Mainstream smartphones seem to have settled in on a five inch display being the average, with a few just a bit larger and a few just a bit smaller. The Lumia 735, with a 4.7 inch display, is a great size for people who do not want the largest phone they can get.  Although the Lumia 735 is not created with ultra-high end materials, it carries the traditional Lumia design forward with a fully polycarbonate body finished with a glossy shell.

The 735 really feels like a successor to the original Lumia, the Lumia 800. Although larger, it features the same shape, with rounded sides and a squared off top and bottom. The curve continues into the display glass, with the sides of the glass featuring the same radius as the body, and it creates a great look and feel to the phone. The curved sides also compliment the smaller body size (as compared to the Lumia 830 and other five inch smartphones) and make it very comfortable to hold on to.

The top of the phone features the 3.5 mm headset jack, and the bottom of the phone has the micro USB connector for attaching to a PC or for charging. As with all Lumias, the left side has no buttons, and the right side features the power and volume rocker. Nokia has made a distinction with this year’s lineup of phones that any device without a PureView camera will not get a dedicated camera button, so the Lumia 735 lacks this. Windows Phone 8.1 does not have an easy way to access the camera through software other than to add the camera to the quick launch buttons in the Action Center, so this ends up being more of a burden than you would think. Also, unlike on the Lumia 830 and higher devices, the physical buttons are plastic, and are the same material as the body. They have great feedback though.

Speaking of buttons, the Lumia 735 follows in the footsteps of other devices like the Lumia 630 in that it lacks capacitive buttons for back, home, and search. The Lumia 630 compensated for this with on-screen buttons which had a dedicated number of pixels set aside for this task, but the Lumia 735 lacks this dedicated space on the display. The buttons will auto-hide when something like a photo is displayed, and can be accessed by swiping up on the display similar to modern HTC devices. I found this to be a less than perfect solution, and would prefer actual capacitive keys over losing display real estate to the on-screen versions but it does represent a dichotomy in the way of doing these - there will be users who prefer one over the other.

On-Screen Buttons appear in Screenshots since there is not a dedicated amount of screen for them

The back of the phone has a fairly minimalist look, with the Nokia logo subtly located in the center. The 6.7 MP camera sensor is in the center as well, near the top of the phone, and is flanked by the LED flash and one of the microphone grilles. There is also a faint Zeiss logo to let you know that this camera carries Carl Zeiss optics. The bottom of the back features the speaker grille. The back is also removable to get access to the micro SD slot as well as the battery. Even though the back is removable, there is no creaking or movement when installed. If you did not know the back was removable, you would think this is a unibody phone.

The Lumia 735 does not break new ground on industrial design or material choices, but it does continue with the traditional Lumia feel and look. The color choices are vibrant, and the orange that I received as a review unit looks great with the glossy finish. The phone fits well in the hand, and the curved glass on the front fits well with the design and provides a smooth transition to the body of the phone. Considering the back is removable, the smooth transition shows attention to detail.

Introduction Performance
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • 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.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now