Τρίτη, 24 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

--> Nokia Lumia 925 review !

  

<<Is this really Nokia's 'masterpiece'?>>
Nokia has done what we asked: released a Windows Phone handset in metal. Except it's not all metal. And it's very similar to the Nokia Lumia 920. And it's in the
high-end price bracket... but does a stunning camera warrant the extra cost?

Last year's Lumia 920 was a decent handset. It married striking looks to a quality screen and an even better camera. However, while it was undeniably good there was still some room for improvement, as being a flagship phone many hoped for better specs, less weight and a more premium build.

Now the Finnish phone-smiths are back with the Nokia Lumia 925. It's only seen a small number boost in its name, and if you assumed that meant that not much had changed, well, you'd be right.




While Nokia has equipped the Lumia 925 with a similarly brilliant camera and gone some way to addressing the build of its flagship, it hasn't really improved the specs, leaving the Nokia Lumia 925 in the curious position of feeling more like a tweaked handset than an all new one.



This could be a problem, since it's priced at a wallet-bothering £500 (around US$785/AU$820) SIM free, while the Nokia Lumia 920 can be had for around £150 less.

With a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and just 1GB of RAM the Nokia Lumia 925 matches the Lumia 920 for horsepower and trails some way behind the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 or Sony Xperia Z - both of which have double the RAM and quad-core processors.




Arguably Nokia didn't need to go all out, since it doesn't have a huge amount of competition in the Windows Phone space - only the HTC Windows Phone 8X really poses much of a threat. But it seems like a missed opportunity to compete on a level playing field against the wider phone world.

At first sight you might almost not recognise the Lumia 925 as a Nokia handset. It has the same sharply rectangular shape that the Nokia Lumia 920 has, but where that was all brightly coloured plastic, the Nokia Lumia 925 has a shiny aluminium band running around the sides. It gives it a premium edge that is sorely lacking from other Nokia handsets, and it looks good for it.





Unfortunately Nokia hasn't gone the whole hog and made a completely metal handset like the HTC One, and instead made the back from polycarbonate. It still looks decent and the fairly conservative colour options (black, white or silver) mean that it looks a lot classier and more grown up than the Nokia Lumia 920, but it doesn't come close to the premium look or feel of the HTC One.

Despite incorporating metal into its design, the Nokia Lumia 925 is actually lighter than the Nokia Lumia 920, coming in at 139g (4.9oz) compared to the 185g (6.5oz) Lumia 920. The weight was one of our key qualms with the Nokia Lumia 920, so it's good to see that it's been addressed.





At a sleek 8.5mm (0.33 inches), the Nokia Lumia 925 is quite a bit thinner than its 10.7mm (0.42-inch) predecessor too, while the length and width remain almost identical at 129 x 70.6mm (5.08 x 2.78 inches).

It feels nice in the hand and it's generally quite comfortable to hold, though there are a couple of caveats to that. Firstly the position of the camera lens on the back makes it very easy to accidentally put your fingers over it, which is uncomfortable and could leave marks on the lens. 



And secondly, the corners aren't very curved, which means they can dig into your hand if you hold the phone in a certain way. On the plus side, the polycarbonate back feels soft and warm against your palm, which is a comforting sensation.

The front of the Nokia Lumia 925 is dominated by the 4.5 inch 768 x 1280 AMOLED screen. It's not quite edge to edge but it's not far off at the sides - although there's reams of plastic above and below, which seems a trifle unnecessary. It's a good size too in our opinion, big enough to use easily without becoming unwieldy.


 

At 332 pixels per inch it also has a pretty good pixel density, though not one that will bother the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4. And in fact it's exactly the same size and resolution as the previous model, which is a little disappointing. However it does use the same impressive PureMotion HD+ ClearBlack technology as the Nokia Lumia 920.

Above the screen there's Nokia's logo, the earpiece and the 1.3 MP front-facing camera, while below the screen there are three soft touch buttons with icons for Start, Back and Search.




Flip the Nokia Lumia 925 over and you'll find another Nokia logo stamped across the middle of the polycarbonate back, while above that there's an 8.7MP Carl Zeiss camera lens and flash, and near the bottom of the handset there's a speaker.

The plastic around the lens is raised, leaving the lens itself slightly indented. That gives it a little protection when putting the phone down, but it also makes the phone less comfortable to hold as your fingers will often stray over the raised area.





The left edge of the phone consists of a strip of metal with no real features on it, while the right edge has the power button in the middle, a volume rocker just above it and the camera button near the bottom. The buttons are all quite raised and responsive, making them easy to press and easy to find by touch alone. They're also spaced out enough that there's no confusion over which is which.

The top of the Nokia Lumia 925 houses the micro SIM card slot at the left, the micro USB port and 3.5mm headphone port near the centre and the microphone to the right.



 
The bottom edge is left unadorned, with just the metal band running along it.

You can't remove the back cover so there's no getting to the Nokia Lumia 920-matching 2000mAh battery and there's also no microSD card slot, so unlike some lower-end Nokia handsets (such as the Nokia Lumia 520), the storage isn't expandable. This leaves the Nokia Lumia 925 with just 16GB of memory, which is half what the Nokia Lumia 920 offers - although 32GB options are apparently going to be available.

The Nokia Lumia 925 is slimmer and lighter than the Nokia Lumia 920. It also has a more premium build and a slightly improved camera (more on that later) but with the same core specs, less storage space and a much higher price tag it's got an uphill struggle on its hands. 
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- Camera -



The Nokia Lumia 925 has an 8.7MP snapper. That might be some way south of the 13MP Samsung Galaxy S4, but don't count it out yet. For one thing, it uses Carl Zeiss optics, which should be enough for camera fans to sit up and take notice. But it also has a bunch of clever options and features. It's also excellent - and we mean excellent - at low light snaps.

There's a dedicated hardware camera button that makes taking photos a breeze and minimises camera shake when you take them. It can also be used to launch the camera from any screen on the Nokia Lumia 925 - even the lock screen - so you'll never miss the chance to capture a moment.

It's worth noting also that the ability to see the screen in bright sunlight can help no end with taking photos, because it makes it a lot easier to compose a shot when you can actually see how things look on the screen.

If you just launch the main camera app things look fairly normal. You can tap to focus and there are a few scene modes to choose from such as sports, night, close-up or auto.

You can also turn flash on or off, change the ISO, exposure value, white balance and aspect ratio, but that's all become more or less a staple of smartphone cameras. That said, it's quick and easy to change options and settings and it takes pretty good pictures even when you stick to this mode.

Things get a lot more interesting, though, when you delve into the Lenses menu. This is nothing new for Windows Phone 8 - essentially each lens setting adds new features or options to the camera - but the Nokia Lumia 925 comes with more than most.



First up there's Bing Vision, which can be used to scan barcodes and QR codes - so it doesn't actually take photos but it can be quite useful in its own right, and in our experience it quickly and easily scanned anything we threw at it.

Then there's Cinemagraph, which combines photo and video to create a short clip. Essentially it captures several seconds of footage that then loops to make a moving photo. You can tweak it by adjusting the start and end point, changing the speed or adding filters and then you can share it over social networks or by email.

It's undoubtedly a gimmick, and we're not sure it will get much serious use as the result is pretty lo-res, but it has the potential to add an extra element to photographs - bringing life to an otherwise static image.

Up next there's Panorama, which creates a wide panorama shot of your surroundings by taking multiple photographs and stitching them together. It works quite well too.

Finally there's Nokia Smart Cam, and that's really the headline feature of the camera. Essentially it takes a series of images in quick succession and then chooses the best for you to save. This is really handy, since your first picture isn't always any good, and it means you don't have to manually take several pictures of the same thing.

But that's not all. If your pictures contain movement it can also create an action shot by splicing the images together to create a sort of motion trail where you can see the same action at different points. So far example if you made an action shot of someone riding a bike it would feature them and their bike several times over in different places.


In practice it seems to require quite a lot of movement for it to even think about creating an action shot, and if there's even a small amount of camera shake it can mess up the image. But it's still a nice feature.

Nokia Smart Cam can also pick out faces to ensure that the image you end up with always captures the moment when people have their eyes open and are smiling.

Finally it can also remove unwanted movement from a shot, so if for example there's a car or cyclist in the background of your picture - which not only might be in the way of the view but could also be causing motion blur - the camera can remove them.

You can choose to have Smart Camera enabled by default, which helps to get the best out of the top-end features. It's the same as HTC's Zoe feature in a way, which snaps three-second clips instead of a photo and allows you to do the same thing - albeit far more effectively.

One insanely annoying feature is that the Smart Camera will show you previews of removed objects or action shots, and yet when you tap to open them, the Lumia 925 decides it can't do it. We wanted to scream 'JUST SAVE THE PREVIEW, YOU STUPID CAMERA', but we might have been judged by passers-by.

The biggest problem with all of these lenses is that it can take a while to capture images with them, and even longer to process them afterwards, which can be a pain. We can't help but wonder if the mediocre processing specs in the Nokia Lumia 925 are partially to blame for this.

Once you've taken a photo you can edit it in the Creative Studio. As well as giving you options to crop, rotate and remove red eye this also features a number of filters that you can add to an image, and even enables you to remove colour from certain sections while retaining it in others, and to blur parts of the image to draw focus to the non-blurred areas.

For a bundled piece of software, there's a lot more to it than you'd expect.

There's also a secondary 1.3MP front-facing camera, which is likely to be of more use for video than photos, since it can be used for Skype and other video call services.

All in all the camera on the Nokia Lumia 925 is one of, if not the, best we've ever come across on a smartphone. The combination of a wealth of shooting modes and editing tools alongside strong general performance and particularly impressive low light and night time performance makes it a great all-round shooter.



 
The camera on the Nokia Lumia 925 does a decent job if left on auto mode, though the background is a bit muddy.

 
Close-ups are handled impressively well, with the camera maintaining focus on the subject no matter how close you get.

 
Landscapes are reasonable, though once again the background suffers.

 
Sports mode does a solid job of capturing motion with minimal blur.

 
Without flash it's still possible to get impressively bright images of dark indoor places. This is one area that the camera excels at, though the resulting images do suffer from a small amount of noise.

 
With flash on, indoor images are brighter still and have less noise.

 
The Nokia Lumia 925 does a brilliant job of night shots, making them impressively bright and useable.

 

Cinemagraph shots are basically short looping videos. We're not sure how useful they are, but they work.
 

 
Panoramas come out well, but not really any better than on most other phones that can take them.


  

Alongside Cinemagraph, Nokia Smart Cam is the other way the Nokia Lumia 925's camera attempts to capture movement. The results are a mixed bag, and both require a lot of movement and for you to hold the camera perfectly still for several seconds.

 
Here you can see it against the One in low light mode. Both are excellent, but colour reproduction and detail is stronger on the Lumia 925.

 
The Creative Studio enables you to tweak your images in all sorts of ways.



- Battery life and connectivity -

-Battery life-

The Nokia Lumia 925 has a 2000mAh battery, which is exactly the same size as the battery found in the Nokia Lumia 920. Unfortunately we weren't too thrilled with the battery life of the Nokia Lumia 920 and you can't remove the battery either, so if you had thoughts of carrying around a spare that won't be an option.

The good news is that in practice we didn't find the battery to be too much of a problem. It's not brilliant but we reckon it's an improvement over the Nokia Lumia 920.



The battery stats released by Nokia support that too, since they claim it can manage up to 440 hours of 3G standby time or 12 hours 40 minutes of 3G talk time, both of which are higher than the corresponding figures for the Nokia Lumia 920.

Curiously though, it apparently can't manage to play music for quite as long, coming in at 55 hours compared to 67 hours on the Nokia Lumia 920.

When testing the Nokia Lumia 925 we found that the battery would just about get through the day, but only just. To be fair though we were using it a lot more than most people probably use their phones on a day to day basis.

With more frugal use you might get a day and a half, but we'd be surprised if you manage more than that unless you really don't touch it. Nokia has seen fit to include a battery saver option though, which when activated will turn off most background processes to conserve battery.

We played a 90 minute video on the handset with Wi-Fi turned on, the screen at full brightness and emails and social networks set to automatically push to the phone. The Nokia Lumia 925 started at 100% battery and dropped to 83% by the end, which is reasonable but not amazing. It matches the likes of the Galaxy S3 though, which many have found to be an adequate companion for all-day use.

We'd say the battery isn't really a liability, but if you're a power user you're going to want something with more juice.

- Connectivity -



The Nokia Lumia 925 has most of the connectivity options you could hope for. There's dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA support, the ability to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot, GPS, 3G and even 4G. There's obviously also Bluetooth, though it's version 3.0 rather than 4.0, which excludes any future low-power BT sensors.

Then there's NFC support, enabling you to share images, websites and more with other NFC-enabled devices by tapping them together, or more precisely by turning NFC and Bluetooth on, selecting Share, then Tap + Share, then tapping them together, so it's not quite as seamless as we'd like.

The only features notable for their absence are an infrared port - which we weren't really expecting but which some other high-end handsets, such as the HTC One, have started including - and wireless charging, which was a feature of the Nokia Lumia 920 so it's a shame that it's not included here too. However, removing it likely helped get the weight down, which was probably a worthwhile trade off.

All the connectivity options can easily be turned on and off from the Settings screen, though we wish that it was possible to toggle some of the more frequently used ones either from the Start screen or better yet from anywhere, since it's a pain to have to dig into the Settings screen every time you want to turn something on or off.

Getting content on and off the phone is made as straightforward as possible, since it's basically just plug and play - connect the phone to a computer then you can copy and paste or drag and drop to your heart's content. A massive improvement over Windows Phone 7.
Source: techradar.com

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