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Nokia Lumia 925 Review

review nokia lumia 925 windows phone

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#1 mightyzero

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 07:06

BACKGROUND

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).

 

WP_20130721_004.jpg

 

My point of reference for comparisons is based mainly on my experience with these earlier Windows Phone devices.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

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.

 

 NUSA-PP-Lumia-925-Sectional-04-jpg.jpg NUSA-925-Front-png.png NUSA-925-Side-png.png

 

 

SPECIFICATIONS

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.

CAMERA

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).

 

WP_20130723_008.jpg

 

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.

STORAGE

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).

WINDOWS PHONE

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:

 

Reading apps

AP Mobile

ABC News

Drudge Report

MLive.com

NBC News

Kindle

WP Central (need an official Neowin app!)

theChive (only the best website ever)

USA Today

Wikipedia

Music apps

Nokia Music (free streaming, Nokia exclusive)

Pandora

iHeartRadio

MuisxMatch

Slacker Radio

Audio/Video apps

Netflix

Audible

Metro Tube

Sports apps

ESPN Hub

ESPN ScoreCenter

Baseball Pro '13

Football Pro '13

Games apps

Angry Birds Star Wars

Enigmo

Conte Jour

Fragger

Galatic Reign

geoDefense

geoDefense Swarm

Gravity Guy

Jetpack Joyride

Fruit Ninja

Wordament

Camera/Photo apps

Creative Studio

Pictures Lab

Blink

Nokia Cinemagraph

Nokia Smart Cam

Fotor

Panorama

PhotoSynth

PhotoBeamer

Financial Apps

Chase Bank

Fidelity Investments

My Stocks Portfolio

SigFig Portfolio

Everything else

Fresh Paint

Data Sense

Gas Buddy (for finding cheap gas)

Guitar Suite

IMDb

Flixster

HERE City Lens

HERE Drive+

HERE Maps

HERE Transit

MusiXmatch Lyrics Player

Meme Generator

Metro Compass

Newegg

Network Sped Test

OneNote

Office

SkyDrive

SkyMap

Splashtop Personal (Remote Desktop)

Urbanspoon

The Weather Channel

WhatsApp

Xfinity TV Remote

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

PROS

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

CONS

No SD-card expansion slot

Aluminum body is very easy to scuff




#2 Osiris

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:28

Welcome to the boards Mighty Zero and thanks for the review.  I like that you put in your app list too.  Enjoyed reading the review and agree that those interested in having a camera experience on your phone can't really ignore the work Nokia is doing in that space with EP



#3 Yusuf M.

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:33

Great review. The lack of a microSD slot sucks. The Lumia 920 launched with 32 GB of storage. From what I remember of the Nokia Lumia 925's launch event, a carrier in Europe (Vodafone?) has a timed exclusive deal with Nokia for the 32 GB version.

 

Anyway, thanks for adding an app list. I didn't know about the Amazon Kindle app.



#4 REM2000

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:35

Great review. The lack of a microSD slot sucks. The Lumia 920 launched with 32 GB of storage. From what I remember of the Nokia Lumia 925's launch event, a carrier in Europe (Vodafone?) has a timed exclusive deal with Nokia for the 32 GB version.

 

Anyway, thanks for adding an app list. I didn't know about the Amazon Kindle app.

 

 

I don't know about the rest of europe but in the UK i think it's vodafone that have the exclusive 32GB.

 

A relative brought this after being an iPhone and Android (Galaxy Note2) user and they absolutely love it, they don't have the best eyes and the tiles, layout and excellent screen make it very easy to use.

 

Ive played with it myself and it makes me seriously think of getting one, it feels just right in your hand and the maps and everything work incredibly well, the OS is just so smooth. 



#5 Steven P.

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:36

My HTC 8X got stolen while I was in Barcelona and luckily I have insurance, so I'll be getting a voucher for a new phone. I'm thinking of buying a 520 (if it's available here) and wait until September when the 925 becomes available here (yeah I know, months after it is available almost everywhere else in Europe). I love the 8X but I like the reviews of the 925 more :p



#6 Osiris

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:37

Not to detract from the review but why would one go for the 525 over the 1020 (at the later point in time)?



#7 Steven P.

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:43

If you mean me, I need a cheap phone until September when the 925 becomes available on my provider. The 1020 has the 41Mpx camera right? I don't really need that. I want the 925 because it's that much smaller than the 920 (which is already available).



#8 jakem1

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 09:46

I didn't think much of these when I saw the press images but I saw someone using one on the train the other day and it looked really nice in person.  It's s shame the 32GB version isn't available more widely just like it's a shame that the camera on the 1020 protrudes from the back.



#9 georgevella

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 11:39

Awesome review, my local provider has the 925 available and since my contract ended a couple of months back I'm considering getting it. 

 

Can you clarify this:

 

Best camera in a smartphone not named iPhone (or apparently the Lumia 1020)

How is the 925's camera better than the 1020 (can you point me to an article or something)?



#10 Steven P.

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:23

Awesome review, my local provider has the 925 available and since my contract ended a couple of months back I'm considering getting it. 

 

Can you clarify this:

How is the 925's camera better than the 1020 (can you point me to an article or something)?

He means it's the best camera in a smartphone that isn't named the 1020 (apparently). 



#11 BajiRav

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 14:22

My HTC 8X got stolen while I was in Barcelona and luckily I have insurance, so I'll be getting a voucher for a new phone. I'm thinking of buying a 520 (if it's available here) and wait until September when the 925 becomes available here (yeah I know, months after it is available almost everywhere else in Europe). I love the 8X but I like the reviews of the 925 more :p

I have seen photos from 8X (a friend has one) and while they are good I don't think they match to my 920. We already know that the camera in 925 is even better than 920.

#12 Nilus

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 15:55

Good points in the review but I disagree about the screen being good quality.

 

They've used a PenTile screen which has ruined the whole experience. Text is fuzzy, although the vibrance of colours and deepness of blacks is very good.  The screen has a very high PPI but you'd never be able to tell because the PenTile screen is so fuzzy it looks pixellated and overall looks like a very cheap screen.

For this reason alone i'd return it if I could. I have actually boxed it back up ready to sell and have now gone back to my HTC 8X - hold the two phones up together and the difference in screen quality is like night and day, although the blacks aren't as deep on the 8X as it is standard LCD.


My HTC 8X got stolen while I was in Barcelona and luckily I have insurance, so I'll be getting a voucher for a new phone. I'm thinking of buying a 520 (if it's available here) and wait until September when the 925 becomes available here (yeah I know, months after it is available almost everywhere else in Europe). I love the 8X but I like the reviews of the 925 more :p

 

Don't do it, you have been spoiled by the screen on the 8X! 



#13 Joni_78

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 17:18

Nice review. I was also going to get 925 but decided to get Yellow 920 instead. What I didn't like about 925, was the lack of wireless charging. Also I didn't like the colour options, except aluminium. It was nice but scratches too easily.



#14 incendy

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 17:50

Nice review, thank you! If you enjoy editing apps make sure to try Fantasia Painter, my favorite editing app on wp by a large margin



#15 OP mightyzero

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 17:56

Great review. The lack of a microSD slot sucks. The Lumia 920 launched with 32 GB of storage. From what I remember of the Nokia Lumia 925's launch event, a carrier in Europe (Vodafone?) has a timed exclusive deal with Nokia for the 32 GB version.

 

You're absolutely correct... I was disappointed that T-Mobile chose the 16GB model because I probably wouldn't have complained about the storage if I had a baseline of 32GB + my SkyDrive account.


Awesome review, my local provider has the 925 available and since my contract ended a couple of months back I'm considering getting it. 

 

Can you clarify this:

How is the 925's camera better than the 1020 (can you point me to an article or something)?

 

Reading that, I could see why you're confused... What I was trying to get at was this is the nicest camera in a phone specifically available for T-Mobile customers (in the US) since the 1020 is currently an AT&T exclusive. Everything I've read so far points to Lumia 1020 as the best camera on the market, hands down.


Nice review, thank you! If you enjoy editing apps make sure to try Fantasia Painter, my favorite editing app on wp by a large margin

 

Thanks for the recommendation. Downloaded this morning and ready to give it a go.