First Impressions: Nokia Lumia 925

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Though it isn’t the flagship device that the Nokia Lumia 1020 is, the 925 still packs a sweet camera and Nokia’s Pro Camera App–which allows the user to have full manual control over the camera sans the aperture. Being a photography website, we had to check this one out. Complete with a Carl Zeiss lens, 8.7MP 1/3 inch sensor, f2 aperture, full manual controls, dual LED flash, and a couple of key apps to start with, the camera on this phone is one of its major selling points. But besides that, worthy of note is the fact that this is a Windows Phone, has a 4.5″ AMOLED display, and a Dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 processor.

At the time of publishing this piece, we’ve had the phone for a couple of days–and we’re actually warming up to it very closely.


Tech Specs

Specs taken from the company’s website

  • Display

    • Display size: 4.5 ”
    • Display technology: ClearBlack, AMOLED
    • Touch screen technology: Super sensitive touch
  • Photography

    • Main camera sensor: 8.7 MP PureView
    • Flash type: Dual LED flash
  • Power management

    • Maximum talk time (2G): 18.3 h
    • Maximum talk time (3G): 12.8 h
    • Maximum standby time (3G): 440 h
    • Maximum music playback time: 55 h
    • Wireless charging: Yes, with accessory cover
  • Processor

    • Processor name: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4
    • Processor type: Dual-core 1.5 GHz

     

    • Main camera
      • Main camera sensor: 8.7 MP PureView
      • Main camera focus type: Auto focus with two-stage capture key
      • Camera digital zoom: 4 x
      • Carl Zeiss Tessar lens: Yes
      • Sensor size: 1/3 inch
      • Main camera f-number/aperture: f/2.0
      • Camera focal length: 26 mm
      • Camera minimum focus range: 8 cm
      • Camera image formats: JPEG/Exif
      • Flash type: Dual LED flash
      • Flash operating range: 3.0 m
      • Flash modes: Off, Automatic, On
    • Main camera features
      • Main camera – other features: Touch focus, Landscape orientation, Exposure compensation, Auto and manual exposure, Auto and manual white balance, Still image editor, Face recognition, Full screen viewfinder, Geotagging, Optical image stabilization, True 16:9 sensor, PureView, Backside-illuminated image sensor, Automatic photo upload to web services, Full resolution photo and video upload, Creative Studio, 6-lens optics
      • Digital camera add-ons: Nokia Smart Camera, Cinemagraph lens, Panorama lens, Bing vision, Nokia Pro Camera
    • Photography apps
      • Nokia Smart Camera: Shoots a sequence of photos, making it easier to capture great moments. Choose your Best Shot or combine the photos into one picture, make a strobe effect to emphasize motion, remove unwanted objects or choose the best faces for great group shots.
      • Cinemagraph: A magical blend of photo and movie-like animation, creating pictures that seem almost alive. Helpful on-screen assistance lets you select the animated area of your picture and easily create and edit a cinemagraph. You can share your cinemagraph with friends via social media, email and messaging.
      • PhotoBeamer: PhotoBeamer is an innovative and easy way to show your pictures on any screen. Point your Nokia Lumia at any screen displaying www.photobeamer.com and enjoy your photos anywhere with family and friends. It’s a mobile projector that’s always at hand.
    • Image capturing
      • Capture modes: Video, Still
      • Scene modes: Automatic, Night Portrait, Sports, Night, Close-up, Backlight
      • White balance modes: Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Daylight, Automatic
      • Light sensitivity: Automatic, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200
      • Photos viewed by: Camera Roll, Month, Timeline, Photo editor, Favorites, Album, Photos from social networks
    • Secondary camera
      • Secondary camera resolution: 1280 x 960 pixels
      • Secondary camera f-number/aperture: f/2.4
      • Secondary camera – other features: Video recording, Still image capture, Video call, HD 1.2 MP wide angle

Ergonomics

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When you first unbox the Lumia, it is wrapped in a soft, velvet-like case. And when when you take it out of said case, you’ll have this big, gorgeous AMOLED display staring you in the face. It’s beautiful, but you won’t know that until you turn the device on.

The front has a couple of touch sensitive buttons–but we wouldn’t really call them buttons per se. You’ll find a back, home, and search button here. For the most part, you’ll be focusing on the back and home button.

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The side of the phone has the core key buttons for working with the phone. These buttons are volume buttons, the on/off/wake up/sleep button, and the camera button. Excellently enough, the camera button can wake up the phone from a slumber when held down. It will also automatically bring up the phone’s Pro Camera app.

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The top of the phone sports a headphone jack, charging port (which is the same as Android phones) and the slot for the SIM card. To top said slot, Nokia gives you what they call a SIM key. It’s basically this grippy thing with a skinnier thing that you stick into a hole on the top–mind your wandering mind.

This design is an interesting deviation from Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and HTC devices.

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The back of the phone is where the sweet spot of the camera is: no, we’re not talking about the limited edition Superman case that Nokia provided for us, we’re talking about the camera. Nokia’s camera was designed with a Zeiss lens–which is one of our favorite lens manufacturers.

Above the camera is a flash. It isn’t a true flash though. Rather, it’s an LED.

 

Build Quality

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The build quality of this phone puts many options from Samsung, Apple, and HTC to shame with the exception of the HTC One–with its metal back it can probably withstand a harder blow to it than you can. At first, it took us some time to wrap our head around the button placement and I still believe that the decision to put all the buttons on the side of the phone is an odd one. When it comes to shooting landscape style though, the camera button placement makes total sense. However, the on/off switch might have been better placed closer to the top with the volume button in the middle.

Ease of Use

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Let’s be honest: it’s a Windows Phone. After being an Android Phone user who otherwise basically has every Apple product that the company makes, it isn’t so tough to get used to. But our problem is the ecosphere and the fact that there aren’t a lot of apps for the phone yet.

When you’re using the Pro Camera app though, the interface will also take some getting used to and isn’t the most intuitive. The app was demoed during our first impressions of the Nokia Lumia 1020.

However, the tile based system of Windows Phone is actually pretty darn cool; but you’ll have to get used to a heck of a lot more symbols than what you might currently be used to. The system is very symbol based, and while some symbols are universal, others aren’t. With all this said, the learning curve might be a bit longer for some users.

Autofocus

Focusing with the Lumia 925 is speedy; we’d say that it is about on par with a point and shoot camera. Sometimes it tends to hunt in the dark though and isn’t always accurate depending on the scene. When trying to capture photos in a macro range, the focus can also hunt a bit.

Realistically though, that it expected.

Image Quality

We’ve been playing around a bit with the camera, and don’t find the white balancing to always be the most accurate, but it surely works most of the time. Here are a bunch of samples.

With complete honesty though, we’re having a ton of fun with Hipstamatic’s Oogl.

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First Impressions

We’re liking the Nokia Lumia 925 quite a bit, but at the moment it isn’t enough to drive us over to Windows Phone vs Android or iOS. We’re going to have to spend a lot more time with the phone and the camera to really take advantage of everything it can do, but so far we can’t find much of a fault with it.

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Gevon Servo

Gevon Servo aka @GServo is an eclectic, NJ/NY Photographer. He’s a Nikon shooter, by choice nevertheless, will always test any piece of photography equipment. He believes that like ‘Photography’, ‘Coffee’,’Beer’ and ‘Comics Books’ and other things ‘Geek’ “You must try everything once to discover what you want to try again.