Nokia Lumia 720 Hands On: Cheap Phones Can Have Good Cameras Too

In most ways, the Lumia 720 is exactly what you'd expect. It's a budget phone made like a Lumia. The surprise, though, is that the camera is actually pretty damn good—which is a miracle compared to what you find on most cheap phones.

It's comfortable to hold, like most Lumias, and has the same rounded edges and overall shape of the 820. The 720's body is a matte polycarbonate, and it feels so good that, for a casual phone user, you might even want to grab this instead of the 820. Loading apps and navigating around the OS still feels quick—Windows Phone has never been the most demanding OS—but you'll feel some delay loading larger apps.

Nokia Lumia 720 Hands On: Cheap Phones Can Have Good Cameras Too

But then the camera. For 6.7 megapixels on a 250-euro phone, it's pretty impressive. Below, we've got a few comparison shots of it against my HTC 8X (we couldn't get images off of the phone, so apologies for the ad hoc photos), which doesn't have the best camera, but it's well above what you'd expect to find in a budget phone. The 720's camera is tuned to work best with flash: research went into its development, and the result is a softer flash that retains original color without washing out photos. You can see some better color performance in the flash photos, though the side effect of getting those nicer looking colors is that the flash isn't quite as powerful, so it loses some details to darkness on occasion. It's worth pointing out that, if you're looking for a quality phone flash, BlackBerry's recent Z10 is also a winner.

For flashless low light (third image) it's a deal better than the 8X, but grainier than you'd get on the 920. Still, the room we were shooting in was really, really dark, and the 720 did a better job than you'd expect it to.

Overall, then, the 720 seems like a decent choice for casual phone users: it looks nice, feels zippy enough for light work like browsing and Facebook, and offers a winning little camera to boot.

Nokia Lumia 720 Hands On: Cheap Phones Can Have Good Cameras Too

Nokia Lumia 720 Hands On: Cheap Phones Can Have Good Cameras Too

Nokia Lumia 720 Hands On: Cheap Phones Can Have Good Cameras Too

Nokia Lumia 720 Hands On: Cheap Phones Can Have Good Cameras Too