Nokia Lumia 925 review
|Review: June 2013|
In a nutshell: The Nokia Lumia 925 is the first Windows Phone 8 superphone, with an 8.7 megapixel PureView camera, a HD+ AMOLED display, and a premium design aluminium body.
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At S21, we've been raving about Windows Phone 8 for some time, and so have a lot of other professional reviewers (user reviews have been very positive too.) But this critical success hasn't translated into sales. What Windows Phone really needs is a big beast to capture the public's imagination ... enter the Nokia Lumia 925.
Design & looks
The Lumia 925 looks like all Windows phones, yet at the same time it's the best design we've seen so far. It's like the Lumia 920's better-looking younger brother. You may think that one flat rectangle looks very like another, but you'd be wrong. This Lumia looks amazing.
The 925 does incredible things with the nature of space and time itself. It looks like a perfect rectangle, yet manages to pull off some subtle curves around the edges that make it extremely comfortable to hold. Noting consumer demand for premium materials, Nokia has moved away from polycarbonate and embraced aluminium as the material for the body. The result is a superstrong, slim and lightweight phone that looks and feels premium. It's substantially slimmer than previous Lumias, measuring 8.5mm thick, and weighs in at 139g, which is massively less than last year's Lumia 920. The curved edges make it look and feel even thinner than it actually is.
The device looks great in black or grey, but it looks even snazzier in white (exclusive to O2.)
This is the best screen we've seen so far on a Windows Phone device. Measuring 4.5 inches, it isn't quite as big as the 5 inch display of the Galaxy S4, but it hits the sweet spot between that and the iPhone 5's more modest 4 inch screen.
It's an AMOLED screen, which makes it very bright with saturated colours - ideal for viewing outdoors - and it uses Nokia's super-sensitive touch technology, which means that you can use it when wearing gloves. It's HD too, with a WXGA resolution (1280 x 768 pixels) and a pixel density of 334ppi (more than the iPhone 5's 326ppi. Disappointingly though, it's not full HD (1080p) like the HTC One or Sony Xperia Z.
The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2.
It's unusual these days to find a flagship phone running a dual-core processor, but this is a fast Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor running at 1.5 GHz, and Windows Phone 8 manages to outperform Android phones GHz for GHz, with even the single-core WP8 phones running without any observable lag. The processor has 1GB of RAM to aid it, and it seems to crunch through any task you can throw in its direction without a hitch. It's the same processor and clock speed as the Lumia 920, and we found that to be very fast too.
The Lumia 925 comes with 32GB of built-in data storage. There's no microSD memory card slot, so this feels rather limiting for a high-end device. You do get 7GB of free could storage however.
OK, the camera is the bit of the 925 that's really making headlines. Headlines like "the best smartphone ever" and "the world’s most advanced lens technology and imaging software". Oh no, hang on - it was Nokia who said that.
The camera features an 8.7 megapixel PureView sensor with optical image stabilisation, digital zoom and twin LED flashes. A dedicated two-stage camera key makes taking pictures easy and quick. The camera features a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens with a large sensor, and this is perhaps the feature that puts it out in front of other camera phones.
The camera's great strength is in low light photography. This is what the HTC One promised but failed to deliver. The Lumia 925 really does deliver, in bucketfulls, and beats all the competition, including the iPhone 5 and Sony Xperia Z. It's not an exaggeration to say that this is the best cameraphone currently available.
A new Smart Camera mode lets you do lots of clever things like capture 10 images in a quick burst and select the best, or combine the sequence into a single photo. There are features to remove "unwanted objects" and to create "cinemagraphs" that blend photos with movie-like animation. Smart Camera will also be rolled out as a software update to other Nokia phones running Windows Phone 8.
The camera performs strongly at video too, capturing 1080p full HD video at 30 frames per second with a 4x video zoom.
A front-facing 1.2 megapixel wide angle camera can record 720p HD video and enables HD Skype video calling.
OS & apps
Windows Phone 8 still feels like the most modern OS out there, even after Apple's refreshed iOS 7. It's fun, it's clean, it's easy to use, and we love it. Hold on - did anyone say "apps?" Fair enough - third-party apps are limited compared with Apple or Android. But consider what you do get - a wealth of apps from Microsoft and Nokia pre-installed.
These include the newly-renamed HERE Maps, HERE Transit, HERE City Lens, HERE Drive+ (formerly Nokia Maps, etc). You also get a full Internet Explorer 10 web browser and Microsoft Office software, as well as enterprise security built in. All the standard social media options are here, and they are fully integrated into the guts of the OS. For the more mature audience, more interested in productivity than in apps, Windows Phone 8 just doesn't feel like it's restrictive.
All connectivity options are covered here. It's a 4G phone compatible with LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8 and 20. It's also 3G HSPA capable with quadband coverage, and has quadband GSM compatibility to fall back on. 4G can deliver download speeds up to 100Mbps. Wi-Fi is available, and the phone can function as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 8 other devices.
The phone also supports Bluetooth, USB, NFC and has a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones. NFC enables wireless sharing of photos and videos.
The Lumia 925 has wireless charging capability via an optional cover that clips onto the back of the phone.
The non-removable battery has a capacity of 2,000 mAh, which is the same as the Lumia 920. It's certainly enough to power a heavy day's use, and lighter users might get a couple of days between charges.
Conclusion - best WP8 phone so far
It's easy to conclude that the Lumia 925 is the best Windows Phone 8 device so far. It' s harder to say with such certainty whether it can beat the best of the rest.
It has some shortcomings. It hasn't got the largest screen, it hasn't got the fastest processor, it doesn't have as many apps as the iPhone or Android, and it doesn't even have a microSD memory card slot. These are all limitations, and it can't realistically claim to be the best smartphone ever, as Nokia so desperately wants it to be.
And yet, can it make it into the exclusive club of "superphones?" Perhaps it can. If you can buy into the strengths and weaknesses of Windows Phone 8 (all operating systems have strengths and weaknesses), then you will find the Nokia Lumia 925 to be a stunningly beautiful handset with a premium look and rock solid build. It's almost certainly the best camera phone on the market right now, and it comes with a wealth of apps and pre-installed software. It's fast, it's durable, it's easy to use, yet full of pro features. It's 4G and it even has decent battery life.
There aren't many phones that we'd rate as "superphones" - fewer than half a dozen - but the Lumia 925 deserves a place among them.
Nokia Lumia 925 features include:
- Windows Phone 8 operating system
- 8.7 megapixel PureView camera with Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, autofocus, dual LED flash, f2.0, 4x digital zoom
- Video camera: Full HD quality 1080p resolution, 30 frames/second, 4x digital zoom
- 1.2 megapixel front camera for HD Skype video calling
- Display: PureMotion HD+ ClearBlack AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16.7 million colours, 1280 x 768 pixels (4.5 inches) with Gorilla Glass
- Media player, FM radio, Nokia Music, Mix Radio
- A-GPS and A-GLONASS with HERE Maps, HERE Transit, HERE City Lens, HERE Drive+, Foursquare
- Integrated hands-free speaker
- HD audio
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, email (support for attachments), instant messaging
- Document formats supported: Excel, PDF, Word, OneNote, Powerpoint
- Processor: Dual core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4
- Memory: 1GB internal plus 32GB plus 7GB SkyDrive
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, micro USB 2.0, NFC, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
- Data: WAP, EGPRS, WCDMA/HSPA (42 Mbps download, 5.76 Mbps upload), LTE (100Mbps download)
- Internet: HTML5 web browser (Internet Explorer 10)
- Key applications: Phonebook, Office apps, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
- Enterprise security features
- Quadband GSM plus 3G WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100 plus LTE (4G)
- Size: 129 x 71 x 8.5 mm
- Weight: 139g
- 2000mAh battery
- Talktime: 18 hours (3G)
- Battery standby: 440 hours
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Nokia Lumia 925 user reviews
Love this product? Hate it? Please share your experiences to help other people choose the product that's best for them. Please do not review this product if you have not used it, and please ask questions in our User Questions section above. Please do not use swear words or offensive language, and please, no advertising!
Average rating from 17 reviews:
Reviewed by Reimone
on 5th Oct 2015
It´s a expensive rubbish. It gets frozen most of times, touch screen not working, the signal drops.
Reviewed by Clive Morgan
on 10th Jan 2015
Excellent phone, easy to use right out of the box which phones should be, even though there's a 113 page manual.
In the two weeks that I've had it, no issues to report.
Reviewed by Buddy
on 26th Nov 2014
A beautiful phone that's (still) up there with the very best in terms of hardware design, performance and sheer user ease. The only problem with mine is that the oleophobic coating on the screen was unevenly applied during the manufacturing process, creating three annoying parallel lines right across the screen which become visible whenever the screen turns black. I rub out them out several times a day, yet they still keep reappearing. Hence 3 stars for mine, but otherwise a definite 5 stars for the phone in general - so I'll give it 4 stars overall. What a shame :(
Reviewed by PV
on 8th Oct 2014
Turns itself off. If battery runs out you have to do soft reset to get it back on.
Complete lack of decent apps, even facebook ebay etc are rubbish.
The camera's good though!
Reviewed by Andy
from South Africa
on 6th May 2014
I got the Lumia 925 last weekend after reading the review on s21. I had previously had an iPhone 4, which I went back to after being unhappy with a Galaxy S3. I like Apple products and also own an iPad Mini, so changing to a Windows phone was a bit of an uncertainty for me.
My first impressions of the phone were that it was a bit big to hold compared to the iPhone, which as a phone, was the perfect size. I also found the three side mounted buttons get pressed accidently when picking the phone up at times, not a good design really. The build quality is solid and the phone has a quality feel to it, unlike the S3 which was very plasticy.
The WP8 o/s takes some getting used to and I'm still not comfortable with it. After having had the phone for 24 hours I was deeply regretting not having gone for another iPhone, but then I consoled myself with the thought that the new iPhones are nearly double the contract price that I pay for the Lumia - something that cannot be ignored.
The WP8 o/s is very smooth, it does have some shortcomings, I miss not having a favourite’s folder for my most used numbers, (maybe it does though and I have yet to discover it?). The much mentioned app shortage compared to Android and iOS doesn't bother me as I'm not into lots of apps, I have found a few that do what I want and for me that is fine.
The phone came with a 'free' wireless charger, which is very handy. The battery life is okay, not fantastic but it gets me through a day and a half on one charge, which considering the wireless and bluetooth are on all the time isn't too bad.
I am told that the WP8.1 upgrade will be coming out very soon and I'm looking forward to that as I believe there are some useful improvements with it.
From initially loving the phone to not liking it and now growing to enjoy it I would say that for me the iPhone is still the best but price rules out a new 5s. WP8 is much better than the S3 Android phone I had though.
I am beginning to feel more comfortable with the Lumia and I'm getting used to its somewhat confusing and quirky operating system. Maybe given time I will learn to love it like my iPhone but the jury is still out on that one!
Reply by Andy
from South Africa
on 24th Jul 2014
Since my original review of my new 925 back in May, I am now back with my iPhone. The reason being is that after persevering with Windows Phone 8 for just over a month and slowly becoming used to it, I went and dropped the phone, (from about three feet)and the screen with the digitizer smashed. Now I know it wasn't the phone's fault that I dropped it but I did find the shape awkward to hold at times. The side mounted buttons would often either activate the camera or wake the phone up from standby mode. I found this a very irritating thing. Maybe if I had been able to find a case for the phone it would have survived the fall but because it had the wireless charging cover clipped on the back I was told no case were available. One of the most annoying features I found was the address book or contact list. Some of my phone contacts would show up, others would only come up if i spoke the name of the contact into the phone! Everything was linked to my Outlook account on line or my Gmail account. I found that really annoying too. On the plus side the Nokia Drive maps were great, especially as they would work off-line and I found the navigation very accurate. Having now gone back to my iPhone, because I am not about to pay R2250.00 (about 125 pounds), to replace the screen, which may break again, I realize just what a classic the iPhone is. It's simple to use, behaves like a phone and compared to the Lumia 925 has so many better apps available. The Nokia now sits in it's box gathering dust, I doubt if and I will ever bother to get it repaired. On the whole I was mostly disappointed with the WP8 experience, it did not live up to what I was expecting and it's no wonder that Microsoft has lost money on their Nokia purchase.
Reviewed by M
on 19th Mar 2014
Had the Lumia 925 for a couple of months now, since upgrading from a Nokia E6. Did lots of research into replacements and their OS's, as usual, it turned into an Apple vs Android race, and was unimpressed by all I saw. The Lumia 925 met my requirements, good phone, good camera, decent storage, decent battery life and a decent monthly deal (without being too expensive). Battery life could be much better IMO, compared to the E6 (2 weeks out of 1 charge on 2G), but still get between 4-5 days from 1 charge. WP8 is fairly easy to navigate around, but could do with connectivity shortcut tiles as standard rather than an aftermarket download (Connectivity Tiles app recommended), though it does take a bit of getting used to. Kids Corner's great, though most games positively eat the battery. Have been a long time Nokia user, and this handset matches their reputation for solid, well built phones.
Reply by Shyam
on 4th May 2014
Can You pls tell little bit about the apps which You have in ? Would be glad to know which are the apps supporting in this phone.
Reply by pan
on 6th May 2014
There are more than 200,000 apps available, where do I start? I am not aware of an app I need that's not there, and if not there are always alternatives.
Reviewed by steve
on 8th Feb 2014
I bought a lumia 620 to make sure i liked windows before i took the plunge and bought a high end unit on contract. I was impressed so here i am with my 925. Oooh it's superb and a snip at 23 quid a month with unlimited data. i'm not one for apps or games so the apparent lack of them doesn't bother me. The internet is lightning quick, the os is as smooth as a baby's bot and the camera is better than my fuji bridge. Nokia's sat nav is superb and the phone is the perfect size. I fail to see how a 40 quid a month iphone can top this.
Reviewed by Nick
on 5th Jan 2014
Had this just over a week now, bought a case for it which killed the mobile signal, now got a terrapin shell on it signal is ok. Had Lumia 800, and 920 before this, it is lighter, and thinner, you don't feel it as much in your Jeans pocket (920 was like a brick), screen is better, and camera has got an extra lens, so it is a slight upgrade and a more attractive and pocket able device. As my only real problem with the 920 was the weight and thickness, and I love windows phone OS, it was a good decision for me, and there are some good contract deals out for it at the moment.
Reviewed by Shingidzanani Godfrey
on 27th Dec 2013
super stunning model ever, all it needs is a card slot and off the 5he ground it rockets high. amazing
Reviewed by Thein
on 26th Oct 2013
Got this phone just a week ago. What a performance! No bugs yet. Battery is just great. Camera is extremely good. No problems with the earphones. Connectivity very good.
LOVE IT!!! All five stars from me!
Reviewed by Alex
from Northern Ireland
on 14th Oct 2013
Great phone, a big improvement over my Lumia 800, one word of warning though, be very careful when fitting Sim Card, the 'sim tray' comes off very easily, to make matters worse I then managed to refit the sim tray upside down, it had to go to workshop to get the thing out again!!!!!
Reviewed by Liz
on 10th Oct 2013
Absolutely love this phone, have had a iphone, android and now this. Lovely Lovely phone, simple to use, quick, excellent graphics and camera. Brilliant!
Reviewed by chris from uk on 30th Aug 2013
Best smartphone ever used. I don't touch android anymore too many issues and confusion. Need something simpler and something that works without having to mess around, this is a perfect match. Pictures and screen is amazing, downloadable maps so I can use like TomTom with no internet connection, even in Europe. I really like the phone and the reasonable price.
Reviewed by Michael from England on 3rd Aug 2013
I've had the phone 2weeks and think its got issues,the signal drops all the time and I get texts¬ifications a few days later :-0
Reviewed by Rick from England on 8th Jul 2013
Got this after the 920 took too long to become widely available. As it turns out the 925 for me is a much better choice, lighter, thinner and a more premium look and feel but with the same great features. Add in the extra camera lense (I'll take the webs reviews findings that this produces sharper images) and the newer version of software (for now) this is an excellent mobile.
My only concern, which is the same with all mobile cameras is damaging the lense, so I have ordered a cover to lift the lense from any surfaces I lay the mobile on.
On Windows Phone 8 as a operating system, give it a chance, works fast and fluid, information at a glance and problems are extremely rare. (I've had a WP7 device since it launched) If you really need your 'app fix' check out what's available before purchasing.
Reviewed by Kevin from UK on 21st Jun 2013
Sorry but i've used a Lumia 925 and the low light pictures the camera takes are no better then the HTC One, to say it failed to deliver is wrong. Have you even used a HTC One? It takes brilliant pictures both in good light and low light!
Reviewed by JustinL from UK on 19th Jun 2013
Best Windows Phone by far, easily beats the 920 (which I have used). Now we have the hardware we need Microsoft to get their fingers out and release 8.1!