Owners of the recently released Nokia Lumia 920 might be a bit disappointed to learn that the Lumia 925 is the better-looking sibling. Same hardware, different design. What was Nokia thinking? Check out our full review of the Nokia Lumia 925 below to find out.
The Lumia 925 is Nokia’s attempt to deviate from the usual Lumia design principle. The Nokia Lumia 920 weighs 185gm and is 10.7mm thin while the Nokia Lumia 925 weighs just 139g and is 8.5mm thin.
Before moving on, you cna also read our review of the Lumia 920 here just so you have a better perspective.
Design and Construction.
The Lumia 925 bears no resemblance, whatsoever, to its older sibling, the Lumia 920. While they share a lot of the genetic code, Nokia designed the Lumia 925 totally from the ground up. The metallic chassis and polycarbonate backplate has a very solid build and premium finish.
It also looks smaller and feels much thinner, among the thinnest of the Lumia line-up we’ve ever reviewed here. The silver metallic finish of the frame has a cold feel to it and the matte backplate is somewhat prone to smudges and dirt.
The right side of the device is where they placed the volume controls, the power button and the dedicated camera shutter button. There’s nothing to find on the left side and the bottom side but the top side has the 3.5mm audio jack, the micro USB port and the micro SIM card slot.
There are two microphones inconspicuously placed at the top end (for noise-canceling) and the edge of the Gorilla Glass on the bottom corner (for making calls).
At the back is the 8.7-megapixel camera paired with a dual-LED flash just above it. The speaker grilles are at the bottom corner which is coupled by two elevated polycarbonate pimples to make sure the speaker is not completely covered when placed on its back in a flat surface when playing some music.
The WP8 logo blinks while the handset is charging up. We have to admit that is probably the nicest-looking Lumia handset ever made by Nokia.
While the Lumia 920 sports an IPS LCD display, the Lumia 925 went with an AMOLED display although both still have a resolution of 1280×768 pixels packed in a 4.5-inch screen. We’re not sure about the switch to an AMOLED display but it’s really a matter of choice. AMOLED produced clearer blacks and is also energy-efficient.
They used the same AMOLED display on the Lumia 820 although with the 925, the higher resolution and pixel density (332ppi) makes the display quality much better especially when browsing websites, photos and even movies.
As with the 920, the Lumia 925 also has an odd 15:9 aspect ratio (not the usual standard of 4:3 or 16:9) which is not that noticeable unless you do some video playbacks.
Nevertheless, images are essentially great with crisp and sharp, has very wide viewing angles and decent visibility under direct sunlight or bright light sources.
OS, Apps and UI.
Windows Phone 8 as a platform has matured thru the years. In fact, it’s the fastest growing app ecosystem which doubled in number in just over the last year. The Live Tiles are pretty much standard and the only customization you get is to resize them and change their theme colors.
With over 150,000 apps in the App Store, WP8 is no slouch when it comes to apps. It’s still behind Android and iOS which already clocked over a million apps between them. Some popular apps are still missing and the casual games that tend to be super-popular in iOS or Android (like Candy Crush Saga) is no where in sight.
Nokia HERE adds a number of really useful native LBS apps for the Lumia 925.
Don’t get us wrong, the app ecosystem is survivable if you stick with the standard ones but there will be instances you will miss a couple of native apps once in a while.
The numeric keypad for making calls is comfortable, plain and well-spaced.
Nokia also added their own native apps and they’re the really good ones that separated Nokia from other WP8 handset manufacturers in the market. Among the popular and useful Nokia apps are HERE Maps, Drive and City Lens. The Nokia Smart Camera app also add a rich choice of options for the PureView camera of the Lumia 925.
The virtual keyboard looks a bit cramped.
Of course, you also get the benefit of having native access to Office 365 and Skydrive since it’s pre-installed by Microsoft.
Multimedia and Camera.
While the size of the display isn’t as large as the current 5-incher flagship handsets in the market, the PureMotion+ AMOLED display gave really stunning colors, image quality and finer details. We loved watching videos on this device and if only the screen could be bigger.
Audio from the speakers is quite good — it’s got more than enough volume but lacks bass.
The 8.7-megapixel PureView camera is among the best in a smartphone we’ve ever used. Photos are just stunning, colors are very accurate and images are clean and sharp. Here are some sample photos we took using the rear camera.
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The Lumia 925 manages to capture a pretty good image in whatever scenario we expose it to. It manages very bright, mid-noon landscape, even shots with direct sunlight was handled pretty well but it’s in low-light conditions that the Lumia 925 impressed us the most.
The video clips we’re showing below also showcases the performance of the camera, both in natural light and very low-light conditions.
Notice the adjustment in contrast when the camera is exposed to direct sunlight, the amount of detail captured during low-light recording, and the well-balanced color saturation. Compared to the iPhone 5, the Lumia 925 has a much wider focal length that allows it to capture more on the screen.
The rear camera has 1/3-inch sensor size, an f/2.0 aperture, 26mm focal length which is among the highest in its category, which even rivals a lot of the point-and-shoot cameras out there.
The Nokia Smart Camera app also features tricky shots like Best Shot, Action Shot and Motion Focus.
Performance and Benchmarks.
We’ve got no complains in the this department as the Lumia 925 basically breezes thru all of the most common tasks we throw at it. The 925 played our full HD 1080p movie very smoothly and games like Drift Mania, Temple Run and AE 3D Moto played just as well.
Test results from our WP Bench showed the Lumia 925 doing quite well. The handset got an over-all score of 216 with the GPU clocking in at 32fps.
Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life.
We’ve hard a hard time figuring out how to get the 4G connection of the Lumia 925 on our Globe LTE SIM. All we get is the option for 2G or 3G in the connection settings. As such we’re not able to test the bets possible mobile internet speed of the handset.
The review unit we have here is the international RM-892 variant which supports a penta-band LTE 1, 3, 7, 8, 20 (2100/1800/2600/900/800 MHz). The Lumia 920 we reviewed before had its LTE working just fine so we’re hoping the same is true with the Lumia 925.
Battery life on the Lumia 925 is said to last up to 9 hours but in our standard test of running a full HD 1080p video in a loop with “medium” brightness and 0% volume gave us a result of 8.5 hours in total, which isn’t bad considering it’s only rated at 2,000mAh. Once you get into mobile internet and do a lot surfing, the battery gets drained much faster.
Call quality is really good on the Lumia 925. Voice reception is clean and clear and has very little ambient noise. SMS are sent and received on a timely basis and we’ve not encountered any problems in this department so far.
The Lumia 925 is a very solid contender from Nokia. It has a really nice design, a very capable hardware and platform, with a superb PureView camera to boot. It might not have the best hardware when compared to handsets in the competing Android ecosystem but the one that runs the Lumia 925 is a very capable one.
In the world of Windows Phone 8, the Lumia 925 is without a doubt the most compelling handset to be had.
The Lumia 925 is not yet released in the Philippines (local launch is set for August 1) so we don’t have any suggested retail price yet.
Nokia Lumia 925 PureView specs:
4.5-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display @ 1280×768 pixels, 332ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
Qualcomm Snapdragon Krait 1.5GHz dual-core processor
Adreno 225 GPU
16GB internal storage
3G, HSPA+, 4G LTE 100Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band
8.7MP PureView rea camera, Carl Zeiss optics, dual LED flash
1080p HD video (low-light, image stabilization)
1.3MP front-facing camera, 720p video
FM Radio tuner
GPS w/ aGPS support, GLONASS
Windows Phone 8
Li-ion 2,000mAh, non-removable
129 x 70.6 x 8.5mm (dimension)
What we liked about it:
* Great design and solid construction
* Impressive camera performance
* LTE connectivity
* Nokia HERE suite of apps
What we did not like:
* No expandable storage
* Non-removable battery
* The white back panel easily gets dirty