Hands-on: Nokia Lumia 925 review

The Nokia Lumia 925 is the new flagship Windows Phone from the Finnish company. It very much builds on the foundations laid down by the Lumia 920, but makes some fairly dramatic changes along the way. Pocket-lint had the opportunity to spend some time with the new handset before the global launch in London.

The first and most obvious thing that hits you is the design. Where Nokia was criticised by some, including ourselves, for the bulk of the Lumia 920, that's the main target of the 925: it's slimmer and lighter.

The handset measures 129 x 70.6 x 8.5mm and weighs 139g. That's a hefty reduction from the Lumia 920 and there are several things that have led to that reduction in size and weight.

It's partly down to a screen that curves less, so uses less glass. It's partly down to using a strong but light aluminium body. But Nokia say it's mostly down to redesigning this phone from the ground up. Whether you thought the 920's bulk was a barrier or not, there's no denying that the 925 is a more appealing prospect.

Nokia has avoided a full metal exterior body, like HTC One, instead sticking to polycarbonate in some areas. The front, naturally, is all display, but there's a polycarbonate insert in the back. You're left with a fusion of plastic and metal that's rather nice to hold.

There's a warm tactile feeling to the back, in contrast with the smoothness of the metal edges. It still looks and feels like a Nokia, but where the previous message shouted about colour, that doesn't seem to be the case here.

That means there's a departure from the rest of the Lumia line of Windows Phones. There are three colours, black, white and grey, with various combinations on offer. We've not seen them all: the black metal and black back looked good, but the silver metal and white back really caught our eye.

One thing that the Lumia 925 misses out on that the Lumia 920 offers is the integrated Qi standard wireless charging. As witthe Lumia 720, if you want to enable wireless charging you'll have to buy the accessory cover and clip it on. That will add a dash of colour too, with the regular rainbow of colours on offer.

With a slimmer profile, the Nokia Lumia 925 has a slightly pronounced lens surround. Nokia described this as a "feature", saying that it "pillowed" around the lens. It's rather reminiscent of the HTC One X, with it's raised lens surround.

The first surprise regarding the Nokia Lumia 925 is that there's no Xenon flash. A Recent addition on the Nokia Lumia 928, launched as a Verizon exclusive in the US, the 925 seems to miss-out on that part of the puzzle. You'll have to settle for LED, as does the rest of the cameraphone world.

Inside the camera, however, and Nokia has made a small change. The camera still carries the PureView name, as well as boasting a Carl Zeiss lens and the optical image stabilisation of the Lumia 920, but adds an extra lens element. The Nokia Lumia 925's lens features five plastic elements and one new additional glass element, which Nokia says will make it a better performer than the 920. The 8.7-megapixel sensor is the same.

 

That's good news, because the Lumia 920 is one of the best smartphone cameras to date. But it isn't just about the hardware changes: there are software additions too. There's a new Nokia Smart Camera "mode" that rolls together a number of clever creative features into one package.

Although this is separate from the main camera app, you can set Nokia Smart Camera to be the default shooting mode of the Lumia 925. Nokia Smart Camera will rattle off 10 successive shots at a high quality and then give you access to features like Best Shot, Action Shot and Motion Focus, so you can not only get creative, but get the results you want.

We didn't have long to play with Nokia Smart Camera, but it is incredibly easy to use and Nokia was kind enough to supply us with some sample images. We also haven't had the chance to take a closer look at any of the test photos we took, although, if the 920 is anything to go by, the 925 could well be the best smartphone there is for photography. We'll bring you all the details when we get the chance to give it a full review.

Moving on to the hardware and there's a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor lying at the heart of the Nokia Lumia 925 along with 1GB of RAM. There's 16GB of internal storage, although we've been told that Vodafone will be getting an exclusive 32GB model.

The display on the front of the Lumia 925 is 4.5-inches, with a resolution of 1280 x 768 (331ppi) and is AMOLED. That means it gives you nice punchy colours and deep blacks, which, from what we've seen of the new phone, works really well with Windows Phone, giving great contrast to your tiles.

Powering the whole thing is a 2000mAh battery, which Nokia state will give you up to 12.8 hours of 3G talk time. This is a 4G handset and it's difficult to judge exactly how long this device will last out in the real world. We'll know more when we get to a full review in the near future.

The performance of the Nokia Lumia 925 in our time spent with the new phone seems the same as the Nokia Lumia 920. That's no bad thing, as Nokia's past champion in no slouch. In reality, if you're a 920 owner, then all you really miss out on is design and a lens element, whilst you get built-in wireless charging and more internal storage. The Nokia Smart Camera that the Lumia 925 will come to the 920 too in a future update being called "Amber".

Overall, from what we've seen so far, the Nokia Lumia 925 is a flagship phone that screams quality. It brings strong design to the fight, fused with Nokia's enhancements of Microsoft's mobile OS, giving you the best of Windows Phone.

We were hard on the Nokia Lumia 920 when it launched because of its size and weight. We preferred the slimmer and more managable Lumia 820. The Nokia Lumia 925 is the handset we wanted last November and we're glad it's here. The Nokia Lumia 925 will be available in June 2013.

READ: Nokia Lumia 925: Where can I get it?