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Nokia Lumia 925 review

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The best high-end Windows Phone 8 handset, but we're not convinced by the camera

Review Date: 7 Apr 2014

Price when reviewed: £500

Buy it now for: £273
(see more store prices)


Reviewed By: Chris Finnamore

Our Rating 5 stars out of 5

User Rating 4 stars out of 5

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Updated 7 April 2014: Nokia Lumia 925 v Nokia Lumia 930

When the Lumia 925 launched nearly a year ago it was the best Windows Phone 8 handset around. Now widely available for around half its launch price (£273, down from £500) it is still a fantastic phone and a real bargain.

Just as the Lumia 925 usurped the 920, the recently-announced Lumia 930 will soon better the 925. The Lumia 930 should cost around £500 when it launches in late June or early July. For the extra cash you'll get a phone with noticeably higher specs. The Lumia 925 has a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 1GB of RAM, while the 930 comes with a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM. The Lumia 930 also has a bigger, better screen and a better camera.

But these comparisons are no slight on the Lumia 925, which is still an excellent, high-spec phone. One of the big selling points of the Lumia 930 is Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft's much-improved operating system due to launch in the next few months. Windows Phone 8.1 will also be coming to the Lumia 925, giving this bargain phone a new lease of life and great new features.

The Lumia 925 used to be the best Windows Phone 8 handset you could buy. While the Lumia 930 looks set to topple it from its perch the Lumia 925 is still a great choice. If you want the best, highest-spec and most up-to-date Windows Phone 8.1 handset then you should wait for the Lumia 930. But at just £273 the Lumia 925 will save you over £200 compared to the Lumia 930, leaving you with a great phone and a happy bank balance.

Original review:

The Lumia 925 is a slimmer, lighter update to the Lumia 920. The Lumia 920 was a beautifully-made unibody phone, but it did attract some criticism for its 185g weight. The 925 shaves off 46g, as well as 2mm in thickness, from the 920 and so is a much more svelte proposition.

Nokia Lumia 925Slimmer, lighter and more metal than the Lumia 920

Like the Lumia 920, the 925 is a sealed unit, but the design is significantly different. Instead of a solid polycarbonate shell, the phone's chassis is split into a coloured plastic rear and metal frame. We're not sure it feels as absolutely bombproof as the Lumia 920, but we're certainly fans of the metal frame; it's cool to the touch and makes the 925 more comfortable to hold for long periods than a phone with a plastic chassis.

The Lumia 925 has a 4.5in AMOLED display, with a 768x1,280 resolution. This isn’t up there with the 1,080x1,920 Full HD screens we’ve become used to seeing on top-end handsets such as the Sony Xperia Z and Samsung Galaxy S4, but it's an adequate number of pixels for the 925's slightly smaller screen. That's 332 pixels per inch (PPI), compared to 441PPI on the S4 or 326PPI on the iPhone 5.

Nokia Lumia 925It's not Full HD, but this is still an excellent display

The display has excellent image quality. As we normally see from AMOLED screens, blacks are properly black, and colours are beautifully saturated and vibrant. Side by side with a Samsung Galaxy S4, the Lumia 925 had whiter whites and more saturated colours, but couldn't match the S4 for viewing angles; tilting the screen away from vertical led to a slight blue cast on the 925's display. However, most people tend to use their phones straight on, so we can't see this being much of a problem.

Like the 920, the 925 has a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 1GB RAM. This is more than adequate for running Windows Phone 8, and everything is beautifully smooth. The phone completed the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark in 906ms, which is the fastest score we’ve seen, and renders complicated websites quickly.

However, we're not particularly keen on the browser, but this is mainly due to the way Windows Phone 8 works. While Android and iOS have browsers with dedicated back buttons, Windows Phone 8's version of Internet Explorer uses the phone's generic back button to go to the previous page. This is fine when you have the browser open, but if you go back to the main menu and then open IE again, it will go to the last page you visited, but you can’t then go back to the previous page. It's frustrating for those who do a lot of web surfing on their phones.

While we appreciate Windows Phone 8 is a slick and well-designed operating system, problems such as this make it feel less flexible than Android. Another problem is the lack of apps. The situation is improving, but there's still nowhere near the range and sophistication available in other platforms' app stores. We're still missing Rightmove and Sky, but there is at least a decent BBC iPlayer app.

HERE NavigationHERE Navigation gives you turn-by-turn navigation with both offline maps and search

Nokia sweetens the deal considerably, though, with its own apps. These include HERE Navigation, which gives you turn-by-turn navigation and, unlike Google Navigation, supports both offline maps and offline address searches, and Nokia Music, a large collection of free music playlists which can be streamed and listened to offline.

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