Sunday, May 19, 2013

Nokia Lumia 925 Review

Key Features: Dual-core 1.5GHz Krait CPU; 1GB RAM; 4.5-inch 720p AMOLED screen; Windows Phone 8; 8.7MP camera with LED flash Manufacturer: Nokia

Nokia Lumia 925 Hands-on Review


The next Lumia is here. The Nokia Lumia 925 is the first phone in the Lumia range to use a mix of plastic and aluminium in its frame, rather than just the series-staple polycarbonate. It’s set to live alongside the Lumia 920 as a flagship Windows Phone 8 mobile for 2013. We went hands-on with the phone to find out what it feels like.

Nokia Lumia 925 - Design

One of the most important design changes in the Nokia Lumia 925 is that it is much thinner and lighter than its series sibling, the Lumia 920. Where that phone was heavy and chunky, the new Lumia is fairly slim at 8.5mm thick and fairly light at 130-odd grammes.

It manages this with a new approach to body design. Rather than having a polycarbonate unibody like the previous top-end Lumia phone, the Lumia 925 uses a mix of aluminium and plastic. The frame of the phone is aluminium, which forms the phones edges as well as its skeleton.

Only a thin plate of plastic is used to cover its back – so while plenty of the phone’s area is plastic, little of its volume is.

As it sheds around 50g off the weight of the Lumia 920, the Lumia 925 will feel distinctly light to any Lumia veterans. However, using aluminium for its edges ensures it still feels strong and thoroughly well-made. Nokia has not dropped the ball here.

It’s a non-removable cover, though, so you have no easy access to the battery.

In common with the other top-end Lumias, you access the SIM slot using a pop-out tray. This sits on the top edge of the phone, next to the microUSB port and the headphone jack – all the sockets live up here. 

There’s no memory card slot in the Lumia 925, but as there’s 32GB of internal memory this shouldn’t be a huge problem for most people.

Nokia Lumia 925 – Screen and Software

The Nokia Lumia 925 has a 4.5-inch AMOLED display of 720p resolution, just like the Lumia 920. As the new model is clearly out to quickly clear up some of the criticisms levelled at the previous phone, many specs remain similar.

Contrast is good, colours are vibrant and the interface looks sharp, and even though many Android phones now use 1080p resolution displays, the difference isn't hugely apparent in day-to-day use, particuarly as it's half an inch smaller than the FullHD displays on the Sony Xperia Z and Samsung Galaxy S4.
In common with all current Lumia phones, the Nokia Lumia 925 runs Windows Phone 8. This system doesn’t allow a great deal of manufacturer customisation, but it does come with Nokia’s own suite of apps pre-installed.

This encompasses Nokia Music, HERE Maps and HERE Drive. It’s the last two you should be interested in. These are GPS mapping tools, one for when you’re on foot, the other when you’re driving. The reason to favour them over Google Maps is that they let you download whole countries, or continents to use offline. Roaming charges begone.

Nokia Lumia 925 – Camera

Sharing camera tech with the recent US-exclusive Lumia 928 and the Lumia 920, the Nokia Lumia 925 has an 8.7-megapixel sensor with Carl Zeiss optics and an LED flash.

However, it gets one up on the Lumia 920, using a 6-part lens rather than a 5-part one, gaining an extra glass element. Nokia claims to have improved the software algorithms that deal with low light noise reduction too.

Most importantly, the Lumia 925 has optical image stabilisation, which allows the phone to use slightly longer exposure times in poor lighting in order to further reduce image noise. This was the key part of the Lumia 920 camera equation that allowed it to claim low-light superiority over the competition.

It’s also likely to be the part that's responsible for makes the Lumia 925 camera housing protrude from the body a bit. This makes the housing a little more susceptible to scratches that most.

Nokia has changed the photo software of the phone too. The Nokia Lumia 925 has Smart Camera, which is a Windows Phone 8 "camera lens" - used in all Windows Phone 8 phones to add photo modes. It adds a smart burst mode that lets you pick best shots, add motion blur and remove unwanted objects.

However, this Smart Camera mode will come to all Lumia-series phones with an update later this year, so don't get too excited. 

Nokia Lumia 925 – Wireless Charging

If you're worried about the protruding camera, the body's rear can be flattened out if you snap-on the optional wireless charging case. This additional shell interfaces with the wireless charging pillow and wireless charging dock that Nokia has shown-off previously alongside Lumia phones.

Neither the case nor the dock are included with the Lumia 925, though, and the whole wireless charging kit is likely to cost you around £100. This is likely to seriously hamper uptake of what is otherwise a neat feature.

Nokia Lumia 925 – Price and Release Date

The Nokia Lumia 925 isn’t out to revolutionise how much a top-end Lumia phone costs. It’s set to sell for 469 Euro, which means it’ll end up around the same price as the Lumia 920.

Nokia has confirmed that Vodafone will stock the phone in the UK, and that it’ll be available to buy from June.

Nokia Lumia 925 – Impressions

This new Lumia might be called “what the Lumia 920 should have been”. Its body doesn’t stick out like the fat kid in the football team anymore, and it doesn’t trade off anything else in the deal. However, whether a lighter, slimmer body will be enough to win the Lumia series a whole new wave of fans is up for debate.

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//PART 2