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Review: Is the Lumia 735 the selfie phone you always wanted?

With Microsoft’s vision in full swing, the Lumia 735 is catering for the selfie market, but is its efforts enough to set itself apart in a crowded field?

Image: TheJournal.ie

AFTER ACQUIRING NOKIA’S handset division earlier this year, the first batch of Lumia devices under Microsoft have arrived and with it a small change in direction.

The Lumias released this year were a mixed bag. While the high-end Lumia 930 was a solid high-end smartphone, the budget Lumia 530 was a bit of a disappointment.

Although the Nokia logo remains, these devices Microsoft’s first attempts to put the Lumia range back on track, but will the Lumia 735 have what it takes to stand out in a crowded market?

Look and feel

With a removable plastic shell, the first thing you will notice about the Lumia 735 is how smooth it is to hold. The rounded-off sides certainly helps with this, although when you’re using it for the first time, you may end up fearing it will slip out of your hand during a moment of carelessness (it won’t though).

Nokia 735 physical Source: TheJournal.ie

Overall, the design is clean and the physical features are kept to a minimum. You have a connector at the bottom, a headphone jack at the top and volume and power buttons on the side and that’s it. Oddly, there’s no dedicated shutter button which feels like a major omission considering how much importance it places on photography.

The speaker is located at the back of the device, allowing you to grip the phone without having to worry about covering the speakers when watching Netflix or playing games.


Hardware and software

Running Windows Phone 8.1, the devices comes with 1GB of RAM, which is enough to run practically any app that found in the Windows Phone Store.

The 4.7-inch display is of great quality and while 720p resolution isn’t going to blow you away, it’s surprisingly sharp for what you get.

Racing GIF Source: TheJournal.ie

One of the more surprising elements of the Lumia 735 is the battery life. While lower specs and a higher capacity battery would play a part (or our expectations have reached an all-time low), you do notice how long it lasts.

Through normal use, it will last a day and a half at least and if you’re a conservative user, you could extend this to two days. Granted, it’s not enough for you to forget about your charger, but it is nice when you don’t have to constantly keep an eye on it.

Although it must be mentioned that charging it is rather slow, but this is only a concern if you have to charge during the daytime.

However, there are a few compromises that need to be made. For one, the storage is only 8GB, which is a pittance, regardless of whether you use micro SD cards or not (it’s able to support 128GB cards), and its mid-range credentials is prone to the odd slowdown, but this is rather minimal.


The main camera app is quite basic when it comes to settings and adjustments (although burst mode is fun) meaning you will quickly switch over to Nokia Camera.

Considering it’s a 6.7MP camera, the quality of photos is rather good, allowing you to crop photos and not experience a major drop in quality so long as you don’t blow up the photo itself.

There’s never any feeling that the colours are washed out and ultimately, the quality is solid provided you get the setup right.

Review: Is the Lumia 735 the selfie phone you always wanted?
1 / 5
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The bootup speeds for the camera isn’t the fastest though, taking at least two to three seconds to properly start up and another second or two to focus correctly. By the time that happens, you may have missed the moment. A handicap when you compare it to other similar mid-range Android devices.

Considering the 735′s tagline is ‘the smartphone made for selfies,’ it’s comes with a 5MP front-facing camera. To its credit, it does as good a job as you would expect and the dedicated selfie app is user-friendly and has some nice touches including one that can create a smile out of a neutral look (it’s honestly works better than you would think).


It’s a considerably better effort from the Lumia range, and as far as mid-range phones and pricing goes, it’s definitely one of the better Windows Phone devices out there.

However, it’s facing some incredibly tough competition with the next batch of mid-range Android devices coming out.

Its simplicity and straightforward nature means it will pick up a few new fans along the way, but its biggest weakness is there’s nothing about it that will wow you. The selfie angle isn’t really enough to separate it considering it’s an already crowded field – despite it doing a great job of it – and once you take that away, it’s hard to pick out a defining feature from it.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive smartphone that’s a solid performer, the Lumia 735 will more than meet your needs, but anyone expecting more from a Lumia device might find the 830 a better choice.

Solid performance, runs practically any app with very little trouble.
Quality of both front and rear camera punches above its weight.
Clean and straightforward design, no clutter.
Good price for a mid-range smartphone.

Camera slow to boot up.
Plastic design can feel a little cheap.
Serious lack of storage space.
Lack of wow factor.

The Nokia Lumia 735 costs €289 (SIM free) on Microsoft Store and is expected to be made available on Vodafone, Meteor and Three later this year.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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