Nokia 2720 Flip review: Not worth flipping over

Posted: 21 October 2019 1:07 pm
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Nokia 2720 Flip

Quick Verdict

Fans of feature phones will like the Nokia 2720 Flip, but regular smartphone users should only consider it as their "weekend" handset, if that.

The good

  • Battery lasts for ages
  • Protects its own screen
  • Much cheaper than an actual foldable phone
  • Good conversation starter

The bad

  • Text entry is slow and painful
  • Camera is terrible
  • Feels cheap, but you can get an actual smartphone for less

Back when HMD Global announced it was releasing a range of Android handsets under the licensed Nokia brand in 2017, it got far more attention for its attempt to reinvent Nokia's classic line of feature phones. Folks went nuts for the Nokia 3310, and a few months later we saw a slightly rejigged model launch in Australia as the Nokia 3310 3G.

HMD Global followed up the 3310 3G with the Nokia 8110 4G, the "banana phone" – or "Matrix phone" depending on your frame of reference and colour choice – again, drawing a lot of attention to the brand for what was ultimately a pretty simple phone.

HMD Global clearly likes the attention it gets, as this year's "Classic" effort is the Nokia 2720, a simple feature phone that attempts to leap ahead of the trend of folding phones by reintroducing flip phones. Ones that fold, so it's jumping ahead of the pack by going backwards.

Which is confusing, I know, but then outside of the small core of die-hard feature phone fanatics out there, it's confusing coming up with a really solid use case for the Nokia 2720 over its other existing feature phones anyway.

Nokia 2720 Flip

Design

  • Simple cheap plastic flip phone
  • Small in your pocket or purse
  • Display is protected by the flip mechanism
  • Big friendly buttons

I can't say that the Nokia 2720 Flip doesn't stand out. Trust me, when you pull a flip phone out of your pocket and start using it in public in 2019, people do take notice. Maybe that's the point, because the era of flip phones was more than a decade ago, so they're quite the rarity to see on the streets any more.

If you've been around a while you might recall when just about every higher-cost phone was a flip phone, with the so-called "candybar" phones occupying the cheaper shelves in mobile phone stores.

The Nokia 2720 Flip sits somewhat in the middle of that designation. It's undeniably a cheaply built phone, with a plastic shell body that flips open to reveal a standard number pad at the bottom and a 2.8-inch screen with a meagre resolution of just 240 x 320 pixels. That does suit the style play of the Nokia 2720 Flip, but it doesn't make for a smooth web page viewing experience in any way whatsoever.

There's also a secondary screen on the outside of the Nokia 2720 Flip, with a 1.3 inch, 240 x 240 pixel square display. It's there to provide simple alerts and time information when you close the phone, or if you hit the side button while it's closed.

There's undeniably a market of mostly-older folks who actively don't like touchscreen interfaces, and for them the larger buttons of the Nokia 2720 Flip could be an absolute godsend. Simplicity is very much the story here, and those who also don't like the trend towards larger phones may also appreciate that the Nokia 2720 Flip is quite small when folded down, and also surprisingly light.

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Nokia 2720 Flip

Camera

  • Single, awful 2MP rear camera

As it did with the 3310 3G and 8110 4G, HMD Global is very much playing in the past when it comes to these classic phones, and that includes their camera capabilities. Back when the flip phone was the must-have fashion accessory, a 2MP camera would have been class-leading, but in 2019, it's the kind of sensor size that we typically see on the budget end phones as the camera purely used for focus effects.

The Nokia 2720 Flip's camera is rear-only, so you can forget any kind of video calling action, and it's slow to launch and plodding when it comes to actually taking shots. Forget any kind of fast action, or for that matter fine detail even in good light. Shots are frequently blurry, they lack detail and it's honestly a little baffling as to why HMD Global is insisting that its feature phones should be this way.

Sure, the display screen would never show up a higher resolution shot well, but a company that can make a phone that's as interesting in a camera sense as the Nokia 9 Pureview really shouldn't also be making a phone in the same year with a camera this woeful.

You know how they say that the best camera is the one you have with you? If you're carrying around the Nokia 2720 Flip, take some chalk with you as well. It'll make a better, and possibly faster representation of what you're looking at.

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Nokia 2720 Flip

Performance

  • KaiOS now has social media apps
  • But you'd have to be a masochist to use them
  • Google Assistant works quite well

It's not entirely accurate in one sense to call the Nokia 2720 Flip a feature phone, because the reality is that it does have apps, and even an app store. It's running on KaiOS with a range of pre-installed applications on board, including Google Maps, YouTube, Google Assistant, Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp.

Yep, the phone that's meant to free you from the tyranny of social media is in fact packed with social media apps.

However, there's a pretty big catch here. You can sign in to these services, and indeed slowly scroll through your social feeds, but when it comes time to respond in some way, whether it's to that fast-paced Whatsapp chat, or to chide your aunt Carol for her racist Facebook postings – she really should know better – you'll find yourself back in the painful world of T9 predictive text entry.

Again, back when flip phones were the thing, T9 was about as good as it got, and some folks did get pretty nimble when entering text that way. But in 2019, it's slow and annoying. For services like Whatsapp where the banter can flow quite fast, you can easily find yourself both angry at the slow typing speed and way behind the social pulse by the time you do get a response out.

The one modern app that does make matters a little easier is the inclusion of Google Assistant. You'll need some form of data connectivity to get it to be chatty, but it's a much better way to, for example, search the Internet than by trying to type in your query in a browser window.

KaiOS does offer up a range of apps, mostly games to install to the Nokia 2720 Flip, but they're almost all generic clones of other more established titles under slightly dodgy names. I'm sure that, like me, you've been hanging out to play Flappy Duck, Jetpack Blast and Pet Hop. At least the Nokia classic Snake is pre-installed, as it was on the 3310 3G and 8110 4G, although this is HMD Global's more colourful reimagining of that game.

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Battery life

  • Removable 1,500mAh battery
  • Long battery life, but mostly because you won't use it much

Ask any fan of feature phones what they like about them, and they'll inevitably tell you about how in the good old days, phone batteries would last weeks.

That's largely because they really weren't doing much beyond making calls and sending text messages on low resolution displays, but still, it's the one part of the feature phone experience that does beat standard smartphones pretty handily.

The Nokia 2720 Flip is no exception. It's packing a 1,500mAh battery, which is tiny by any modern standard. However, it's removable, which is very uncommon these days, and the general battery life is quite good.

Nokia's official figures talk around a classic but mostly meaningless statistic, citing up to 28 days of standby time. Rather more useful is the talk time, rated at 6.6 hours on a 4G call connection, or up to 10.9 hours on 3G.

I'll be honest here and say that the Nokia 2720 Flip didn't really entice me enough to use it heavily across my social media and Internet needs, so I can't give figures for how quickly you might exhaust it if you used it in a very concentrated fashion.

Then again, that's precisely the point. This is a phone for folks who only need a simple phone, or want a simple phone to get away from the complexities of modern life. You're not meant to use it for dozens of hours at a stretch.

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Nokia 2720 Flip

Should you buy the Nokia 2720 Flip?

  • $149 is a fair whack for a simple feature phone.

The Nokia 2720 Flip does fulfil the basic purpose of a feature phone, and it's not as though you're spoilt for choice if you're hanging out for a flip phone specifically.

However, at its $149 asking price, you're also paying a solid whack of money for that very limited experience. There's a huge range of basic Android phones that absolutely run rings around the Nokia 2720 Flip in performance terms, even though they're not standout phones in the smartphone world.

As such, you've got to be very committed to that feature phone premise for the Nokia 2720 Flip to make sense. At a lower price point it would be easy to suggest it as that classic "weekend" phone, but like the 8110 4G, it's a bit of a luxury buy that feels weird in the modern context.

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Nokia 2720 Flip: Pricing and availability

The Nokia 2720 Flip sells outright for $149.

Nokia 2720 Flip: Alternatives

You want a flip feature phone in 2019? We've got some bad news for you because locally there's just not that many alternatives at all. Telstra has its basic Telstra Flip 2 phone a little cheaper than the Nokia 2720 Flip at $119, but competitors Optus and Vodafone only offer candybar-style feature phones.

You could always consider one of Nokia's other "Classic" handsets such as the Nokia 8110 4G or Nokia 3310 3G, both of which are cheaper than the Nokia 2720 Flip.

Nokia 2720 Flip Specifications

Display

Camera

Physical dimensions

Connectivity

Power, storage and battery

Device features

Display size 2.8 inches
Resolution 240 x 320
Rear camera megapixels 2MP
Rear camera aperture size N/A
Video recording N/A
Front camera megapixels N/A
Front camera aperture size N/A
Dimensions 192.7mm x 54.5mm x 11.6mm
Weight g
NFC No
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Network category speed Category 4
Processor Qualcomm 205
RAM 512MB
Operating system Custom
Internal storage

4GB

External storage support Up to 32GB
Battery capacity 1,500mAh
Headphone jack Yes
Fingerprint sensor No
Water resistance N/A
Wireless charging No
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