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Nokia Lumia 735 review

 Review: December 2014  

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The Nokia Lumia 735 is a fantastic budget/mid-range Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone. It's cheap but doesn't cut corners, and offers tremendous all-round performance. Highly recommended.

Today's best buy: Nokia Lumia 735 UK SIM-Free ... from Amazon (£92.93)


Design and looks

The Nokia Lumia 735 is a good-looking Windows smartphone that comes in a range of colours. To be honest, we like it best in black, but the other options are there if you like them, and the cases are changeable.

The 735 has a typical Lumia design - smart and with a tough polycarbonate shell, but without any ostentatious effort to look "premium". It's a robust, well-built phone that should meet the needs of the mid-range buyer. The 735 is particularly slim - at less than 9mm thick - and has a tapered edge that makes it feel even slimmer. It's not heavy either, so despite having one of the largest screens in its price range, it really doesn't feel like a big phone.

Let's talk about that screen. Simply put, it's a beauty. 4.7 inches is the biggest screen you'll find at under £200, so if you value multimedia, you'll appreciate the extra room that the Lumia 735 gives you. It's an OLED screen that makes use of Nokia's ClearBlack technology to deliver impressively saturated colours with deep blacks and lots of contrast. It's easily readable, even in sunlight. And it's a HD screen with 1280 x 720 pixels (316 ppi), making it extremely finely detailed. We think this is one of the best screens on any mid-range device.

Quadcore processor

The Lumia comes with a Snapdragon 400 quadcore processor running at a fast 1.2GHz. That puts it at the top end of what's available in the mid-range sector. The 1GB of RAM is also quite generous for the price. Of course, this is not a flagship phone, so it's not recommended for playing demanding 3D games, but for everyday apps it runs very well.

The built-in storage of 8GB is on the small side, but there's a microSD card slot that can accept cards up to 128GB. You also get 15GB of free cloud storage.

6.7 megapixel camera

The main camera too, is quite respectable, for a mid-range device. It uses Nokia's customary Zeiss optics, with a 6.7 megapixel BSI sensor, an unusually large f1.9 aperture lens, autofocus and an LED flash. It can record 1080p HD video too, and we think that it gives very respectable results.

The front-facing camera has a fixed focal length, so there's no autofocus, but it's OK for selfies and video chat, as long as you sit the right distance away from the lens.

Windows 8.1

The Lumia 735 runs Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim. Denim is the latest, bringing with it Windows Phone's Siri-like voice assistant, Cortana. We've praised the Windows Phone operating system many times before on this site, and the latest iteration is smoother and more refined than ever. Oh, if only there were more third-party apps for this platform! Alas, there aren't many, so you'll have to depend largely on what Microsoft provides, which is a lot. All the essential Office, social media, productivity and multimedia apps you'll want are here, but not so much in games and other types of apps.


This is a 4G phone and all standard connectivity options are here - 4G LTE, 3G, 2G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, NFC and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Location services include A-GLONASS, A-GPS, BeiDou, Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning.

Battery life

The phone has a 2220mAh battery, which is a reasonably large size for a phone of this capability. It's not going to give exceptional battery life, nor will it underperform. You'll get around 10 hours of continuous use out of it. For most typical users, this probably translates into 2-3 days between charges. As a bonus feature, it's compatible with Qi wireless charging.

Conclusion - one of the best mid-range phones

At S21, we're favourably disposed towards Windows Phone 8 smartphones, so perhaps we tend to give them a better write-up than some other review sites. To be fair, if you love your apps, this isn't the phone for you. But otherwise, this is a fantastic phone and one of the best Lumia models Nokia has made. So often Nokia has ruined a phone with a poor quality screen or a duff camera or an inadequate battery, but here everything comes together.

This is a great low- to mid-range handset that either meets our expectations or over-delivers on every point. When you consider the price and compare it with similar smartphones, you'll see that it has no weaknesses or shortcomings.

Nokia Lumia 735 features include:

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User questions

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Where to get spare parts for easy repair?

Asked by felix ogesi from kenya on 23rd Feb 2016
i got this device but unfortunately it broke its lcd and touchscreen, now how can i be abble to get them since its spare parts are not available in kenya please.

Nokia Lumia 735 user reviews

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Average rating from 8 reviews:

Reviewed by felix ogesi from kenya on 23rd Feb 2016
good and cheap to use.

Reviewed by Max from Montenegro on 2nd Jan 2016
I bought it two monces ago.. this phone is absolutely great for its price.. looks, specs, functionality, everything.. much better than android in same class.///and - yes,you CAN switch to 2g network (!) casual restarts are gone with Denim second update.. anyway, its so good that i would buy him again if brocken or something.

Reviewed by J from uk on 6th Oct 2015
It's a great phone, IF you have 3G or 4G. signal. It can not be set to 2G as the default signal, only options are 3G or 4G, so struggles if you are in a poor 3G area , as I am. It drops calls all the time unless outside, whereas my old I-phone 4 and Blackberry Curve never do. The rest of the phone capability is good, camera is decent for snaps etc, but a phone is primarily for making calls and that is the area it falls down on due to poor signal capture. Sadly having to bin it and re-use the old I-phone while looking for another phone.

Reply by Rich from uk on 27th Mar 2016
Mine's the same J. No matter what I do the reception is very bad. Calls constantly dropped, and no network 80 percent of the time. Very disappointing as the rest of the phone is great. Love the OLED screen reminds me of the original htc Desire. Oh well back it goes.

Reviewed by Declan from UK on 8th Jul 2015
Having tried others , come the conclusion that it's best the one to use. Got it almost brand new from the CEX group for 105 and glad I bought it. Excellent call quality ad reception. Battery lasts a minimum for two days and the battery is replaceable, can't do that with many expensive models. Camera is good outdoors but I use a good compact to take proper photos. Too much focus on the camera function of many phones these days.

Reviewed by Lewis from UK on 18th Jun 2015
Bought the Lumia 735 after breaking my last flagship smartphone (Apple iPhone 5s). Like lots I have had many flagship phones and been silly to buy them outright. Well I think phone manufacturers are not creating phones with a value for money philosophy. Nokia/Microsoft seem to be onto something here. I originally tried the 635 and then 640. The 635 lacked a flash for the camera. The 640, although had a flash just didn't suit my needs as I don't like large phones. The 735 is only 0.3" smaller than the 640 but I prefer the build style, it reminds me of the 900/920 I use to have. For the money I paid I have no complaints.

Camera: its a phone, if I want good quality photos I'll use my DSLR

Screen: at 1280 x 720 it's the lowest quality I'd go and being OLED it is a little fuzzy but by tweaking the screen colour settings I get the phone to look how I like.

Size: it has slightly larger bezels than some phones but it isn't a negative in my eyes. the size is great, I can use it one handed. I find 5" screen sized phones are to big to use one handed.

Build: it's cheap so no metal body or glass panels. but the polycarbonate shell is nice to hold in the hand. it's not to light, nor heavy. it's slim enough for me but chunky enough to feel like it's secure in my hand.

OS: I've had iOS, android and blackberry but windows phone 8.1 is a refreshing take on smartphone OS's. I like the live tiles, the animations. not to slow and neither jerky quick. Smooooth.

Apps: ok, I admit this is one area WP8.1 is limited on, but I have all the apps I need to suit me. I have a Sonos Hi-Fi system throughout my house and although there is no genuine Sonos app there is Phonos and it works better than the genuine version on android. More stable. I'm not a social media hound (I am on facebook, I just don't check it every five seconds).

Internal specs: it aint the latest Octa-core or even high speed quad-core. However, the snapdragon 400 1.2ghz works well with the OS (WP8.1 isn't heavy on resources). I haven't notice any major issues with lag and the phone hasn't randomly restarted itself like some have said.

Battery life: I charge at night and take it of charge before going to work. I leave my house at 05:30 on average and get home 18:30 (20;00 at the latest) and I have still got battery life left to see me through an evening of web surfing, photo checking and texting the wife who sits on the other sofa with her iPhone 5s on charge already. My general says use includes emails, photos, phone calls, texts, listening to music whilst driving upto 4 hours at a time (via headphones), web surfing (work related) and tethering my works iPad to send job reports and photos. all in all the 2220mAh is big enough for me, and as it can be removed I could buy a spare if I felt the need, but I haven't felt like I need to.

Overall: for the money I don't think the phone can be beaten. I think cheap android phones are to buggy. Apple don't do cheap. Blackberry, well, is just blackberry and the Leap has to many flaws in my eyes to be a contender. The Lumia 735 has all a cheaper smartphone needs. a perfect balance.

I wish Nokia still made smartphones. I just hope Microsoft don't spoil things.

Reviewed by Phil S from UK on 9th Jan 2015
Bought this to replace my 920, and so glad I did. To start with the weight difference is amazing, keep having to check its still in my pocket. The build is excellent, rounded edges are so much more stylish than square ones. The OS is zippy and responsive, the apps are limited but be honest how many times do you really play with them once their downloaded, get the ones you need and stick with them. I've got Windows 8.1 on my PC and a tablet with it too, so everything is synced, which makes life much easier than using google. The addition of a microsd slot is a bonus. The camera gives very good images, the video is excellent. With the Nokia Lumia camera apps, you can take some really good images.
Thoroughly recommended.

Reviewed by R Gan from UK on 13th Dec 2014
I've made quite a bit of research before buying the Nokia Lumia 735 (great value from 3 mobile). It only gets 4 stars, because it keeps restarting itself (less so after a hard reset). I find Windows phones easy and simple to operate, so the main functionality (Calls, email, web, text, navigation) didn't disappoint. The screen is sharp with vivid colours, the sound is good and reception reasonable - at that price it is probably the best mobile phone in the market.

Reviewed by Tris from UK on 12th Dec 2014
Awesome awesome awesome is all I can say. Nokia may not have gone out with a bang with the 735 but they did here what they do best. Beautiful design that is polycarbonate at its best. Sleek minimal design that sits great in the hand. Oled screen at 720p is vibrant and fun to watch and show off the live tiles great. Expandable memory. Even at this level Nokia have given us wireless charging. Don't be fooled by the rear camera being only 6.7mp, I've taken some very decent shots indeed with this little snapper. The front facing camera is a bit of a gimik but takes great shots too and very much is a cut above the rest for selfies. Its a very well balanced little phone. Its not without fault. Some may find windows just that little bit lacking and it does have the odd stutter on home screen scrolling. Its not one for very intense games..... But hey, this is just under a third of the price of an iphone. My wife swapped to this after being very disappointed with the i6 considering how much it cost. She has never looked back. She loves the local search, camera software, mix radio, and here drives offline capability. This deserves 5 stars. This could well be one of the best phones nokia has ever made!

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