When Nokia released the Lumia 920, it was packed with the best hardware you could find in a Windows Phone, like the fantastic optically stabilized camera, PureMotion HD + display, and an operating system fresh from Microsoft Update Center. However, many reviewers, including myself, noted that the thick and heavy design was not representative of Nokia's best efforts and did not give the fantastic hardware the body it deserved.
Nokia Lumia 925 – $ 590 (Unlocked)
- 4.5-inch AMOLED display (1280 x 768) (334 ppi)
- Super sensitive touch, Gorilla Glass 2
- Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 chipset
- 1.5 GHz dual core CPU, Adreno 225 GPU, 1 GB RAM
- 16 GB internal storage
- 8.7 MP camera, Zeiss f / 2.0 lens, dual LED flash, OIS, 1080p video
- 2,000 mAh, 8.4 Wh internal battery
- LTE, Wi-Fi a / b / g / n, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC
- Windows Phone 8
- 139 grams, 8.5 mm thick
Enter the Lumia 925, Nokia's answer to the complaints. It digs the thick polycarbonate shell, the sturdy glass plate and the space-consuming LCD display for a housing made largely of aluminum with an AMOLED screen. While replacing some components and materials, the Lumia flagship lost some weight and dropped to 139 grams and 8.5 mm thick (from 185 g / 10.7 mm), giving it a whole new breath of life.
Aside from the size, a few other aspects of the phone have been tweaked, including some cool software improvements from Nokia and a revamped camera firmware that should take better advantage of the 8.7 megapixel rear camera. But are the changes too late? Is this the Lumia we should have had when Windows Phone 8 started?
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The Nokia Lumia 925 used in this test was kindly provided by MobiCity. Check out the latest smartphones that are unlocked and without a contract.
When I first pulled the Lumia 925 out of its retail box, I was a little disappointed with what I thought after using the HTC One for almost a month. The "aluminum" design is strange in some ways as the back is made of soft plastic while the only metal is on the edges of the phone. It looks strange at first glance, not as solid as the design of the Lumia 920 or as sophisticated as the even better Lumia 720.
All of the phone's ports are on the top, which also looks a bit strange. Right next to a somewhat loose SIM card slot (which is pushed in like a button) is the micro-USB charging port and the 3.5 mm headphone jack, so the bottom is completely empty. It doesn't matter much, but the top of the phone looks crowded for a design that is otherwise well-spaced.
The front panel is dominated by a remarkably smooth Gorilla Glass 2 panel that protects the 4.5-inch display. A control panel that also protects the three soft keys, the front-facing camera, and some sensors. Compared to other high-end phones available today, the display doesn't use as much of the device's face as you might want: it's just 8mm shorter than a Galaxy S4 and actually a few millimeters wider, but has a half-inch display smaller.
The back is made from a piece of plastic that you can't remove and mostly houses the rear view camera, which is unusually low down. The camera module protrudes about 1 mm from the back of the phone and provides a maximum thickness of 10.2 mm. Nokia deceptively advertises this phone as being 8.5mm thick, but by my measurements the case is mostly 9.2mm thick and the back has a flex of around 0.5mm so the plastic piece is probably not flush the internal components.
On the right side of the phone are the physical buttons: the volume rocker, the power button, and the camera button from top to bottom. This is a typical Nokia arrangement and is best for a phone of this size because the power button is in a very convenient position. Unfortunately, the camera button isn't as solid as in some previous Nokia designs, which makes it a little difficult to distinguish between the focus and capture phases.
I mentioned earlier that the phone initially let me down with its design as it looks a bit strange. But when I put it through its paces as my daily driver for about a week, the design and construction started to grow on me. It's not as pretty as the Lumia 720 I used before, but the Lumia 925 is a significant improvement over the Lumia 920. The lightness and relative thinness is refreshing and makes it like a phone going through a rigorous weight loss routine Has.
Most importantly, the design is very comfortable. The curved edges don't do a great job of making the phone look slim, but they really do help in making the phone ergonomic. Combine that with materials that really feel good in the hand and Nokia has dramatically improved the usability of its flagship Windows Phone offering with the 925. After a week, I basically forgot about the visual specifics of the design because it's just a great phone.
I tested the black model of the Lumia 925, which uses aluminum that is not entirely black and tends towards purple. If I were to pick one color of 925 to buy, with the others being white and gray, I would probably choose white because the metal edges use the natural color of aluminum which looks a little better. Unfortunately, the use of aluminum means Nokia wasn't able to produce the phone in the usual bright colors, although optional wireless chargers are available in red and yellow.
Compared to the Lumia 920, the Lumia 925 is a huge step forward in the design department, producing a phone that is ergonomic and decently attractive. The weight and thickness loss improves the feel of the device in your hands and pockets, although I still lean towards the Lumia 720's polycarbonate unibody, which has the most beautiful Lumia body yet.