The Nokia Lumia 720 Is A Stylish Windows Phone 8 Cameraphone For Self-Conscious Fashionistas

The 3G Nokia Lumia 720 slots into Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 portfolio behind its two 4G flagships, the 920 and 820 — with the aim of pushing some of their fancier features down to a more affordable mid range price point. Rather than beefy tech specs, Nokia has focused on polishing two populist areas. Firstly design: the 720 has been gifted with sleek looks — it’s the thinnest Lumia to date (at 9mm), sharing the rounded style and curved screen of the 820 but much more pleasing to hold, being lighter and thinner. The bright Lumia colours come in a matte finish, with the exception of a high gloss white option.

And secondly: the camera. Nokia has not gone as far as adding the PureView branding to the 720’s 6.7 megapixel lens but it’s put in Carl Zeiss optics (and branding), a new f1.9 aperture to boost performance of low light photography, and — to amp up the social networking street cred of the device — it’s added a new digital lens that lets people take enhanced self portraits using the 1.3 megapixel front facing lens.

This vanity filter processes self-portraits to ‘beautify’ the results — using a little digital airbrushing trickery to whiten teeth, smooth out skin tone and so on. Results seemed a bit hit and miss during my brief hands on but it did add a more cartoonish look to self portraits. Nokia said the feature had played well with its target consumers — young, fashion-conscious social networking users — during testing. As for the main lens, it wasn’t possible to scrutinise the low light performance claims during my brief hands on but Nokia is planning on making a big song and dance about its powers, creating a dedicated retail display unit to show off the low light prowess. The sales pitch is that this device puts a ‘proper camera’ in the consumer’s pocket so they don’t need to rely on a having a separate point and shoot.

Elsewhere, the phone’s specs are much the same as the two entry level Lumias — underlining that Nokia is not aiming this phone at the tech spec crowd, but rather going for a mainstream social networking audience. The 720 does have a slightly larger 4.3 inch display than its cheaper siblings, albeit it has the same resolution of 800 x 480. Nokia has added its Clear Black display technology to the 720, though, to improve viewing outdoors in sunlight. Indoors, in the glare of conference center fluorescent lighting, the screen looked clear and crisp, without being especially high res.

Under the hood, the 720 has a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon chip — the same sized processor as the entry level Lumia 520, along with the same 512MB of RAM. During a brief hands on the device felt no less responsive than its lower priced siblings. As with other devices in the Lumia line Nokia has included its range of software add-ons, including its HERE mapping and navigation software, and its free streaming music service.

The 720 does include NFC but wireless charging is an optional extra — the handset has three metal connectors on the rear which are compatible with a wireless charging cover. Nokia has also made room in the unibody design for an SD card slot — supporting user expanded memory of up to 64GB. On board memory is 8GB. The integrated battery is 2,000mAh.

Nokia is targeting the 720 at the Asia Pacific market initially, with China Mobile signed up to range it. There’s no confirmation as yet of whether the 720 will make it to the U.S. market.