If you’re the type that likes a “stealth” look, the all-black Nokia Lumia 925 ($99.99) could be your next phone. The new AT&T model looks cooler than the T-Mobile version thanks to its matte black finish. Windows Phone fans will like the Lumia 925, and if you’re not looking for particular big-name apps, it’s a nice smartphone. But the Lumia 1020 has a stellar camera for not much more money, and there are a plethora of Android phones with many more apps available. This leaves the Lumia 925 in a somewhat tenuous position in AT&T’s lineup.
Design, Display, and Connectivity
We’ve already reviewed the Lumia 925 on T-Mobile, so here I’ll do a quick recap, and then talk about what makes the AT&T model different. The Lumia 925 measures 5.08 by 2.78 by 0.33 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.9 ounces. It’s made of a combination of metal framing and polycarbonate, with a glass front panel. It’s a beautiful phone to hold and use, and it looks more expensive than it is. The 4.5-inch, 1,280-by-768-pxiel PureMotion HD+ AMOLED display looks as vibrant as usual, with its oversaturated colors and deep blacks. I don’t say that as a bad thing; I think it’s gorgeous, but some people prefer less intensity and more color accuracy.
The Lumia 925 on AT&T is a quad-band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), quad-band HSPA+ 21 (850/900/1900/2100 MHz), and 4G LTE phone with 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi on both 2.4 and 5GHz bands, Bluetooth 3.0 (not 4.0), and NFC. In midtown Manhattan, I saw 8-11Mbps down and 7-8Mbps. Solid results. The Lumia 925 also works as a mobile hotspot for up to five devices simultaneously with the appropriate data plan.
Call quality is solid overall. Voices sound clear, distinct, and loud through the earpiece. You lose T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi calling, which is unfortunate, although AT&T’s much larger network footprint across the U.S. means it’s less of an issue. Reception was good in my tests. Calls sounded fine through a Jawbone EraBluetooth headset , and voice dialing triggered and worked fine over Bluetooth. The speakerphone sounds clear but tinny, and not as loud as I would have liked; using it outdoors could be a problem.
The T-Mobile version of the Lumia 925 scored a lackluster 6 hours 50 minutes of talk time on a full charge. We’re still testing battery life and will update this review as soon as we have a result.
OS, Apps, and Multimedia
A dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 processor with 1GB RAM is decidedly midrange these days, but Windows Phone 8 responds briskly and animates smoothly. It’s in running apps and browsing the Web where you may see some slowdowns; as with the T-Mobile version, Web pages loaded more slowly on this phone than others we’ve tested.
The Lumia 925 runs Windows Phone 8 with Nokia’s “Amber” update. This gives you useful apps like Data Sense and Glance, plus plenty of camera-specific and GPS location-based apps (for more on these, check out our T-Mobile Lumia 925 review). The problem with Windows Phone, as always, is the comparative lack of big-name apps compared with Android and iOS. You’ll find plenty of third-party apps, but not necessarily the same ones your friends and family use. Unfortunately, AT&T preloads a lot of bloatware, which is scattered throughout the device.
On the other hand, the Lumia 925 is a fine phone for multimedia. You get 16GB of internal storage, but there’s just 11.78GB free for your apps and media, as opposed to almost 15GB on the T-Mobile version. Music tracks sound fine through Plantronics BackBeat Go Bluetooth earphones , and Windows Phone 8 offers plenty of possibilities for syncing or streaming media. Videos really pop on the AMOLED screen, and having an extra half inch, compared with the iPhone, is great for watching movies.
Camera and Conclusions
The 8.7-megapixel PureView camera features Carl Zeiss optics, an f/2.0 aperture, and optical image stabilization. It takes beautiful photos outdoors, but still falls down in low-light situations despite Nokia’s claims about performance in that regard. It also records smooth 1080p30 videos, and there’s also a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and 720p video chats.
With the AT&T version, you get better U.S. network coverage and a larger LTE footprint, but you lose Wi-Fi calling, are stuck with more bloatware, and will pay more for the extra coverage compared with T-Mobile. Other options: The Lumia 1020 delivers what is in many respects the best camera phone on the market, although it costs $100 more. Moving over to Android, the HTC One Mini is a good comparison, as it costs the same, has just a slightly smaller 4.3-inch display, and is equally svelte and as good at snapping photos and recording video. Our favorite smartphone on AT&T is the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is much faster, has a larger 1080p display, and a 13-megapixel camera that’s pretty good in its own right. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is also a shrewd choice and more rugged than the regular S4.
With all of these options, Android has more than a million third-party apps in its catalog now, including versions of just about everything that’s popular. And finally, there are the new iPhones; the iPhone 5c in particular is a direct comparison at the same price as the Lumia 925, and offers access to the best third-party app catalog in the market as well as a camera that compares well with the Lumia 925′s. The iPhone 5c has a smaller display, though, and its bright color scheme is the opposite of the Lumia 925′s dark metal look. But if you want to go stealth, and take the road less traveled with Windows Phone, the Lumia 925 is a fine device to do it with.
|Phone Capability / Network||GSM, UMTS, LTE|
|Screen Resolution||1280 x 768 pixels|
|Dimensions||5.08 x 2.78 x 0.33 inches|
|Video Camera Resolution||1080p Rear|
|Available Integrated Storage||11.82GB GB|
|Processor Speed||1.5 GHz|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960 Dual-Core|
|Total Integrated Storage||16GB GB|
|High-Speed Data||EDGE, UMTS, LTE, HSPA+ 21|
|Screen Type||AMOLED PureMotion HD+|
|Operating System as Tested||Windows Phone 8|
|Camera Resolution||8.7 MP Rear|
|1.2 MP Front-Facing|
|Screen Pixels Per Inch||334 ppi|
|Bands||850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100|
|Form Factor||Candy Bar|
|Screen Size||4.5 inches|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc