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New York taken with 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 things 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 and 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 to 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 an 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?