Replacing a Lumia with a new Nokia: the 7.2, a cheap way to try Android?

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Most Lumias were produced under the Nokia brand, of course, with the final generation under 'Microsoft'. But I still find it interesting how the Nokia name has risen back up into the public consciousness under the seemingly capable hands of HMD Global, still based in Finland. I've covered the (disappointing) Nokia 9 PureView here before, but I now have in for review something that sits at the budget end of the spectrum (£230), yet is robust (plastic chassis, think Lumia 1520) and capable. And still has a 48MP camera. Here's my first look at the 'Nokia 7.2'.

950 XL and Nokia 7.2

Although there's a little life left in Windows 10 Mobile in terms of updates and support, new hardware is non-existent, plus repairs and spares for older hardware are heading the same way - so it makes sense for everyone to be aware of the best of the rest from other platforms.

Lumia 950 XL and Nokia 7.2

As usual, I've shaded in green an obvious 'win' for either device. Any row where a winner would be totally subjective is left uncoloured. Or, where all devices are utterly excellent but in different ways, I've given each a 'green'(!)

[By the way, if you're viewing this feature on a phone then the table may well cause you problems. Try viewing in landscape mode? Failing that, go view this on a laptop or tablet!]

  Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Nokia 7.2
Date first available November 2015 September 2019
Current price, availability No longer officially for sale, though it's often on clearance prices if you're lucky and at outrageous profiteering prices due to rarity (if you're not!) £229 from Amazon UK
Dimensions, form factor, weight

152 x 78 x 8mm, plastic chassis and replaceable backs (plastic/leather/wood etc, from Mozo, as modelled here!), 165g, bezels are comparatively small.

160 x 75 x 8 mm , 180g, very solid plastic frame, slightly taller and narrower. The back is glass, but coated/painted. There's a notification 'stripe' LED in the power button, which is innovative.
Durability No specific durability metrics, though the fact that the back comes off will help enormously for water damage, i.e. taking out battery and cards immediately, drying out the internals, even unscrewing the motherboard from the guts of the phone. I'm old-school here! All damage to the back or corners is trivial through replacement of the rear, but the screen's exposed, of course. The plastics used should absorb shock and, anecdotally, I've never bothered putting a case on any Lumia. Just saying. I think that fact is significant.

No durability metrics quoted, phone is sealed and not user-repairable. The rear glass is odd at this end of the phone price spectrum, in that it's just as smooth and fragile as glass normally is - and you'll need a case in daily use. So why not just put in a plastic back, rip another £20 off the build cost and make it more rugged? Oh well.

Operating system, interface Windows 10 Mobile, (dismissable) virtual controls, as needed, now officially updated to W10 Fall Creators Update (Redstone 3, Autumn 2017) with security to 'November 2019'. Android 9, with Android One platform and guaranteed updates. For lovers of 'pure' Android, in terms of software it's effectively a Google Pixel but at a crazy low price. It'll get Android 10 in due course, too, with new gesture options.

5.7" AMOLED (1440p at 16:9 aspect ratio, matching most video media), Gorilla Glass 4, ClearBlack Display polarisers help with outdoor contrast, excellent viewing angles. Screen area is approximately 88 cm2

Glance screen available (in various colours) for always-on time, day and notification icons, plus some detailed info from a specified app, give the Lumia a bonus point here.

6.3" 1080p LCD at 19:9 aspect ratio, Gorilla Glass 3, screen area is 99cm2 Outdoor contrast isn't amazing, but consistent with the price point.

'Ambient' display flashes up notifications from specific applications when they come in. There's no 'always on' option (though that's usually expected with an LCD display and power hungry backlight).


LTE, NFC (all uses), Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, integral wifi tethering, Bluetooth 4.2 (all uses).

Continuum connectivity to use a wide range of first and third party UWP apps on external displays as secondary screen, independent of the phone display. Hoping to report soon on the retail NexDock 2, transforming the Lumia into a Windows 10 S laptop, effectively.

LTE, NFC* (all uses), Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, integral wifi tethering, Bluetooth 5.0 (all uses). No HDMI out 'smarts' or desktop modes, though - the USB port is strictly for charging and data transfer.

* except in India, apparently. And oddly!

Processor, performance Snapdragon 810 chipset, 3GB RAM, faster than it's ever been now on the Fall Creators Update though still slower for almost everything than on the Android phone. Multi tasking and app resumption is excellent though, at least with all the modern UWP apps
Snapdragon 660, 4/6GB RAM, depending on variant, faster than the Lumia at almost everything.
Capacity 32GB internal storage, expandable via (cheap) microSD to extra 256GB 64/128GB internal storage, depending on variant, plus microSD to extra 512GB
Imaging (stills)

20MP PureView f/1.9 1/2.4" BSI sensor, Phase Detection auto-focus, dedicated camera shutter button and launch key, genuine 2x lossless digital zoom (in 8MP oversampled mode), OIS. 'Rich Capture' produces customisable HDR shots and 'dynamic flash', with triple LED illumination. Outstanding shots in most light conditions, with just focussing issues in low light as an Achilles heel.

5MP front camera, no auto-focus

48 MP, f/1.8, 1/2", ZEISS lens, PDAF, plus 8 MP, f/2.2, (ultrawide), plus 5 MP, depth sensor

Results from the main camera are pretty good at the 'Quad Bayer' 12MP default output, even in low light, though the lack of OIS shows as light gets really low. There's poor 'PureView' zooming into that 48MP sensor because of the Quad Bayer pixel arrangement - zoom results are fuzzy and blocky. I'll do an imaging feature if there's enough interest.

20MP, f/2.0 front camera, no auto-focus

Imaging (video) Up to 4K, optically (and optionally digitally) stabilised, with 'Best photo' 8MP grabbing built-in, plus Rich Recording and HAAC microphones for high quality, gig-level stereo capture. Up to 4K video capture, with excellent software/gyro stabilisation at 1080p, high quality stereo audio capture (Nokia Ozo microphones/electronics), though the noise floor is quite high (hiss), perhaps due to the cheaper overall build/design.
Music and Multimedia
A tinny mono speaker by modern standards, though as ever you can trade volume for fidelity in a simple tweak on Lumias. A rather tinny bottom-firing speaker, poor by modern flagship standards, though - in fairness - still miles better than the Lumia 950 XL's here(!)
3.5mm audio jack, A2DP+AptX, so good wired and wireless headphone audio too.  3.5mm audio jack, A2DP and AptX for Bluetooth audio. Wired audio not quite as high quality as the Lumia's, perhaps limited here by the capabilities of the DAC in the Snapdragon 660. But there's not much in it. Great to see both phones with a jack at all in 2019 though!

Windows 10 Maps is now pretty mature and impressive, especially once you've learned the live traffic routine trick! Offline maps save a lot of data bandwidth for those on tight contracts or anyone in a low signal (data) area, and these get the win here.

Google Maps is now the gold standard in phone navigation, tied in with many other Google services and offering true real time navigation around traffic issues, along with offline maps that auto-update.
Cortana/Voice Cortana is now mature and well integrated, though some functionality has been falling away, e.g. recognising ambient music, plus there are reliability concerns under Windows 10 Mobile. And see here for Cortana's future. Google Assistant is baked in and works well (activated from the dedicated left hand side button, from the lockscreen, or via voice), arguably superior to any other assistants, due to the investment that Google has put in over the last few years.
Battery, life  Removable 3000mAh battery, and the ability to change cells gets the win here, plus USB Type C Power Delivery (up to 3A, so 15W) and 1A Qi wireless charging built-in. However, note that a Lumia running Windows 10 Mobile will now discharge in 24 hours even if you don't use it much.

Sealed 3500mAh battery, easily gets through a day. 5V/2A charging only.

Cloud aids Windows Photos syncs across all signed-in devices, subject to your OneDrive tariff (stingy, unless you have Office 365), should you have thousands of images in the system. Plus Windows 10 backs all your media, application data and settings to a separate backup folder system, tariff-free on OneDrive, for easy restoration on a new or factory reset phone. Google Photos does a great job of organising photos and syncing them across all signed-in phones and tablets, albeit at 'reduced' quality (re-compression server-side). 
File compatibility As with all Windows phones, plugging into a Windows PC gives full drag and drop to the phone's user file system. Plugging into a Mac sadly isn't possible anymore. Plugging into a PC gives immediate and trouble-free MTP file access, plus this works well on a Mac with Google's Android File Transfer utility, for drag and drop of all user files.
Biometrics  Iris recognition ('Windows Hello') works well unless you wear varifocals(!), but takes a couple of seconds (including an animation!) in real world use. There's also no official way of paying in shops using this, at least not in most of the world. Capacitive fingerprint sensor on back works quickly and reliably to unlock the phone and also authorise ('tap to') payments and other secure applications (e.g. banking)
Applications and ecosystem  Windows 10 Mobile has most (though not all) mainstream apps and services covered. Often third party clients are involved, mind you, there are companies who hate Microsoft so much that they simply refuse to write for Windows, it seems. And 'long tail' niche/boutique apps are hard to find for real world companies and shops.

The might of Google and Android's app ecosystem - everything is available and almost always in first party form. 

Upgrades and future Windows 10 Mobile will be updated through the end of 2019 - after that the OS will be useable but with more and more service caveats applying. Still, 'end 2019' is a full four years since the Lumia 950 XL was launched, so it's hard to complain. Nokia is generally good with Android updates, and the 'Android One' sub-platform here gives even more confidence. 'Three years' monthly updates after release is quoted. Impressive.


Adding up the green 'wins' (for fun?!) gives a 12-8 win for the Nokia 7.2, which is pretty good at this diminutive price point. Shop around and you can get this for under £200 soon, I think. So, while the 7.2 might not be a viable Lumia replacement on the camera side, if you're looking for something with which to dip your toe in the world of Android then you can't go far wrong with this. 

As I say, given the 48MP main sensor and ZEISS optics, I'm inclined to do an imaging comparison too. What do you think? Your comments welcome.