- Solid display
- Great battery life
- Good camera despite lower resolution
- Unappealing/chunky build
- Somewhat expensive (off-contract) for what it offers
- Inconsistent performance
Quick TakeThe Lumia 735, while somewhat hampered by an unappealing design and an off-contract price that’s a little high, is still a decent option for those looking for a low- to mid-tier device.
There are roughly 7 million entry- to mid-level Microsoft (nee Nokia) Lumia phones out there, varying ever so slightly from one another in performance and appearance. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Lumia 735 is in many ways a very familiar device, but that doesn’t mean it should be written off completely.
While the phone does little to distinguish itself from its (many) brothers and sisters, it’s a respectable offering that has enough strengths to put it in contention for anybody who’s looking for a lower-end handset. But are those strengths enough to warrant its off-contract MSRP of $300? Let’s take a look at the big picture and find out.
Build and Design
If you’ve handled a Lumia handset, then you probably have a pretty good idea of what the build of the Lumia 735 is like. It has a very solid-feeling plastic body with a finish that, while soft to the touch, isn’t quite matte. As such, it doesn’t provide much grip and the phone can feel a bit slippery at times.
It terms of the structure, the Lumia 735 sports the same shape with rounded sides (but pointed corners) as many of the other Lumia models. While I can appreciate the uniqueness of this particular design choice, it’s not really my cup of tea. Also returning is the back that bulges out slightly, making the overall package feel a bit thick. In fact, the overall footprint of the Lumia 735 is a little bigger than you might expect; at 134.7 x 68.5 x 8.9 mm (5.30 x 2.70 x 0.35 inches), it isn’t as low profile as one might guess for a phone that is intended to be “smaller” by today’s standards (i.e. equipped with a 4.7-inch display).
As far as buttons and ports go, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here. The left edge is devoid of any features, while the right side plays host to the volume rocker and power/standby button. The microUSB charging port, meanwhile, is on the bottom edge of the device, and the 3.5mm headphone jack is on the top edge.
The back cover of the Lumia 735 is removable, but Microsoft deserves some credit here for making it look so seamless that I honestly thought the phone had a unibody build when I first inspected it. Granted, this means that it takes a little bit of work to get the cover off, but it’s worth it to have such a low-profile connection between it and the rest of the phone. Beneath the removable back panel, there’s access to the unit’s battery, as well as nano SIM and microSD card (good for expanding the memory by up to 128 GB) slots at the user’s disposal.
The only other external features are the Carl Zeiss camera, which is located toward the top of the phone’s back, and a small speaker in the lower right corner of the rear of the device.
The Lumia 735’s display is solid showing, especially for a low-end device such as this. The 4.7-inch, 1280 x 720 OLED display isn’t about to destroy anybody’s eyeballs with its sharpness, but it certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at, either.
Its 312 pixel-per-inch density is more than serviceable and leaves the pronounced edges of the Windows Phone aesthetic (thank you, tiles) looking crisp and sharp despite a resolution that, at least on paper, is mediocre. As for everything else, colors are vibrant and the brightness, when put on its highest possible setting, looks fantastic. The screen, which is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, fights glare quite well too, so outdoor viewing isn’t much of a problem.
It’s also worth mentioning that the bezel around the display is very low profile, which is always nice to see; besides looking pleasant, it’s an efficient use of space (even if the rest of the build is a bit bulkier than it should be). This is especially true to the left and right of the display, where the bezel is exceptionally thin, giving the screen an almost edge-to-edge appearance.