Nokia’s Lumia lineup are among the most original and well designed phones out there, and they’re exclusive to Windows Phone. There’s no Lumia we haven’t loved and their latest Windows Phone, Lumia 925, is another winner. The build of the device is just spectacular, and it’s complimented by a floating Carl Zeiss Tessar camera lens, AMOLED screen, a sweet UI, and ultra-fast AT&T LTE speeds.
The Nokia Lumia lineup has always had one of the best build-qualities of any mobile phone. The back is polycarbonate and the sides are aluminum. The entire device is so dense and solid, it’s like it was carved straight out of a block of technology. The AT&T model is black with grey sides.
Our favorite design cue of the entire Lumia lineup is the face. There’s a pane of gorilla glass that looks like a smooth stretch of ink sitting on top of the device. The display seamlessly blends into the face and the screen looks like it floats on top of the face. It’s a really neat effect delivered by the ClearBlack AMOLED screen.
The 925 is arguably the perfect sized phone. It has a large 4.5″ screen, but a form factor that will fit in any average sized hand, male or female. It’s just larger than iPhone 5 on all sides, but the 925 is slender with nice curves. The sides are tapered and the back of the phone bubbles out. As such a dense piece of technology, it does have some real heft to it.
The 4.5″ AMOLED display has a resolution of 1280×768 with a pixel density of 334 ppi–retina standards. It doesn’t look quite as crisp as Apple’s retina display, which is because it’s a pentile screen, but the blacks are darker and the contrast pops- a little more than iPhone.
Ports and Buttons
Hooray for standard micro-USB syncing and charging. The SIM card is micro-SIM. On the front of the phone is three touch sensitive buttons (back, home, and search). Along the right side is two buttons and a volume rocker. There’s the lock/unlock/power button and a dedicated camera button. There’s also a standard headphone port which works with headphone/microphone combinations.
The Nokia Lumia 925 isn’t exactly a specification powerhouse, but it’s well powered and streamlined for Windows Phone 8. It runs a dual-core 1.5GHz snapdragon processor with a gigabyte of RAM. There’s 16GB of storage and no expandable memory (boo). There’s built-in NFC, Bluetooth 3.0, Wireless-n, and USB 2.0.
The battery capacity is 2000 mAh and capable of lasting 18 days on standby. While you’ll probably never see 18 days, I can attest to getting 4 or 5 days with light use. In reality you can easily get a full day of above average usage, which is rare these days.
The main selling point of these Lumia’s have been the camera and the Carl Zeiss Tessar lens. This isn’t the Lumia 1020 with the 41MP camera, instead it has a quality 8.7MP camera. The main, rear, camera has auto-focus with a two-stage capture button. There’s a 4X digital zoom, a dual-LED flash, and optical image stabilization. The floating lens reduces movement in both videos and photos and allows you to take great shots in low-light scenes. It records full HD 1080p video. The front camera is 1.2MP with a resolution of 1280×960.
Nokia and Microsoft empower the user to make the most of their Lumia camera with a few bundled photography apps. The default photography app is Nokia Pro Camera, you can leave everything on auto and get some beautiful and artistic shots, or you can get into the nitty gritty with camera settings and really personalize your photography. Then there’s Nokia Smart Camera which takes a burst of images and allows you to choose the best, or erase moving pieces from the background, or swap faces, or capture a motion effect. There’s also a great app that clips together your surroundings for an amazing panorama.
The biggest gripe we have with the camera is the placement. It’s dead center on the back of the phone so we capture a lot of shots with our fingers in it. But in terms of quality photography, the Lumia 925 and iPhone 5S are very close contenders. Lumia gives you a lot more flexibility and customization with your camera settings. The dedicated two-stage capture button on the Lumia is really convenient when shooting. They both do really well in low light. Lumia’s low light (no flash) shots come out a lot brighter, but iPhone’s have truer color. Lumia takes more versatile and artistic looking shots in auto, though iPhone is a lot quicker to take an appealing photo.
AT&T Data and Calling
The Nokia Lumia 925 (black only) runs on AT&T’s 4G LTE network, it also supports HSPA+ 4G, GSM, and EDGE connectivity. The data speeds have been very fast in NYC. I’ve done a number of speed tests between Lumia 925 and iPhone 5S on AT&T; they vary slightly in speed, but again–very fast. In NYC I’ll often get around 1MB download (8Mbps/s) and .5MB upload speed. The data has been quite reliable. Call quality is pretty much as good as it gets and service is widespread. You can also turn 925 into a hotspot and share internet with up to 5 devices.
If you’re a fan of Windows Phone or Nokia, it’s easy to fall in love with the Nokia Lumia 925. Windows Phone 8 has most every feature as iOS and Android, and it’s maybe the best looking of all of them. That said, the Nokia Lumia 925 has a few neat features you won’t find on iPhone and Android. For instance, Lumia has an always-on screen saver which almost always displays the time on the face phone. It’s ultra low-power and barely uses any battery. It’s convenient and also a neat effect with the inky black screen. The 925 has wireless charging capabilities, though it requires a sleek plastic case and a charging base. Instead of app icons, Windows Phone 8 uses live tiles that refresh with notifications and bits of eye candy.
All in all, the Nokia Lumia 925 is an extremely practical mid-range phone. It’s crazy-long battery life, amazing LTE speed, snappy UI, gorgeous screen, and killer form factor will keep you smiling. The Nokia Lumia 925 for AT&T is currently available for $99.99 and a 2-year contract, or $429.99 off-contract.
The Good: Awesome camera and camera apps + great low-light photography, dedicated two-stage camera button, beautiful form factor and screen, snappy UI, Long battery, NFC for payments and sharing, fast data speeds, wireless charging with case, always-on screen saver clock, very durable.
The Bad: Back shows greasy fingerprints, no color options yet, no expandable memory (only 16GB), heavier then average, and no removable battery.