AT&T Nokia Lumia 925 Review
The Nokia Lumia 925 is a fantastic Windows Phone that is now available at AT&T. We've shared our first impressions and unboxing of the Lumia 925 late last week and now we take a little closer look at the latest AT&T and Nokia offering.
The AT&T Nokia Lumia 925 is almost identical to the unlocked version and the T-Mobile variant that we've covered previously. However, AT&T is only offering the Lumia 925 in black and it works with AT&T's LTE network. The Lumia 925 has made a very good first impression and the more we use it, the more the Lumia 925 grows on us.
Is it strong enough to push us away from the Lumia 1020? What about the Lumia 920? Maybe.... just maybe.
Where do you start? The Lumia 925 may not be perfect but the positives include comfortable size and weight, excellent camera performance, attractive appearance (even though it's not offered in yellow), fantastic looking screen and it comes loaded with the latest OS build in GDR2.
It's hard to find anything terribly bad with the Lumia 925. Some may not like the micro-USB port placement at the top of the phone, some may not like the 16GB of internal storage and then there's that odd looseness in the back corners. But nothing is detrimental to the Lumia 925's overall performance.
The Lumia 925 is a solid Windows Phone that will appeal to many. It's 4.5" AMOLED screen is vibrant and responsive to the touch. It sports an 8.7MP rear camera with optical image stabilization and a Zeiss lens that is a solid performer. Along with all the positive features, the Lumia 925 is also economically priced delivering a high-end Windows Phone to consumers for under $100.
In a nutshell, the AT&T Nokia Lumia 925 is a well designed, solidly built Windows Phone that feels rather pleasant in the hand. The tale of the tape has the Lumia 925 measuring 5.08 x 2.78 x .33 inches and weighs only 4.9 ounces (feels lighter though).
The Lumia 1020 measures 5.13 x 2.81 x .41 inches and weighs 5.56 ounces.
Then you have the Lumia 920 that measures 5.13 x 2.79 x .42 inches and weighs 6.5 ounces (which isn't that heavy).
In the hand, as on paper, the Lumia 925 feels lighter and thinner than both the Lumia 1020 and 920. It is a rather agreeable fit and feel.
The design of the Lumia 925 is your typical Windows Phone Lumia with the volume rocker, power button and camera button falling on the right side of the phone. Up top you have the micro-SIM Card tray, headphone jack and your micro-USB port. The speaker has been moved from the bottom of the phone to the back of the Lumia 925.
I'm not particularly fond of the micro-USB port being at the top of the phone. It works, but it feels more natural with the port resting at the bottom, which also serves better when using it in the car for navigation.
The buttons on the Lumia 925 are raised ever so slightly to be distinguishable and lack any softness or mushiness (but make sure you check your power button when you first unbox your device). The aluminum sides and matte black backing look handsome and the thinner form factor allows the Lumia 925 to rest comfortably in your hand.
The Lumia 925 is fitted with a 8.7MP rear camera and 1.2MP front camera. The rear camera does rise up a smidgen from the back of the device resulting in a small but barely noticeable "hump". Next to the rear camera is a dual LED flash/light. The rise is slightly curved to minimize its impact.
Appearance wise, while the Lumia 925 is only available in matte black at AT&T but it looks fantastic. The aluminum sides compliment the matte black backing giving the Lumia 925 a professional and stealthy appearance. The aluminum is cool to the touch but it is a little on the slick side. Combined with the lighter weight, don't be surprised if the Lumia 925 tries to jump out of your hands until you get accustomed to handling the phone. We do recommend a case if you are prone to dropping your phone. Metal hitting pavement is a recipe for disaster in marring up your new smartphone.
There is one minor nit with the design of the Lumia 925 and to be honest, if Dan hadn't noticed it on the Lumia 925 he picked up from AT&T I might not have noticed it on the review unit I received. The Lumia 925 departs from the uni-body design of the Lumia 920 and it has a two-piece body. You have the aluminum frame and a poly-carbonate, non-removable backing. In the upper corners of the Lumia 925 there is a slight give in the polycarb back, a slight wiggle if you will, where you can press the corners into the frame just a hair.
The looseness seems to vary a little and while I don't think the backing will suddenly fall off there may be enough of a gap on some units where dust could get inside the Lumia 925. By no means is this a deal breaker, just something to be aware of when you pick up your Lumia 925 for the first time.
Aside from the 'give' in the Lumia 925's backing, the build quality is solid and ergonomic. The design is appealing (save maybe for the micro-USB port placement) and overall most customers will be pleased with the Lumia 925 from a design stand point.
The Lumia 925 is fitted with a 4.5" AMOLED PureMotion HD+ Screen with Super Sensitive Touch. All of which is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 2.
We've always been a fan of AMOLED screens and the Lumia 925 is no exception. Colors have a bit of pop and the deep contrast adds to the quality appearance of the 925's display. Indoors, the screen really shines with color and contrast--in fact, it may be too bright even when set to Auto. Compared to the T-Mobile version, AT&T seems to have gone for a brighter, slightly more contrasty display on their Lumia 925 offering. Outdoors, the Lumia 925's screen isn't a pushover as it's very usable in direct sunlight.
The driving force beneath the Lumia 925's hood is a 1.5GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor. It is matched up with 1GB of RAM and powered by a 2,000mAh battery. Wireless features include your standard Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (v3.0) and NFC technologies. The Lumia 925 is 4G LTE compatible.
Internal storage is 16GB which should be plenty for most Windows Phone users. It would be nice if it was 32GB or had a microSD card slot but with all the cloud storage options available 16GB should meet your needs--your mileage may vary. You may have to manage things a little closer, but 16GB is plenty for the average user. If not, customers still have the Lumia 920 or 1020 to serve as alternatives.
One hardware feature that is missing that we all have been spoiled by the Lumia 920 is Qi wireless charging. I understand Nokia had to make concessions to get the Lumia 925 as thin and light as it is (and to keep costs down). Optionally you can still have wireless charging through a wireless charging cover, which is being offered for free through Microsoft Stores.
Once all the pieces of the puzzle are put into place under the hood of the Lumia 925, you have a strong performer on your hands. Battery life makes it through the day without breaking a sweat, the processor pushes the software around with ease, and 16GB of storage is manageable.
The Lumia 925 is fitted with an 8.7MP rear camera and a 1.2MP front camera. The rear camera has a Backside Illuminated (BSI) sensor, optical image stabilization (OSI) and a 26mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lens. The Lumia 925 improves upon the Lumia 920 by adding a new sixth lens-element that improves image sharpness, especially during day light shots. All of which makes the camera well suited for a wide range of lighting conditions, especially low light photography.
The software driving the camera includes the native Windows Phone camera app as well as the alternative of Nokia's Pro Cam.
Nokia Pro Cam Viewfinder and Settings
While the native camera app does a good job of things, the Pro Cam app really makes the camera shine. From a user friendly layout to the zoom later feature, the Pro Cam will quickly become your "go-to" camera app.
As we've experienced on the Lumia 1020 the zoom later feature on Pro Cam can be a very useful tool. Granted with the smaller 8.7MP image you can't zoom as much but the results are still impressive.
Nokia Lumia 925 Sample Photo Un-Cropped
Nokia Lumia 925 Photo Sample "Zoomed Later"
Image quality on the Lumia 925 is inviting. Images have nice color, contrast and sharpness. Video footage is equally appealing and the High Amplitude Auctio Capture (HAAC) microphones filters out background noise exceptionally well. The video below was shot at a small park that sits next to a major highway. You can barely hear the rush hour traffic in the background.
Low light photography is notable on the Lumia 925. I did notice a little more motion blur when lighting was at a minimum but overall the Lumia 925 handled lower lighting conditions respectably. The gnome photo was taken at night with the only lighting available was a solar powered accent lamp. The baseball and padlock were illuminated by a porch lamp. I shouldn't complain about the motion blur on either photo for they were shot handheld at a shutter speed of .3 seconds.
Nokia Lumia 925 Low-Light Sample Photo
Nokia Lumia 925 Low-Light Photo Sample
As far as macro photography is concerned, the Lumia 925 does focus slightly closer than the Lumia 1020. Nokia lists the minimum focusing distance as being just over 3 inches (8cm) but it felt more like 4-5 inches in real world use. Regardless of the difference, the Lumia 925 performed just fine with close-up images. Add the zoom later feature and it comes close to glowing.
Nokia Lumia 925 Close-up Photo Sample
Nokia Lumia 925 Close-up Sample
Nokia Lumia 925 Photo Sample
So how does the Lumia 925 compare to the Lumia 1020's camera? In many respects that's an apples/oranges comparison. It's like comparing a DSLR to a high end point and shoot. Both can capture great pictures but go about it a little different. I will say that it appears the Lumia 925's camera is a touch sharper than what we see in the Lumia 920. Colors also seem to have a little more pop to them.
If the weather cooperates over the next few days, we'll look into doing a comparison between the three Lumia cameras. Regardless of how things stack up, the Lumia 925 has a very pleasing camera that will capture all your life moments rather attractively.
Nokia Lumia 925 Sample Photo
The AT&T Lumia 925 comes loaded with Windows Phone OS build 1328 (GDR2) but it still lacks Data Sense for keeping track of your data usage. Along with preloaded software such as Microsoft Office and OneNote, the Lumia 925 comes with your standard AT&T software suite (Family Maps, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Footlocker, etc.) and a ton of titles from the Nokia Collection (Creative Studio, HERE Drive, Nokia Music, Nokia Cinemagraph, etc.), all of which is removable.
Nokia Lumia 925 Settings
Outside of that you have the Weather Channel App, Vimeo, Vyclone and YPMobile (Yellow Pages) apps as well.
Vyclone, Vimeo, and The Weather Channel Apps
The marvel of it all is that some of these apps you may not want and can easily uninstall. If ever comes a time you find yourself in need of what you've uninstalled, all you have to do is head to the AT&T section of the Store app and re-install it. We may still have bloatware but it's not as permanent a fixture as it used to be.
With all the capabilities our Windows Phones possess, it's easy to lose sight that these devices are telephones. The Lumia 925's performance as a phone is on par with any other Nokia Lumia Windows Phone.
Call quality was clear, volume levels sufficient, and the microphone picked up my voice with clarity. Background noise wasn't overbearing and the speaker phone rang loud and clear.
Cellular reception was good with the Lumia 925 but even when coverage dropped a few bars, there are too many variables at play to lay blame with the phone.
As far as telephone performance is concerned, we find no complaints with the Lumia 925.
Compared to the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920, 925 and 1020
So is the Nokia Lumia 925 strong enough to lure Windows Phone users away from the Lumia 1020?
Let me say from the onset, both are fantastic Windows Phones within their own right. Whichever the choice, you'll find yourself with a very capable Windows Phone. While the two phones have a lot of similarities on paper, I see three areas that stand out that separates these two Windows Phones: price, the camera, and the fit and feel.
If you look at your smartphone as a primary photographic instrument that you depend on to capture life moments, the Lumia 1020 is the way to go. While the Lumia 925 has a respectable camera, the Lumia 1020 has the best smartphone camera on the market. Hands down. The Lumia 925 can capture some stunning images but the capabilities of the Lumia 1020 with it's 41MP image puts it in a league of its own.
If you are looking for a quality camera but prefer a lighter, thinner Windows Phone then the Lumia 925 would be the way to go. The Lumia 925 is so light that at times you'll forget it is in your pocket. The Lumia 1020 isn't a boat anchor by any means, but the half-ounce difference is surprisingly noticeable. Yes, the Lumia 1020 has a more robust camera but the Lumia 925's camera is very capable within its own right.
Regarding costs, the Lumia 1020 has dropped in price but it is still $100 more expensive on contract than the Lumia 925. Move to off-contract pricing and the difference more than doubles ($430 versus $609). While I think the Lumia 1020 is worth every penny, if you are on a budget, the Lumia 925 will serve you well and save a few pennies along the way.
I am really impressed with the Lumia 925 and the more I use it, the more I like it. However, I like the Lumia 1020 just a little more and with my photographic background the camera is just too hard to resist.
But what about the Lumia 920--is it worth making the jump to the Lumia 925? I'm going to say yes, it is, if your budget allows it. Keep in mind the Lumia isn't an updated version of the Lumia 920 but I do see where Nokia did build upon the Lumia 920's weaknesses.
The Lumia 925 is thinner, lighter, has GDR2 and slightly better camera performance. The Lumia 920 has better build quality but that comes at a price of having a thicker and heavier (but not too heavy) phone. You also have that pesky dust issue with the Lumia 920's front facing camera that I haven't experienced with the Lumia 925.
The Lumia 925 has a lot going for it. The design is well rooted and it feels really comfortable to hold. The Lumia 925's 4.5" AMOLED screen really stands out with vibrant colors, deep contrast and super sensitive touch. Add the protection of Gorilla Glass 2 and the Lumia 925's display is solid.
There is that odd looseness we've experienced in the back corners of the Lumia 925. We aren't sure if this "give" is a design quirk or a quality control issue with early production but we doubt the backing will suddenly fall off. It's definitely not a reason to avoid the Lumia 925 like it has cooties. Our advice is to check out the Lumia 925 you're buying first and make sure the backing isn't too loose.
Some may frown at the 16GB of internal storage but it's not the end of the world. It should be enough for most and others... well... others may simply need to have better memory management. Move some of your pictures to your SkyDrive account, keep a few songs off of your phone and uninstall all the trial versions of apps you have never purchased.
I do wish the Lumia 925 had built in wireless charging but that likely was part of the price for a thinner form factor. The Lumia 920's built in wireless charging spoiled many of us and while you can get a wireless charging cover for the Lumia 925, it's just not the same.
While not perfect, all totaled, the Lumia 925 is a worthy option for those looking for a new Windows Phone or their next Windows Phone. I believe it will be hard for you to go wrong with the AT&T Nokia Lumia 925. Of course, there is also something bigger and better coming down the road.
You can find the Lumia 925 at your local AT&T store or online for $99 after contractual discounts and for $429 out of contract.
For further discussion, head into the Windows Phone Central Lumia 925 Forums: forums.wpcentral.com/nokia-lumia-925
Related: AT&T Nokia Lumia 925 Unboxing and First Impressions
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George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.