The 925 is Nokia’s flagship Windows phone until the imminent arrival of the Lumia 1020 and its monster 41 megapixel camera.
The 925 builds on the Nokia 920 Windows Phone released last year and the pair share many features although the 925 fixes the 920’s main bugbear, especially for people with small hands. The 920 was just too big for many, including me, at 10.72 x 130.3 x 70.8 and 185g and the sharp corners on its polycarbonate case made it uncomfortable to hold.
The 925 is more svelte at 139g and dimensions of 8.51 x 129 x 70.6mm and Nokia has mercifully rounded off the case corners.
Despite its big 4.5-inch screen, the 925 is light, wieldy and looks classy with its aluminium frame and polycarbonate back panel. My only concern with the case is the main camera, which sits in a raised bump in the middle of the top third of the case where it’s prone to cop fingerprints on the lens. It pays to carry a cleaning cloth if you want the best out of the camera.
The 8.7 megapixel has a lot of technology going for it with no fewer than six Carl Zeiss lenses, optical image stabilisation and low-light ability backed up by a double LED flash.
There’s also plenty of shot features such as remove moving object to get rid of picture trolls, action shot which creates a sequence of movement in a single image and a bunch of extra special effects contained in various apps for the camera.
I liked the image stabilisation feature that helps reduce blur in stills and video by damping out the operator’s shaky hands.
There’s an OK 1.2 megapixel camera at the front for videoconferencing and selfies.
The active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) 4.5-inch screen is the best screen I have viewed on a Windows phone and one of the best on any smartphone. Blacks are blacks on this screen, colours are punchy and the 1280 by 768 pixel display is a great platform for showing the pics and videos the camera is capable of. It’s clear and easy to read from any viewing angle and works very well in bright sunlight. A neat little feature called Nokia Glance provides a clock read-out in the display when the phone is in battery-saving standby mode.
Besides the excellent screen and camera, the 925 also has near-field communications for transactions on the go, a full sensor suite with ambient light, accelerometer, proximity, gyroscope and a magnetometer and a 2000mAh battery that will get you through a full day.
A 1.5Ghz Snapdragon processor with 1GB of system memory powers the gadget and, while it is dual core and not quad core, I found navigating through Windows Phone 8 to be fast and fluid.
The major disappointment with the Nokia 925 is the main memory, or lack of it. The base model has only 16GB and that is what you are stuck with – there is no micro SD slot for boosting the memory.
Given this phone is sold heavily on its camera abilities, 16GB will run out pretty quickly, especially with heavy video use. You can shift pics and videos off on to cloud storage options and Nokia spruiks 7GB of storage on Microsoft’s Skydrive service as a feature, but given the tight data caps on phone plans I’d wait until I was around a friendly WiFi connection before purging memory into the cloud.
There is a 32GB version of the 925, but for the time being that model remains exclusive to Vodafone. All other 925s , whether through a telco or a retailer, are 16GB. Other than a shortage of memory, the 925 is arguably the best Windows smartphone to date.