Having recently refreshed the top and bottom ends of its lineup, it only makes sense for Microsoft Devices (formerly Nokia's phone division) to renew its efforts on the devices that fall squarely in the middle. One such device is the Lumia 730, which now replaces the aging 720. The dual-SIM 730, along with its LTE twin known as the 735, are being billed as "the selfie phone." It's got a 5MP camera on the front, which is not necessarily the highest resolution in a device, but Microsoft is boasting a wide-angle lens that beats out a lot of flagship offerings.
Part of the 730 is what Microsoft is calling the Lumia Selfie app, which is exactly what it sounds like: A standalone app for selfies that you can access more quickly than the standard method, which is to enter the regular Lumia Camera and swipe over to the front-facing shooter. Additionally, the app offers plenty of post-image editing options, like filters, skin enhancements and even tools to slim down your face and blur out the background. The selfie app will be preloaded on the 730/735, but it'll also be offered as a download for the rest of the Lumia lineup; even devices that don't have a front-facing camera will be able to take advantage of it.
Adding such an emphasis on selfies to the 730 seems a logical choice for the company, due to its lower price point and sporty look; Microsoft feels that this is the best device to approach the younger generations, so why not put more oomph into a trend that's just continuing to expand? I doubt this will be a one-and-done for the phone maker, but it's certainly a sensible way to get the attention of a crucial and influential demographic as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, despite the phone's focus on imaging, the 730 doesn't come with a hardware shutter key. While this isn't a dealbreaker by any means, I'd love to have such a button available so I could map the selfie app to open when it's pressed; selfies are often spontaneous, and it's somewhat frustrating to take time fumbling around with the phone to get to the right app. You should be able to set it as a shortcut in the Action Center, at least, but this feels like a missed opportunity.
The pair of phones come with a 4.7-inch 720p ClearBlack display, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 chipset, 1GB of RAM, 2,220mAh battery, 8GB internal storage, a 6.7MP rear-facing f/1.9 camera and three free months of Skype calls (which will be available to all Lumia devices, we're told).
As for build, there are a lot of similarities between the 730 and its predecessor from last year; it offers the usual polycarbonate material and rounded sides for a solid grip. The models I played with were glossy, however, so be prepared for an onslaught of fingerprints as you use it. The 730 will sell for 199 euro, while the 735 will go for 219 euro. They'll be available in green, red, white and black and will be available globally this month.