Nokia Lumia 925 review
- Great camera
- Stunning design
- Thinnest Lumia yet
- Windows Phone 8 still clunky
- Wide screen affects usability
- No built-in wireless charging
The Nokia Lumia 925 is something of a departure for the Finnish company that has so far prided itself on creating a polycarbonate world of design and durability.
On paper its aluminium build shouldn’t change too much. Essentially the next step on from the Nokia Lumia 920, the 925 has been built to take on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5 by offering a legitimately premium Windows Phone 8 experience.
Of course now that Samsung has begun expanding the range with the likes of the Galaxy S4 Active and Apple has just unveiled its new-look iOS 7 it would seem as though Nokia, now more than ever, will have to shout pretty loudly above the crowd.
Nokia Lumia 925: Size and build
Luckily there’s good news from the off. This is Nokia’s thinnest Lumia smartphone yet measuring in at just 8.5mm and while that’s still not comparable with say, the Huawei Ascend P6 we’ve always personally liked the sturdiness that comes with a Lumia phone and this is still present here.
The body itself is made from aluminium with a traditional polycarbonate back. There's no built-in wireless charging, we could put off the punters that were so impressed with it on the Lumia 920, however Nokia does offer a range of cases for the 925 that add to the ability to charge wirelessly.
It certainly looks beautiful but we found that particularly with the white model the plastic back was a magnet for scuff marks and discoloration leading to as much cleaning of the back as of the front.
That’s our only complaint however as the rest of the build quality is up to Nokia’s usual effortless standards, whether or not you liked the chunky design of the 920 you never had any worry about dropping it and the same can be said here.
Nokia Lumia 925: Features
The NFC-toting Lumia 925 comes running Nokia Lumia Amber, the latest Lumia-specific version of Windows Phone 8. The Lumia 925 is the first handset to feature this however the rest of the Windows Phone 8 Lumia range will receive the update over WiFi shortly.
This new update brings FM Radio functionality along with Data Sense that lets you manage your data usage effectively by setting limits. It requires partnership with your network carrier but if they’ve agreed then you’re good to go. It’s a fantastic and long-awaited feature that is already present on most Google Android phones and should be available by now on iOS.
Nokia Glance is back showing a dimmed clock when locked. A quick double-tap of the screen then wakes up the phone showing battery life, data coverage and notifications with a quick swipe fully unlocking the phone.
While the always-on clock is useful we’d argue the double-tap is more useful for changing music tracks than anything else as Windows Phone only shows the number of notifications you have instead of allowing more in-depth previews.
On top of these you get the usual Windows Phone 8 fare including adjustable tiles and live tiles showing you concise updates. The greatest weakness though is the operating system itself. Whereas before Windows Phone was praised for its ‘back to basics’ approach and despite the updates it still feels pretty basic. The app situation is admittedly improving with both Spotify and Netflix now onboard.
Nokia Lumia 925: Screen
The 4.5-inch display is both one of the Lumia’s best and worst features. It’s a fantastic screen: a 4.5-inch AMOLED ClearBlack affair boasting Gorilla 2 Glass and Super Sensitive Touch for those with gloves or no souls.
The images are bright and crisp and despite the fact it’s not Full-HD (only 1280x720) it’s still up there as one of the best looking screens available.
Where there are issues however is in the dimensions. At 4.5 inches the 925 feels incredibly wide, add that to the height and there’s an enormous amount of the screen that you just can’t reach with one hand forcing you to carry out almost all your actions two-handed.
Nokia Lumia 925: Camera
This is Nokia’s bread and butter territory and thankfully it's still on form boasting one of the best smartphone cameras we’ve seen.
An 8.7MP PureView lens with Image Stabilisation sits on the back with a short pulse high power dual LED Flash alongside.
All of this premium hardware is then coupled with the latest version of Nokia Smart Camera, an editing app which lets you intuitively enhance your images.
When using the Smart Camera app the 925 will actually take ten 5MP images in quick-succession, what this lets you do is either change the faces of the subjects, remove any unwanted objects or combine all ten images into an ‘Action Shot’ which shows the subject in its different stages of movement.
When tested they all worked admirably revealing the app to be an incredibly powerful piece of software. What it isn’t however is intuitive. It took us a good while to work out how best to use each feature and then a further stretch working out how to edit each image.
Nokia Lumia 925: Battery
There’s a 2000mAh battery on the Lumia 925 and on the whole we managed to get a good day's usage out of it. We can only assume this was, in part, thanks to the Clear Black which shuts down parts of the screen that aren’t being used. When switching to the white theme however battery life understandably drops considerably.
Nokia Lumia 925: Verdict
The Nokia Lumia 925 is by far the best smartphone the brand has made yet, and of course that’s the conundrum one always faces when reviewing a Windows Phone 8 handset. Thanks to the camera, design and screen the Lumia 925 could well be afive-star product, however the inclusion of Windows Phone 8 does dampen the mood slightly due to the fact that while the app situation is improving the operating system itself is in need of some innovation.
Nokia Lumia 925 release date: Out now
Nokia Lumia 925 price: £499.99