Nokia Lumia 925 a serious contender - review

2013-09-19 10:00
The Nokia Lumia 925 is a serious contender for the smartphone crown. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The Nokia Lumia 925 is a serious contender for the smartphone crown. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – The company might have been sold, but that doesn’t stop Nokia from signalling its intention to regain the top slot in mobile phone manufacturing.

The Lumia 925 is the company’s latest available device that will be launched in South Africa in October and the company intends to release a range of devices, including the Lumia 1020.

The construction of the 925 is augmented by the metal case which gives the device a feel of quality though it must be said that Nokia isn’t known for poor build quality. The metal does not add much to the weight of the Lumia which tips the scales at 139g.

Powering the Lumia is a 1.5GHz Krait dual core processor mated to 1GB of RAM. That doesn't mean the 925 is a slouch as the Windows Phone OS does not support quad core processors.

The company continues to follow the trend of some manufacturers by not including a micro-SD card slot to expand the memory though the Lumia 925 comes with 16GB of onboard storage.

Picture quality

The hero feature of the 925 is the camera, though the placement of the main lens is problematic. One’s index finger often rests on the rear camera when holding the device which is not only annoying, it also ensures that the lens needs to be cleaned before taking a photo.

Nokia Lumia 925

That said, the picture quality from the 8 megapixel main camera is one of the best on a modern smartphone.

The Lumia builds on the camera technology of the 920 and the images from the device are sharp and clear in bright conditions, as expected. In low-light however, the optics deliver clear and sharp images.

In a test comparing the image quality under the same conditions between the 925 and the iPhone 5, the Lumia's images were consistently clearer.

Taking pictures is also easier with the dedicated camera button which, together with the volume rocker and power control, are neatly recessed into the metal case.

It's also easier to see those pictures with the 11.4cm display protected by Gorilla Glass. As with the 920, the display is clearly visible in direct sunlight.

Nokia has built its own mapping program, Here Maps and Here Drive+, in direct competition with the ubiquitous Google Maps and using it is a different experience.

Navigation

Though the Drive+ mapping application is still in beta phase, it shifts the goal posts of smartphone navigation by including many of the routing features commonly found on dedicated devices such as speed and direction.

Another neat feature of Here Maps is that one can download the entire South African map (161MB) so that one can navigate from Sandton to Sutherland to Silverglen completely offline.

The style of map is also unique in that building shapes are displayed as landmarks, making it easier to find your way in an unfamiliar city.

Nokia Lumia 925

It is disappointing that Nokia has dropped the City Lens application from the 925. Instead, one has to use the Popular Places function on the maps application - and not all the places are popular.

The device, of course, is powered by new owner Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system and users get access to the full suite of popular Office 365 programs on the device.

It allows editing and sharing of documents on a mobile device and reads data stored on SkyDrive as Microsoft moves to build a user ecosystem with its software services.

The Lumia supports plug-and-play which makes it easy to move content between the phone and computer and while there is decent sound quality from the built-in speakers, though it lacks some bass.

Lumia 1020

This Lumia also continues tight integration with Facebook. Once details are entered the device pulls in Facebook contacts, as well as updates and friends' images in the Gallery, making it a stalker special.

To be fair, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts are also supported, and, critically, Nokia has also hidden a Weibo account in the device, signalling its intention to tackle the massive Chinese market.

The Nokia Lumia 925 expands on the theme, but with the imminent arrival of the 1020 in SA, its reign at the top of the Windows Phone pile may be short-lived.

The Nokia Lumia 925 is an LTE (Long Term Evolution) device and has a recommended retail price of R8 999 and Nokia has said that the device will be packaged with a wireless charger in SA.


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