Lumia 735 review: Verizon’s latest Windows Phone offering

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offering

On Thursday, June 18th, the Lumia 735 was finally made available on Verizon after being announced back in September of 2014. Clearly it took several months for the device to arrive on Verizon, but regardless, this is the latest Windows Phone offering on the Big Red. The Lumia 735 carries a $192 price tag when purchased without a contract, or $8 a month for 24 months via Verizon Edge. 

Is the Lumia 735 worth the price? As a Verizon customer, should you purchase the Lumia 735? Let’s dive into our hands-on review and see what this bad boy is all about. Spoiler alert: We recommend this phone.

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offering

Hardware

The Lumia 735 features a 4.7-inch ClearBlack OLED display sporting a resolution of 1280×720 pixels with the processing handled by the Snapdragon 400 chip (1.2GHz). There’s 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 5MP front-facing camera, and the phone ships with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 out of the box. The device also features Microsoft branding rather than Nokia branding.

This is the latest Windows Phone offering on Verizon with a rear camera that has a 6.7 MP auto focus with LED flash, ZEISS optics, f/1.9 aperture and 1080p video capture abilities.

The device has a removable plastic back cover, allowing you to insert the Micro SIM, SD card, and the battery. The cover itself allows for fingerprint smudges, so get ready to clean your device on a constant basis. On the side of the phone, you have nice buttons for the volume, as well as the power. There is no dedicated camera button. 

“With a wide-angle front facing camera, affordable price tag, and sleek, pocketable style – alongside integrated Microsoft experiences – Lumia 735 lets people easily capture and share more of what they want. Lumia 735 is powered by Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Denim update, and is fully upgradeable to Windows 10,” a Microsoft spokesperson told WinBeta.

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offering

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offering

Impressions

The Lumia 735 is a budget smartphone that feels and runs great — and is now the newest member of the Verizon Windows Phone family, joining the HTC One M8 and Samsung ATIV SE (the Lumia Icon was discontinued). 

As you can see from the images above and below, the Lumia 735 is gorgeous. It features a removable plastic back cover with a smooth curved shape coated with a matte finish. The volume and power buttons are in the traditional locations on the phone and are easy to reach when the phone is being held with one hand. There is no dedicated camera button, which is odd considered this phone is targeted for those who love to take selfies.

There is a headphone jack at the very top of the phone and is centered. There is a micro-USB port at the bottom of the phone, also centered. The Lumia 735 comes with built-in wireless charging but you will have to purchase the charging pad separately.

The phone features a 4.7-inch 1280×720 AMOLED display, which offers plenty of room for your app tiles. The display is vibrant and crisp, with colors popping at you without over saturation. Using the phone outside in bright sunlight was also a delightful experience and you can easily adjust the screen brightness to your comfort level — just be mindful that keeping the brightness to high will reduce your battery life.

I did not experience any noticeable issues with phone quality, but the speaker is less than impressive. When playing music, the playback is oftentimes muffled. However, plug in some nice earphones or earbuds, and you are good to go! Listening to my Spotify playlist on the Lumia 735 while at the gym was an enjoyable and problem-free experience.

The Lumia 735 comes with Windows Phone 8.1 and features several apps pre-installed, like Slacker, OneNote, the MSN app suite, and HERE Maps. You can easily remove these apps if you wish. Cortana is quite useful and comes with the Lumia 735, along with other features such as the Word Flow keyboard which lets you write faster by sliding your finger from letter to letter. This area of my review is subjective, as some people love Windows Phone while others hate it. I for one love the integration with Office and the ability to take notes using OneNote. On top of that, Windows 10 Mobile will breathe new life into this phone when the operating system is officially rolled out later this year.

Another thing to note: This phone does not feature hardware buttons for the navigation bar (Start, Back, Search). Instead, these are on-screen keys. For those who love the Glance screen feature, the Lumia 735 does not support it.

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offering

Camera

The Lumia 735 features a rear camera that has a 6.7 MP auto focus with LED flash, ZEISS optics, 1/3.4 inch sensor size, f/1.9 aperture to help bring in more light, and 1080p video capture abilities. It also features a 5 MP wide-angle lens front camera for selfies as well as 1080p video recording on the front camera. 

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offeringSo what’s all this fuss over selfies? The Lumia 735 features a front camera that allows you to fit more into your picture thanks to the wide-angle lens. This basically means you can show off more of yourself, or include more of your friends into your selfie. As you can see in the image to the right, the selfie shows off more of the background, making it appear like you took the photo with the rear camera. I am not a big selfie guy (as you can tell), but for those who enjoy taking photos of themselves, this is a great feature of the Lumia 735.

The rear camera, on the other hand, is subpar. I took some outdoor shots and the quality wasn’t that great — something to be expected with a 6.7MP rear camera. As you will see in the two example shots below, the quality of the photo makes it appear like a gloomy day with hardly any sunlight, when in fact the photo was taken at Noon on a cloudy bright day. If you are looking to take photos without being too picky about quality, then the Lumia 735 is perfect for you. Otherwise, don’t buy this phone for the camera alone.

While the Lumia 735 features a huge improvement to the camera compared to the previous model (Lumia 730), there are still ways to go for this phone to truly be an awesome camera phone. Photo quality is nothing to be excited about, but it works well.  The front-facing camera actually takes nice photos and is definitely worth it. Take a look at some of the examples below.

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offering

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offering

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offering

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offering

Battery Life and Performance

The Lumia 735 features a removable 2200 mAh battery and performs well. On a full charge, it took me about 6 hours to bring my battery down to 20% with moderate Internet surfing, and taking several photos. On idle, you can keep your phone alive all day long and charge it at night. It’s safe to say you don’t have to worry about poor battery life on the Lumia 735.

Playing games on this phone was also an average experience — nothing worth getting excited about. The device features 1GB of RAM and a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, and the majority of games performed well with little to no sluggishness.

Navigating through the Windows Phone operating system was a breeze. Opening and closing apps, as well as transitioning between apps, was also fast aside from the occasional slow down. This is typical among Windows Phone devices so I wont penalize the Lumia 735 for it.

Opening up the Lumia Camera app is relatively quick — it takes about a second. The phone also snaps pictures quickly, which is fairly nice considering this phone is designed for taking photos.

The Lumia 735 is XLTE ready, which means if you are on Verizon, you will be able to take advantage of Verizon’s faster network (double the speed of 4G). Surfing the internet on Verizon’s 4G network is already quick, but XLTE promises to blow you away.

Lumia 735 review: Verizon's latest Windows Phone offering

Final Thoughts

Let’s face it — there are so many smartphones to choose from out there. As a Verizon customer, you can pick from a wide range of Android phones, a select number of iPhones, and Windows Phones. Why should you choose the Lumia 735? It performs fast, it looks great, it’s decently sized, it runs most of the apps you really need (like Microsoft Office), it features a decent camera, and it doesn’t hurt your wallet. Extra emphasis on that last part.

With this phone, you are able to sync emails and calendars with Outlook, as well as add other accounts like Gmail and iCloud data. Bored with the look? Want to increase the performance? You can easily swap out the case or expand the memory to improve performance. Microsoft even has a desktop program that allows you to sync your iTunes music and photos. You can take advantage of OneDrive for storage and have quick access to your documents on your phone and on your home/work PC. You can even restrict access to various features (such as the internet) if you plan to give this phone to your child. These features are not exclusive to the Lumia 735 but give you an idea of what Windows Phone is capable of — especially if you are a iPhone or Android user eyeballing the Lumia 735.

Since Microsoft touts the Lumia 735 as the perfect selfie phone, they should have included a dedicated camera button. Taking photos or selfies can be a bit cumbersome when you don’t have a dedicated button. Other than that, I don’t really have major issues with the phone. There is one neat little feature that should be mentioned — you can set a timer to take photos. It makes it a little bit easier, but a dedicated button would have been better in my opinion.

If you are looking to make the switch to Windows Phone on Verizon, I definitely recommend the Lumia 735. If you are an existing Windows Phone user on Verizon, I definitely recommend upgrading to the Lumia 735. Head over here to check out the device on Verizon.

Do you have any questions or concerns about the Lumia 735? Let me know in the comments below and I will elaborate.

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