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Nokia Lumia 925 review

Verdict

A well-designed Windows Phone 8 handset, but not enough of an improvement over the 920, and battery life is poor

Review Date: 18 Jun 2013

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: Free, on a £29.00 per month, 24 months contract.

Buy it now for: £254
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

Another advance is the addition of Nokia’s new Smart Camera software, which can be accessed via its own shortcut or through the Windows Phone 8 camera app’s Lenses menu. This offers a similar set of features to the Samsung Galaxy S4: it shoots a quick burst of photos, then allows you to either pick the best shot, remove moving objects automatically, overlay frames on top of each other to deliver what Nokia calls an “action shot”, or select the best faces in a group photo.

The difference with the Nokia app, apart from feeling a little sluggish in operation, is that it keeps all the original images, allowing you to go back and edit or create multiple different types of “smart” photo days, weeks or months later. It’s non-destructive editing in a similar vein to Lightroom on the PC. Using the Smart Camera does come at the cost of lower image quality, however. Images produced using the Smart Camera app are significantly grainier and noisier than photos captured by the normal camera app.

Ringing the changes?

There are other small changes with the Lumia 925, such as the Glance display, which (reminiscent of Symbian phones) shows the clock and charging status on the display while the phone is in standby, and the ability to double-tap the screen to unlock it. The core hardware, however, remains the same. The Lumia 925 employs the same size screen as the 920 with the same resolution – a 4.5in, 768 x 1,280 panel, although the technology is now AMOLED instead of IPS.

Nokia Lumia 925

Maximum brightness, as you’d expect from an AMOLED display, is pretty low at 270cd/m2, but with perfect black levels and contrast, this isn’t a massive problem unless the ambient light levels hit blinding levels. To give it some context, it’s around the same as the Samsung Galaxy S4, and half as bright as an iPhone 5.

Performance-wise, the CPU and RAM are identical. There’s a dual-core, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 and 1GB RAM; only base storage changes, dropping from 32GB to 16GB. There’s a 32GB model, but this is currently exclusive to Vodafone in the UK.

The Lumia 925 clearly can’t compete in terms of pure clock cycles with the beefiest, quad-core Android phones, but it doesn’t need to. Windows Phone 8 handsets require less power to run smoothly than Android handsets, and swiping and scrolling around the OS, and Internet Explorer, is about as responsive as any phone we’ve used. It also plays HD video, both streamed and from local storage without breaking a sweat. In the SunSpider JavaScript test, a blazing time of 895ms shows it’s a powerful web-browsing tool.

Gaming performance is less impressive. There are no titles as demanding as Real Racing 3 yet available on Windows Phone Store, but although still playable, less demanding titles, such as Real Racing 2 and Asphalt 7: Heat didn’t run completely smoothly. Running the GFXBench T-Rex benchmark backs up these impressions, with an average of 6.3fp, some way short of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, which achieve 16fps and 15fps respectively.

Nokia Lumia 925

Just like its stablemate, the Lumia 925’s undoing is its poor battery life. In our 24-hour rundown test, during which we download 50MB of data, play a podcast for an hour, force the screen on at mid-brightness for an hour, make a 30-minute phone call and then leave the phone in standby synchronising email over 3G, the Lumia 925 had only 30% remaining on the battery gauge at the end of the day. It’s a result that’s well short of the average for big screen smartphones - both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One gained a significantly better 60%.

Verdict

In all, the Nokia Lumia 925 is a capable, high-end smartphone and we enjoyed our time with it. It crams all the core componentry from the Lumia 920 into a slimmer, lighter chassis, and has a slightly improved camera along with some fun extra features. It sports the full package of Nokia extras, including Here Maps and Drive, Nokia Music and Transport.

However, we can’t bring ourselves to recommend a phone with battery life this poor, no matter how much we like the rest of the device. And with its minimal changes over the 920, nor can we recommend it as an upgrade to its predecessor, despite the lighter, sleeker design.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

Just 3 stars for performance?

This paragraph suggests more than 3/6 performance:

"The Lumia 925 clearly can’t compete in terms of pure clock cycles with the beefiest, quad-core Android phones, but it doesn’t need to. Windows Phone 8 handsets require less power to run smoothly than Android handsets, and swiping and scrolling around the OS, and Internet Explorer, is about as responsive as any phone we’ve used. It also plays HD video, both streamed and from local storage without breaking a sweat. In the SunSpider JavaScript test, a blazing time of 895ms shows it’s a powerful web-browsing tool.

Read more: Nokia Lumia 925 review | PC Pro http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/smartphones/382489/
nokia-lumia-925/2#ixzz2WYDVVcBB"

By elee73 on 18 Jun 2013

Just 3 stars for performance?

This paragraph suggests more than 3/6 performance:

"The Lumia 925 clearly can’t compete in terms of pure clock cycles with the beefiest, quad-core Android phones, but it doesn’t need to. Windows Phone 8 handsets require less power to run smoothly than Android handsets, and swiping and scrolling around the OS, and Internet Explorer, is about as responsive as any phone we’ve used. It also plays HD video, both streamed and from local storage without breaking a sweat. In the SunSpider JavaScript test, a blazing time of 895ms shows it’s a powerful web-browsing tool.

Read more: Nokia Lumia 925 review | PC Pro http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/smartphones/382489/
nokia-lumia-925/2#ixzz2WYDVVcBB"

By elee73 on 18 Jun 2013

Power

Big disappointment over the 920 is that wireless charging has been dropped, especially given the crappy battery life. When you can just sling a phone on a charging pad life becomes so much easier.

By PaulOckenden on 18 Jun 2013

Overall Judgment

I just have to say this is the first, even remotely negative review I've read. I plan on getting the 925 as soon as it is available. But I personally feel this review is not accurate.

By xilan on 18 Jun 2013

@xilan

have to agree - i've only seen gushing reviews elsewhere. hoping these are better than pcpro think and that they are going cheap by november when i can swap providers :-)

By sihaz2 on 18 Jun 2013

@PaulOckenden

Wireless charging has not been dropped. You can purchase a cover that includes wireless charging.

By Macer71 on 18 Jun 2013

@ elee73

but this doesn't suggest the same sort of performance ...

Running the GFXBench T-Rex benchmark backs up these impressions, with an average of 6.3fp, some way short of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, which achieve 16fps and 15fps respectively.

By TimoGunt on 18 Jun 2013

Battery life - you charge it nightly - is that a problem

PC Pro seems to obsess about battery life on phones. I get this if you compare a phone that needs charging every night with one that lasts a week or so, but with most smart phones you struggle to get a full two days use, so get used to charging up every night. Once you are on this routine whether it has 30%, 40% or even 60% at the end of 24 hours does not seem like such a big deal. I have had one of the older Nokia Lumias (800) for almost two years now and I travel with it both in the UK and abroad. I can't remember the last time it ran out of juice. Maybe I ma not typical. I don't play games on my phone, and I probably don't make 30 minute phone calls or hour long podcasts. But I use it fairly intensively for short calls, texts and email and (when on wifi) the Internet.
I am not saying battery life is insignificant, but honestly - you seem to put this above issues, like 'is the phone any good?'.
My wife has the Nokia 920 and my next upgrade will probably be another Nokia. The fact is, if you use your phone rather than play with it, they are very good. This review looks a little on the sour side.I worry about your potty training sometimes!

By PeterMcIntyre1 on 19 Jun 2013

Honestly, I only posted that once!

By PeterMcIntyre1 on 19 Jun 2013

Oh dear

Pcpro you really should have learnt.... Don't dis Microsoft or risk upsetting the fanboys!

Seriously guys get a grip its just a phone, by no stretch of anybody's imagination the best on the market just but good enough for some!

By dja74 on 19 Jun 2013

What about using it as a - PHONE

I wonder if… just once, someone, anyone, could mention the phones features that relate to – well phone issues: -

Keeps loosing signal, terrible reception, sound quality and all other issues that relate to using it as a phone?

Why is it that the above are never mentioned in any smartphone reviews?

By dholbon on 20 Jun 2013

What about using it as a - PHONE

I wonder if… just once, someone, anyone, could mention the phones features that relate to – well phone issues: -

Keeps loosing signal, terrible reception, sound quality and all other issues that relate to using it as a phone?

Why is it that the above are never mentioned in any smartphone reviews?

By dholbon on 20 Jun 2013

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