Nokia Lumia 925 Review

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The Lumia 925 is easily the best Windows Phone 8 device you can buy, at least right now. Whew. That was easy. Wait, you want to know if you should buy one as well? Some people are never happy.

Nokia Lumia 925: On the plus side

There are many aspects of the Nokia Lumia 925 that aren’t surprising at all in a Windows Phone 8 device.
Nokia is in many ways competing with itself in the Windows Phone 8 space, given that other manufacturers are hardly falling over themselves to develop or promote new handsets. As such, the software features of the Lumia 925 are par for the course for a Nokia device; you get the excellent Here for Maps, Nokia Music for music streaming and so on.
The Lumia 925’s camera capabilities are a key selling point; while the pure megapixel count hasn’t been altered from the 920 at 8.7 megapixels, it’s now got six lenses to aid in photo taking, as well as a new camera application, Nokia Smart Camera. This expands the camera capabilies with a very simple to use application that allows for the current flavours of the month when it comes to onboard camera manipulation, including object removal, time-shifted slides and best picture capture based on the rapid capture of shots.
Smart Camera is a capable enough bit of software, but after a week of taking shots, I’m struck by the same realisation as with the very similar features in the HTC One. It’s possible to take some good shots with this kind of technology, and if all you want is to pick the “best” shot out of the ten it takes, that’s fine. Other photos, however can be a bit hit and miss as to whether you’ll end up with something sensible, or something blurred and poorly composed.
See also: Nokia Lumia 925 vs iPhone 5: Quick Camera Test
Onboard storage is either 16GB or 32GB, currently depending on which carrier you opt for. Vodafone has a “time limited” (but mysterious) exclusive on the 32GB model of the Lumia 925, while Telstra and Optus supplied Lumia 925 handsets ship with only 16GB on board. There’s no microSD slot, so what you see is what you get.

Nokia Lumia 925: On the minus side

Android is a free for all. Find some hardware, install a version of Android on it, and see what happens. iOS, on the other hand, is a prison camp, where the rules must be followed, no matter what.
OK, that’s an exaggeration, but it sets the scene. The interesting thing with Windows Phone 8 is that Microsoft leans far more towards the Apple model than the Google one, and that has implications for the hardware that makes up any Windows Phone 8 device. The Lumia 925’s underlying 1.5GHz Snapdragon and 4.5″ 1280×768 pixel AMOLED are perfectly acceptable for running the software at hand — but that’s it.
There’s only a small allowable amount of under-the-hood differentiation in Windows Phone models, and while that’s good news for entry-level devices such as the Lumia 520, it means that the gap between its plastic cheapness and the Lumia 925’s supposed “premium” status isn’t perhaps as wide as you might think it should be. Not that you’d mistake one for the other in the hand, or indeed for photographic prowess, but in day to day usage the gap is smaller than it perhaps should be.
The AMOLED screen on the Lumia 925 isn’t quite as nice as the LCD on the Lumia 920, but that’s a slight niggle, as is my continuing annoyance with Microsoft’s Live Tile colouring. I like that I can choose the core background tile colour… except for things like Games, which always look garishly out of place in my default blue theme.
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The application environment for Windows Phone 8 is one that’s still evolving, but there’s little doubt that it’s in a chase position compared to Android or iOS. That doesn’t mean you can’t use one for most tasks, but equally it’s worth checking that the apps you rely on are actually available, or at least have comparable equivalents on the Windows Phone 8 platform.

Nokia Lumia 925: Pricing

The Nokia Lumia 925 is available across all local carriers, although as noted if you want the 32GB version you’re in a Vodafone-only market. Telstra’s pricing for the Nokia Lumia 925 is via a $66/month plan (including handset repayment), which works out at a minimum total cost of $1584, or outright at $624, which is cheaper than Nokia’s list RRP of $699.
Optus’ Nokia Lumia 925 deals start at $58 per month with a minimum contract cost of $1392.
Vodafone has the exclusive on the Lumia 925 32GB variant, but has yet to actually reveal pricing details.
For those after an imported model, Mobicity currently lists the Lumia 925 at $729.95.

Nokia Lumia 925: Alex’s verdict

I’m rather torn on the Lumia 925. On the one hand, it fixes almost everything that I didn’t like about the Lumia 920. It’s lighter, it’s got better hand grip, the camera is still excellent and so on. It’s a necessary evolution of the Lumia 920 model, although given the other similarities I don’t know if I’d be switching up from the 920 if I were a regular Lumia 920 user.
On the other hand, it’s older hardware — not that this is exactly Nokia’s fault — and its big selling point, photography, is one where Nokia’s already undercut the appeal of the Nokia Lumia 925.
The Lumia 1020 is coming, and from all reports it’s going to be the smartphone to beat for camera smarts. Yes, it’ll apparently reintroduce the problems with weight and bulk that plagued the Lumia 920, but still, it’s clearly going to be the new flagship for Nokia.
Nokia was keen at launch to argue that the Lumia 925 is the “current” flagship, and reticent to talk about when we’ll see the Lumia 1020 in Australia. Still, who buys a smartphone for the very short term? There’s nothing terribly wrong with the Nokia Lumia 925, but those who are after the absolute tippy-top Windows Phone 8 experience may find themselves with a little buyer’s regret when the Lumia 1020 does make its appearance by opting for the Lumia 925 right now.

Author: Alex

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

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