Nokia was once the king of the mobile world, with 40% of the market back in 2008 before the iPhone came to shake things up. The Finnish company now has less than 15% of the worlds market just five years after it was at its peak. Nokia saw that its Symbian operating system was developing enough to keep up with Android and Apple’s offerings, so in 2011 they made a decision – put all the eggs into Windows Phone’s basket. Two years on and although it is gaining more market share by the month, Windows Phone still only has 4% of the global smart phone market share.
Enter the Lumia 925 – Nokia’s latest Windows Phone follow up to their brilliant Lumia 920, building on its design and camera in a hope to keep that market share growing.
The physical design is something that Nokia looked to improve from the Lumia 920, and has done so by taking away the polycarbonate body and replacing it with a much lighter aluminium design. The device is also much thinner than the 920, fixing another of the complaints that faced the old flagship.
The screen is a 4.5-inch 720p ClearBlack (AMOLED) display that isn’t quite as sharp as other 1080p flagship screens, such as on the HTC One. Colour’s are rich and have a nice deep tone, thanks to Nokia’s ClearBlack technology. The touchscreen is also super-sensitive just as the Lumia 920 and 520 are which allows you to use the screen even if you have gloves on.
The device feels very sturdy and has one of the most premium feels I have felt on a smartphone in recent times. The corners are very sharp and hard, though, and actually hurt when I dropped it on myself (yes, I’m stupidly clumsy).
Sadly there’s no removable battery or microSD slot and only 16GB of internal memory which really lets the device down.
Using the device
Being a Nokia Lumia device, the 925 of course runs Windows Phone 8 which is still a favourite of ours here, and is very sleek and intuitive but has its fatal flaw of lacking the app collection that Android and Apple’s iOS have. Nokia has tried to combat this app problem by pressuring and giving incentives to developers to bring apps to the Windows Phone platform, and in most cases they have been successful with one noticeable exception – Instagram – which is quite ironic as Nokia’s focus on most of its devices is its brilliant camera abilities.
Nokia also includes a slew of in-house apps such as its SmartCam app which takes 6 separate photos – best shot, action shot, motion focus, change faces and remove moving objects. Most of these work as you’d think, but the stand-out is definitely motion focus which puts an emphasis on motions and is great at taking sporting photos.
Nokia’s other flagship app is its Here Maps and Drive which is possibly the best mapping software on an OS and device and is just as powerful as any other standalone GPS unit.
Camera and Battery Life
The Lumia 925’s flagship feature is it’s 8.7-megapixel camera, featuring 6 physical lenses and Carl Zeiss optics that is meant to be superior to any other smartphone camera on the market. In most cases, the Lumia 925 shines, especially with close up objects and low-light (if the object is still), but colour is often lacking and washed out. Check out our test samples in the gallery below.
Battery life on the 925 is quite good, and often gets you through the day with moderate-heavy use, having about 25% remaining when you put it on the charger when you go to bed.
The Lumia 925 is a great phone, and is definitely the best Windows Phone you can buy, building on its predecessor with a better low-light camera and a lighter, thinner design. The biggest problem for this device is that it will be superseded in the coming couple of months by Nokia’s already announced next flagship, the Lumia 1020. This factor alone makes it very hard to recommend this device, no matter how good it is.