Nokia Lumia 925: The best Windows Phone yet
But is it good enough to win back the market?
The Reg Verdict
The Lumia packs great photography and video capture into a top notch all-rounder. The usual caveats apply: if you want complete breadth of app coverage, and this is paramount, buy an iPhone 5. If you want the best imaging, Samsung’s Galaxy Zoom offers a pocket camera with an Android phone bolted on the top, but it’s a cumbersome affair. Or you may wish to wait for Nokia’s own gazillion-pixel Lumia, which we expect to be announced in three weeks. This brings the incredible 41Mp PureView 808 camera to Windows, and in a much slimmer package, if "leaks" are to be believed. If you’ve simply wanted an excellent Nokia but been deterred by the bulk and weight of the predecessors and the child-friendly plastics, it’s delivered.
Not your average iPhone
Of course, it is valid to ask about future-proofing. Apple does a superb job here, with year-old iPhones getting the latest software in the annual release cycle. You may not get all the new platform features, but you’ll get most of them. Updates have improved for Android owners too – and it’s more open and hackable.
Last spring, Nokia launched the Lumia 900 “flagship” into the US that was superseded within a few months by Windows Phone 8 devices, and the concessionary 7.8 upgrade for Lumia 900 owners was months late and offered only resizable tiles. Some kind of assurance for 925 purchasers should be made.
Nokia now looks like a hare in a hurry that has decided to take a ride on a very slow-moving traction engine. It opted for Windows Phone 30 months ago because of the ecosystem support ('markets' in plain English) but the app market for Microsoft lags behind and is only getting there very slowly.
Microsoft effectively spent 2012 porting the feature set of the 2011 Mango update (7.5) to an entirely new OS, and it did it so smoothly that nobody noticed much disruption. Now Microsoft needs to do the “easy part”: address user-land issues like notifications and make dozens of minor tweaks that make a big difference in everyday life. It’s a hell of a lot easier to add a Week View to the Calendar app, or add email message Flags, than it is port an OS to a new kernel.
Nokia’s answer to the Three Flagship Puzzle is that “it’s a different expression of what we delivered in the 920” – a reasonable description of bringing last year’s advanced technology to something most people can live with comfortably. It’s a whole lot more sleek and stylish than anything Nokia has produced since switching to Windows Phone, and classier than its plasticky-feeling rivals too.
Kudos to Sony and HTC too for trying to raise the standards of industrial design this year. It demonstrates Nokia is on top of its game, and able to deliver quality as well as good value at the bottom of the market. ®
* Former Nokia boss Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo