Nokia has several variations of its Lumia Windows Phones, but there are four that stand out as the company’s top tier devices — the Lumia 920, 928, 1020, and 925.
It’s the latter model, the Lumia 925, that’s by far the most impressive. And it’s the best Windows Phone you can buy.
The Lumia 925 has been around for a few months, but it’s now available on AT&T for $US100. You can also buy it through T-Mobile for $US30 down and $US20 per month for 24 months. But don’t let the cheap price fool you. The Lumia 925 is still a premium Windows Phone.
Let’s be clear though. Under the hood, the Lumia 925 is essentially the same phone as the Lumia 920 that launched nearly a year ago. The camera is a bit better and there are other minor hardware improvements, but if you compare the specs you’ll see that the Lumia 925 is still last year’s device wrapped in a prettier package.
That’s not a bad thing. My chief complaint with the Lumia 920 was that it was far too thick and heavy compared to other top-tier smartphones. The 925 is slimmer, lighter, and much more attractive. It has an aluminium frame that holds in a durable polycarbonate plastic backing. The front is all glass and has a vibrant 4.5-inch screen.
The aluminium feels really nice and smooth, and it’s refreshing to finally see a Windows Phone built with at least some metal. (Most are really plasticky.) However, just like the metal on the iPhone 5 and HTC One, it can scratch very easily. I’ve only had the Lumia 925 for about two weeks and it’s already attracted a few dings and scratches. (Don’t get me started on what my poor iPhone 5 looks like after all these months.)
Like it does with other Lumia phones, Nokia makes a big deal out of the 925’s camera. There’s a dedicated camera shutter button on the side that you can use to launch the camera app, which makes it easy to quickly snap a photo without digging through your list of apps. Photo quality is really good, better than most phones I’ve tested.
But don’t let a fancy camera be the deciding factor. As pretty as this phone is, it’s still a Windows Phone, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 software still has a few annoying quirks.
The biggest problem with Windows Phones is still its lack of high quality apps. Developers prefer to make their apps for iPhone and Android because Windows Phones only hold a tiny percentage of the smartphone market. It’s not worth it for many developers to dump time and money into making an app for a relatively tiny audience.
That means the Lumia 925 is missing a lot of popular apps that iPhone and Android users love: Vine, Instagram, Gmail, Google Maps, and so on. Even the Facebook app isn’t made by Facebook. It’s made by Microsoft with Facebook’s permission. That means you’re not always getting the latest mobile features.
Yes, there are a ton of alternative apps to these popular services. But if you want the best apps, a Windows Phone like the Lumia 925 isn’t a good choice.
Overall, Windows Phone 8 is a nice smartphone operating system. If you don’t really care about apps, then it’s a great option, especially because most Windows Phones like the Lumia 925 cost about half as much as other phones like the iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S4.
If you want a Windows Phone and are an AT&T or T-Mobile customer, you should look at the Lumia 925 first. It’s not the best smartphone, but it’s a decent option if you’re looking for premium device at a cheap price.