Nokia Lumia 925 Review: Should you wait for the EOS?

Reviews Dean Quinn 17:00, 27 Jun 2013

Nokia knocks out another flagship so shortly after the Lumia 920 - is this camera prowess-laden device worth a shot?

Rating: 
3.5
Typical Price: 
£499.00
Pros: 
Extended camera functionality, useful bundled Nokia apps inc. HERE Maps and HERE Drive+, premium build quality
Cons: 
Questionable battery longevity, some camera functions overly complicated to use
Verdict: 
We doubt that 920 owners will be moved enough to throw their handsets in the bin but if you're after a handset with imaging at its core, can put up with a lacklustre (but steadily improving) app selection, and are unaware that Nokia will probably be announcing another high-end camera-laden device on July 11, the Lumia 925 is worth a shot. If we we're you however, we'd just hang on for the EOS.

The Nokia Lumia 925 was a bit of a turn up for the books given that the Lumia 920 only showed up late last year. However, perhaps sensing that the Windows Phone arena is hotting up - possibly due to the initial warm reception to HTC's 8X and 8S - the Finnish smartphone wizards tinkered with their flagship, introducing a slimmed down design and some new camera features.

There's a few bits of functionality that have been axed and an aesthetic overhaul has been conducted - but is that enough to make you shell out for one? Or is Nokia just working the 925 to squeeze the most it can out of its grasp on the Windows Phone space? Read on to find out...

Design

Upon the inception of the Lumia range way back in 2011 a new instantly recognisable design was unleashed and has since become synonymous with Nokia. Whilst perhaps not as iconic as say, the iPhone, most can recognise a Lumia at ten paces thanks to the consistent styling of those slightly angular polycarbonate outer shells.

That's now been altered slightly and the bright colourways have been replaced with a metal perimeter edge that envelops the 4.5-inch Gorilla Glass-coated AMOLED display and the white polycarbonate casing.

The 925 is considerably lighter than the Lumia 920 at just 139g and there has been a few cosmetic changes. The SIM tray is now situated on the top edge of the device and sits next to the 3.5mm audio jack and microUSB.

Nokia has also moved the speaker to the rear panel from the position it occupied on the Lumia 920 on the bottom edge. It's also quite a bit slimmer than its predecessor at 8.5mm.

Staying true to form, Nokia has grouped all of the tactile buttons on the right hand side of the phone and you'll find a volume rocker, power-on button and camera shutter here too.

The 8.7-megapixel Carl Zeiss-produced Tessar lens sits on the back and protrudes ever so slightly as you can see in the above image. Above that is a dual-LED flash which you can see below.

The display itself hasn't changed at all from the one exhibited by the Lumia 920 and it's incorporated into the chassis in the exact same fashion. Nokia makes good use of the space available, providing an expansive viewing experience.

Display

The contoured Gorilla Glass screen in place here is a 4.5-inch AMOLED number with a resolution of 1280x768 and a pixel density of 332ppi. Nokia's ClearBlack and PureMotion HD+ technologies are on board yet again ensuring awesome clarity and deep, rich, blacks. It's also great in direct sunlight too - kudos, Nokia.

Interestingly, Nokia has provided the option to adjust the sensitivity of the capacitive screen to your liking. This means if you're particularly light-fingered you can set it accordingly so that not much contact is required to navigate. Another upshot of this feature is that you can operate the display with gloves on.

Viewing angles are good although the 15:9 aspect ratio means you do get those dreaded black bars when watching movies. On the whole it's a well-rounded setup that's great for web browsing, watching video content or just admiring the twinkly Live Tiles of the Windows Phone OS.

The Lumia 925's pixel denisty (332ppi) is decent enough and while it's not up to the standard of the HTC One or Galaxy S4's 1080p setups it does outdo the iPhone 5's 4-inch panel (326ppi) in this regard. Once you're up past the 300-mark, however, differences in pixel densities (at least to the human eye) become less of an issue.

Operating system and user interface

Shipping with Microsoft's Windows Phone GDR 2 update in place, the Lumia 925 is bang up to date software-wise. This latest firmware update from Microsoft addresses issues with inaccurate metadata within Xbox Music, as well as compatibility problems with Google Mail, Calendar and Contacts after Microsoft removed Exchange ActiveSync support.

Nokia has brought its own additions to GDR2 with what it calls the 'Amber Update' that sees a new lockscreen feature, data usage monitor, Wi-Fi Hotspot finder, and Nokia's Smart Camera app brought to Lumia devices.

Windows Phone is a competent and well designed operating system that is let down by a rather meagre app selection. Microsoft has continually promised that's it's working to remedy this and it looks to have made small steps towards satisfying users with the likes of Netflix now available. 

The UX is intuitive and simple to use - even for noobies. Navigation is straight forward with the platform split over two screens (Start and the App Draw) and the whole shebang moves along very swiftly with zero lag and stutter.

There have been a few tweaks to the interface though. You now get 'quick look' screen that displays the time and notifications when the phone is not active (see above image). You can now also wake the device up with a quick double tap, which is far more effective than the old method of tapping the power button and swiping up.

Xbox Music offers a cloud-based streaming and download service packed full of tunes that can be synced across all your Windows devices. A pay monthly Xbox Music Pass is needed if you want to stream as much music as you like to your phone, but if you chose not to opt for one, you can still download music to the phone via the store and then ping it across to another Windows device.

Internet Explorer has also had a revamp and IE10 brings lots of additional HTML5-support to Windows Phone 8 amongst other things. It's much faster than previous iterations and also now shows more of a webpage by hiding certain options within 'More' button denoted by three dots. There's also a new customisable button that can display Refresh, Tabs, or Favorites - in short, the web experience has been streamlined.

Nokia has thrown in some of its own native software too, in the form of HERE Maps (formerly Nokia Maps), and the music streaming service Nokia Music. 

HERE Maps quickly became preferred over the Microsoft's Bing mapping solution purely because of the offline capabilities that allow maps for every European country to be downloaded and the inclusion of the free sat-nav app HERE Drive+ and HERE City Lens.

City Lens takes full advantage of the device's 8-megapixel camera to overlay augmented reality info about nearby POIs. It's not a new feature per se but it is rather useful once you get used to the idea – i.e. you use it more than once or twice!

In terms of the other stuff that aids and abets you in your daily business, People Hub will collate all your contacts and the interactions you have with them in one easy to reach place. Microsoft Office sees to all your doc editing needs and allows you to pick up works in progress on other devices thanks to cloud support.

With Kid's Corner you can section off your phone so that ankle-biters can fiddle with games and whatnot without being able to send emails or Frape you.

Specifications

Length 129mm
Width 70.6mm
Thickness 8.5mm
Weight 139g
Screen Colours 16m
Screen Size 4.5-inches
UK Launch June 2013
Typical Price £499
Website http://www.nokia.com/gb-en/phones/phone/
Designer Lens Carl Zeiss Tessar
Camera Resolution 8.7-megapixels
Video Resolution 1080p
Flash Dual-LED
Zoom 4x digital zoom
Music Formats ASF, MP4, AAC, AMR, MP3, M4A, WMA, 3GP, 3G2
Music Player Native
Song Storage 16/32GB (32GB Vodafone-only)
Speaker Yes
Radio FM Radio & Nokia Music

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