile gaming.
The device packs 8GB of internal memory, but you only get around 3GB of storage to install apps, which is why you might need a microSD memory card. Speaking of which, Lumia 735 features microSD card slot for memory expansion up to 128GB.
This is probably one of the weaker points of the Lumia 735, as the smartphone does not come with any earphones in the retail package and the Xbox Music app isn’t quite good. However, you can attach your own headphones and choose your favorite equalizer setting in the Audio menu.
Nokia Lumia 735 lacks a solid music application developed by Microsoft, but other than that it is doing a decent job when it comes to audio quality.
The addition of an FM Radio function means there are more options for those who are into listening to music. And if you are lucky enough to have the Mix Radio service available in your country, then you made a good deal getting the Lumia 735.
Just like every other Windows Phone handset, Lumia 735 does not support .mkv files or those using the ac3 audio codec, but aside from that you can run just about any video file.
As I mentioned before, I’m quite fond of removable batteries and Nokia Lumia 735 does pack one. According to Nokia, the 2200 mAh Li-Ion battery should provide up to 600 hours of standby time or up to 22 hours of talk time (17 hours in 3G mode).
Obviously, you will never get that usage time in real life or anything near that. In truth, you will get around 2 days of average use, but depending on what apps you’re using you might not get more than a day of use. WhatsApp, for example, is a huge battery drainer.
The Lumia 735’s battery doesn’t stand out from others, so don’t expect to get more usage time than on other Windows Phone handsets.
It’s also worth mentioning that Nokia Lumia 735 supports wireless charging, but you will have to purchase a wireless plate separately.
First of all, the price at which Microsoft offers the Lumia 735 is one of the smartphone’s most important sale points. The fact that Windows Phone performs incredibly well even on slightly lower hardware configurations is another positive trait of the Lumia 735.
The AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 along with the 5-megapixel front-facing camera should be another reason for those looking for an affordable smartphone to grab the Lumia 735.
Other decent features that might appeal to customers could be the 1GB of RAM, microSD card slot, and wireless charging. LTE support and good enough battery should be among the positives as well.
Software-wise, the Lumia 735 is packed with Microsoft’s Office suite of apps, as well as Bing and HERE services, which are all available for free. These are truly some of the best things you can get in a smartphone in terms of software.
I was kind of disappointed by the phone’s 6.7-megapixel rear-facing camera. Knowing that Nokia cameras are some of the best on the market, I was expecting the Lumia 735 to deliver the same level of quality as high-end smartphones like Lumia 1520, 1020 or 930.
Another downside is the lack of headphones in the retail package as well as a decent music application besides Mix Radio. The build quality could have been slightly higher and I’m mostly talking about the removal of the battery cover, for which you need to apply a lot of raw physical power and patience.
Nokia Lumia 735 is not going to appeal to customers through its innovative or top-notch specs. Instead, it will offer a smooth Windows Phone experience at an affordable price, which is the main strong point of Microsoft’s mobile platform.
However, Microsoft added that element required for the Lumia 735 to differentiate itself from other mid-range Windows Phones and offer customers another alternative, namely the 5-megapixel camera.
If you’re not into selfies, then you might be better with other mid-range Lumia smartphones that cost less than the 735 model, but if you’re still planning to go for it, then you will get so much more.
Nokia Lumia 735 is just another mid-ranger from Microsoft, but with a twist. If you really want Lumia Denim and a good front-facing camera, then this smartphone should be more than enough to fulfill your needs.
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