First impressions of the T-Mobile US Nokia Lumia 925 (Gallery)

First impressions of the T-Mobile US Nokia Lumia 925 (Gallery)

Summary: I made a trip to a local T-Mobile retail store and walked out with a $50 Nokia Lumia 925 yesterday. The hardware is fantastic and Windows Phone 8 looks to meet 98% of my needs.

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  • T-Mobile flagships: Nokia Lumia 925 and HTC One

    This week we saw the availability to purchase and pre-order two new Nokia Lumia devices, the 925 on T-Mobile and the 1020 on AT&T. Given that I already own a Nokia 808 PureView, no longer have an AT&T account, and am a 10-year+ T-Mobile customer I went to a local T-Mobile store in New York and walked out with a new Nokia Lumia 925.

    Initial hardware thoughts

    I have only spent a day with the 925 so far and will spend much more time with it as I work on a full review to post in a week or two. I held the 925 at CTIA for a few minutes and now that I have my own in hand I am very impressed with the hardware. I would put it on the same high level as the incredible HTC One, in terms of hardware design.

    Like the HTC One, the in-hand feel is awesome. I like the metal frame with soft white plastic back. Windows Phones have always tended to have rather low hardware buttons that can be tough to press, but Nokia fixed that with tactile buttons that are easy to press.

    The microSIM, microUSB, and headphone jack are all found at the top while the bottom and left side are empty. The camera, power, and volume buttons are all on the right side. The camera sticks out a bit on the back, but I don't see that as an issue since there is a bit of an edge above the camera lens cover.

    The display looks great and I was able to test it in direct 95+ degree sunlight in New York to see it was visible and usable in that condition. Nokia excels at hardware and the 925 is one of their most impressive devices to date.

    Initial software thoughts

    The Lumia 925 launches with the Amber update, which brings some thing I love from MeeGo and Symbian. These Amber features include an always present clock when the screen is off, double tap to turn on, flip to silence, data sense (helps you manage your data limits),

    The Nokia Smart Camera app is slick and one of the things I can't wait to try more. I do look forward to the Pro Camera utility found on the 1020 as well. There are other Nokia Lumia software elements like camera lenses, the HERE suite of apps, and more.

    There are a few T-Mobile apps loaded out of the box, but remember with Windows Phone you can always remove them and not be stuck with them like you are on Android smartphones. I like the My Account utility, but removed the NameID and T-Mobile TV apps right away. It is also great to see WiFi Calling supported on the Lumia 925.

    Comparison to 920 and 928

    The last Lumia I owned was the 920 and with the 925 you get better hardware design, IMHO, a camera with an additional lens, the Amber update, and a flagship Lumia on T-Mobile. I like the 928 hardware better than the 920 too and while the 928 has a Xenon flash (I didn't see that much advantage with it on that device) the 925 has the additional lens and Amber update.

    The Amber update is coming to the 920 and 928 so all three are great choices on your preferred carrier. I personally find the Lumia 925 hardware to be the best of these three, with the exception of the 16GB internal storage.

    Can the Lumia 925 be my primary device?

    I have posted Tweets recently stating that a WP8 device couldn't be my primary device, mostly due to lack of connectivity with devices like the Jawbone UP and Pebble. However, these are not really necessities so I took my HTC One and iPhone 5 and compared all the apps and services I use on them to what I have installed on the Lumia 925.

    While I do lose a premium Google experience (Gmail, Hangouts, Google+) with the 925, the only app I use frequently that I think I will really miss is the USAA bank app. USAA was one of the first to support Windows Phone, but has since dropped support so I can no longer take photos of checks and deposit them. I can check my account and do most things through Internet Explorer so check deposits will just have to wait for my iPad.

    The HTC One does offer some great conveniences that are not on the Lumia 925, including an IR for remote control, ability to rent and watch movies, ability to edit videos to share, and check out ball games with MLB At Bat.

    I travel quite a bit on Alaska Airlines and use my phone to present my boarding pass. The Alaska Airlines folks were quick to respond to my Tweets that their mobile website supports all the app functionality so I tested it out on a return flight yesterday and that hole is now plugged too.

    Email, calendar, social network apps, photo apps, utilities, and even games that I use frequently are all available for the 925 so it looks like the 925 can be my primary device if I give up Pebble connectivity. There is a rumor that an update from Nokia will enable Bluetooth LE support so I could possibly then connect my Pebble and Fitbit One and then be good to go. I plan to keep my SIM in the 925 exclusively and see how it goes with Windows Phone.

    Why didn't I make the jump to the 1020?

    I love what I see in the Nokia Lumia 1020, but honestly I rarely even use my 808 PureView and am not enough of a photo enthusiast to pay the premium price and add an AT&T account again ($85/month for a service I rarely used before). I have been satisfied with the HTC One so with the 925 offering more megapixels I am sure it will serve me just fine.

    If the 1020 had launched on T-Mobile I likely would have purchased it. However, the 925 hardware really is pretty amazing and the initial price of $50 is tough to beat. BTW, I signed up for the new T-Mobile JUMP! plan to see for myself if it is worth having since I upgrade my phones quite often. Given that it is only a couple dollars more than insurance it also gives me peace of mind.

    To be evaluated

    I took a few photos and as I detailed in an earlier post the Lumia 925 Nokia Smart Camera app is very capable. So far I actually find it a bit more intuitive than the HTC One software that requires you to first capture a Zoe and then go into the editor to add the effects. However, it doesn't look to have as many editing options either. I plan to spend a lot more time comparing these two flagship camera phones that are available to T-Mobile customers so stay tuned for more on the camera.

    I am very disappointed in the 16GB internal storage strategy, although I do understand that a initial cost of $50 is extremely attractive. My primary concern is capturing my daughter's basketball games and it may do great for one game before I upload the videos, but it won't be able to handle a tourney with multiple games.

    My HTC One needs some juice to go a full day so I'll be checking out the battery life too. What do you want to see me cover in a full review?

    Related stories:

  • Back of Lumia 925 and HTC One

    This week we saw the availability to purchase and pre-order two new Nokia Lumia devices, the 925 on T-Mobile and the 1020 on AT&T. Given that I already own a Nokia 808 PureView, no longer have an AT&T account, and am a 10-year+ T-Mobile customer I went to a local T-Mobile store in New York and walked out with a new Nokia Lumia 925.

    Initial hardware thoughts

    I have only spent a day with the 925 so far and will spend much more time with it as I work on a full review to post in a week or two. I held the 925 at CTIA for a few minutes and now that I have my own in hand I am very impressed with the hardware. I would put it on the same high level as the incredible HTC One, in terms of hardware design.

    Like the HTC One, the in-hand feel is awesome. I like the metal frame with soft white plastic back. Windows Phones have always tended to have rather low hardware buttons that can be tough to press, but Nokia fixed that with tactile buttons that are easy to press.

    The microSIM, microUSB, and headphone jack are all found at the top while the bottom and left side are empty. The camera, power, and volume buttons are all on the right side. The camera sticks out a bit on the back, but I don't see that as an issue since there is a bit of an edge above the camera lens cover.

    The display looks great and I was able to test it in direct 95+ degree sunlight in New York to see it was visible and usable in that condition. Nokia excels at hardware and the 925 is one of their most impressive devices to date.

    Initial software thoughts

    The Lumia 925 launches with the Amber update, which brings some thing I love from MeeGo and Symbian. These Amber features include an always present clock when the screen is off, double tap to turn on, flip to silence, data sense (helps you manage your data limits),

    The Nokia Smart Camera app is slick and one of the things I can't wait to try more. I do look forward to the Pro Camera utility found on the 1020 as well. There are other Nokia Lumia software elements like camera lenses, the HERE suite of apps, and more.

    There are a few T-Mobile apps loaded out of the box, but remember with Windows Phone you can always remove them and not be stuck with them like you are on Android smartphones. I like the My Account utility, but removed the NameID and T-Mobile TV apps right away. It is also great to see WiFi Calling supported on the Lumia 925.

    Comparison to 920 and 928

    The last Lumia I owned was the 920 and with the 925 you get better hardware design, IMHO, a camera with an additional lens, the Amber update, and a flagship Lumia on T-Mobile. I like the 928 hardware better than the 920 too and while the 928 has a Xenon flash (I didn't see that much advantage with it on that device) the 925 has the additional lens and Amber update.

    The Amber update is coming to the 920 and 928 so all three are great choices on your preferred carrier. I personally find the Lumia 925 hardware to be the best of these three, with the exception of the 16GB internal storage.

    Can the Lumia 925 be my primary device?

    I have posted Tweets recently stating that a WP8 device couldn't be my primary device, mostly due to lack of connectivity with devices like the Jawbone UP and Pebble. However, these are not really necessities so I took my HTC One and iPhone 5 and compared all the apps and services I use on them to what I have installed on the Lumia 925.

    While I do lose a premium Google experience (Gmail, Hangouts, Google+) with the 925, the only app I use frequently that I think I will really miss is the USAA bank app. USAA was one of the first to support Windows Phone, but has since dropped support so I can no longer take photos of checks and deposit them. I can check my account and do most things through Internet Explorer so check deposits will just have to wait for my iPad.

    The HTC One does offer some great conveniences that are not on the Lumia 925, including an IR for remote control, ability to rent and watch movies, ability to edit videos to share, and check out ball games with MLB At Bat.

    I travel quite a bit on Alaska Airlines and use my phone to present my boarding pass. The Alaska Airlines folks were quick to respond to my Tweets that their mobile website supports all the app functionality so I tested it out on a return flight yesterday and that hole is now plugged too.

    Email, calendar, social network apps, photo apps, utilities, and even games that I use frequently are all available for the 925 so it looks like the 925 can be my primary device if I give up Pebble connectivity. There is a rumor that an update from Nokia will enable Bluetooth LE support so I could possibly then connect my Pebble and Fitbit One and then be good to go. I plan to keep my SIM in the 925 exclusively and see how it goes with Windows Phone.

    Why didn't I make the jump to the 1020?

    I love what I see in the Nokia Lumia 1020, but honestly I rarely even use my 808 PureView and am not enough of a photo enthusiast to pay the premium price and add an AT&T account again ($85/month for a service I rarely used before). I have been satisfied with the HTC One so with the 925 offering more megapixels I am sure it will serve me just fine.

    If the 1020 had launched on T-Mobile I likely would have purchased it. However, the 925 hardware really is pretty amazing and the initial price of $50 is tough to beat. BTW, I signed up for the new T-Mobile JUMP! plan to see for myself if it is worth having since I upgrade my phones quite often. Given that it is only a couple dollars more than insurance it also gives me peace of mind.

    To be evaluated

    I took a few photos and as I detailed in an earlier post the Lumia 925 Nokia Smart Camera app is very capable. So far I actually find it a bit more intuitive than the HTC One software that requires you to first capture a Zoe and then go into the editor to add the effects. However, it doesn't look to have as many editing options either. I plan to spend a lot more time comparing these two flagship camera phones that are available to T-Mobile customers so stay tuned for more on the camera.

    I am very disappointed in the 16GB internal storage strategy, although I do understand that a initial cost of $50 is extremely attractive. My primary concern is capturing my daughter's basketball games and it may do great for one game before I upload the videos, but it won't be able to handle a tourney with multiple games.

    My HTC One needs some juice to go a full day so I'll be checking out the battery life too. What do you want to see me cover in a full review?

    Related stories:

Topics: Mobility, HTC, Microsoft, Nokia, Reviews, Smartphones, Windows Phone

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26 comments
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  • iphone or windows phone next year?

    @palmsolo I'm looking to buy a windows phone for wifi use at home and looking for buy a iPhone next year. How long will windows phone 8 be supported- i saw next year around july is the support cutoff and when might windows phone 9 come out. my view is their is just too much apps and resources that i use in iOS and android that i might miss in windows phone as a primary phone, so that why i figured that it would be great to use over wifi. any suggestions. thanks.
    ITGuy000
    • There is no Windows Phone 9

      There is no Windows Phone 9. Someone is just stirring up misleading rumors for page views. Microsoft has recently announced that all Windows Phone 8 devices will be getting 3 years of updates and security fixes so you shouldn't be worried about that.
      Jeff Kibuule
      • People got confused

        By the fact that 8.0 will be ending supporting in July when it was originally announced. They also said all phones would get upgraded to 8.1, which is what will be supported going forward.
        LiquidLearner
    • Windows Phone lifecycle

      Windows Phone support is expanded for 36 months.

      http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=windows+phone&Filter=FilterNO&wa=wsignin1.0
      BRomeroT@...
      • Windows-ecosystem is too expensive and can't compete...

        ... with Android. This new Lumia smartphone is one more example of this. It's too expensive. Globally it won't sell well. People wanna buy cheap nice devices.
        Napoleon XIV
        • Uhh...

          ...there are plenty of low-cost, solidly-performing WP8 smartphones out there. Actually, those low-end WP8 smartphones probably outperform the low-end Android smartphones (speaking as someone who has owned 2 mid-to-high end Android devices for their time, 1 mid-range WP7 device for its time, and now 1 recently-released (Nokia 928), high-end WP8 device).
          CHIP72
          • @CHIP72

            Stop showing people how stupid they are, you"re going to hurt their feelings. You big meany.
            j-mccurdy@...
          • It's One Thing...

            It's one thing to be condescending. It's another thing to be wrong. It's really bad when you're both. How do low end Windows Phones outperform Android phones? The hardware isn't all that. In terms of performance they are about the same at the low end and if you're talking about the Lumia 928 vs Galaxy S4 they are roughly the same. No Windows Phone has produced cutting edge hardware like say, Apple who just put out a 64bit processor which smokes the competition and don't even get me started about apps.
            Maha888
    • WP9

      Why would you continue with WP8 OS instead of just upgrading to Wp9? They are ending support for the WP8 operating system, not the WP8 phones. The phones are upgradable for as long as the hardware is powerful enough to run it. And these WP8 phones have pretty good processors.
      j-mccurdy@...
  • Still don't love the camera "bump"...

    I love the design of the 925... but the little camera protrusion is distracting to me. They should've done what HTC did with the One and bowed the back of the phone out a little so everything is flush. It just looks better that way in my opinion.

    Anyway, I'm on AT&T so probably won't buy one anyway. I'm hoping AT&T gives us a new 920 replacement this fall.
    cybersaurusrex
  • How is the Battery on the 925

    I love everything the 925 has to offer, I am even fine with the internal storage of 16GB (I used to manage with 8 GB before so 16GB is like a bonus).

    What I am worried about is the battery life, I really hope the phone can last on a single charge for a whole day of normal usage, calls, wifi/4G, etc.

    It would be great if you can give us a rundown on how the battery fares on this device against your HTC One...
    blaze505
    • 928 works all day no issues

      And it's the same battery, screen and CPU. The AMOLED makes a big difference. Using it in the sunlight a lot may shorten life, so keep that in mind. At work and at home by the recliner I have wireless chargers, which makes it really easy to keep charged. I never leave the office without a full charge at the end of the day. However this last Saturday I took my daughter and her friend to the beach and to Moody Gardens. Took about 70+ pictures of the kids, did photo editing, texting, browsing and GPS and still had over 50% at the end of the day driving back from Galveston.

      Why does this thing think everything I write looks like SPAM? Come on guys, just moderate the forums and delete the spam comments rather than calling it all spam...
      LiquidLearner
  • Lazy

    Matt...if you are taking pictures of your kids basketball game, are you displaying this in a small screen? Otherwise, get a real camera...doesn't have to be super large or anything. The ability to zoom is extremely underrated. Don't have to be a camera guy to appreciate being able to see details.

    If you are doing video, get a digital camcorder. While I'm impressed with the improvement made in smartphone video capture, it still isn't the same quality...maybe the 1020 will be different. These devices can't zoom. If you are on the floor recording, you're missing depth. If you're in the stands, you lack the closeness without being able to zoom even a little. If you are trying to be beneficial, speaking as an athlete that had his dad tape games, be in he stands. Spacing is one if the most critical parts of team sports and you lose so much sitting floor/ground level. Games he did from ground level weren't worth watching while over a decade later I still popped in ones he did from the press box.
    ikissfutebol
    • Great feedback, think I'll get a digital camcorder

      I have an older camcorder, but should really upgrade to a newer model. If I take that element out then I shouldn't have an issue with the 16GB and get better video. Thanks for the reality check :)
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • Not a problem

        I recall watching your comparison video of the HTC One and Lumia 920. If it wasn't for that, I probably wouldn't have made such a comment :) As a high school soccer coach, here's my challenge for you- could you get out a stats book and accurately label where ALL shots and fouls were taken/committed on the court/field? If not, your view of the game isn't worth the time to look at the video for learning purposes.

        If you just want to show family and friends, a steady device that's keeping the action in frame is all that's really required...ground level or top of the bleachers/press box.
        ikissfutebol
        • Basketball is much easier to see than soccer

          I would say I could accurately place the shots and actions for the basketball videos I captured. Soccer is a different story with such a wide and long field, but basketball lines and small courts are fine. We use the videos to remember the game and my daughter then likes to make highlight videos to share.

          I will likely pick up a camcorder for her senior season though since she also plays varsity soccer and there is no way in the world to capture anything of value with a phone camera during a soccer match.
          palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • Bought one yesterday as well.

    I finally said goodbye to my Dell Venue Pro (16GB) yesterday and bought two 925's (one for the wife) and off I went. This phone impresses the heck out of me.

    From the City View to Tethering I cannot find anything not to like about this phone. The 16GB I had on my DVP never even was threatened with golf swing videos and a ton of music, so I'm not sweating space. Great phone!
    WP7Lifer
  • How is calls over wifi

    that's the big tmobile feature we want to hear about
    everss02
    • WiFi calling

      Accidentally had that feature enabled yesterday and didn't notice any difference in call quality whatsoever. Again, the 925 is stoked and very impressive.
      WP7Lifer
    • Are you asking about T=Mobiles wifi calling?

      Or how it works with the 925? I used wifi calling on a Galaxy S3 and my current HTC One. I had problems with the GS3. It was unreliable and I had issues with disabling it when it was enabled. I was disappointed with wifi calling. However on my HTC One it has worked great. A much better experience than the GS3. I'm not sure if the problem with the GS3 was the phone or the service at the time. But my experience with the HTC One was very positive.

      HTH
      ye