May 7, 2013

The Nokia Lumia 720 Journal Part 2: Beyond Illusion

A well-built device with competitive specs doesn’t have to be expensive; the Nokia Lumia 720’s hardware proves that more than anything beyond dreams, on the other hand, expensive phone doesn’t also mean its well-built and the Samsung Galaxy S3 proved this in actuality, but buying a phone doesn’t confide with hardware alone, the system running it is also equitable. Now, I have mentioned in the first part of this journal that I expected a cut in the phone’s software and system performance; how did it go? Read on to find out.

User Interface

Booting the phone up gives me sense of home-ness having used Windows Phone 8 on the Lumia 920 for more than two weeks; sense of familiarity definitely to the wonderful software features and user interface besides the fact that it offers the easiest way around among the current touch systems in the market from phone configurations to mechanisms making users enjoy the most of it as oppose to Android where it needs to be hacked and reconfigured to make it most usable.

One of the biggest strength of Windows Phone system is its top notched interface, the benchmark of all operating system in terms of fastness, smoothness, fluidity and stability transcending beyond processor its being run to, dual core or not. It’s beyond illusion in the Windows Phone system that mass market consumers cannot enjoy the best interface they deserve as opposed to Android where it gives users a laggy and clunky interface when being run on a low processor phones as if hit by Parkinson’s disease, no offense to the patients and their family.

To differentiate its performance to the Lumia 920, I’d say they differ much on fastness, fluidity and smoothness with the phone having no PureMotion HD+ that adds to the sharpness and display response of the screens but no difference when it comes to stability. Some apps open a bit slower on the phone, while there were some delays in the transitions, barely noticeable mostly though.

Customization is one of the key aspects of user interface. I personally believe the best interfaces are those that can be fully conformed to user’s preference banking on the very fact that people in general were created distinctively. Just like in the Nokia Lumia 920, Microsoft introduced several features on the Windows Phone 8 by improving the Menu tiles - from a two size tile set-up, it’s now capable of creating smaller ones making it more manageable, by adding new accent colors to it; by adding more lock screen background where users could use either the phone’s gallery, Facebook, CNN, from the Bing collections (my personal favorite), among the rest of the supported apps; and by adding a support for personalize ringtone via applications like Nokia Ringtone Maker that could create one and have it assigned via Settings.

Still missing though was the software’s ability to add message alert tones; hopefully Microsoft or Nokia would tweak the system further to allow the use of personal message alert tones. This specific feature had been enjoyed by mobilephone users in other operating systems for decades now.

These among all the changes in personalization were quite remarkable, but overall, it still fell short to the customizable prowess of Android and Symbian.


Perhaps the most noticeable cut down made on the Lumia 720 is its screen display, the IPS LCD with ClearBlack Display technology that exudes a bright and clear display but noticeably grainy and pixelated with flushed color intensity. Even so, the phone had the best screen display among its counterpart at the same price point. Perhaps its edge over the Lumia 920 on this area, the side angle view, it gives out high intensity and brightness when tilted in any direction.

People Hub and Me Tile

One of Windows Phone’s biggest advantaged over its competition is its being a people centered system, well, this is very prominent in People Hub and Me Tile. In other operating systems, these features were just considered simple phonebook or contacts app, in Windows Phone, it is the device’s main backdraft of almost all application, adjusting and conforming to it. Through both apps, users gets a full view of everything around them like updates from people that matters must on Facebook or Twitter; emails from significant others; or events that will mark memories till eternity. It’s like a huge window of the user’s life, in a cosier, sleek and advance way.

From the primary contacts page, a swipe to the left will show the Tweets and Facebook updates from contacts, another swipe to the left shows recent activities of saved contacts in live tile form, another swipe to the left were the Rooms and Group contacts. These Rooms could be used to cluster contacts by invitation where users can chat privately or share calendars, photos, videos, notes, among others. Groups then are clusters of contacts that can be freely created to track each and everyone’s social network updates or message into one view. It doesn’t need invitations but users cannot share private stuffs with members unlike the Rooms. Both of course could be pin in the Menu for easy access. I love both of these features a lot.

Me tile on the other hand like the People Hub is a personalized windows to users world both real and virtual, but if People Hub lets users follow updates that matters most from friends, Me tile focuses on chat replies from messengers, tweet mentions, replies and direct messages, Facebook shoutouts, likes, and messages, among others, all accessible in one place. Users can also send message directly to social network supported sites all at the same time.

Call and Messaging

The Lumia 720’s telephone features were Nokia enhanced offering loud and clear voice calls paired with a loud ringer edging the flagship Lumia 920. Perhaps Nokia added a better quality speaker on the phone or tweak something on the software but in either way the big boast help me a lot in tracking all my call and text messages on time.

Messaging on the other hand was connected and covered well enough on the Windows Phone 8, the intelligent input mechanism, the conversations view, the Facebook chat integrations, manageable virtual keypad, among others.

Perhaps another proof why I consider Windows Phone a user focused system was its constant and intelligent adaption to people’s communication behavior. I never had a problem conforming the phone to my local dialect as it save words continuously, and then applying it perceptively to my writing style via autocorrect; a mechanism far better compared to Androids or iOS.

I would want Microsoft to improve it further like adding a search button at the Threads page so I don’t have to scroll down and search all thread one by one. As much as I find its virtual keypad convenient on the phone, one hand used is still challenging. It would really help in a huge way if SWYPE will be ported to Windows Phone 8 because the app would address the issue on one hand used at the same time offering a fast and convenient text input to users like no other yet.

There was another way though to send text or message easily via Speech Recognition Service, but there is a catch, it only supports limited language and that user’s needs to be constantly connected to Wi-Fi or Data before it could work perfectly. The service also allows users to hear received messages, reply to it or call the sender without touching the phone. I’m a huge fan of this feature specially when I’m walking or riding a bus or jeepney because I don’t need to take my phone off my pocket when someone text or when I need to reply to it, my voice does all the working via an attached headphone.

RAM and Storage

RAM or the Random Access Memory is a form of memory storage used to store temporary programs that are currently being executed. The Lumia 720 had 512MB of this memory making it vulnerable to limitations set by a few applications needing a bigger RAM to run smoothly. How good or bad is this, well, let’s just say that few apps like Temple Run and even the Nokia Lumia exclusive ones like the Nokia Music and Nokia Xpress Browser cannot be installed on the phone. I’m not aware of any other apps yet but I will make mention of it as the journal progress.

Well, I’m pretty sure Nokia and Microsoft are doing all it can to have these heavy running apps compatible to mid-range phones because the more users they reached, the more income they will generate.

The phone’s external storage is 8GB, quite enough I would say base on my geeky lifestyle and if this wasn’t enough, a 7GB of cloud storage was up for grabs as well via Sky Drive.

Part 2 Wrap Up

I have covered quite a bit of the phones software, so far my aforementioned title about illusion had been fairly address by Nokia and Microsoft on the device delivering top notched features and specs that’s within the reach of mass market consumers.

The cut backs on the other hand cannot be denied but barely affecting the phones overall package because in whatever scenario it could be compared to against its competitors on the same market bracket, the phone edge them a lot. More revelations, social and chic features are yet to be uncovered in the upcoming coming journals, stay tuned!

The Nokia Lumia 720 Journal Part 1: Beyond Dreams
The Nokia Lumia 720 Journal Part 3: Beyond Glimpse
The Nokia Lumia 720 Journal Part 4: Camera and Beyond (Day Shots)
The Nokia Lumia 720 Journal Part 5: Camera and Beyond (Night Shots)
The Nokia Lumia 720 Journal Part 6: Camera and Beyond (Video Test)
The Nokia Lumia 720 Journal Part 7: Beyond Apps
The Nokia Lumia 720 Journal Wrap Up: Beyond Compare, The 7-2-0 Reasons To Consider


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