Christmas came a little early for me this year! My present to myself, a new phone, arrived yesterday morning. After two years, it was time to replace my HTC 8X. It was a great phone, but with the latest updates to Windows Phone, it had become buggy and slow (I like to have the latest and greatest so run the Developer Preview builds), and the battery life was poor. As I anticipated earlier this year, my new phone is a Nokia Lumia.
I decided to go with the Lumia 735, also known as the selfie-phone thanks to its full HD 5MP wide angle front-facing camera. The 735 is a mid-range Lumia, not quite as powerful as the 830, 930, or 1520, but with some higher-end features compared to the 535 or 635. I’ll be honest: this phone is meant to last me 12-18 months, until Microsoft launches a new flagship phone with Windows 10. At just $347 from Expansys, that’s less than a dollar a day, even if I replace it next Christmas!
There are some pros and cons with this phone, but it hit the sweet spot for me in terms of features for price.
I really loved the 8X shell, with it’s matte finish, blue color, and velvety feel. I always got compliments on it. The Lumia 735 has a replaceable polycarbonate shell, which is cool. It feels a little more plasticky than the 8X. I went with green, and it sure makes a statement! Even though it’s a little bigger, the Lumia 735 weights just 4 grams more than the 130 g 8X. The Lumia 735 is thinner too, at 8.9mm versus 10.12mm for the 8X. The 8X included dedicated capacitive buttons, while the Lumia 735 foregoes those in favor of on-screen buttons. Not sure how I feel about that yet.
So far, performance is fantastic, even running latest Developer Preview build. Night and day compared to my 8X. Both phones have 1 GB of RAM, but the Lumia 735 features a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor at 1.2 GHz, compared to a dual-core Snapdragon S4 at 1.5 GHz. Apps load quickly, there are hardly any “loading” or “resuming” dialogs, and everything just feels speedy.
The Lumia 735 has a 4.7″ display, slightly larger than my 4.3″ 8X, but the pixel density is not quite as good, 316 ppi vs. 342 ppi. The screen still looks great though. Both phones have a 1280×720 resolution. The 8X had Gorilla Glass 2, while the Lumia 735 has Gorilla Glass 3 (don’t ask me what the difference is…the screens look and feel the same).
I haven’t run through an entire day yet, and I suspect I won’t get to do a “normal day” test until after the holidays, but so far there’s no comparison. Maybe my 8X was just old, but the Lumia 735 battery life seems amazing. It’s also bigger: the 8X had an 1800 mAh battery while the Lumia 735 ships with a 2220 mAh battery. It’s replaceable too and the Lumia 735 features wireless charging using the Qi standard. I could barely make it through the work day with my 8X, but I think I’ll easily make it through an entire day with the Lumia 735, probably without dipping into Battery Saver territory.
The rear camera on the Lumia 735 is a 6.7 megapixel camera with an LED flash. The 8X featured an 8 megapixel rear camera. I haven’t done much testing with it yet, but I think the Lumia will likely take better photos. The front cameras are much different – 2.1 megapixel on the 8X versus a full HD, wide angle 5 megapixel camera on the Lumia 735. Hence the nickname “selfie phone”. One compromise is that the Lumia 735 doesn’t feature a dedicated camera button, evidently a feature reserved for the higher end Lumias. I’ll miss that for sure.
The Lumia 735 uses a Nano SIM versus the Micro SIM in the 8X. I’m on Telus and after putting in the SIM, activating online, and restarting the phone, I have the same LTE connectivity as the 8X had (I have the RM-1039 variant). The Lumia 735 also features Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and screen projection. The 8X was NFC-capable and shipped with Bluetooth 3.1.
The 8X came with 16 GB of storage, while the Lumia 735 only comes with 8 GB of on-board storage. That’s fine with me in the age of cloud storage and cheap removable SD cards, because the Lumia 735 features a microSD slot! I picked up a 32 GB microSD on Amazon and configured Windows to store everything on the card. It’s crazy how much of a premium you pay for online storage.
Windows Phone made switching to the Lumia 735 super easy. I did a backup of my 8X to the cloud, then when I logged into my Microsoft account on the Lumia 735, chose to restore. After about an hour, all of my apps, settings, messages, and other files were on my new phone, just as I had left them on the 8X. It felt like magic!
Once it became clear that Microsoft was not launching a new flagship phone this season, I decided I couldn’t last another year on my 8X. I began looking around for an interim phone, and so far I’m pretty happy that I settled on the Lumia 735. This review was definitely a factor in my decision, as was the reasonable price at Expansys.
I remain a happy Windows Phone user!