I was an early adopter to the Windows Phone platform. My first phone smartphone was the HTC HD7 as I initially resisted the smartphones on the market but loved the build quality of HTC and was genuinely interested in what MS was doing. I purchased my wife an HTC Radar approximately 6-9 months later. After enjoying my HD7 for 2 years I decided to try a Nokia and all the extra software goodies that come along with it; plus, I really wanted to be on Windows Phone 8. Being a T-Mobile customer, my only options for WP8 were the Nokia Lumia 810 or HTC 8X. The 8X seemed like the better option at first but lack of SD slot coupled with the dark purple color kept me from pre-ordering. I wasn’t nearly as interested in the phone after playing around with it in the store and ultimately went with the less flashy but equally capable Lumia 810.
While I was enjoying my new Nokia and WP8, my wife was busy breaking her HTC Radar. Knowing that Nokia was working on a 92x variant for T-Mobile, I decided to buy my wife a Lumia 521 to hold her over while I waited for the launch of the 925 (and ultimately, moving my wife onto the 810).
My point of reference for comparisons is based mainly on my experience with these earlier Windows Phone devices.
I picked up the Nokia Lumia 925 on launch day and was instantly pleased with the aesthetics and general feel of the device. It's light and comfortable to hold in the hand. The uni-body design is sleek and instantly feels premium. Granted, I have rather large hands, so while an iPhone 5 feels really light and a little small in my hands, the Lumia 925 has that just right feeling... not too heavy but not too light. The 4.5" screen also feels like a sweet spot for screen sizes. I know that's probably just my taste, but I've had a couple friends specifically mention that they really like the screen size.
My first reaction upon starting the phone was: "Wow... that screen looks nice!" Easily the best looking screen of any Windows Phone device I've used or had a chance to play around with. Another welcome change from other devices I've used is the micro USB port and 3.5mm headphone jack are both located on the top of the device. Considering I use my device as a MP3 player, it was very awkward to have both plugged into a device (one on top the other on the bottom) and sit neatly in my car console. This is one of those small changes that feels natural.
Screen: 4.5" AMOLED (768x1280) w/ super-sensitive touch
Processor: Snapdragon S4 Dual-Core 1.5GHz
Camera: 8.7MP PureView with dual LED flash (includes front facing camera)
Dimensions / Weight: 5.08 x 2.75 x 0.33 inches / 4.9 ounces
Additional: 16GB storage, NO SD-card expansion.
Aside from using my phone to make calls and browse the interwebs, the camera is the most important function for me. None of my previous Windows Phone devices really satisfied my desire for a good point-in-shoot inside a smartphone (my wife's 521 was especially disappointing). Right out of the box, the 925 smokes anything I've had before. It simply takes very clean, detailed, and accurate photos right from the get-go without any adjustments from the user. This was really important for me because while I love to take photos, I'm not really one to make finite adjustments when I just want to snap a quick group picture or catch something happening in action.
I've had the chance to play with the iPhone 5 and really it's the only phone I've used where the camera experience was exceptional (although the HTC One seems to have a very nice camera as well).
For all the hand wringing about the WP app selection, the camera app selection is surprisingly excellent. There are a number of great filters available (Pictures Lab, Photosynth, SophieLens, Camera360, LazyLens, and Fhotoroom) and a bunch of great editing apps as well (Blink, Creative Studio, Fotor, Nokia Cinegraph, PhotoBeamer, Panorama). There's also a new Nokia developed app called Smart Cam that's exclusive to Nokia devices that support PureView technology and while I haven't had much time to really dive into the app, it looks like something that can help novice camera folk get great action shots or even remove an unwanted moving object form a photo. I could probably write an entire review just on the camera apps available, but frankly I just want the camera to take good pictures. I can safely say that the 925 has exceeded my expectations in this department.
If there's one thing that frustrates me about this device, it's the lack of an SD expansion slot. 16GB is a fine base storage amount for a phone, but it forces a user to be judicious with how many apps they load or how much music they store locally. I don't really have a problem with storage in terms of taking a ton of photos because everything gets stored to SkyDrive so that I can easily mass delete photos and I know there is still a copy already saved to SkyDrive. Still, I like to keep a good amount of music on my device and this really puts a damper on that practice (I had over 20GB on an SD card for my Lumia 810).
As you can see, I've been on the Windows Phone platform from the get-go and I'm somewhat of an evangelist for the operating system. I try not to overdo my WP trumpeting because the OS still has a little ways to go until its feature set is on-par with that of Android; and thus, some people might be very disappointed when their favorite app isn't available (yet...) or something as fundamental as VPN is missing. With that said, I'm very happy on WP8 and more specifically how it performs on the Lumia 925. The OS is buttery smooth and the SkyDrive integration makes me giggle like a schoolgirl. I’m also not tied down to any one particular app, so there isn’t any deal breakers for me in that department.
APPLICATIONS I USE
It’s especially hard for me to believe tech journalist who insist that the only reason Windows Phone is so far behind iOS and Android is solely because of apps. I constantly find new and interesting apps to tryout (really looking forward to Halo: Spartan Assault) so that while I understand there are still a few major apps missing (ahem… Instagram), it doesn’t seem to me to be quite as dire as people claim. Here’s my little collection:
WP Central (need an official Neowin app!)
theChive (only the best website ever)
Nokia Music (free streaming, Nokia exclusive)
Baseball Pro '13
Football Pro '13
Angry Birds Star Wars
Nokia Smart Cam
My Stocks Portfolio
Gas Buddy (for finding cheap gas)
HERE City Lens
MusiXmatch Lyrics Player
Network Sped Test
Splashtop Personal (Remote Desktop)
The Weather Channel
Xfinity TV Remote
Those who want a great camera experience with their smartphone would be wise to follow what Nokia is doing with Windows Phone. The Lumia 925 truly embodies these efforts. First, the phone has a great design; it's pleasing to look at and a joy to use. Second, Nokia has put considerable effort into delivering a great camera experience with quality imaging and excellent applications.
Best camera in a smartphone not named iPhone (or apparently the Lumia 1020 as well).
Nokia developed apps really round out the WP app ecosystem nicely
Best WP8 available from TMobile
No SD-card expansion slot
Aluminum body is very easy to scuff