At the Finnish line : Nokia Lumia 720

Before writing this article, I was one of the last Symbian users. Having used it for last two years, any chance of using iOS and Android seemed refreshing. While my affinity for Android increased, that is when Windows happened. Like Sebastian Vettel stealing last lap win, Windows made an entry like that. The Nokia Lumia 720 story began.
 I must make it clear that when I picked the Lumia, I didn’t know what to expect from it. Everything was a mystery. The UI, ecosystem, the Windows OS. Very often do people criticize the UI, they say it’s complex. Well, it isn’t pages and pages of apps like iOS. It’s actually quite simple. Just drag and drop the most used apps on home screen, select the size and you’re good to go. Apps with live tiles show any notifications they have. A good thing actually, since Windows doesn’t have a dedicated notification centre. If you found iOS UI to be intuitive, then this is fluidic. Everything is so smooth. Swipe left or right brings more options, or opens new tabs, sections in apps. It is actually a lot easier scrolling down for more or being hidden away. Swiping right from home screen brings the app list and swiping left goes back to home.
Windows 8 is by far the most stable OS I’ve used on a phone. iOS, Android, Symbian (RIP)  have sometime hanged or have native apps crashing. Never had any app crashing or OS hanging. This is the most wonderful thing ever. Speaking of apps, Nokia poured life into Windows by bringing its own apps. Now, we all know how great Nokias are in photography. The 720 comes in with 6.7MP rear camera with Carl Zeiss lens. Takes unbelievable photos. And since it’s Nokia, low light photography is always taken seriously. And that Lumia manages perfectly. And back to Nokia apps, Lumia comes in packed with a bunch of photography apps like – Glam Me, Smart Shoot, Panorama. Smart Shoot and Panorama are brilliant. They let the craziness inside the user out. 720 takes, possibly, the best Panorama ever! (Among phones) And for those .gif makers, Nokia has Cinemagraph for you. What is does is shoots a clip, lets you modify it and loop it to make a hilarious clip. Oh boy, how much fun I’ve had with that. Not to be left out is the Nokia Music. Most of the media covered Apple’s iTunes Radio with a lot of hype. Nokia is a step ahead in this section by offering online Radio and free songs! That’s right, no more piracy or youtube converters for Lumia users. Any song you want, download it for free. But how do I listen, Nokia? Not with those cheap, no good earphones. Yes, Nokia gives that kind of earphones nowadays. Can’t listen on speaker, since there’s only one and not good for high volume.
This needs special reference. The keyboard is the best keyboard ever! The genius thing is Windows constantly analyzes your text input, gives you suggestions for your next word. That way I’ve rarely typed a message. Every time I start typing, the word i’m looking for is in the suggestions. Now, when I types on the iOS, I actually struggled. To think of, I once thought its keyboard was the best. So, sending texts, e-mails on Lumia is a delightful experience.
When it comes to Maps, Nokia isn’t by any inch behind. Here Maps support offline navigation and seem to have every road on the map. So, non availability of Google Maps isn’t an issue at all. Yes, Google has not put any of it’s apps on Windows except for Search. So, much for competition. However, Bing search isn’t bad. It gives accurate results. I haven’t gone back to Google from Bing. Then we end up at browser. What browser? Bingo! Internet Explorer. Well, it isn’t that dreadful thing from my childhood. This is one of the smoothest browsers. Annoying thing about it is, it doesn’t hide the address bar. It sticks out every time. Still has a lot of room for improvement. Remember, Google Chrome is miles ahead. But then, what about those pdf attachments we use, those ebooks we have. What about them? You’d thing Windows has it’s own app right out of the box, right? Nope. Have to download one from Microsoft or Adobe. But that doesn’t ruin the user experience. Until now, I’ve not really faced anything that had made me think of going back. It is that good!
And that Facebook, twitter integration iOS touts is a joke. Windows has an app called People. This is where all your contacts are stored. Now, if you add your Facebook, twitter account, people displays your newsfeed in the app itself. This even without having to download those apps! What about notification? Another app called ‘ME’ displays your posts, notifications, gives you option to set status, check in and others. And sharing is the same, anything which can be shared, can be shared on networks.
There aren’t many apps in Windows store, not yet. Nokia hinted that most of the big names will be soon on Windows. But that doesn’t mean there are not apps at all! All the basic, necessary apps like CNN, ESPN cricinfo, Evernote etc. are available. So, it is not that lonely around here.
Lumia comes with Microsoft office installed, has NFC and a separate home screen with Kid’s corner. How do I put music on the phone? Being used to iTunes, this did seem like a problem. And Microsoft was at it again. Microsoft has put Windows Phone Suite on Mac Appstore and using it is a lot easier than iTunes. It syncs with iTunes, iPhoto. All the media on the phone with seamless integration.
Did I write about Batter life? If not, then that’d be because I’m rarely concerned about it. I get close to 20 hours of battery life with Wifi, 3G usage. I’m sure Nokia was lying when they said 13 Hours of battery life.
Nokia Lumia 720 comes with 6.7MP rear camera, Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1GHz, dual core and 512 mb of RAM and 8GB storage expendable to 64GB.
But then, there’s always this thing that an iPhone is an iPhone, Samsung’s huge screens and HTC’s beats audio. Does Lumia attract even a bit of attention? You’d surprised by the amount of attention it gets. The beautiful design, with new UI steals away eyeballs from Samsung, HTC and others. In one incident, a certain Samsung S4 owner was annoyed that everyone is curious about the Lumia and not his phone. Sure, smartphones boost one’s ego. It’s just that Lumia pushes it lightyears forward.
Should anyone buy a 720. Yes. Why? Because it can put to shame any Rs.40K+ smartphone. Also because, well, it’s Lumia.

Srinivas Arcot

An eternal optimist with volatile cynicism.

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