Doing what I do, I have access to a wide variety of smartphones and given my inclination, most of the times those are all flagships devices. But despite all that, there is a one smartphone that I keep coming back to – the Nokia Lumia 925. It isn’t the latest or the greatest Windows Phone. It doesn’t have a 41 MP camera, or a full HD 1080p display, or a Snapdragon 800 processor, and it isn’t even very new – having been announced back in May 2013. But there is something about this device, that makes me keep holding onto it, and in post I try and figure out why.
1. Camera – The Lumia 925 packs a 8.7 MP camera with a 6 part Carl Zeiss lens and a dual LED flash. It also features Nokia’s excellent Optical Image Stabilisation technology that really improves low light performance. But this post isn’t about the specs. Most flagship devices these days have a good enough camera, something that will do the job. The Lumia 925 isn’t such a device. It features a camera that does the job, and then goes two steps further. It isn’t the 41 MP beauty that the Lumia 1020 has, but given the Nokia Camera application and a bit of patience, you can get pretty close. Short of the 1020, this device perhaps has the best camera of any modern smartphone. The Nokia Camera app enables all sorts of settings, and finally brings the ability to tap the screen to set exposure.
2. Design – The Lumia is understated, yet modern. The combination of aluminum and polycarbonate in a slim (8.5mm) and fairly light package (139 g) makes it striking device. The elegant design not only feels sturdy, but commands respect from even the most discerning customers. Needless to like I like this design language, and would like Nokia to take it further. Infact you can see glimpses of the Lumia 925 in the 1520, specially the back.
3. Battery Life – The 925 comes with a 2000 mAh battery that usually has no problems taking you though the day, even with 3G enabled. Despite using the hotspot functionality multiple times a day for short bursts, the Lumia 925 survives the day. For a device with a 4.5″ 720p display, that’s something impressive.
4. Price – The Lumia 925 costs about 29,000 INR or $470 in India, making it one of the more aggressively priced devices in the market. For 29K or less, you get a top of the line camera (bested only by the much more expensive 1020), a 4.5″ 720p display, all day battery life, a 1 year Nokia Music subscription – all in a device that looks like a high end flagship.
5. Apps – For a long time you honestly couldn’t recommend a Windows Phone because of the app situation. But all that has changed. You still might not get a few apps that debut on iOS first, but then Android despite all its success still gets that step motherly treatment from time to time. I recently argued that Windows Phone doesn’t have an app problem, and since then quite a few of the apps that were missing have also become available – or soon will be. Instagram is coming (6tag is already a great replacement), so is Flipboard and thanks to Nokia & Microsoft’s deals, you even get a few exclusives like the all important IRCTC app. Unless you rely on a specific app that has no equivalent, or like to live on the absolute bleeding edge when it comes to apps, jump right in.
6. Nokia Services – Whenever I’m travelling HERE Maps is a literally a lifesaver, and that hasn’t changed. Then once a while when you’re having a party or a group of friends has come over, you’ll want to listen to that one old track that no one has – Nokia Music. This is in addition to being able to download everything you Shazam. While Gaana.com, Dhingana.com etc all have excellent Windows Phone apps, its always a nice feeling to download and own the track on demand and for free. My only qualm with Nokia is that in India, you cannot download high bit-rate music.
7. X-Factor – The reason that this is the last point on this list isn’t that I wanted to list 7 points, and I couldn’t think of anything else. There are a few devices that have an inherent quality to them that just makes them very likeable, something that makes you want to hold onto them even after something newer and shinier comes along – the Lumia 925 is one such device. I can find faults with it if I choose to, but that’s the case with most smartphones these days.
The Lumia 925 may not be for everyone, and that’s why the title of this post calls it ‘a’ perfect smartphone rather that ‘the’ perfect smartphone. But for a majority of people, it will be delightful.
Note: ‘The’ perfect smartphone is a myth, a utopia.