Battery Life, Wrap Up
The Lumia 525’s removable lithium-ion battery packs 5.3 watt-hours (1,430 mAh), which is fairly small compared to other handsets. However, the four inch display, lack of LTE radios and low-power Snapdragon S4 SoC shouldn’t need a massive battery behind it to keep the device going throughout the day.
The Lumia 520’s battery life powered by the same battery wasn’t excellent, however my experiences with the Lumia 525 were a little better. I didn’t seem to struggle to get a good day’s usage out of the Lumia 520, however it’s unlikely you go without plugging the phone in every night. Software tweaks are likely to thank for a small improvement in stamina though gains weren’t huge.
When the Snapdragon S4 SoC is being stressed out, such as when web browsing, internet sharing or playing games, it’s easy to rapidly drain the 525’s battery. You’d be lucky to see more than three and a half hours of high performance use out of the device, and having features enabled such as high sensitivity touch will drain the battery even faster.
With the same battery and internals as the Lumia 520, it's not surprising that the 525 lasted just as long in our battery life rundown test. Five and a half hours is a pretty poor showing in this test, so it might be wise to pack a second battery.
The success of the Lumia 525 hinges on its price. The budget handset is nearly identical to the year-old Lumia 520, save for a minor RAM upgrade, and so you’d expect the prices for both to be quite similar. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
The Lumia 520 for AT&T is readily available off-contract for $59 from the Microsoft Store, and you can grab the T-Mobile variant (the Lumia 521) for just $69. However to purchase the Lumia 525 from a site such as Expansys, you’re looking at paying $160, which is more than double the price of the Lumia 520. It’s the same story in India, where the Lumia 520 is insanely popular: the 520 is available for ₹8,240 (around US$130), although you’ll need to spend ₹10,005 (around $162) to get the 525.
At these price points the Lumia 525 simply isn’t worth it. The entry-level smartphone has a decent design that has aged well, but nevertheless packs year-old hardware that’s starting to compare unfavorably againt other budget minded competitors. The Snapdragon S4 MSM8227 SoC isn’t cut out for web browsing, and it was superseded by the Snapdragon 400 six months ago. The camera is mediocre at best, while battery life and display quality are just passable.
If you’re thinking about buying the Lumia 525, there are two much better options to take than forking out $160 for this entry-level handset. The Motorola Moto G will set you back $179, just $20 more, and packs a much more impressive set of hardware; or you can pick up the Lumia 520 for as low as $69, which is essentially the same as the Lumia 525 and still a fantastic buy at that price point.
For the Lumia 525 to be even worth considering, Nokia needs to slash its price before it’s too late.
Pros: Reasonable design gets the job done. Windows Phone is well-optimized for the entry-level hardware.
Cons: The Lumia 525 is a new smartphone with year-old hardware. Substandard camera takes mediocre shots in all conditions. Poor value up against the Lumia 520 and Moto G.