Nokia Lumia 925 review

Pros

  • Great display
  • Slim design
  • FM radio

Cons

  • Screen resolution lags behind rivals
  • Not a giant leap forward
  • No wireless charging

Nokia has been Windows Phone’s best friend since the operating system launched, and has helped push it more than any other hardware partner. There’s a big range of Nokia Lumias out there, and now a new one has come along. The Lumia 925 displaces the Lumia 920 as the flagship model.

Vodafone sent me its exclusive black 32GB version to review, and it’s free on a £34 plan with the network. The Lumia 925 supports 4G LTE, and is one of the handsets Vodafone is marking up as 4G ready – it’ll be able to take advantage of superfast mobile data speeds when Vodafone gets around to launching its 4G service. If you aren’t a Vodafone fan, then you can get the handset on other networks and Sim-free at Carphone Warehouse in its 16GB guise for £500.

You might argue that Nokia is dissing its fans by launching the Lumia 925 only seven months after the Lumia 920. I have to admit, I’d be miffed if I’d splashed out to go top of the range only to have my phone made out of date after less than a year. But don’t worry, folks. The Lumia 920 can still hold its own – although not in every respect.

This is a much nicer looking phone than the Lumia 920 – and it’s nicer to hold, too. It’s thinner and lighter by some considerable margin.

Its measurements of 129 x 70.6 x 8.5mm and weight of 139 grams shames the 130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7mm and 185 grams of the Lumia 920, and sitting the two on top of each other (see the image below), in terms of sheer portability I know which one I’d choose.

The shiny back of the Lumia 920 has been replaced by a flat, slightly rubbery feeling plate and the metal sides – not something we’re used to seeing from Nokia, and in fact this is a Lumia first – add gravitas. It’s a big phone, sure, but it is comfy to hold.

The Lumia 920 supported wireless charging right out of the box. That’s gone here, and instead you need to use a cover that’s an accessory if you want wireless charging. If wireless charging doesn’t float your boat then you’d probably rather have the slimmer chassis than the feature, and if you want it you can buy it and add thickness to the handset via a cover.

Lumia 920 owners will be pleased to learn that the screen size and resolution of the 925 matches their handset. The 4.5in screen delivers 1280 x 768 pixels of simply brilliant quality. Yes, you can get higher resolutions if you avoid Windows Phone, but the blocky tiles of Windows Phone do well at this resolution. AMOLED really does suit Windows Phone too, and Nokia has added some colour saturation and ‘temperature’ settings in case you want to vary how vivid the colours appear. My only real gripe about the screen is that it is very reflective. This is a feature of Lumia handsets, and it’s one I’m definitely not keen on.

On the other hand, the touch sensitivity of the display is fantastic. Nokia calls it ‘Super-sensitive’ touch, and basically it means the tip of a fingernail or a gloved finger will be as readily recognised as a fully-fledged naked fingertip press. It’s impressively responsive and bodes well for cold winter days.

Anyone reading this and still wanting to compare the Lumia 925 with its predecessor will want to know how the innards stack up. Well, the processor is a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 and there’s 1GB of RAM in support. That’s no change from the Lumia 920. If you go anywhere but Vodafone you’ll get 16GB of built in storage, but Vodafone’s version has 32GB. Fresh out of the box, 27GB was free. This matters because as is often the case with Windows Phone you can’t expand on the storage with microSD cards. Of course you get your 7GB of SkyDrive, too.

Nokia has thrown plenty of connectivity at the Lumia 925. I’ve already noted that this is a 4G LTE handset and alongside the usual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth there’s also NFC.

The chassis is a sealed unit so your microSIM lives in a slot along the top edge. Button and connector placement is absolutely no surprise with headset and charge slots on the top and three buttons on the right edge – a long volume rocker and two shorter power and camera buttons.

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There’s a 2000mAh battery inside the sealed chassis. I found it was pretty good at getting me through a working day if I steered clear of Nokia Music. Now, I’ve said before that I am a sucker for Nokia’s freebie streaming music service and whenever I test a Lumia it gets a thorough workout. As a result I was administering power boosts mid-afternoon during testing.

Nokia does its usual job of beefing up Windows Phone with freebie exclusive Nokia apps, and Nokia Music is just the start. Nokia also adds Here Maps and Here Drive for navigation. Oh, and the “glance screen” which shows the time. Well, that’s, um, nice. There’s an FM radio too.

The main camera has the same 8.7-megapixel lens as the Lumia 920, and Nokia’s software enhancements, which it calls Lenses, kick in to add features. The new Lens here is Smart Camera which is pre-installed. It takes a sequence of shots and lets you pick the one to keep. You can edit things out of a photo too, though I found this a bit hit and miss. It’s a bit slow too – image capture takes a while and all you see while photos are being taken is a ring filling up with a progress bar. I don’t think I’d use it all that often, but at least it is more evidence that Nokia is harnessing software to add unique features to its Windows 8 handsets to help differentiate them from the crowd.

Verdict

Some people might say Nokia is running out of ideas with its Windows 8 phones. While there are different approaches to chassis design across the range they’re all distinctively Nokia-ish. And while Nokia’s software add-ons continue to grow, the standout, Nokia Music, is hardly new. Still, the Lumia 925 is slim, has a great screen, and supports 4G. It’s a good phone, but until the new Nokia EOS gets officially announced I suspect many people with an eye on that particular handset will hold on to their money.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Model

Nokia Lumia 925

Network

GSM 850/900/1800/1900; HSPA 850/900/1900/2100; LTE

Processor

1.5GHz dual-core

Storage

32GB

RAM

1GB

Storage expansion

MicroSD

Display

4.5in, 1,280 x 768

Main camera

8.7-megapixel

Front camera

1.2-megapixel

Wi-Fi

Yes

GPS

Yes

FM radio

Yes

Battery

2000mAh

Size

129 x 70.6 x 8.5mm

Weight

139g

OS

Windows Phone 8