- Slim, lightweight, ergonomic design
- High-quality 4.5in. AMOLED screen
- Includes some excellent Nokia apps
- Could benefit from a higher-resolution screen
- Wireless charging now an optional extra
- Extensive software bundle eats into internal storage
- No MicroSD card slot for storage expansion
Nokia's Lumia range of Windows Phone handsets now runs to twelve models listed at the company's UK website. All except one of these, the recently announced Lumia 1020, sits beneath the Lumia 925 in the pecking order of specifications and price.
The Lumia 925 updates the Lumia 920, which had a mere six months at the top of the Lumia range. That will surely irritate those who purchased this high-end handset expecting a year or so of top-end status.
The Nokia Lumia 925 costs around £470 (inc. VAT; £392 ex. VAT) SIM-free; it's also available free from Vodafone, with an exclusive 32GB (rather than the standard 16GB) of storage, on a £34-a-month contract.
The 4.5-inch Lumia 925 is considerably slimmer and lighter than the 920 — 70.6mm wide by 129mm deep by 8.5mm thick and 139g versus 70.8mm by 130.3mm by 10.7mm and 185g. This makes the new handset a lot easier to carry and use one handed. The shiny plastic chassis of the 920 is gone, replaced by a design that marries metal edges with matte, rubbery and tough plastic. That makes the Lumia 925 is less interesting to look at than the 920, but more usable.
Nokia's attention to detail in the build is praiseworthy. The camera lens on the back sits in a slightly raised circular section. This affords it some protection from scratching, but is probably also due to the fact that the handset is just 8.5mm thick and the camera requires a little additional depth. The required few millimeters have been carefully designed in.
The metal edges are four separate pieces. Rather than simply connect them so that we can see the join, Nokia has used differently coloured strips of material that themselves become a design feature. They stand out most on the white version of the Lumia 925; they're hardly noticeable on the black model.
The Lumia 925's backplate isn't removable, so your SIM sits in a caddy on top of the chassis. As usual, you access the caddy by poking a tool (an opened-out safety pin will do) into a small hole. In many handsets the caddy pops out completely, but here it's hinged so it can't fall out. However unlikely, such mishaps do happen.
The Lumia 925's ports are on the top edge: alongside the SIM card slot there's a MicroUSB port and a headset jack. The buttons — volume rocker, power and camera — are on the right side. It's all quite minimalist and ergonomic.
The Lumia 925's screen measures 4.5 inches across the diagonal, which is a compromise between the 4in. common on low-end and mid-range smartphones and the 5in.-plus you'll find on flagship phones like Samsung's Galaxy S4. One-handed use may elude those with small hands, but it's a good size for media-rich activities such as video viewing and game playing. Professional users will appreciate the amount of text you can accommodate on-screen, which makes the Lumia 925 a good platform for email handling and website browsing.
The Lumia 925's AMOLED screen delivers excellent image quality. Its resolution of 1,280 by 768 pixels (332ppi) is the same as the 920's, but the latter uses IPS LCD technology rather than AMOLED. If necessary, you can tweak the colour saturation of the 925's screen to your preference.
With a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and 1GB of RAM, the Lumia 925 is a capable handset. When you've downloaded an app it generally runs smoothly, and we found the Lumia 925 to be a responsive and snappy performer during the review period.
There's 16GB of internal storage — unless you get your Lumia 925 from Vodafone, in which case you'll get 32GB. Our review sample was a 32GB Vodafone unit, and out of the box had 26.5GB free. The remainder is consumed by the operating system and Nokia's range of preinstalled apps. There's no MicroSD card slot for expanding the on-board storage, be it 16GB or 32GB, but you do get 7GB of free (SkyDrive) cloud storage.
The Lumia 920 had integrated wireless charging, but this is not present in the 925 model. It can be added via an optional charging cover, which will increase the phone's bulk and price. As well as Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth (3.0) and LTE (up to 100Mbps down, 50Mbps up), the Lumia 925 supports NFC (Near Field Communication) and has an FM radio.
Windows Phone 8 is as familiar enough, its blocky live tiles comprising the main screen and giving the Lumia 925 exactly the same generic appearance as any other modern Windows Phone 8 handset. You can vary the live tiles on show and change the colour scheme, but that's all you can do by way of personalisation.
Nokia enriches the Lumia line with its own apps, although the navigation ones have been renamed HERE (HERE Maps, Drive+, Transit and City Lens) and made available to other Windows Phone makers. Nokia is therefore diluting one of the factors that makes its handsets stand out from the Windows Phone crowd.
There's further bespoke enhancement in the camera. Windows Phone can use software add-ons to enhance the camera features, and the Lumia 925's main 8.7-megapixel camera is supported by an app called Smart Camera. This shoots a sequence of images over a very short period and then performs functions like combining shots to add in multiple iterations of someone or something that's moving, or letting you select the best smiles for everyone in a group shot, or removing unwanted items from a shot.
Other Nokia additions include the free streaming music service Nokia Music which, when used in a Wi-Fi environment, is a superb alternative to standard internet radio apps.
Like its 920 predecessor, the Lumia 925 has a non-removable 2,000mAh battery. Nokia claims 12.8 hours of 3G talk time (18.3h 2G) and 440h on (3G) standby. Claimed network browsing time is 6h on a cellular connection and 7.2h on Wi-Fi. You can expect 55h of music playback time and 6.6h of video watching. Comparable numbers for the 920 model are 10.8h of 3G talk (18.6h 2G) and 460h on (3G) standby, 9h network browsing on Wi-Fi, 74h of music and 6h of video playback.
The Lumia 925 is a slimmer and lighter handset than its 920 predecessor, with a neater and more ergonomic design. It lacks wireless charging but supports LTE and NFC, and has an excellent 4.5in. AMOLED screen. However, with the Lumia 1020 already announced and set to take the 925's place as Nokia's flagship Lumia handset, many may want to wait and see what the 1020 brings.
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||70.6x8.5x129 mm|
|OS & software|
|Operating system||Windows Phone 8|
|Processor & memory|
|Clock speed||1.5 GHz|
|Processor model||Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (dual-core)|
|Ports||MicroUSB 2.0, audio jack|
|2G||GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900|
|Wi-Fi||802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n|
|Short range||Bluetooth 3.0+HS|
|Accuracy enhancement system||A-GPS|
|GPS receiver||yes, plus GLONASS|
|2nd camera resolution||1.2 megapixels|
|Main camera resolution||8.7 megapixels|
|Battery capacity||2000 mAh|
|Claimed battery life||7.2 h|
|Standby time||440 h|
|Talk time||12.8 h|