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Irena Hood
Irena Hood

More DIY Matte Phones, This Time The Lumia 820

Touchscreens may have changed the way we interact with smartphones, but they do have one significant drawback. You have to touch the screen... and that almost always leaves behind a fingerprint, formed from secretions of the eccrine glands (water, salt and oils). All smartphone screens have coatings that mitigate against this, generally falling into the lipophobic or oleophobic categories. However, not all coatings are created equal and in this mini-feature we compare the Lumia 900, Lumia 820, Lumia 920 and HTC 8X in the fingerprint test.

More DIY Matte Phones, This Time the Lumia 820

It's worth pointing out that the methodology used in this comparison isn't particularly rigorous. That's because it's difficult to ensure each "touch" in the testing is the same. Moreover, it doesn't really reflect really world usage, which is made up of many touches, swipes and other touch gestures. However, the results are in line with our experience of using each device over an extended period of time.

In this test we've just looked at fingerprints on the screen, but of course there's another area where the fingerprint test can be applied, on the sides and the back of a device. In our experience, the choices of material (and their coating) is the most important factor, but the colour of a device is also important. Some colours show fingerprints (and dirt) more than others. It's not necessarily because they are more susceptible, but rather because the contrast makes it more obvious. Unsurprisingly, white devices tend to show fingerprints more than a black device.

Looking at the back of the devices in this test, the Nokia Lumia 900 does well, in large part due to its matte finish, which makes any marks less noticeable. Both the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 have a gloss finish, which means marks are more visible, and seem to be more susceptible to fingerprints, but has the benefit of being the easiest to clean. The HTC 8X is the worst performer by some distance, with its "soft touch" finish not only having the most visible marks, but also being the hardest to clean.

I was personally surprised this could even happen to a high-end device like this. At first, i thought it was just one of those one-off occurrences. But when it happened 3-4 times, i Googled around to confirm whether it was just my personal unit that had defects, but it turned out, many other people had experienced similar problems.

The phone itself is made of a matte plastic, and feels comfortable to hold. It isn't supermodel thin, at 0.39 inches, but it packs in a 1950mAh battery. Huawei says it should be good for up to 470 hours of standby time, which is the longest among all smartphones in its class. And while I'm not quite sure I see the tropical island inspiration Huawei talks about in the phone's design, I do like that it comes in red or blue alongside the more standard black or white.

The 720 strikes me as the Ford Cortina of the Lumias, a well made mass market compact. The 720 has everything going for it except, perhaps, its price - and by the time you read this that might have changed.

Style-wise it's another strong product - resembling the tapered unibody design of the HTC Windows models. It's very thin and light, much more comfortable to hold and put in your pocket than its bigger siblings. It's also 32g lighter than the Lumia 820, and boy, do you appreciate every gramme. The 720 is available in red, cyan and yellow as well as black and white - the red that Nokia has deployed here is less aggressive than other models, and the polybicarbonate casing more matte, and therefore less slippy. The 720 permits hot swappable removable MicroSD cards for expansion - which you'll need, with just 8GB (5GB free) on board.

The engine inside the phone is the more modest dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8227, with 512MB of RAM - the combination found in the 520 and 620 Lumias. This flies through everyday tasks. In practice you rarely notice the difference between this and the Lumia 920's 1.5GHz Snapdragon brain.

The headline-grabber on the 720 is the battery life. I found this to be the first Windows phone to make it comfortably into a third day on a single charge. That's thanks to the 2000mAh battery used in the 920, and the Lumia's much more conservative CPU. I achieved this by setting my two ActiveSync calendars to push and every 30 minutes (respectively), with one IMAP email account set to check every 30 minutes and the others set to manual retrieval. NFC and Bluetooth were turned off.

Lastly, the Lumia 720 also employs the super-sensitive touch that we first saw on the Lumia 920. Once enabled, this lets you use the touchscreen even through gloves or pretty much anything, for that matter.

As with other Lumia phones, the 720 comes with additional options in the Settings menu, such as for the display and network settings. These are not part of the core OS and added separately by Nokia through. Due to this, there is a distinct lag when you open them, complete with a loading screen. On surface, they look like any other settings item so the lag is likely to confuse an average user who doesn't know what Nokia has been up to. It would be better if Nokia works on making the integration more seamless by getting rid of the loading screens.

The audio video performance is on par with other Windows Phone devices. The music player still won't let you play FLAC files and the video player cannot play anything other than MP3, that too without subtitle support. This barebones experience may have made sense back in 2007 when the iPhone was announced but not anymore. The fact that you don't even have decent apps to make up for this functionality makes things worse.

eBay has a plethora of cell phone covers for Nokia phones, and the one that suits you will depend on a few factors. As a matter of fact, you may want more than one. Your lifestyle, as well as the colors and designs that you like, are all things you should consider when purchasing Nokia cell phone cases and covers on eBay.

Our review unit of the Lumia 720 was a "glossy white" colour variant which was very slippery to hold and showed up plenty of fingerprints. The Lumia 720 is also available in glossy yellow, glossy red, matte cyan and matte black colour variants. We would highly recommend opting for one of the matte colours for a far more comfortable experience.

The Nokia Lumia 720 has a 4.3in IPS touchscreen with a resolution of 800x480. This resolution obviously can't match more expensive phones and therefore the Lumia 720 can't display the same crisp text as many devices on the market. However, it displays excellent and accurate colours, has good viewing angles and is bright and clear. Nokia says the Lumia 720 is the first phone to feature curved glass at this price point and it gives the effect that the images are floating on the screen.

For a phone at this price point, Nokia's range of apps and features are significantly impressive. The Here Maps application is more comprehensive than Apple Maps and even betters Google Maps on Android phones in some ways. It allows you to download a range of maps from entire countries to use when you don't have any mobile network coverage. In addition, Here Drive Beta provides free turn-by-turn navigation in a clean and easy to navigate layout. The ability to download maps means the navigation service doesn't use any mobile data, just the Lumia 720's built-in GPS chip.

Not all phones, past and present, are Qi wireless charging enabled. If you attempt to use a wireless charger to boost the battery of your incompatible phone, it will be useless. Below is a current list of all the smartphone products that support Qi wireless charging. You can find out more about the most popular cell phones and their charging capabilities via our new comprehensive guide.

Wireless charging is here to stay and MAGFAST is proud to be at the forefront. The team is dedicated to changing charging for good and we are excited at how many Qi-enabled products are on the market. As this growth continues and Qi charging is added to more and more new devices, we are confident we will be able to support all wireless charging needs. Discover how to charge your phone faster today.

At this point I am not sure I really trust any of these companies to accurately tell me how I am doing relative to health and recovery. Garmin seems like they have the most time and data invested in this, and I wonder if there is more coming from them very soon?


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