Best Windows Phone Yet? Is it enough?

Battery Life

Inside the Lumia 925’s non-removable back cover lays a 2000 mAh, 8.4 Wh internal battery. For this class of phone it’s not a massive battery that will see you through multiple days, but thanks to a range of software- and hardware-side optimizations it’s capable of lasting all day. Most importantly, it doesn’t seem to be plagued by random battery drain issues that were seen on a few of the first Windows Phone 8 devices.

Throughout my usage I found the Lumia 925’s battery life to be adequate, but not amazing. Like a few other Nokia phone’s I’ve used, it doesn’t seem to handle low-signal power-gaiting as well as I’d hoped, meaning power consumption can be higher when you’re in a low signal 3G or 4G area; an issue I haven’t experienced as much on Android phones. Also, the battery seems to be drained especially quickly while using GPS for things such as Here Drive, so watch out for that if you plan on doing a lot of navigation.

The few random occurrences of high power drain due to gaming, GPS, low mobile network signals and the AMOLED display’s brightness boost aren’t of a huge concern because at the end of most regular days I still had charge left in the 925. These days would include a few messages and calls, some camera shots, maybe some internet sharing and a few hours of general internet and social media usage.

Interestingly, the option to display the time on the screen even when it’s ‘off’ doesn’t seem to have a huge effect on battery life. The phone uses the proximity sensor to detect when the phone is in your pocket and so turns off the time display, saving battery life, and whether I had the feature enabled or disabled didn’t have a measurable effect on battery consumption. I’m sure this feature wouldn't be feasible if the 925 had an LCD display instead of AMOLED.

Comparing the Lumia 925’s battery life to other phones in a media playback test (phone in airplane mode, 75% brightness, looping 720p video, sound off) reveals this phone performs alongside a range of other Windows Phones. It didn’t manage to live for longer than eight hours, which if it did would signal the phone has great battery life, but nevertheless its score of over six hours isn't the worst I've seen.

Closing Thoughts

The Lumia 925 is what the Lumia 920 should have been at launch: a device with some fantastic technology packed into a design that isn’t a massive, heavy slab of plastic. If you’re after a Windows Phone, this is the high-end device you should be looking at, as it’s simply the best one out there.

The camera is undoubtedly the major selling point, and thanks to tweaks from Nokia it delivers in every department. Photos are crisp, vibrant and generally outstanding, and that’s without even venturing into the stellar low-light realm enhanced by optical image stabilization.

Where the 920 fell short somewhat, the 925 is a great all-round performer.

Aside from the camera, the switch from LCD to AMOLED screen has its advantages, and I really liked the feature that shows the time on the screen when the device is ‘off’. Performance is still very good from Qualcomm’s MSM8960 chipset; although not quite as fast as the latest Androids, Microsoft’s Windows phone optimizations make for a very smooth experience.

It’s just a shame that the smartphone world has seen some huge launches since the 920 was released, as the 925 is only really a minor update. The Lumia 925 is still a good handset, but its technology in some aspects is one step behind the big Android guns: the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Sony Xperia Z and so forth.

Apps are also still a huge problem for Windows Phone as we approach a year after the platform’s revitalization, and although the feature set of Windows Phone is reasonably strong, third-party developers continue to let the platform down by withholding apps or producing shoddy ones.

All the improvements that Nokia has made with the Lumia 925 still make it a good recommendation for those wanting a change from Android or iOS, and a no-brainer versus the rest of the high-end Windows Phone competition including Nokia’s own Lumia 920. But if you’re after a device with the absolute latest in technology in a polished, well-rounded package, it may be wiser to explore elsewhere.

80
TechSpot
score

Pros: Outstanding all-round camera, slimmer and lighter than the Lumia 920, decent performance and display.

Cons: Windows Phone ecosystem is still somewhat weak. A small update to a year-old phone.