These days, the clamshell form factor garners as much love as Yoko Ono at a Beatles convention. The Nokia 2720 Fold is keen to keep the flip phone alive and kicking, with a string of basic skills and a jet black design. This isn't a phone for feature fiends, though, with budget-conscious mobile fans its firm focus.
The Nokia 2720 Fold is available SIM-free for £50. Alternatively, you can pick it up for £40 on pay as you go, or fork out £5 a month over three years.
With so few killer flip phones on the shelves these days, it's easy to forget just how comfortable a well-designed model can be. The Nokia 2720 Fold feels slim and slinky when closed and slips easily into your pocket. At 18mm when folded, it can cause unseemly bulges if you prefer snug-fit hipster jeans to baggy skater pants.
Pop it open, though, and you'll soon realise why clamshells were popular in the first place. The Nokia 2720 Fold is great for making calls. Slide through the easy-to-use proprietary Nokia UI and choose your contact. Once you're happily nattering away, you'll struggle to see why candybars and sliders rule the roost. The phone extends from your lughole to your mouth, which makes it feel like a proper telephone and stymies the urge to shout into the mouthpiece to ensure you're heard on the other end.
At its heart, the Nokia 2720 Fold is very much part of the Espoo company's bunch of basic blowers -- it's about as savvy as a gaggle of glamour models. That's not to say it can't handle simple tasks well, but using it for anything other than firing off short missives and calling home isn't an experience worth seeking out.
The music player is a key example. While it sticks to Nokia's tried and tested format, with functional play/pause and skip keys, it's utterly hamstrung by the lack of storage expansion, just like the Nokia 2330. In this case, internal memory is even more paltry, at just 9MB. It seems almost pointless to include a music player when you can only load up two tracks.
Likewise, the 1.3-megapixel camera isn't something to get excited about. It takes grainy and blocky shots in even the best light, banishing it to the realm of first-phone buyers looking for the bare basics. The camera exists purely to demonstrate what tech can be included on a phone these days, rather than fulfilling a function as an alternative to your compact on a night out.
That said, the ability to attach snaps and even surprisingly clean videos, shot at 15fps, is this phone's calling card -- thanks entirely to the sharply designed messaging app. A dock across the bottom of your blank message allows you to insert shots, clips and sounds. It makes for a surprisingly functional app and showcases the usability Nokia does so well.
While the flip design makes for calling comfort, the Nokia 2720 Fold isn't without its foibles. The flip mechanism itself is of major concern. While it provides a reassuring thunk, it doesn't feel terribly secure. After a few weeks of use, it felt ready to break off altogether if we didn't handle it with care. Clamshells should be built to withstand being snapped open and shut constantly, and we fear this phone just wouldn't last the distance of a two-year contract.
Similarly, the 45.7mm (1.8-inch) screen just doesn't cut it. At 128x160 pixels, it renders icons poorly. Such a small display can really grate when tapping out lengthy texts or even tackling email, which is do-able but doesn't come recommended. Typing anything longer than a sentence is uncomfortable thanks to the flush keyboard and cramped design. Raised buttons would be far more practical for lengthy text sessions.
One last quibble is the glossy black finish. If you've just chowed down on a greasy lunch and slide the 2720 Fold out to check your texts, you'll find the frame covered in fingerprints. It's a veritable magnet for them and something to consider if you like your phone to look clean and shiny when you whip it out in public.
It's perhaps a little harsh to criticise the Nokia 2720 Fold for its basic skills, particularly since we like its messaging app so much. But, with its lack of storage, occasionally shonky build quality and a screen the size of a penny black, it's very hard to recommend this handset to anyone but flip phone fans and those keen to save their cash.
Edited by Emma Bayly