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Microsoft's 'selfie phone' arrives as the Lumia 730

Smile, it's a Nokia

Microsoft's long-rumored "selfie phone" is finally here. The Lumia 730, as Microsoft puts it, is "built for Skype and selfies," thanks mainly to a wide-angle 5-megapixel HD front-facing camera. While phone makers like HTC have placed 8-megapixel front-facing cameras in their latest handsets, Microsoft is aiming to appeal to camera lovers with the Lumia 730 and apps like "Lumia Selfie" to help owners create that perfect selfie.

Apart from the selfie aspect, the Lumia 730 is an average mid-range 4.7-inch (1280 x 720) handset running the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system and Microsoft's new Lumia Denim update, which mainly includes speed and other improvements to the Lumia Camera app. The primary camera is a 6.7-megapixel shooter with LED flash, and Microsoft is powering the Lumia 730 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, and just 8GB of storage. MicroSD support is available, so increasing that small storage isn't an issue. Microsoft has also included dual-SIM support with the Lumia 730, perfect for markets where using multiple SIMs is essential.

Lumia 730 2

Alongside the Lumia 730, Microsoft is also releasing the Lumia 735 with LTE support. It's essentially the same phone but the LTE support replaces the dual-SIM functionality. The main difference is that wireless charging shells will be supported on the Lumia 735, while Lumia 730 owners will have to settle for interchangeable shells without wireless charging. Both the Lumia 730 and Lumia 735 will ship in green, orange, dark grey, and white variants. Microsoft will start rolling both handsets out this month, with the Lumia 730 priced at 199 euros and the Lumia 735 priced at 219 euros before taxes and subsidies.

I got an early look at the Lumia 730 in Berlin today, and the talking point is literally the forward-facing camera. The device is light enough to hold, albeit a little chunky in appearance, and it’s the typical Nokia polycarbonate design. Although it’s only a 720p display, the viewing angles are good and the colors bright and vibrant enough to clearly view photos from the handset. Selfie images from the forward-facing camera appear to be crisp on a few attempts with a good angle to capture multiple people or the scene behind. Overall, the Lumia 730 doesn’t appear to be remarkable as a phone, it’s a mid-range handset that will only stand out in a crowd due to its color. For those who don’t wish to spend top money on a device then it fits the middle of Microsoft’s Lumia lineup well.