Troubled mobile-phone maker Nokia today announced a new flagship Windows smartphone. It’s called the Nokia Lumia 925. Or No-kia Looomia Nine-Twen’yfive, as the American host at the London press event preferred to describe it. Here's our Nokia Lumia 925 hands-on review.

See: more reviews of Windows phones.

A crowded downstairs basement in Holborn was the scene of the international press announcement on Tuesday 14th May, revealing the failing Finnish company’s latest attempt to make a popular contender to the Apple iPhone. Now entirely aligned with the Microsoft mobile smartphone strategy, Nokia last year posted a net income of minus-€3.1 billion.

With the Nokia Lumia 925 bizarrely billed by Nokia’s marketing department as ‘the world’s most innovative smartphone’, the company’s Finnish-English dictionary has patently been hacked, such that innovation is now fittingly defined as ‘to follow the technical leadership of others’.

Only last week Nokia announced a slimmed-down version of the bulbous Nokia Lumia 920, the 928, a less-garish black or white plastic Windows phone destined for a single network in the US.

Nokia Lumia 925: sleek sees the light

But for the more discerning European market, Nokia admitted it had make it even sleeker, and with better materials. So it took the easy route of copying the all-metal casework of the Apple iPhone, with a resulting handset that almost resembles fellow imitator HTC’s One phone.

Lumia 925

Unlike the HTC One, Nokia has more closely emulated the invention of external antennae, with metal that encircles the Lumia 925 in a seemingly continuous band.

Only look more closely, and you can see where, just like Apple, it has included some non-conductive gaps. It looks to us like the aerial system on the Lumia 925 comprises four metallic sections: left side, right side, top, and bottom.

Lumia 925

The internal specs of the Lumia 925 look much the same as the Lumia 920/928, starting with a dual-core 1.5GHz ARM processor (Windows Phone 8 cannot take advantage of quad-core architectures. And unlike some phone platforms, arguably doesn’t need to thanks to leaner and more efficient code).

There’s another 1280 x 768 AMOLED display (the maximum size allowed by Windows Phone 8), and a high-spec rear-facing camera.

Storage is only what’s inside, as Microsoft likes Apple’s idea of not letting the users faff around with fiddly microSD cards. But at least the company’s OEM division has included 32GB of flash.

A spokeswoman for Nokia was unable to expand on the camera technology when questioned on-stage, although she did say that the company believes that camera quality is the reason why people choose a particular phone.

‘It’s the ability to take great pictures. People do this above all else. It’s in the fabric of our social life’.

Which goes some way to explain Microsoft and Nokia’s obsession with social networking. On top of the usual tedious suspects, Nokia has embraced another, a spin-off of Hipstamatic – Oggl – which it proudly announced as only available on one other platform (iPhone).

The Oggl app consolidates your camera pictures and enables you to upload them to yet another new cloud service. The highlight feature of the Oggl app is the Food Filter. This optimises the images you always take of your dinner just before you tuck in at restaurants.

Nokia Smart Camera is a name given to a software mode that lets you take a picture of a skateboarder, then superimpose other shots taking automatically a fraction of a second either side. Nokia thoughtfully provided a mocked-up urban skatepark in the basement venue at the 925’s announcement event. We didn’t catch anyone actually trying to capture the ’boarding youths mid-air, and flick through multiple versions of the flying teenagers.

The Nokia Lumia 925 phone itself is an unremarkable union of glass, plastic and metal, but much more discreet than the hitherto children’s-toy colour Lumia phones that have been haunting high-street shops’ less trafficked cupboards.

Build quality – judged in a brief hands-on opportunity – looked as good as any of the other recent crop of high-end smartphone hardware. Only edge-to-edge glass instantly trumps the tatty crumb-collection gap left in Sony's flagship Googlephone, the Xperia Z.

One thing that’s not changed is the Windows Metro tiling, and here the clashing Fisher-Price interface neatly restores the overblown colours removed from the casework.

The Nokia Lumia 925 is scheduled to launch in Europe in ‘June’ and will be with Vodafone UK – as we understand it, exclusively so.

A price of €469 was given, although without added clarification whether you’d need to sign any lengthy contract to take advantage of that enticing £400 price, or if you’d simply be beholden to Vodafone through a PAYG SIM-lock.

Given the competition, we'd anticipate that that price was the official unlocked and SIM-free price tag, before shelf-clearing discount was applied.


Nokia Lumia 925: Specs

  • 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 (dual-core ARM)
  • 4.5-inch (1280 x 768, 15:9, 334 ppi) AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
  • 16 or 32 GB flash storage
  • 3G, LTE
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • 8.7 Mp rear, dual-LED flash, 1.3 Mp front
  • NFC
  • 129 x 70.5 x 9.0 mm (10.5 mm at camera lens)
  • 139 g

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