Nokia Lumia 925
Meet the Nokia Lumia 925, Nokia’s latest and greatest Windows Phone. While the company’s impressed with a few low price Lumia efforts recently, this one is the new flagship, designed to take on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z. With a 4.5-inch HD screen, slimmer frame that ditches the plastic and full fat Windows Phone 8, it goes toe to toe with them, at least on paper. The big news though is the 8MP camera around the back, which Nokia’s paired with clever new Smart Camera tech to let you take fast motion shots and edit them how you like. Is this what you need to switch to Windows Phone? Let’s take a look.
Fed up of Nokia’s chunky plastic casing? You’ll be right at home with the Nokia Lumia 925, which trades it in for a thinner 8.5mm metal frame instead, which angular lines and a cool touch. It’s a step up from the ugly as anything Lumia 820, and the plasticky Samsung Galaxy S4 too, even if it’s still not exactly a work of art, like HTC’s exquisitely chiselled HTC One or Apple’s iPhone 5.
Making up for this is the screen however: though it’s a 720p jobby, rather than a full HD 1920x1080 panel as you’ll find on some new phones, frankly, it’s one of the best we’ve ever laid eyes on, with great colour reproduction and deep blacks courtesy of the AMOLED display tech, which can turn individual pixels on and off instead of using a backlight for the whole panel. Nokia’s made great use of that too with its new quick glance software, which shows the time and notifications when your phone’s screen is otherwise off, without draining the battery.
That’s just one of a several exclusive Lumia apps onboard the 925, including the essential Drive+ satnav app, and Nokia Music for streaming radio - and that’s all on top of Windows Phone 8 itself, which whizzes along on the fast 1.5GHz dual-core processor, its live tile homescreen as easy to use as can be.
The eight megapixel camera meanwhile excels, especially in low light: though there’s little clear improvement from the Lumia 920, it’s in a smaller shell, and still a cut above the competition, even Sony’s super Xperia Z cameraphone. What makes the Nokia Lumia 925 excel is the optional Smart Camera software tech on top of it: it’ll take a burst of ten shots over a couple of seconds and let you pick and mix the shot from it. It figures out what’s moved in the shot, and let you combine and even remove people and objects from the final snap. It’s a genuinely fun and useful tool, and one that’s not too tricky to get to grips with thanks to the simple UI - other Lumias are set to get the smart camera tech in an update this summer, so if you’re already a Nokia fan you won’t be missing out.
This is all good news, but there is just one thing to bear in mind however: while this Nokia camera excels, it looks likely indeed that another Lumia is just around the corner, and this one could pack the same 41 megapixel sensor tech as Nokia’s 808 PureView. Nokia’s teasing it for a July appearance, and it could very well blow the Lumia 925 out of the water - you might want to hold tight to your wallet for just a few weeks.
We have few to no complaints about the hardware, save for that we just wished the tank-like Nokia Lumia 920 looked like this last year. Our only criticisms are the platform: Windows Phone 8 is still very limited. Its keyboard lags behind the smarts of Android’s QWERTY options, and Internet Explorer feels clunky compared to Safari and Chrome for mobile.
Nokia’s done the best it could with what it had to work with, but the bottom line is that Windows Phone is missing many of the apps and games that anyone who has owned a smartphone of another platform before - and by now, that’s the majority of people - will take for granted. If you’re upgrading from a simple mobile for the first time, you’ll appreciate the ease of use, no doubt, but if you’re hooked on 3D iPhone games or clever Android hacks, there’s still no way you’d want to switch.