Nokia’s best yet: aluminium-clad Lumia 925 reviewed

If there’s one handset that needed to be re-looked at from last year, it’s Nokia’s Lumia 920, the then-flagship handset that took the best of what Nokia had to offer and wrapped it in a polycarbonate body that could take pretty much anything you threw at it.

One obvious downside of this so-so-solid design, though, is that it’s a heavy little beast, weighing more than handsets with bigger screens.

Less than a year later, however, Nokia has brought that handset back to the drawing board, putting it on a diet and tightening up some of its features. Is this Nokia’s best available smartphone, or is it just more of the same?

Features

It’s barely seven months since Nokia first let us play with the flagship 4.5 inch Lumia 920, and while it wasn’t a bad phone, it was a chunky handset, a criticism Nokia appears to have listened to.

Several months on from the release, Nokia has tried again, taking most of the same innards and spitting out a new handset more worthy of praise.

As we just said, much of the equipment here is the same as it was when Nokia first outed the Lumia 920 in the first place last year.

The Lumia 925 on the left and the Lumia 920 on the right.

You’ll find the dual-core Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 1GB RAM, Adreno 225 graphics chip, no microSD slot, and either 16 or 32GB storage depending on what telco you buy the handset from. Vodafone subscribers will see the 32GB model, while everyone else will find 16GB in their handset.

Connectivity is the same, with WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n, DLNA, GPS, Bluetooth, Near-Field Communication, and microUSB for moving data over a wired port, with 4G LTE useful for anyone keen to see mobile broadband speeds of up to roughly 100Mbps (Cat3).

All of this sits underneath the same 4.5 inch sized screen, but that’s where the changes begin, with Nokia switching from the In-Plane Switching display technology to an AMOLED touchscreen, running at the same 1280×768 resolution with a Retina beating 332 pixels per inch density. Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2 still protects the screen from scratches, and a high touch sensitivity means the screen can pick up pokes and prods while wearing gloves.

The camera has taken a slight increase too, keeping the 8 megapixel sensor with Carl Zeiss optics in front and dual-LED flash, but improving on the sensor size slightly to create better images we hear, especially in low light. As such, this now features the “PureView” branding, a nod to the 41 megapixel PureView camera Nokia announced last year.

On the front, there’s still a 1.3 megapixel camera for those selfies and the odd video chat.

Nokia’s chassis and build has also changed, doing away with the full plastic design that made the 920 weigh close to 200 grams (185g). In its place is a body made from an aluminium frame with polycarbonate backing, dropping the weight almost 50 grams to 139.

Everything else about the handset is more or less spot on to being the same, with the same soft buttons on the front for back, home, and search, and the same physical buttons on the right for volume, power, and camera shutter.

The top edge has changed slightly as Nokia has moved the 3.5mm headset jack, microUSB charge port, and microSIM tray there.

The battery is rated for 2000mAh.

Performance

With so many phones out in the marketplace, picking and sorting through the massive selection can be difficult.

Even in the flagship space, there is just so much, with the iPhone 5 taking up the iOS offering, BlackBerry’s Z10, and various devices from Sony, Samsung, LG, and HTC knocking out the top spot for the best Android smartphones.

Over on Windows Phone, however, Nokia has seemingly made the best (and most) smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 software, a neat middle ground operating system for people who like the grid-look of iOS but want something with more contrast, bigger fonts, and automatic connections for other Microsoft services, such as Office and Xbox Live.

Previously, this top spot was handed to the Nokia Lumia 920, a handset that looked and performed very well, but also came with the unfortunate side effect of sagging pants pockets, thanks to its heavy weight.

Nokia is now addressing this with the Lumia 925, a reinvention which takes much of the same hardware, improves a couple of things, and replaces that bulky design.

So what is it like?

Pages: 1 2