Nokia Lumia 925 Smartphone Review

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Software and User Experience

Windows Phone 8 is the operating system on-board, but it's important to focus on what version we're looking at. The software release is labeled 'Lumia Amber,' which was initially revealed back in August. It's one of the most monumental WP8 updates to date, bringing a standby clock to the ClearBlack display, an improved camera imaging experience, a built-in FM radio player, performance improvements to Internet Explorer and Xbox Music, and of course, the introduction of the Nokia Smart Camera app that we referenced in the opener.

Another brilliant feature that ships with Amber is double-tap to unlock. In the Android world, this feature is presently reserved for LG's G2; it's one of our favorite features, as it enables us to get into the phone without awkwardly stretching for an out-of-the-way power button.

Outside of that, it's the same Windows Phone 8 experience that we've discussed in our prior Lumia reviews. You can resize and reshuffle icons on your home pane, but there is still no way to create folders for apps. For power users, this might be an issue. There's still no real support from Google, so don't expect a Gmail app, or anything beyond a simple Google Search app.

The People hub, while useful in collecting updates from a variety of social networks, is fairly limited in terms of usability. You'll still need to rely on dedicated Facebook, Twitter, etc. apps to truly exploit the functionality of each -- if you're just looking for glanceable updates where you don't plan on having too much input back, it's fine. Otherwise, it's a bit lacking.

The Nokia HERE suite of mapping and routing products are excellent. The offline mapping system is amongst the best in the mobile universe, and it's one of the key differentiating factors that works in the phone's favor.

The Nokia Pro Camera app enables you to have more control over your photos than any other phone platform. All of the conventional manual camera controls are there at your fingertips, and if you're simply looking to snap a great shot without a lot of fuss, automatic mode is but a swipe away.

Voice searching and controlling, however, is hit or miss (as it is with Siri and practically every other voice-guided system these days).

The 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon manages to power the OS well, and we were pleasantly surprised with how quickly we were able to whisk in and out of apps. Being limited to just 16GB of internal storage with no microSD expansion slot will be a drawback for some, but at least you'll get 7GB of free SkyDrive storage with the phone. Too bad there's no Google Drive app, but you will find a few other third-party options such as Dropbox,, etc.

Over the years, Windows Phone's app ecosystem has slowly-but-surely progressed. Microsoft itself has built a number of high-quality first-party apps, which are likely to be appreciated by new smartphone users due to their ease of use. In fact, for many mainstream consumers, the Windows Phone experience is so intuitive and accessible that it's definitely a strong suit for the platform now.

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