Nokia Lumia 925 review

Polished Lumia 920 or revolutionary new phone?

Nokia Lumia 925 review

It was announced halfway May this year and has been available in the Netherlands since June; the Lumia 925. His name doesn't differ much from his predecessor, only the sum of a lean "five ".

All the more remarkable is that the model doesn't look very much like its predecessor, despite the fact that the 925 is an unmistakable Lumia. Those who only look like the speculator see remarkably few differences. Feel free to say no. Yet they are there. We tracked them down and are happy to explain them to you.

Together with the Lumia 925, Nokia announced the Amber update. It is a much needed update of the Windows Phone 8 operating system and exclusive to Nokia Lumia. Windows Phone is still not as mature as its competitors iOS and Android and updates are not coming out as soon as hoped. At Microsoft, they have mainly spent a lot of time on update "Blue" which is expected in 2014. This update should bring many features that have been common to other platforms for years. In the meantime, it is fairly quiet, with the exception of the GDR2 update which is part of the Amber update. We also try to explain what extras this update will bring.

Nokia Lumia 925 box contents

What's with the device?

The Lumia 925 comes in a now typical blue Nokia box. This time it has a cloth tab to slide it out of its shell. Next to the phone there is a metal pin in it with which you can open the SIM card slot. Underneath is a case with documentation including a quick start guide and important information about 4G connections. We also find a separate data cable, a plug and an in-ear headset. Different sizes of attachments are included. In addition, there are control buttons on the headphones. Everything is complete and especially the plug looks very nice because of the matte finish.


The Lumia 925 is one of Nokia's first smartphones with a metal frame. Not everything is made of metal. The 925 consists of a combination of aluminium and polycarbonate. In contrast to its predecessor, only the back is made of plastic. Not shiny like Samsung, but matte finish. Nokia also focused on another complaint of the Lumia 920, the Lumia 925 is 2.2 millimeters slimmer. In phone terms, the difference between morbid obesity and size 36. The Lumia 925 is 25% lighter. This has already removed one of his biggest objections. The new figure looks good on the Lumia 925, it feels much more compact than its predecessor.


The front consists of one glass panel, the sides are slightly convex. It's lying on top of it like a drop. At the bottom are the three buttons that are essential for Windows Phone; back, home and search. At the top of the glass there is a notch for the loudspeaker. It is covered with what looks like textile; in practice it turns out to be an ideal collection tray for dust and dirt. In the long run this creates an ugly face that can only be touched. To the right is the camera for video calling. The microphone is subtly concealed in the bottom of the glass through a small notch. It is almost unnoticeable.


On the right side are the volume buttons, the snooze button and the camera button. Although we applaud a physical camera button, there are a lot of buttons in one place. When you give your phone out of your hands, a button is often pressed unintentionally. As far as we're concerned, moving the on/off button to the top would matter a lot. The left side is free of buttons.

Nokia Lumia 925 Sim Tray

On top is the SIM card slot on the left. You'll need a special tool to open it and it can't get out completely. Next to it are the microUSB connector, the audiojack connector and an extra hole for the second microphone that takes care of the noise reduction. The bottom is free of ports or other components.


The back is dominated by the large camera module. Up close it turns out to be mostly for show, the majority is made of glass. The camera has as many megapixels as the Lumia 920. The module sticks out, it's not much but we didn't need it. Above the module there are two LED lights and underneath it is written "PureView Carl Zeiss" preceded by the Nokia logo. At the bottom is the grill for the external speaker. Right above it are three metal contacts. A separately available accessory allows you to charge them wirelessly. In contrast to its predecessor, wireless charging does not come as standard in the device. A pity, but considering the low usage there is no big loss. For fans of the first hour who already have a Qi charger or Fatboy Pillow, it is acidic. The wireless charging cover (CC-3065) should cost about 35 euros.

The Lumia 925 still cannot be opened by itself to replace the battery, for example. So we are still talking about an unibody. In itself not a problem because phones today do not survive the battery. Think of fall damage but also obsolete software.


Actually, the battery life of the Lumia 925 is still as good as ever. What continues to amaze us is how long it will last without a SIM card. A spacious week is really no exception. Try that with an Android or iPhone. With a SIM card the endurance is limited to a day or one and a half. This seems to have diminished a bit, but that also seems to be because the device now also keeps WiFi connections in standby mode. All thanks to the Amber update.

In the settings menu we still find the battery saving function. This can be turned on by default, but also when the battery is in danger of running low or until it is charged. Once turned on, this is indicated by showing a heart on top of the battery icon. An activated battery saver prevents apps from performing tasks in the background, for example, mail is no longer retrieved automatically.

Call quality

You can expect Nokia phones to be good when it comes to calling. Fortunately, this Lumia 925 is also good. Calls come in clear and with sufficient sound. It is handy that since the Amber update, you can silence incoming calls by turning the phone on its screen. That's what they call Flip to Silence. The call is not ignored, so you can always take it. However, if you find this option annoying, you can always turn it off in Settings > Audio > Improvements.



Nokia is still using an AMOLED panel with ClearBlack. It provides a deep black, high-contrast screen that is easy to read outdoors. Unfortunately, Windows Phone 8 does not yet support Full HD screens, so the resolution is stuck at 1280 by 768 pixels. It is more than enough for daily use but lacks the sharpness we see on the flagships of other manufacturers. We cannot charge Nokia but have to be with Microsoft for this, but coincidentally we are currently reviewing a Nokia phone and not (yet) a Microsoft phone.

There is a very big difference with the Lumia 920 and that is what Nokia itself calls Glance Screen. It shows a large clock in standby mode. Symbian veterans don't know any better, but it is very handy. Together with the timestamp the battery status is shown, as well as whether the device is in vibrate mode. As far as we are concerned, notifications such as missed calls or e-mails received should have been included as well. Rumor has it that this will eventually be added. You can always turn Glance (or 'glimpse' as it is called in the Netherlands) on or on an interval. In the latter it will be shown when you take it out of your pocket or 'touch' it. Fortunately, Glance Screen is not very bright, so you do not immediately light up your entire bedroom at night. If it does get too bright for you, there is a special night mode that reduces the brightness even further. Everything has been thought about.


The menu doesn't seem to have changed much. The first screen shows tiles, most of which you can customize in three sizes. Unfortunately the app list is still an alphabetical list of installed apps. We are waiting for a better way where you don't have to scroll from one app to another every time. The lockscreen doesn't seem to have been tinkered either. A handy feature is that you can unlock your phone from the Glance Screen. Tapping it twice results in the lockscreen. It turned out to be our new favorite way to unlock it.


The phone book is also virtually unencrypted. Contacts can still be imported from various accounts such as Facebook, Gmail, LinkedIn and Twitter. You can create groups and even rooms in which you can share more than just messages. Photos, for example.


Messages are displayed neatly as conversations and from the same app you can chat with other Messenger users but also Facebook chat is supported. Unfortunately, you can only see who is online if your status is on something other than offline. So don't take a peek.


The mail application seems nice and simple but is relatively extensive. Gmail users can breathe a sigh of relief, even the calendar and contacts on your Google account are neatly synchronized thanks to the Card- and CalDAV support in GDR2.


There are actually no striking things to mention in terms of connection possibilities, everything that was in the Lumia 920 is in the Lumia 925. There is still 4G support, NFC and WiFi-n. What is new, however, is that there is a list of public WiFi networks. So if you are in the city and there is an unsecured WiFi network available, you will be notified. This is a service from Data Sense which was previously introduced in Windows Phone 8 but is now (partly) available for the Netherlands. Another function of Data Sense is to set a data limit and limit data consumption over a telephone network.


The Lumia 925 is equipped with 4G and tires 1, 3, 7, 8 and 20. This means in practice that if you live in an area with 4G coverage and you have such a subscription you can use mobile internet super fast.


The main camera still has 8.7 megapixels of which Carl Zeiss supplies the lens. The aperture is the same size at f/2.0. The difference, however, lies in the size of the sensor, which is larger: 1/3 inch. In theory, the bigger the sensor, the more light it captures and the better it takes pictures in the dark or indoors. The camera of the Lumia 925 also gets help from an unexpected angle. Thanks to software, the Amber update ensures better photos in low-light situations, improved auto-focus and less noise.

The pictures of the Lumia 925 are not bad in practice. Especially in the dark photographs are significantly better than telephones of the competition, however, there is only one. Pictures were less stunning than those of the Lumia 920. That is not so much because of the Lumia 925, we were just spoiled last year. Nokia is partly to blame for this with the release of the Lumia 1020 with 41 megapixels. Our standard has risen faster than the Lumia 925 has improved. Let's leave it in the middle whether it is because of this Lumia 925 or because of us.

Nokia Smart Camera Action FocusNokia Smart Camera Action Shot

In addition to the standard camera app, Nokia also supplies its own Nokia Smart Camera and Nokia Pro Cam app. The first comes together with Amber and has the added value that you can remove moving objects from photos, change faces in group photos, focus on movements and take an action shot. What the app actually does is shoot as many photos as possible in a few seconds. The effects you can create with it are quite fun and in some cases actually add something. You can also start the app from the standard camera app by selecting it as a 'lens'.

Besides the Smart Camera, there is also the Nokia Pro Cam. This is an extremely extensive camera application where you can set things like ISO and shutter speeds. The home-garden-and-kitchen user does not want to bother you with this, but the advanced or semi-professional user can do very nice things with it. It takes some knowledge to play with these settings yourself, but the fact that they are there makes it very interesting. Moreover, the interface is a funny one. We would have preferred Nokia to merge all these separate apps into one, something that hopefully will come in the long run. This way it becomes so confusing.

Nokia Lumia 925 camera samples

Existing programs

We have already discussed many apps included with Windows Phone and the Amber update but we would like to explain one more. And that's the FM radio. Most Lumia's have a radio receiver but it wasn't activated yet. The Amber update does just that and that is why we can now enjoy radio in combination with a connected headset. The function is hidden under 'Music and videos'.


Also pre-installed is Nokia's HERE suite. This navigation software is among the best on the market and is free of charge. With HERE Drive+ you have spoken navigation with online and offline maps from all over the world. HERE maps is the map service for when you want to look up something and with HERE Transit you can plan your journey via public transport. What's more, the app gives you a clear overview of all possible routes.



The Lumia 925 is not only a modest upgrade in terms of name, there is also little difference in terms of specifications. There is a difference, especially on the outside. A premium looking metal edge with a noticeable weight loss. This is at the expense of the wireless charging function reintroduced by Nokia itself.

We do wonder out loud where Nokia places the Lumia 925 exactly. The Lumia 920 was the top model at the time, this 925 was not. That honour goes to the new Lumia 1020 with 41 megapixels. Yet it is also a kind of top model, a reborn Lumia 920. As far as we're concerned, it's been awarded to him, so he can last another year.

Nokia has not only awaited the work of Microsoft, but has actively started working with the software itself. Luckily, without Amber (and only with the GDR2 update) it would have all been very poor. Microsoft has to step it up a bit, because the updates are not fast enough. We still miss crucial and basic functions like a screen rotation lock. How difficult can it be, you wonder? Somewhere we also hold our hearts when Nokia has been swallowed by Microsoft. Hopefully Nokia's thoughts won't be lost.

As for this Lumia 925, it may not be the latest of the latest you can get today. However, Nokia more than makes up for this with the included software such as free navigation and music services. As far as we're concerned, the Lumia 925 isn't a bad deal at all, especially considering you get a metal phone in return.

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