Nokia answers some questions about the Lumia 925 design and hardware

Nokia Lumia 925

With Nokia’s announcement today of the new Lumia 925, many questions have been asked by you regarding design choices, hardware specifications and the future of Nokia’s Lumia efforts.

During the day, we spoke with Kevin Shields (Management Overhead, Nokia) and Stefan Pannenbecker (SVP Product Design, at Nokia) who were kind enough to take some of inquiries about today’s product reveal.

Want some answers to your most asked questions? Then head past the break...

Why no microSD?

One of the most frequent questions we received was why there is no microSD on the Lumia 925? Shields and Pannenbecker both stated that here, device design was the main concern and adding a microSD card, while preferable for usability, both takes away from the flow of the device and adds complications. Some of the difficulties include size restrictions and having to “move things around” to accommodate the additional storage, creating a cascading chain effect, if you will. To be blunter, you only have so much space to work with when making a thinner phone with a large battery and PureView camera.

Another consideration was the sheer difficulty in adding a “slot” for a microSD door. While there is one for the microSIM card, we were told this was no easy feat for Nokia when making the slide out door. Adding a microSD slot would only compound the problem.

If all of this sounds like Nokia putting design ahead of sheer specs, you would be correct. It’s clear that Nokia places a high value on design, flow and the overall appeal of the device as opposed to just shoving as much as they can into the phone. We understand some consumers may recoil at such “form over function” arguments, but then again we’d argue that it is Nokia’s attention to design that has won over many loyal fans.

Why metal, why now?

Nokia Lumia 925

Nokia choosing to make the Lumia 925 now with aluminum may raise a few eyebrows. First, we should point out that Nokia doesn’t consider this to be “the next 920” but rather, as Kevin Shields says “another expression of it”.  While the Lumia 920 came in some bold, bright colors, the Lumia 925 is “less audacious, more subtle, engaging”.

Though we really like the Lumia 920, others opined about its size and weight—a somewhat legitimate complaint if you like thin and light devices. The 925 is the answer to that question and while it does remove some things e.g. wireless charging, the tradeoff is a more svelte design that can appeal to a wider base. The 925 is the 920 for those who want a lighter phone; it’s not meant to replace the 920 just appeal to a different user base.

As to why now, Shields notes that with the current technology and ability to design it right was the leading factor the 925 coming at this time. Indeed, when Vodafone’s Patrick Chomet took the stage today he noted he saw design plans for the 925 back in September.

microUSB on top and not the bottom—what’s the deal?

On the Lumia 900 the USB charging port was on top. On the Lumia 920, it moved to the bottom. Now on the 925 it’s back on top—why?

As it turns out, putting the microUSB on the bottom is also another engineering challenge. Nokia worked real hard to get it on the bottom for the 920, but with wireless charging become more popular, they found the preference for having in that position has become less of a priority.

Another consideration: putting the microUSB on the bottom evidently has a negative effect on signal reception, at least that what Nokia is claiming from their tests.

LCD versus AMOLED

Another change with the Lumia 928 and 925 is the use of the non-Pentile AMOLED display. While Nokia will continue to work with LCD where appropriate, the AMOLED display allowed them to get that extra thinness on the 925, something that would not have mattered much on the 920 because it’s size is due to other things (polycarbonate, wireless charging and overall design).

Nokia sees AMOLED as just another tool to use when appropriate. And yes, this is still a PureMotion HD display with the high refresh rate and ClearBlack display.

There are no speaker holes on the wireless charging back cover!?

Nokia Lumia 925 cover speaker

Indeed, there aren’t. No, Nokia did not forget to add them. Instead, they have created a “channel” within the plastic to help direct the sound out through the bottom of the device. They did this for acoustic reasons and we’ll just have to take their word (for now) that this won’t negatively affect audio performance.

Of course we’ll test this as soon as we get our review unit it, but it sounds like Nokia did not omit anything here. Pun intended.

Other ways to make it thinner?

The Lumia 925 users 2.25D Gorilla Glass whereas the Lumia 920 used 2.5D. The higher the number, the more curved the glass is at the end but also it’s thicker. The 925 has thinner glass on board basically due to it being a smidge less curvy. Combine it with an AMOLED display and you get a 8.5mm thin Windows Phone.

Why does the Lumia 925 have plastic on the back instead of being all aluminum?

Nokia Lumia 925

Nokia could have made an all-aluminum phone, after all it’s feasible. But there were specific reasons for not doing it that way—some functional, some design choices.

For design, they could have colored the metal, but they felt that it was “too 1980’s looking” and it was decided against. The polycarbonate back, on the other hand, allows some color variation along with a warmer feel where you hold it.

Likewise, NFC would have had some interference with an all metal back and although they could have made just the NFC-area polycarbonate, such a design change creates a different look.

Finally, the colors of white, black and grey were chosen to match the metal. As mentioned earlier, it’s a less audacious design than the Lumia 920’’s “here I am!” yellow. That’s because Nokia here is trying to appeal to a different audience, some of whom want a more subtle phone.

So will Nokia just do metal phones in the future, or…?

No, the Lumia 925 is deigned to look a certain way and make appropriate tradeoffs to appeal to a certain audience. The design team will use materials where they see appropriate, so bold bright polycarb designs will still be used while on occasion, aluminum or other materials may be used to achieve a “different expression” of a phone.

Five lenses versus six

The Lumia 925 has an added sixth lens to help improve daylight performance. From what could discern, this was in response to some criticism of the 920’s somewhat soft daylight performance. In that sense, yes, the Lumia 925 has a better physical camera than the 920 though it remains to be seen how that translates into actual performance (for that, we have device reviews). For now, it’s worthy to note that Nokia appears to be attempting to continue push boundaries (six lenses have not been done before in a phone camera) and listen to feedback from users.

Conclusion

We hope that clears up some questions for you. We realize that some don’t see the 925 as a worthy Lumia 920 upgrade, which is a good thing. It’s not. It’s meant for a different audience and while it makes some sacrifices e.g. some versions only have 16GB of storage (while others have 32GB) or no built-in wireless charging, it does allow the 920 type hardware to appeal to a different audience (or T-Mobile users a shot at some premium hardware).

Will this be the last story of the 9xx series? Of course not. And Nokia was quite blunt about “more to come” this summer for the Lumia hardware and if that sounds like EOS, you’d be right. 

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

317 Comments
  • but why no microSD in lumia 928 ?
  • Yes, why not put an expansion slot into a DEVICE THAT THE THREAD ISNT ABOUT!
  • it isn't everyday that you meet the designs chief so why not ask about 928 also as it was also mentioned in the event.
  • You're right! This is the perfect time.
  • Agreed, both devices should have a microSD. Nokia can shove their design, if it prevents funcionality and advanced features. If Nokia comes up with some BS excuse about the EOS and does not put a microSD slot there I would be really pissed off.
    The main reason why I did not get the 920 last year was because it did not have microSD.
    Not putting in microSD is the stupidest thing you can do on a high end phone, especially one with only 16gb of storage like the Tmobile 925, what the hell was Nokia thinking, its like if you made a brilliant phone but did not put in a camera.
    Total stupidity on Nokias part, and next time I hope they throw out the dum designer who thinks design is better than microSD support.
  • not every people need microSD like you, just another feature for appropriate audience, apparently, these audiences aren't too many to be cared about. I don't know about 16G 925, but my 32G 920 is definitely enough. Having used half year, still 16G to available. 
  • I feel your pain. Research shows that most people barely use the storage on their phone.  But that doesn't tell the whole story.  There is a nice comfort feeling you get from knowing you COULD expand the storage if you needed to. Apple forces people to pay rediculous prices to go from one sealed storage size to the next.  I don't think that would work too well for Nokia.  When you combine all the color choices and the multiple storage options, there would just be too many models... or they'd have  to only offer the higher memory models in black. So yeah, I agree that a microSD slot is the way to go here... HTC had a clever solution where only the bottom section of the back came off to give access to the microSD and SIM slots.  Nokia has models that offer a microSD slot, with the removable/swappable back shells on the 820, 620, and so on.  But those designs, while fun, do not say "high end" like the 920 does.  It is harder to design a phone that is thin, sturdy, and offers a microSD slot.  Just look at the Galaxy S3 and 4... Their solution was a paper-think back plate that pops off a bit too easily... which gives a thin and light phone, but not as durable as Nokia's designs.
  • Unlike you, I like more Nokia design and build quality than microSD card slot which I will never need.
  • He explained everything. Read the article
  • read it again....not a thing about the 928
  • Bingo! putz. It's an article addressing questions about... the.... 925. schmuck.
  • His questions relevant because he's saying that if the 25 doesn't have it then what's the excuse for the 28? The 28 wasn't mentioned in the article therefore he brought it up.. Nothing wrong with that at all, and I thought it was a good point.. Instead of arguing about whether it's relevant or not, which is stupid, why don't you guys discuss his point, I mean he has a good point after all.. Fuck, making rules, and trying to control people!
  • I think the same goes for L928
  • Maybe you should read the article. This article is about 925 not 928(Verizon version)
  • Maybe you should focus on his point, which is a very good one!
  • No, his point was not a very good one. The two phones have a similar design language, when it comes to form. From the reason given by Nokia, which is very reasonable to me, common sense dictates that, that may be the actual reason why there's no microSD slot for the 928 either. In fact, it just might be why there aren't microSD slots on many devices.
  • Well, maybe he didn't connect one and two together.. Its still no reason to be rude to him! He has the right to ask whatever question he wants to. Why do you think its your job to go around and tell people that their points are stupid. You're not Daniel are you?.. LOL!!!
  • You're right, they should have just ignored the OT posting. There were numerous articles on the 928 in several fora a few days ago, including WPCentral, so maybe his question should have been posted there instead. Or, Nokia actually responds to tweets so maybe he should just tweet them directly his concern on the lack of sd slot for the 928.
  • You're an angry little keyboard warrior aren't ya?
  • You can pretty much apply that reasoning he gave above to any of the 3 flagships. If you thought about it beforehand, you woudn't have needed to ask this question.
  • That's true.. That's a good answer. It's all about packaging right?
  • Alas, nothing wrong with asking though.
  • Not really. The reason they give for not including it in 925 is mostly making sure that the device stays thin. That was not a concern for the 920 so no excuse on that part. For the 928 we can speculate but it is still not as thin as the 925 so it would stand to reason that they might have had some spare space to put in an sd card slot. 
    On the other hand they might consider that 32Gb is plenty in the 928. I'm perfectly ok with it but I also haven't even used all 16Gb on my Trophy. 
  • Your all a bunch of morons!!
  • +920
  • *You're
    Who's the moron?
  • It is the internet... No one cares if he used your instead or you're.
     
    The event announced the 925 and 928 officially, there is no reason why a 928 question could not have been asked. 
  • Exactly. Douchebags, douchebags everywhere.
  • Exactly!
  • You are a nerd! A petty nerd..
  • Lol!
  • And why RS-MMC and no MiniSD in N70?
  • Good question! They explained why the 25 doesn't have it, so that actually does raise a good point about the 28.. What's the excuse here?? Well, is most likely packaging... Good question Paras!
  • I will wait on the 950 full HD 1080p GDR3 update AT&T
  • When is that suppose to happen? Release of the 950?
  • Sep,Nov or December
  • Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Gonna wait... Maybe one more year, and skip what's to be released later this year.. By mid 2014 my phones gonna be able to get me a beer!! I'm so glad I got my "future proof" 920..
  • but does your 920 have a MiniSD Card slot? lol....people rave about their 920's and complain about other phones coming out. It's simple...if you don't like it...don't buy it.
  • Appreciate the Qs&As. Thanks WPC
  • With SD card usability next AT&T flagship will have it all my advice is that people keep your 920 until Microsoft GDR3 update.
  • Thanks for the advice, and that's exactly what Ima doooooo......
  • I think they did a great job here, to try and bring over some more people. I will get one just because its out. But i think this will attract a whole new client base. Apps are becoming a non issue now so we are getting there. Like the guys said on their podcast we are at a point now where we are becoming mainstream and to maintain that we need a mainstream phone a la 925. Wait for the summer and we will have a beast with high specs. "EOS"????????
  • <