Nokia 2720 Flip comes as the third member of Nokia Mobile “Originals” family that started with the new Nokia 3310 in 2017 and continued with the Nokia 8110 4G in 2018. The iconic Nokia 2720 was announced in 2009 as an affordable flip phone and in 2019 her successor arrived.
The new Nokia 2720 Flip brings a familiar form factor to the modern era, running on KaiOS, which is positioning itself as the No.1 operating system for feature phones, mainly because of apps. As we know, a mobile OS can’t live without apps and KaiOS coming preloaded with Google apps, Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp gives it an advantage over competing systems.
Nokia Mobile’s first KaiOS device was the Nokia 8810 4G announced at MWC2018. I had the chance to use the 8110 4G last year and what I concluded back then is that Nokia 8110 4G tries to be a smarter feature phone, but the “smart” features don’t really make the phone a better investment than a classic feature phones for customers that want a feature phone. On the other hand, it wasn’t smart enough to recommended it over Nokia 1, for example, to someone that wants some of those “smart” features.
The situation now might be a bit different, primarily because of Whatsapp support, something that didn’t exist at the time I checked the 8110 4G. If Whatsapp is big in your part of the world and your circle is actively using it, having Whatsapp on a phone becomes essential. Basically, like having the ability to send SMS or make phone calls. You can read how the 2720 performed on our review down below.
Dimensions: 54.5 mm x 104.8 mm x 18.7 mm (Closed) | 54.5 mm x 192.7 mm x 11.6 mm (Open)
Storage: 4GB + extendable microSD card slot supports up to 32GB
Camera: 2MP + flash
Connectivity: GPS/AGPS + GLONASS
Battery: Removable BL 6V 1500 mAh
SIM: Nano SIM
Extra: micro-USB. 3.5 mm jack, FM, The Google Assistant/Emergency button, LED
Color: Black and Gray
Design and hardware
The 2720 comes in a compact 2-part package, with the first part being transparent for buyers to see the device, while the second part is a box that holds the charger, earphones and documentation.
It’s a nicely designed device with compact dimensions and soft curves, making it easy to hold and put in every pocket you like. The device is just 54.4mm wide and has a height of 104.8mm when closed down. The phone in its open mode 192.7 mm in height.
The 2720 fits nicely in the hand and is easy to hold and use. The only ergonomic problem appears when you are making a phone call, because for so long we have been accustomed to “flat” phones holding up to our ear, but the 2720 is a flip phone with a hinge that doesn’t extend it to 180 degrees, so you will need some time to get used to holding the device at an angle while making phone calls.
For a feature phone, the build quality is OK. The device looks well build, but since the material used is two kinds of plastic, it really feels plastic when holding it in hands. It lacks sturdiness of some old feature phones, even the original 2720.
On the front of the device we find a 1.3” front display that displays the clock and the notification icon if you have new notifications. On the right side we have the volume up and down button, while on the opposite site we find the emergency/Google Assistant button and the 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s possible to raise the volume or silent your device while it is folded. The front display is in color, which is a bit surprising considering all the UI elements but the volume bar are black and white.
To talk a bit more about the button. At first, I couldn’t find in settings how to change the options from “Google Assistant” to “Emergency button”, but luckily there is info about it on the official Nokia page saying “Button option is selected during start up. If Accessibility mode is selected during first boot up of the Nokia 2720 Flip, then the Emergency button is activated. If Accessibility mode is not selected, then the button will be setup for The Google Assistant”. When turning the Accessibility mode on in settings, you get the option to set up the emergency button and it works as advertised, as you can see in the screenshot below.
If you activate SOS call and SMS, on double pressing the button, the phone will start calling your emergency contacts, one by one, multiple times and sending them SMSs with your location (latitude and longitude).
The front of the folded phone has a combination of shiny black upper part and matte black lower part. You don’t notice how good that looks on our black review unit photos, but it really stands out on the white model or in person on the black model as well.
On the top of the phone we have the hinge that connects the part of the housing that holds the screens with the main part of the body. On the bottom we have the MicroUSB port for charging the device and data transfer.
The back of the 2720 Flip comes with a shiny black cover and a 2MP camera with flash. The back cover is removable and underneath it we can find the 1500mAh BV-6A battery and slots for nano SIM (2 of them if Dual SIM) and MicroSD card. Both, the battery and the housing have a Nokia sticker, probably to ensure that users can recognize it’s an original, because we saw a lot of knockoffs of the Nokia 3310 and 8110 4G.
The camera placement is interesting to note. The camera is placed on top of the backside and under a slight angle. The reason for that is when you open the device, the hinge doesn’t lock the screen at a 180 degrees, but at around 155 degrees, meaning that if the camera was placed flat on the backside, users wouldn’t be able to see the viewport on the screen when holding the device in a regular way. Instead, they would have to raise the phone (or lower their body position) to see the content on the screen. By placing the camera at an angle, you can take a photo without adjusting yourself to see the scene in the viewport. It’s a really clever detail that improves user experience when taking photos a lot. I know the 2720 isn’t a device you will take photos on, but it’s still nice to know that someone in the R&D process noticed that it would be better not to place the camera flat on the back.
The camera has a 2MP sensor and it isn’t great. You do have some options in the camera app like setting a timer, flash and grid. In good light, you can get decent photos for a feature phone, but in no way should the camera be a factor when buying this device. You can also record videos in “Low, Standard and High” resolution with flash on or off.
When we open the device, we are greeted by the big screen and huge keypad. If you ask most feature phone users what they would like to improve on their phones, I’m sure most of them would say that they want a bigger keypad and a bigger screen. Nokia 2720 Flip delivers on both fronts.
The screen is 2.8” in diagonal which makes it the biggest screen put on a Nokia Mobile feature phone on sale right now. The “inner front” of the device has a lot of bezels around the screen. Above the screen there is a Nokia logo above which we find the earpiece. The Nokia logo is placed below the plastic/glass cover, so it won’t fall of.
The keypad consists of a 4-directional D-pad, a menu and back key, two other navigation keys and the “call” and “hung up” keypads. I really don’t have better name for these, so it’s best you check them out in photos. The numerical keypad is the standard 3 x 4 T9 layout with the whole alphabet being laid out on 9 keys.
While I have all the praise for the alphanumeric keyboard, the “upper” part is a bit too crowded, so I often found myself pressing the “back” key instead the right menu button or the “call” key instead of the “menu” key. The D-pad was also a bit smallish for my hands at first, but when you get the sense of layout after a few days of use, you stop pressing the wrong buttons.
From the outside, Nokia 2720 Flip is a solid feature phone that will probably survive the rough world we live in, without the need of any protective covers or cases. Inside the device we also have specs that were previously seen on low end Android phones and specs that are miles more powerful than the internals Nokia feature phones using Series 30+ are using.
The internals are same as on the 8110 4G though, so it’s not something we didn’t see before. We are dealing with Snapdragon 205, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage of which 2.31GB is available to the user. The phone support 4G LTE in two different configuration – one for Europe and one for Middle East, North Africa, Asia Pacific, and Greater Chinese Region. Our review units is the latter one in fact, but works fine in Croatia. The supported bands follow down below:
The 2720 Flip also features WiFi (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.1 and GPS. I tested the speed of the 4G connection on the 2720 Flip and the results are more than good. I achieved around 16Mbps download on my carrier, while the download speed while sharing the data to a more capable smartphone got to 40Mbps. On WiFi, the download speed on the 2720 was also around 16Mbps, while on a more capable smartphone and the same WiFi network the speed was 60Mbps. Of course, the 2720 doesn’t come with a powerful WiFi chip as flagship smartphones do, but the capabilities of Nokia 2720 are quite good, actually. Especially as a WiFi hotspot.
If you’re concerned about battery life while using the phone actively with 4G, I don’t have good news, at least subjectively. With an active use of Whatsapp and hotspot few times, I got two days of battery life. If you lower the network speed to 3G and use more WiFi than mobile data, 3 to 5 days is achievable battery life. If you will use the phone mainly as a feature phone, weekly charging will be the norm.
The phone supports USB tethering, that should consume less energy and deliver better uplink/downlink than WiFi hotspot. In my unscientific measures, while connecting the 2720 via USB to my PC, my download speeds reached 50Mbps, with 17Mbps upload, which was a bit better than what I achieved via WiFi hotspot.
I had no problems with signal reception or call quality. The earpiece is loud enough to hear the other person even in noisy environments, though I would also like it to be a bit more louder like on Nokia smartphones. The external speaker placed on the back of the device isn’t really high quality but it will serve well for notification sounds and ringtone. You can also listen to music via it if you want, but I don’t recommend it for that.
Nokia 2720 Flip comes with KaiOS 2.5.2 (12.00.17.01). KaiOS is similar to your regular feature phone operating system. It comes with some of the usual feature phone apps like Unit Converter, File Manager, Calculator, Browser, Notes, RM Radio and Voice Recorder. The phone also has some “smarter” apps like the email client, app store, interesting games and apps from Facebook and Google preloaded. There is also a Twitter app, while the Facebook group apps include Facebook and, most importantly, Whatsapp, while Google’s suite of apps include the Google Assistant, YouTube and Google Maps.
On our smartphones, we’re used to getting instant feedback when we press something and that isn’t the case with this device. There is a slight delay while navigating in the UI, but the feedback on typing is instant, as it should be. One problem I had with the keyboard is that it is too slow at switching from lowercase letters to capital letter or numbers by pressing the “#” key, at least for me. Sometimes I missed the capital “ABC” mode and pressed one time too much and got “123” number mode instead, and then have to go again pressing the “#” to enter the right mode. After a few days, you get used to the peace of the device.
The contacts app is also slowish when searching for contacts. I had to wait a bit before entering the next letter in the search input because the phone wouldn’t recognize it until some search logic was processed (1 seconds or so). I have 300+ contacts, which isn’t that much considering the day and age, but still.
Apps like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are mostly like web wrappers of the website. Not really performant, but Google apps and Whatsapp seem to be “natively” written for KaiOS. Google Maps does show your location a bit off, but the navigation works relatively well if you manually chose your starting point. I wouldn’t use it though for longer rides, because the GPS isn’t reliable. The maps app is great for checking out places and searching for them on app, but for navigation, a smartphone is better.
Google Assistant is tightly integrated with KaiOS and now you can call voice recognition on every input field by just long-pressing the central button on the D-pad. This is really handy if Assistant supports your language, because typing on T9 is much harder than on a QWERTY keyboard. Assistant is also improved and can tell jokes and facts, with usual app opening stuff, but it still can’t set reminders.
You don’t get much customization options with KaiOS. For example, you cannot map the navigation keys as you please or at least I couldn’t find that in settings. The side button is also just for Emergency or Google Assistant. Overall the settings are a bit harder to navigate with a lot of menus and every item in the menu has an arrow pointing to the right indicating there is more to it, but you don’t access it by pressing the right D-pad key as you intuitively would, but the central one. It’s a silly UI inconsistence and it would be better to remove the arrows all together from the menu items.
Now, onto Whatsapp. First, the bad things. You cannot sync your chat history. That could be huge deal for many folks, myself included. I like to have all my chats available and all Whatsapp media backed up and you don’t get that on 2720 Flip. The app also doesn’t support Whatsapp Web and emojis. It’s basically there for sending messages (video, pictures, voice messages). For some folks that will be enough, for others, maybe a low end smartphone is a better choice. In regards with notifications, they almost always arrive on time. I noticed only when you have GPS on that it somehow conflicts with the on-time arrival of notifications, which is strange. Hopefully that will be fixed with some future update.
Probably the biggest question of the review is for whom this device is for and what are the use cases with it.
I would start with the category of users that just want a feature phone, be it as a back up device or a primary device for elderly members with just the need for calls, SMS and checking the time. The 2720 Flip can do that, just like any other feature phone that is available for a fraction of its price. The stylish look, big screen and big keypads make the device more attractive than something like the Nokia 105, though in this use case both devices would perform the same functionality. It’s just the matter if the user can tolerate a smaller feature phone (and assuming the budget isn’t limited).
If we take all of the requirements of the past use case and add the ability to use Whatsapp, email and connect online sometimes, the 2720 Flip will do a solid job in doing that. Keep in mind that you don’t get the full capabilities of Whatsapp, but for a user that just wants to be able to receive a Whatsapp message from the generation that rarely uses SMS anymore, it will serve well.
Next up, let’s discuss the 2720 Flip as a full smartphone replacement. For most people’s lifestyles this will be impossible. You might not use social media or even email, but the ability for extensive browsing and sharing multimedia on our devices is for most of the population essential and I couldn’t recommend the phone for that. Imagine if someone sends you a link for an article via Whatsapp. Opening and reading the article on a feature phone is painful. Not to mention you sending links back.
But, the Nokia 2720 as a gateway device for weekend “detoxication” and holidays is perfect. You are still reachable to everyone, but there are no constant notifications and urges to screen social media. You might play Snakes more if you’re bored, but such a device opens up so much more of our free time to be used for more productive and healthier activities.
In my use case, I had the Nokia 2720 Flip as my primary device and my smartphone as the secondary. In the first 2 days I did turn on the hotspot and check some apps on my smartphone, but on day 3 I didn’t have the urge to do it. I checked all of the notifications via web apps on my PC and normally continued using the 2720 Flip basically just for Whatsapp, SMS and calls. Long-term, I can’t do that because chat backup and sharing files via Whatsapp is a part of my usual workflow, but for resting your mind 2 or 3 days a week, the Flip rocks.
To conclude, Nokia 2720 Flip comes with the capabilities the Nokia 3310 (2017) should have arrived with in the first place. The device looks nice, though the build quality could be more premium. The big screen and keypad make the feature phone easier to use, while the 4G/WiFi support allow the phone to be a great back-up device or internet hotspot. KaiOS still has a long road to go. Having room for improvement while still delivering a good experience is a great thing for the KaiOS team and maybe with more powerful hardware becoming more affordable, performance could be improved as well.
Overall, the Nokia 2720 Flip is a good device. The price is set at €90 which isn’t cheap, but you get a unique experience with it and if your lifestyle fits in one of the use cases mentioned above, you have the budget and you’re interesting in buying the Flip, I do recommend it. It can’t replace a smartphone and cheaper feature phones can replace it in some use case, but the design and connectivity options that put it right between a “dumb phone” and a “smart phone” make it an attractive buy.
Thanks Nokia Mobile for providing the review unit.