Feature set summary for Nokia Lumia 925 review
The lack of apps is still an issue but Nokia has included some great ones of its own. The camera is a PureView model that performs really well, and you get some great action shots from Smart cam.
Style and handling summary for Nokia Lumia 925 review
The Lumia 925 looks like the Lumia 920 after it has been on a crash diet. It's beautiful, sleek and yet still has solid build quality and feels good to hold.
Battery power summary for Nokia Lumia 925 review
You'll need to charge the handset each day but you get a good seven hours when streaming video.
Performance summary for Nokia Lumia 925 review
The dual-core chip under the hood copes admirably with media, games and the Windows Phone 8 operating system.
User friendliness summary for Nokia Lumia 925 review
The touchscreen still reacts if you have gloves on - great in the winter – and Windows Phone 8 is easy to use, even if there are a few annoying quirks - we're still not keen on Internet Explorer, for instance.
Nokia Lumia 925 Review Scoring Summary
|Style & Handling|
Sleek design; loads of features, impressive snapper; Bright and sharp screen; Perfect performance
Lacks memory card slot; dearth of apps
This is one of the best Windows Phone handsets we've seen; the PureView snapper impresses, the display is high-res and bright, and Nokia has included lots of great features. And it's slimmer than the rather chunky Lumia 920 as well.
Full Review and Specification for the Nokia Lumia 925
When Nokia launched its Lumia 920, it was one of the first Windows Phone 8 handsets to appear. While it had great features such as wireless charging and the excellent PureView snapper, it was all housed in a heavy, chunky chassis and its battery life was disappointing.
Six months later, here is the slimmer, more desirable younger brother - the Lumia 925. It's pretty much the same, except it looks like it's gone on a crash diet, and the bright colours have gone to be replaced by a more serious, visually appealing device.
Sleek and sexy
The Lumia 925 feels good to hold whichever hand you use. The buttons all sit on the right edge and they are spaced well, so you never nudge the volume button by accident, for instance. A dedicated snapper key fires the camera app and also takes the photos.
The phone weighs 139g, so it's no lightweight, but it's not as chunky and weighty as its predecessor. From the front, it looks the same - the display measures 4.5 inches and covers most of the front, which is covered in glass from edge to edge. A metallic band wraps around the case on the edge of the glass. The back, meanwhile, comes in a choice of three colourways – no more bright hues, just back, grey or white. It's a more grown-up design – it's simple and sleek.
A night on the tiles
Fire up the phone and you'll see the live tiles of Windows Phone 8. It's not that different from the previous OS, but it looks good and is easy to use. For social media fans there 's the People app, where all your social media is aggregated. It's quick and simple to sign into accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, email and LinkedIn - and you can easily toggle between them to see your updates. It's also possible to post straight to media sites (more than one at a time if you wish) so you can share your life at the click of a button.
There are plenty of appealing Windows features, such as Kid's Corner, which gives the younger members of your family their own desktop that they can fill with things that you approve of. For productivity there's the Office app, and you can safely store credit card details and so on using Wallet. Sign up for a Microsoft account and you'll find it's simple to transfer everything to another Windows handset. The 925 will even back up texts to the cloud, so they can be carried over to a new phone.
Much as the Windows Phone 8 is well designed, there are some issues that do bother us. We're not keen on Internet Explorer for instance, which only has the one button for shortcuts - but our major gripe is with the dearth of apps available for download. Browse the games section, for instance, and you'll find only a few of the well-known titles, such as Where's My Perry? and Angry Birds. It just can't compare with the Google Play and App Store, where you have a massive choice, both from indie developers and the big games names. One thing that is good is that you can try demos before you buy them.
Even when it comes to your standard apps, you come unstuck. Apps for locating restaurants, pubs and bars are hard to find, and some of our favourite titles – Flipboard, for example – are nowhere to be found. The situation is improving as time goes on - Netflix has joined the Windows bandwagon, for instance. But it's going to take some time to catch up as developers always go down the iOs and Android route first.
It is not possible to open up the back of the handset - instead the SIM card sits in the top in one of those designs where you need a paperclip to get it out of the slot - except you don't actually need the paperclip because Nokia has included a pin in the box - just make sure you don't misplace it.
The cameras on the Nokia smartphones are well known for their impressive results, and it's no different here. The PureView model has an 8.7MP lens and takes great outdoor shots. Close-up shots also impress, offering true colours and crisp focus, but it's when you take photos in a dimly lit room - a pub for instance - that it truly impresses. The camera boasts stable lens technology, and it comes into its own in these situations - allowing you to keep the shutter open long enough to let in enough light, but avoiding blur.
The app SmartCam is very neat if you like unusual snaps. You can make it the default camera app if you wish, which means you will take 10 snaps in quick succession. Choose the best one, or use all of them to create a montage. It is also possible to take out anything that gets in the way of your shot - great if you're on holiday at a touristy location.
We also like the Cinemegraph lens, which allows the photographer to animate bits of the image. For example, take a photo of your kid doing a cartwheel in a park. Animate the cartwheel, but leave anyone else in the shot standing still - it's really nifty.
Nokia has also included some appealing features of its own. Maps, for instance, is a far more desirable alternative to the awful Bing Maps. It's useful, clean, and will quickly help you find your way to your destination. Here City Lens impresses too. This augmented reality app will find your nearest pub, tourist attraction, restaurant and so on. And Drive+ makes it easy to find your way round the streets of Britain in your car.
Nokia Music, meanwhile, is a good music service that is free to use and offers a choice of pre-produced music mixes. These come in decade themes, such as 80s rock, as well as genres such as blues rock, and there's even chart music. It is also possible to download a choice of four of the mixes onto the handset so that you don't get hit by data bills.
There are some other neat features hidden away in the menus. The Glance screen for instance - lock the phone and a clock appears. Pop it on your desk and the clock stays on - great if you're in a boring meeting but don't want to make it obvious that you're clock watching! You can set how long the clock stays on for - and even change it from white to red in night mode.
Sharp and colourful
There's a lot of competition from other smartphone screens at this sort of price - the iPhone 5, for instance, which boasts the sharp Retina display, and the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One. However, the good news is that the 925 AMOLED screen can more than hold its own.
The glass is really thin, so the display looks like it hovers over the surface - on full brightness it can counter glare from the summer sun too. Viewing angles impress and photos look amazing - change warmth and colour saturation in the settings menu to get them just the way you want them.
The resolution of the screen is 760x1280, which means everything is sharp and HD video is just fabulous. You could easily watch a whole film with no trouble at all. The resolution also makes surfing the net a joy - zoom right in and text is easy to see. And the impressive responsiveness means it's easy to touch on small links.
The screen is so responsive you can even use it if you're wearing gloves – very handy in British weather! Battery life is what you would expect - you'll need to charge the handset every day - and we got a decent seven hours when streaming video.
Under the hood sits a 1.5GHz chip that handles pretty much everything - games, media and Windows Phone 8. Even some of the latest, intensive games, such as the 3D first person shoot-'em up N.O.V.A 3, ran with no problems at all. The handset did get a little warm after a while, but nothing to worry about.
The only reason this handset did not get its fifth star is that the battery life is not exceptional. We left home on a full charge, but by the time we got home from work the battery was dead, even if we'd just checked some emails, sent some texts and done a few other basic tasks.
Nokia's recent phones have really impressed - the Lumia 520 at entry level, the Lumia 720, which offers great value - and now it has a flagship handset it can be proud of in the Lumia 925. It has an impressive PureView snapper, bright, adjustable, high-res display, and some great features. Nokia has managed to squeeze this into a slimmer, more portable chassis. It's just a pity that battery life is not more impressive and that the app store is so poorly stocked. But apart from that, this is a simple to use smartphone, that is packed with features.
Nokia Lumia 925 Specification