Things may have changed a lot at Nokia headquarters recently, but the fact remains that with their Lumia range, the offerings from Nokia are gaining some momentum back in the market. Windows Phone 8 is both a curse and an advantage for these phones, but it has ended up in Microsoft buying off that part of their business. However, despite that pro, or con, the phones are beautiful to hold, have a great screen, and most of all, the camera just blows you away. Add to that all the special apps Nokia throw in, and you actually have a great phone to play with.
Look and feel
The Lumia 925 is a beautiful set to hold. The first thing you notice is that it actually features a dedicated camera key. Other than that, you have the usual volume buttons as well as the power button, not to mention USB port as well as the headphones socket. At the front you have the Nokia logo on top, the 4.5 screen, and the usual Home, Search, Back combo often found on phones. The screen itself is beautiful, and the blacks on the screen were some of the best we have seen on any phone.
At the back you see the best feature of this phone, the camera. You also notice the dual-LED flash as well as the little pips at the bottom that allow you to connect a wireless charging cover on top.
The touch and feel is premium, and at 139 grams, it isn’t a heavy phone.
The back doesn’t open, and the SIM is inserted via a port at the top. No SD card slots are available either.
Before we go further into the phone and it’s uses, the best feature that stood out was Glance from Nokia. This lets you see the time and battery status on your screen at all times, and double tapping this unlocks your phone and lets you see rest of the notifications. While not all notifications are visible, we hear that an update will soon sort that out.
The positive: WP8
Yes, Windows Phone 8 running on a hardware is a big plus. You get a lot of features free, such as Microsoft Office, One Note, and many such apps. The integration with Microsoft services has its advantages, though lack of Dropbox app, and the need to use Sky Drive may or may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, having said, the biggest plus I have seen on WP8 is how responsive it is, how quick it is, and how clean the interface is. Windows Phone 8 phones come to you without any skin on top, and that says a lot. Add to that the ability to customize your home screen as you want, and ability to drag and change the tiles, and you have a very good system to play with.
Also available on this phone is Microsoft Office, giving your MS Word, Powerpoint and Excel. While these may not seem much use, it is amazing how much you can do with them on the go. We were able to create presentations, maintain spreadsheets, and even do minor edits on Word documents.
Once Windows 8 (or 8.1, or whatever is next) hits off, you will also find that knowing how to use one device will mean you can use them all seamlessly. While this hasn’t quite worked well in the past, and Ubuntu is still trying to achieve this, Windows might just be the first one to get there.
The negative: WP8
Yes, it has to be said, WP8 is probably also the only thing that holds this phone back. Not by much, but there are a few things we noticed or would like to say:
- Keyboard. We need keyboard apps, customizable keyboards, just more ways to enter data. With the whole Office suite at your hands, data input should be a priority.
- Lack of some of the standard apps is bit of an issue. WP8 is getting there, but not quite there yet.
- Developers are also not paying much attention to WP8 apps.
- Notifications are limited to 4 apps/accounts on the lock screen. This is a pretty bad limit to have.
- A notification bar, or something similar would also be quite useful, though the lock screen could achieve this.
The Nokia apps
Some of the best apps available on Windows Phones are those that come from Nokia. Here are some of the highlights:
- Nokia Here and Here Drive beta, allow you to download maps, navigate your way across towns, and give you offline access.
- Nokia Music, allows you to stream music for free. No sign up, no subscription, no ads.
- Nokia Pro Camera, Smart Camera, Cinegraph, etc… all of the best camera apps available on any phone system at the moment come from Nokia, and they are great!
- Face Swap. I cannot tell you how much fun this app is. Needs to be tried. There are ones available on other phones, but this one just kicks ass!
This is the best camera phone I have ever tried. No seriously. NO SERIOUSLY IT IS. The only thing that can be better is the Lumia 1020, and I can’t wait to try that.
So impressive is the photography that we have done a whole post on it:
Here are some quick samples though:
While you may not like WP8, this is one of the most impressive phones we have tried in ages. You get what you expect, and you get what you read about, and then you get some more. Windows Phone 8, specially on a Nokia Lumia device is probably one of the most underrated operating systems ever. Add to that the best camera out there (apart from 1020?), and you are on to a winner. If you are someone who wants to try something new, or you are bored of getting the same thing over and over again, this is the phone for you. You will not be disappointed.