Nokia Lumia 735 review: Perfectly ordinary
Lurching in the shadows of Nokia's Lumia 635 and 830
- Great cameras
- The best version of Windows Phone yet
- Removable back cover is poorly designed
- Expensive compared to rivals
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
When you sit down and think about it, $400 is a lot of money for a smartphone, especially when the low end of the smartphone market is ripe with inexpensive treasures priced below $300. Phones like the Moto G come packed with mid-range features and an asking price common to budget smartphones.
This presents a problem for the Lumia 735, for the mid-range phone is being forced to fend its relatively expensive $399 pricetag. Nokia won’t lure people on price then. And it won’t be winning people over with the Lumia 735’s looks either.
The Windows Phone smartphone adopts a shape introduced by the Nokia N9 years ago. Back then the polycarbonate unibody was seductive with curves in all the right corners. Scratch the skin and it would bleed the same colour. It was a clever piece of design for yesteryear.
Though looking at the Lumia 735 nowadays doesn’t bring about the same sense of wonder inspired by its older relative. Its time-and-time again recycled look does little to recreate the magic first experience those years ago.
Some charm is taxed with the inclusion of a removable rear cover. The idea is outgoing people will be able to swap covers for chirpy, bright alternatives. This won’t be a frequent occurrence because peeling the 735’s back cover off is a ritual spoiled by contorting corners, and bending plastic to points well beyond comfort.
Looking ordinary undermines the appeal of this smartphone. Selfies by design are meant to mark an occasion, a moment of note in front of beautiful scenery, iconic landmarks or hallmark celebrations. Most of the people intrigued by a smartphone armed with a decent selfie cam will want it to complement the occasion — even their outfit — and on this point, the Lumia 735 simply won’t do.
And that’s a real shame because a genuinely impressive smartphone hides behind its tired skin. The 4.7in display has a 1280x720 resolution for a density of 312 pixels-per-inch. The pixel count is high enough that you won’t notice the individual pixels at work. The display does photos snapped by the Lumia 735 justice by producing bold, vibrant colours and rich, detailed blacks. And it’s the same story no matter which camera is used, whether it’s the wide-angled 5 megapixel front camera, or that of the 6.7 megapixel cam gracing its rear.
Validating the Lumia 735 as a mid-range smartphone are its two proficient cameras. Photos look great in a wide range of lighting conditions, and both cams have a knack for vibrant colours.
There are some underwhelming points of note, though none of which are deal-breakers. For instance, the Lumia 735 is one of a few Windows Phone devices to not have a shutter key. Then there’s the low resolution of the rear camera, which leaves signs of image noise when photos are blown up to their native resolution. Don’t be deterred because these tiny gripes aren’t enough to soil the 735’s photographic talents.
Glance over the spec-sheet of the smartphone and nothing beyond the front camera grabs your attention. Nokia has focused more on striking a balance between hardware and software, rather than juicing its smartphone with top-notch specs.
This isn’t bad.
Never does the Lumia 735 feel sluggish. The Windows Phone 8.1 operating system glides from one app to another with ease. It’s a combination of the light operating system and the work of hardware that includes a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.
For too long phones have been judged on specs alone. The reality is we’ve reached a milestone with smartphones in that top-tier hardware is no longer a requisite for refined performance. Apple’s iPhone 6 stands testament to this argument by packing only 1GB of RAM, and yet it still delivers a compelling experience. The Lumia 735 tells a similar story, only with a price considerably less.
Powering the Lumia 735 is a 2220 milliamp-hour battery which supports wireless charging. The battery is good for a day of day with mixed usage.
The only real qualm reserved for the Lumia 735 is its price. It shares a fair chunk of its feature-set with the metal-boned Lumia 830, which is scheduled to launch next week in Australia. Either the 830 will be too expensive or the 735 won’t look cheap enough alongside its better-equipped Nokia brethren.
Windows Phone 8.1 powers both smartphones. The latest version of Microsoft’s OS comes with a few additional perks, such as the ability to group home-screen tiles in folders, and the test version of Microsoft’s Crotana personal assistant.
Good Gear Guide noted of Cortana in our review of the Lumia 830:
The version of Cortana available in Australia holds great promise under the proviso Microsoft irons out some of the kinks. Cortana will schedule calendar entries, send texts and draft emails promptly and without error. The personal assistant also has a flair for online searches, even though it doesn’t yet exhibit the same level of maturity showcased by Google Now or Apple’s Siri. Our only qualm is the alpha version couldn’t playback music, even though it recognised the songs and albums we requested.
The jump up from the Lumia 635 to the 735 isn’t great enough to warrant what works out to be a 43 per cent price hike. The only beneficiaries here are those hell-bent on snapping selfies on every corner. Otherwise we’re hard pressed to give the Lumia 735 our stamp of approval amidst such stiff competition, including that from Nokia’s Lumia 635 and 830.
News of Microsoft phasing out the Nokia brand breaks as we conclude this review. It saddens us to think a brand like Nokia, one destined for the hall of fame, will bow out of the smartphone market. The Lumia 735 could be the last smartphone to wear Nokia’s badge, and yet the brand deserved a far better swansong.
Join the newsletter!
When the Hypertext Transfer Protocol was introduced nearly 30 years ago, the Internet was a small, cozy club hosting just one website.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Nova 3e: P20 in a pinch
- 2 Oppo R15 Pro review: A compelling mid-tier option with lots of value and few compromises
- 3 LG E8 OLED TV (2018) and SK10Y soundbar review: If you've been on the fence about OLED, now might be the time to jump it
- 4 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 5 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung announce the Galaxy A7, the company's first triple-lens camera smartphone
- Samsung Galaxy S10 lineup will consist of four devices, including a 5G model
- 3SIXT reveals range of accessories for new iPhones
- Cygnett releases its latest range of iPhone cases
- New Moshi accessories for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Panasonic FZ1000U OLED TV: Full, in-depth, review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies