The Nokia Lumia brand might be on the way out, to be replaced by Microsoft Luma if the rumour mill is on the money, but for now we’re still seeing smartphones that feature the older branding. One such device is the dual-SIM curiosity known as the Lumia 730, a decent mid-range phone that does credit to the fuller-featured smartphones in the product lineup.
Even with cut-down specs in the places that usually matter, like the display, processor and RAM departments, the Nokia Lumia 730 still manages to put in an impressive performance. When it’s not blinding you with its colour schemes, that is. At least you’ll never misplace it on a cluttered desk – unless you use a lot of lumo construction paper on a regular basis.
Rounded corners all round, with the only hard edges found at the top and bottom of the Lumia 730, characterise this handset. The display blends into the bright-orange polycarbonate backpiece of our review handset, though there are a few more sedate (or eye-catching) colours to choose from. The orange 730 can be easily seen across a wide room and possibly a rugby field. Though it doesn’t look like it at first, the whole wraparound backplate can be removed, showing a much more square phone hiding underneath.
There is the slightest bulge at the rear where the 6.7MP rear camera lens lives, as well as a teeny recess for the flash and a grid giving this Lumia’s speaker some air. So, no, it’s not going to survive in water. Charge port at the bottom, headphone port at the top and there’s a volume rocker and the power button along the upper right hand side. Pretty standard Lumia fare, you’d be hard pressed to pick this apart from the Lumia 930 if it weren’t for the (slight) size difference.
Chipset/CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400/1.2GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 (1GB RAM)
Storage: 8GB, up to 128GB external
Camera: 6.7MP Carl Zeiss lens, autofocus, LED flash/5MP (front)
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G
Battery: 2,200mAh Li-Ion
Operating System: Windows Phone 8.1
SIM Card: Micro-SIM
Features: Dual SIM
Dimensions: 134.7mm x 68.5 x 8.7
On the inside
The Lumia 730’s specs have been around in a long line of devices, with the combination of the Snapdragon 400 – which consists of a quad-core .12GHz processor – and 1GB of system memory being a sure mark that you’re looking at a mid-range smartphone. Little is different here but the Windows Phone 8.1 OS handles well on this comparatively low-end hardware. You’re not going to be cursing the 730 for lag unless you’re attempting resource-heavy gaming and finding those items on the Windows Phone app store is a chore in itself.
8GB of storage isn’t a whole lot for a phone these days, especially when there’s only just over 3GB available for use with the stock apps and OS installed, but Nokia/Microsoft have provided for that with a microSD slot and support for cards up to 128GB. WiFi isn’t anything really special – we’ve seen all of this before but it’s serviceable on most home networks. We only know a handful of people who’ve rigged up their homes for the 802.11 ac WiFi standard at this point anyway so its lack of inclusion here isn’t important.
Dual SIMs, dual cameras
But then we get to the standout features that make the Lumia 730 such an oddity. The first of these are the dual SIM bays, which allow you to contain a business and personal line in the same device. These sorts of phones are common in China and you’ll find more than a few in India but South Africa has only rarely seen dual-SIM phones hit the market. It makes for a nice feature and Windows Phone 8.1 accounts for your different accounts by letting you access each card’s phone books and messaging separately.
But that functionality might pale in comparison to the cameras. The 6.7MP Carl Zeiss rear-facing camera acquits itself well, even though it’s lower down in the megapixel stakes than most smartphones. This is mostly due to some nifty software features, though larger Lumias will have greater features for what seems like almost no particular reason. But there’s also a 5MP front-facing camera, which has its very own Lumia Selfie app. What is that, you cry? It’s a camera app with its own collection of filters (the Lumia folks want you to keep using their software, obviously) and if you’re serious about selfies, this is a very good port of call.
While we still believe that Windows Phone phones are an acquired taste, there’s something in this mid-ranger for just about everyone, from business folk (those dual SIMS) to the younger, selfie-mad crowd. For everyone else, the Lumia 730 packs in decent hardware that does what you tell it to, when you tell it to. Can’t really argue with that.