You are here
Home > Reviews > Nokia Lumia 925

Nokia Lumia 925

When the Lumia 925 arrived on my doorstep on the Friday afternoon, I only had a mere 35 minutes to fall in love with it (excluding the 3.2 seconds it took me to rip the wrapping apart). No, not by force. But simply because it was THAT Lumia I have been waiting for, been yearning to get my hands on since the inception of the Lumia handsets.

Those that follow me on twitter would have notice how excited I was to write this review, I simply had to tweet about it over and over again. But to ease on the over-excitement and bias-like feedback on the device I opted to try the device out for a few more days, which turned out to be weeks. I had finally put the 925 through every test possible including those with the camera; low light or not, indoors and by the pool.

Many a review have dubbed the Lumia 925 to be the best Lumia handset yet, of course I agree. The 925 is lighter, sturdier and fits perfectly in the palm of my hand for that grip I so love. Under the hood, the 925 is still the same phone as the 920 we played host to a few months ago. Although the camera is fractions better, with minor hardware improvements, slimmer, lighter weight and much much more attractive looks.

The Lumia 925 is all held together by an aluminum frame with a durable polycarbonate plastic back, whilst you’ll find an impressive 4.5-inch glass screen at the front. At first glance, the aluminum looks and even feels really nice and smooth compared to the odd polycarb we’re used to. However, it somewhat feels like the metal you’ll find on your iPhone5 (assuming you have one, ’cause I have one) and HTC One. Be cautious as the Al is prone to scratches, I have witnessed this and its best you get a screen-guard or sleeve for this one.  I have had my review device for close to two weeks now and I’ts already attracted a few dings and scratches.

image (1)

We’ve seen the Lumia 925 campaign where Nokia makes a big deal out of its camera. There’s a dedicated shutter button on the side that you can use to launch the camera app, which is convenient when you have to quickly snap a pic without having to unlock and browse through a handful of apps to get to it. It goes without saying that Nokia, thanks to Pureview Carl Zeiss, has the best cameras you can find on any smarphone we have tested.

Coming in with an 8.7-megapixel sensor, ISO up to 800 and 1080p capture at 30 fps, all through an f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lens. Within that lens, there’s been some improvements, however, although nothing quite as progressive (or impressive) as optical image stabilization or lossless zoom. Alongside noise-compression algorithms and software-based tweaks, Nokia’s added a sixth glass element to the five-lens Carl Zeiss setup seen on the rest of the Lumia 920 series. We’ve been promised that this would improve the sharpness of images — something we did indeed notice during two weeks of testing.

Then there’s Nokia’s new Smart Camera that’s worth talking about too, as it offers up new ways to capture and share what you see around you. It’s the replacement for the burst-shot Lens app Smart Shoot, and Nokia promises that the brunt of the features on display here will appear on its other WP8 phones, so if you’ve already invested in a Lumia,  you’ll be getting similar photo-tinkering goodness very soon.

Although the camera is Nokia’s selling point, don’t let that be deciding factor, unless you’re looking for a all-in-one replacement to your digital camera. Fact remains, its a Windows Phone and MS’s Windows Phone 8 still has some annoying quirks and restricted apps.

While developers still refer to make their Apps for Android and iPhone (iOS) because Windows only hold a tiny ‘.’ <- that tiny percentage, of the smartphone market. In other words, they see no need creating apps where no-one is going to use them.

That means the Lumia 925 is missing a lot of popular apps that iPhone and Android users love: Vine, Instagram, Gmail, Google Maps, and so on. Even the Facebook app isn’t made by Facebook. It’s made by Microsoft with Facebook’s permission. That means you’re not always getting the latest mobile features.

Those that have already invested in a Lumia or any Windows Phone for that matter kindly nod in agreement when I say WP is still not there in terms of software. Its just not sufficient. some readers might head to the comment section and justify how they don’t need the likes of Instagram (coming soon to WP8), Google+, and BBM but these omissions represent a larger picture people. These app makers aren’t particularly bothered that they’re missing out on Windows Phone, and as such, it’s likely that future apps you do want won’t make it to Microsoft’s OS, even if they’re already available on iOS and Android.

The Lumia 935 runs on the same dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor seen on its predecessor, the Lumia 925 copes just fine flipping between apps in the multitasking menu, or pulling up media-dense websites. This bad boy does a pretty good job handling what’s a typical mediocre workload to us. Unlike Samsung’s memory spand errors, the 925 has 1GB of system memory and anoter 16GB of storage for your music, pictures and files assorted.

With the same battery, processor, resolution and screen size (if not technology), we expected a battery rundown to offer comparable times to the Lumia 920 on the same 2,000mAh battery, and we were right. As we’ve played with it over the last five days, we noticed that real-world use was actually longer than what we were expecting from a Nokia Windows Phone. Whether that’s due to the AMOLED display (and how it handles black output without expending much power) or that always-on clock that meant we weren’t as obsessive with powering the device on all the time, we were able to last a good day and a half on a single charge.

[quote_right]Engraved on my review device is a simple ‘I love you’ [/quote_right]

To conclude, Nokia has really up their game with the 925, All the flwas and errors we saw on the 800, 820 and 920 have been attended to. The colours and design are more understated, with the hardware lighter and thinner. Our complains about the Windows Phone OS still stands and after the Nokia World event a few weeks ago, we don’t see much changing in the next few months. Nokia has also succeeded in making sure the 935 stands out from the rest of the series, despite poor local marketing. Engraved on my review device is a simple ‘I love you’ at the lower rear, just below the speaker. This engravement, has set me back a mere R8 999.


Papi Mabele
Tech enthusiast at heart. Lover of all things digital. Papi is the founder of SA Vibe and has been sharing his love for gadgetry since 2010. Papi sees no need for wearable tech in his busy schedule and considers the Xbox One as non existant. He may come across as bias at times, and still holds a grudge at BlackBerry for creating the 8520.