Back in September, Microsoft launched what would be the last two Nokia branded Lumias. The Lumia 830 was announced as an affordable flagship, and we reviewed the 830 back in November. The Lumia 730 and 735 were launched with a different feature set, a lower price, and a higher resolution front facing camera. Microsoft announced them as “built for Skype calls and selfies” with the inclusion of the five megapixel front facing camera and put the package in a smaller, lighter body. It was launched with four colors, with the 730 being a dual SIM version and the 735 is a single SIM with LTE capabilities.

Right after our Lumia 830 review, Microsoft asked if I would like to review the 735 as well. Although many of the internals are similar or identical to the 830 and 630, there is enough different that this is really a unique phone in the Lumia range. It lacks the PureView branded camera system, but still has a good camera. The OLED display is 720p, which is a step up from the lower cost 630, and the same resolution as the 830, but in a slightly smaller screen size. At 4.7”, this is the only Lumia available at this size.

The Lumia 830 tried to put a higher end package together with the metal frame, 5” display, and a PureView 10 MP camera with OIS into a less expensive price bracket. Although the SoC in the 830 is only a Snapdragon 400, it is overall a great phone which is hampered only by its price. The 735 steps the price down further and packages the phone in a more traditional Lumia style with a fully polycarbonate body.

  Nokia Lumia 735 Nokia Lumia 830
SoC MSM8926 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 MSM8926 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400
+ microSD 128 GB
+ microSD 128 GB
Display 4.7” 1280x720 ClearBlack OLED
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
5.0” 1280x720 IPS ClearBlack LCD
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
up to 150 Mbps
up to 150 Mbps
Dimensions 134.7 x 68.5 x 8.9 (mm) 139.4 x 70.7 x 8.5 (mm)
Weight 134.3 grams 150 grams
Rear Camera 6.7MP, 1.4 µm pixels,
1/3.4" 16x9 CMOS,
f/1.9, 26 mm focal length,
LED Flash
10MP, 1.1 µm pixels,
1/3.4" 16x9 CMOS,
f/2.2, 26 mm focal length,
LED Flash
Front Camera 5MP wide angle, f/2.4,
1920x1080 video resolution
0.9MP wide angle, f/2.4,
1280x720 video resolution
Battery 2200 mAh, 3.8 V, 7.04 Wh BV-L4A 2200 mAh, 3.8 V, 7.04 Wh
OS Windows Phone 8.1
with Lumia Denim Firmware
Windows Phone 8.1
with Lumia Denim Firmware
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz) + BT 4.0,
USB2.0, DLNA, FM Radio
802.11 a/b/g/n + BT 4.0,
USB2.0, DLNA, FM Radio
Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning,
Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning,
SIM Size Nano SIM,
Dual-SIM HSPA on Lumia 730
Nano SIM

Internally, it is very similar to the Lumia 830. The Snapdragon 400 MSM8926 provides the quad-core Cortex A7 at 1.2 GHz, as well as the LTE modem. Memory is identical at 1 GB of LPDDR2, which opens the entire range of Windows Store apps to this device. The OLED display also features ClearBlack, which is a polarizing filter to keep refractions and reflections from outside lighting to a minimum. Storage is less than the Lumia 830, with only 8 GB of internal NAND available. A micro SD card slot allows an additional 128 GB to be added, and Windows Phone’s Storage Sense app makes it easy to control where your data gets stored. The latest update to Windows Phone also allows future software updates to be staged to the SD card, making the 8 GB not as much of a detriment as on other platforms.

One rather large omission, which is available on the Lumia 830, is Glance screen support. Every Lumia should have Glance, as it is one of the best features. Because this one does not, it is a big knock against it, especially when moving from an older Lumia with Glance support.

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  • Mondozai - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    I have a Lumia 1520, which I am very, very satisfied with. Nokia makes some really sturdy phones. I have dropped it quite a few times, around 4-5 times, over the last 7 months. It's something that happens to me maybe once a month or less, but it happens.

    Not even a scratch on the screen or even the body. It's high-quality. The 1520 was also relatively cheap when I bought it(around 380 euros off-contract).

    So that is my disclaimer. But here's the thing about these phones. They are very underspecced for a high price. Nokia(or now Microsoft) does awesome high-spec phones, but they are terrible at the lower-end.

    The Lumia 520 was a hit for its time, when most budget stuff was terrible. But now, it is not hard to find decent quality low-price phones. It's not just Xiaomi. In places like India, you now have MASSIVE choice. Even the mid-range is getting serious competition from players like the Moto G, who in turn are getting disrupted by even cheaper alternatives. The Micromax Yu phone, the upcoming Zenfone 2(flagship specs for 200 dollars).

    The short summary is that Nokia/MS is getting increasingly less competitive with the market. They used to do well in the low-end but now they are getting crushed there. They still do very good high-end phones but that is not where the market is going.

    I hope, for selfish reasons, that they get their act togther. More WP users means more attention to the app ecosystem, but my god, you gotta do better than this MS.
  • Mondozai - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    Just an addendum, the app ecosystem in WP is today massively improved. I'm anxious to get ahold of the WP 10 technical preview, since the changes there will essentially bring the OS into parity with iOS/Android on a technical basis. The OS is very fast, has no jutter and no lag.

    I feel like the Nokia/MS thing have gotten in reverse in a sense. They used to make killer phones but with a faltering OS and a poor app ecosystem. In my view, the latter part has been largely fixed, while the strong suits of WP (the speed, the lagless experience etc) have been strengthened.

    Now, most Lumia phones we're seeing are not that competitive with the market. The L920 was an amazing deal for its time. In my view, if you can get the 1520 for cheap, it's the equivalent of that phone(if you are comfortable with big phablets). But if you're not into the high-end, you're going to overprice. A flagship Zenfone 2 for 200 dollars will simply crush what they have on offer. The OnePlus, the Micromax Yu, it just continues. Android is becomming ungodly affordable, and WP isn't keeping up. Apple has the premium segment increasingly sewn up.
  • kspirit - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    The lagless experience hasn't improved, it's gotten worse. When Microsoft started moving apps from Silverlight to WinRT and encouraging devs to make apps in WinRT for universal apps, it killed a lot of the smooth experience. My 925 was way faster on WP8 than it is on 8.1.1. The app load times are the actual offenders.

    The "loading" and "resuming" screens have become painful. Sure there might be runtime optimizations that MS has yet to do since WinRT is much newer than Silverlight. WinRT apps can't run under the lockscreen either, they reload when your phone locks over them. I am hoping they fix it with Windows (Phone) 10.
  • hwangeruk - Saturday, February 7, 2015 - link

    kspirit. That's does not tally with reality. WinRT is native code (COM wrapped Win32 API)
    Silverlight comes out as IL , so runs managed. My universal apps start, and run faster so note sure what your issue is.
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    I have no idea how they're selling, but in the U.S. at least, the cheaper Nokias are still the only good cheap phones. For several times more than like a 635 you can get a Google Play Edition Motorola, but even then it lacks LTE (and costs much more, even if it's still pretty cheap).
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    For cheap phones for my family, I just buy used phones. I think the best deal is the Galaxy S3 - I bought a used one in excellent condition (looked brand new) for my wife for $90.
  • mymy - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    Excellent choice. I have had my S3 since inception, around 2.5 years. A solid performer. A good phone, great screen. Have not had a single problem. Skipped the S4/S5, just getting to large.
  • hwangeruk - Saturday, February 7, 2015 - link

    I have a Lumia 735, iPhone 6 and Samsung S4. The S4 is the worst hardware (plasticy) worst OS (Android is ugly anyway, and Samsung ruin it with their bloatware). The Lumia 735 is on a level playing field with the iPhone 6, both high quality OSes, both much more modern than Android. The only thing I really like about my iPhone is the touch ID. Other than that the Lumia 735 is comparable. Ignoring "spectard" comparison, but in real life usage all 3 are almost exactly the same size, all run just as fast. The iPhone is super expensive but I didn't pay for it. If it was my own money i'd get the 735 every time. Best value by miles.
  • Jon Tseng - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    Have to say I do love the design. When I clocked it in the shop I thought it was the Nokia N9 brought back to life.

    It looks like its a monolithic unibody, but actually the seam for the removable back is right around the screen edge so you get unibody looks but removable/replaceable back.
  • Daniel Egger - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    The 830 has another couple of disadvantages over the 735 except for the price: It's too big and it's too heavy and if you happen to have one x20s with x > 7 then it's also a step sidewards feature wise.

    The slow WiFi is not really a problem since in 99% of all cases you'll have to process the data in some form anyways so the bottleneck will be the CPU. 5GHz would have been nice though.

    The only real letdown as you've correctly identified is the lack of Glance, but since that's only software anyways I don't see any reason why the might not be added at a later point.

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