With a new design, lighter weight, improved interface, effective in-house navigation apps and a camera that shoots great photos both in daylight and in moonlight, the Lumia 925 isn't short of selling points.
It has a 4.5-inch display with 1280 x 768 resolution (except this time it's AMOLED), 16 GB of non-expandable memory (there's also a 32 GB model available from Vodafone UK only) with 3 GB used up by the operating system, the same 8.7 Mpx camera as the Lumia 920, a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 1 GB of RAM and a 2,000 mAh battery.
The Lumia 925 is currently on sale starting at around £480.
DESIGN & HANDLING
The phone has a decidedly more modern design with a slimmer, lighter body (8.5 mm and 139 g) than the Lumia 920's (10.6 mm and 185 g). The back is made of polycarbonate and the surrounding edges are brushed aluminium. The mix of materials and sober aesthetics make the 925 a singular smartphone with a clean, original design. It holds well in the hand and, as is often the case with Nokia mobiles, the manufacturing is impeccable, making this elegant smartphone feel agreeably robust.
That said, it would have been nice to have a protective cover for the micro-USB port along the top edge. And the speaker isn't located in the best place either, because no matter how you hold the phone, your fingers always end up covering at least part of it.
Nokia has replaced the IPS display of the Lumia 920 with an AMOLED screen. But no, it isn't Full HD—it's limited to the maximum resolution supported by Windows Phone 8, 1280 x 768. But to the naked eye, you can't see the pixels and it's quite detailed.
Being AMOLED, the screen has infinite contrast and good brightness (280 cd/m²), although the 920's display was brighter. But it's luminous enough to make reading in the sunlight as easy as apple pie. The ultra-wide viewing angles are a testament to this excellent screen's image quality (however, when looking from the side or from below, the screen turns greenish).
Lumia Colour Profile. Our phone's interface is in French, but you can still see the "Colour Saturation" option, with a slider that runs from "Natural" to "Enhanced" to "Vivid", and the "Colour Temperature" setting, which goes from "Cool" to "Neutral" to "Warm".
The AMOLED technology makes the onscreen colours not quite as faithful as the Lumia 920's. With the display set to Natural—in other words, when the colours are as close to reality as possible—the Delta E is 5. There's an 'enhanced' setting, but that raises the Delta E to 7, resulting in more defined colours that jump out at you more, but that are less faithful.
The touch delay is 120 ms, which is satisfactory and better than the 920's 155 ms (this only applies when navigating through the interface, menus and home screens). "Good" touch delay, like the iPhone 5's 75 ms, means a greater sense of fluidity and high responsiveness when flipping from one page to another. High latency, on the other hand, means a greater separation between the action (your finger touching the screen) and the reaction (things happening on the screen).
Gorilla Glass 2 protects the display's surface from scratching and Super Sensitive, the technology Nokia introduced on some of last year's Lumias, makes it usable when wearing gloves. Another selling point.
INTERFACE & NAVIGATION
The Lumia 925 is the first handset to boast a number of new Windows Phone features that will be coming to other WP8 mobiles later this summer in the "Amber" update. In addition to SmartCam (see below), this major update of Microsoft's OS includes the possibility to see the time (with brightness that changes according to preset hours of the day) and the battery level on the home screen without having to unlock the phone. The lock screen now opens with a double tap; that might sound gimmicky, but it actually comes in quite handy.
The Lumia 925 naturally comes with all of the top-notch map and GPS features included in Nokia Here, and the Windows Phone 8 interface is just as innovative as ever.
As for how well the system runs, what can we say, it's impeccable. The phone is fast, responsive and effective at executing all tasks. The specs might not look as mouth-watering as many high-end Android and Apple phones, but in use it all runs as smooth as butter (thanks largely to the stable platform that is Windows Phone 8).
The sound through the headphone output is nice and tidy, with more than enough volume for any pair of headphones. And with little to no saturation and relatively high volume, the built-in speaker is very satisfactory for a smartphone. Like the 920, the 925 features FM radio.
When browsing the web on Internet Explorer, the whole experience runs smoothly. Pages load quickly and there's no latency when scrolling up and down or zooming in and out.
However, it's worth noting that while the arsenal of apps for Windows Phone has been growing steadily (it's currently at 170,000), there simply aren't as many as you'll find at the Apple App Store or Google Play.
The camera sensor is the same as the Lumia 920's, except the lens unit contains six lenses instead of five. This improves the camera's ability to take pictures in low lighting, which was already one of the 920's strong suits. And in good lighting—a setting that frankly is not amazing on the 920—the 925 is a clear improvement. For more about the photo function and rendering, check out our article about the Lumia 925's camera.
Like Samsung and HTC, Nokia includes a bunch of extra camera functions, such as Smart Camera, which allows you to take ten photos on the fly and create a new picture containing moving subjects from each shot. You can also edit on the fly and remove objects or subjects you don't want in the frame.
The Lumia 925 films in both 720p and 1080p, something it does very well for a smartphone. We tried it at a concert and the picture and sound were both quite good, better than the iPhone 5.
The Lumia 925 has similar battery life to the 920, meaning a good day's worth of heavy usage (using both 3G and Wi-Fi). By cutting down our GPS and Internet time, we got the non-removable battery to last a day and a half.
And like the 920, the 925 is capable of wireless charging, but you have to buy a dedicated shell for around £25 and the fatboy charging pillow for £80.