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Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review

The Nokia Lumia PureView 925 features an f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lens with optical image stabilisation, and promises excellent low light performance, but how does it perform?

| Nokia Lumia 925 in Camera Phones

Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review: Nokia Lumia Pureview 925 (1)

The Nokia Lumia 925 is an update to the Nokia Lumia 920, and features a new slim aluminium body, an 8.7 Megapixel PureView camera with six Carl Zeiss lenses, optical image stabilisation and a 4.5 inch HD+ AMOLED touch screen display.

Nokia Lumia 925 Features

Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review: Nokia Lumia Pureview 925 (8)

As Nokia's flagship phone it has a wealth of high end features, such as a large 4.5inch touch-screen, with 1280x720 resolution, 16 or 32GB memory built in, Carl Zeiss lens, Wireless charging (with optional charging base), physical shutter release, Dual-core 1.5GHz SnapDragon S4 processor, all packed into a 8.5mm thick phone available in a number of colours.

Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review: Nokia Lumia Pureview 925 (3)

The camera features optical image stabilisation that is active whether shooting stills or video. Scene modes include: Automatic, Night portrait, Sports, Night, Close-up, Backlight. The camera also features manual setting for white balance, as well as ISO settings from ISO100 all the way up to ISO3200.

Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review: Nokia Lumia Pureview 925 (2)

The Nokia Lumia series includes a number of Nokia only camera apps including:

Nokia Smart Camera: Shoots a sequence of photos, making it easier to capture great moments. Choose your Best Shot or combine the photos into one picture, make a strobe effect to emphasize motion, remove unwanted objects or choose the best faces for great group shots.

PhotoBeamer: PhotoBeamer is an innovative and easy way to show your pictures on any screen. Point your Nokia Lumia at any screen displaying and enjoy your photos anywhere with family and friends. It's a mobile projector that's always at hand.

Cinemagraph: A magical blend of photo and movie-like animation, creating pictures that seem almost alive. Helpful on-screen assistance lets you select the animated area of your picture and easily create and edit a cinemagraph. You can share your cinemagraph with friends via social media, email and messaging.

Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review: Nokia Lumia Pureview 925 (6)

Key Features

  • 8.7megapixel PureView 1/3inch sensor
  • f/2.0 26mm equivalent Carl Zeiss Tessar Lens
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • Secondary camera: Secondary camera resolution: 1280 x 960 pixels, f-number/aperture: f/2.4 
  • 4.5inch AMOLED Touch Screen, 768x1280 resolution, 15:9, 334ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • Magnetometer, A-GPS, A-GLONASS, NFC
  • 2000mAh battery
  • 1GB RAM, 16GB/32GB mass memory depending on model
  • Camera video resolution: 1080p (Full HD, 1920 x 1080), frame rate: 30 fps, zoom: 4 x
  • Video light, Video zoom, Optical image stabilization, Continuous autofocus
  • ISO100 - ISO3200
  • Dual LED flash (operating range 3.0m)
  • 8cm macro 
  • Backlight scene mode
  • 8.5mm thick, 139g weight
  • Slim & lightweight anodised aluminium body
  • Available in a number of colours 

Nokia Lumia 925 Handling

Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review: Nokia Lumia Pureview 925 (5)

The side features a middle unlock/lock button, volume control and a two-stage shutter release letting you pre-focus the shot before releasing the shutter. It can also be used to directly access the camera even when the phone is locked by simply holding it down. The camera feels well built with an aluminium surround, smooth glass front, and a plastic rear giving additional grip.

Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review: Nokia Lumia Pureview 925 (11)

The phone operating system, Windows Phone 8, is quick with a very responsive touch screen, featuring large tiles that can be customised for the home page. The design and style of the operating system is carried over into each application you use, making it quite easy to navigate the system. Photo options in the main camera application are a little limited, with a small handful of scene modes, as well as flash, ISO, white balance, exposure (EV +/- 2.0), aspect ratio and focus assist light options.

Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review: Nokia Lumia Pureview 925 (9)

Battery life should be reasonable, with a 2000 mAh battery, however, as the phone has a large high resolution screen, it is likely the phone will need charging daily when in regular use. This is what we found in use, and is fairly typical for smartphones like this.

Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review: Nokia Lumia Pureview 925 (7)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Nokia Lumia 925
Shutter Response <0.1
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.125
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 30.4
Shot to Shot without Flash 1.2
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.5
Continuous Shooting - JPEG N/A

Focus is very quick, as well as shutter response. Shot to shot is reasonable, with good performance when using the flash, although there is no continuous shooting mode, unless you use the Smart Shoot app.

Nokia Lumia 925 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Nokia Lumia 925 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The camera phone is very good at shooting in low-light without the use of the LED flash, with optical image stabilisation keeping shots steady at shooting speeds as low as 1/6th of a second - we took the same night shot on the iPhone 5 and the camera struggled in the same conditions. Colour and exposure is reliable with the camera giving pleasing results.

Nokia Lumia 925 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images show good levels of detail and good colour reproduction, with better detail and sharper images than the Nokia Lumia 900. Images show very little barrel distortion, and the camera appears to be quite resistant to flare. Macro performance is quite good, with a "Close Up" scene mode selectable, and in good light produces impressive results with a good amount of background defocus.

Nokia Lumia 925 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - ISO Range ISO100 to ISO3200 is quite rare for a camera phone, and the results are much better than expected for a smartphone, with low noise at ISO100, ISO200 and ISO400. At ISO800 detail suffers slightly as noise increases, and detail is reduced again at ISO1600 as well as colour saturation. At ISO3200 detail is low and colour saturation also suffers.

Nokia Lumia 925 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten and fluorescent lighting with very little need to use the presets available.

Nokia Lumia PureView 925 Review: Panoramic
Panorama mode - The panoramic mode struggled at times to line up the images.

Nokia Lumia 925 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of effects available using the Creative Studio app built in, as well as other Nokia exclusive apps that can be used to get more creative shots. You can use Nokia Smart Camera to get the best shot, select an action shot, or you can delete moving objects, and choose the best face, thanks to the camera taking a number of shots. Cinemagraph lens animates an area of the picture. Creative Studio lets you choose a number of different colour options, as well as blur the background, or apply tilt/shift style effects.

Video - Video options let you set the white balance, continuous focus, and video quality (720p or 1080p), there is also the option to have to video light on or off - this uses the twin LEDs and is very bright. The optical image stabilisation does a good job stabilising this handheld video, and performance in low light is also good.

Value For Money

The Nokia Lumia 925 is available for £489 with 16GB which makes it reasonable value for money, in a similar price range as its competitors. It's also available with 32GB for free with a contract, and is up against the following high-end smartphones:

Apple iPhone 5, 8mp, f/2.4, 16GB, £505
Samsung Galaxy S4, 13mp, f/2.2, 16GB, £465
Sony Xperia Z, 13mp, f/2.4, 16GB, £479
HTC One, 4mp, f/2.0, OIS, 32GB, £489

Nokia Lumix 925 Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 925 is a stylish update to the Nokia Lumia 920, and improves on the 920 with a slimmer and more stylish metal body, as well as improved image quality. Optical image stabilisation and f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lens gives impressive low light performance as well as stabilised video recording. Colour reproduction is very good, and the camera is capable of taking a decent macro photo. The biggest competition to this phone would be the Samsung Galaxy S4 with a 13 megapixel sensor and Android, or the recently announced Nokia Lumia 1020, with a whopping 41 megapixel sensor and Xenon flash.

Smaller, thinner and lighter than the previous version, with a stylish aluminium framed body, the Nokia Lumia 925 is a much more appealling camera than its predecessor, the rather large 920. A number of the negatives we found could be resolved with a software update, and the release of Nokia Camera Pro will give users of the Nokia Lumia 925 much more manual control over settings, when it is rolled out for other Nokia phones in the not too distant future. Overall, we enjoyed using the Nokia Lumia 925, and are reluctant to send it back.


Nokia Lumia 925 Pros

Aluminium body
2 year warranty
4.5 inch high resolution screen
f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lens
Optical image stabilisation
Excellent Sat-Nav built in
Extended ISO range for a smartphone

Nokia Lumia 925 Cons

Self-timer not available!
16GB version may be limiting
Panoramic stitching struggles
Backlight scene mode seems ineffective


Nokia Lumia 925 Specifications

Front Camera
PixelsNo Data
Max ApertureNo Data
Smartphone Cameras
Smartphone Cameras
    Additional CamerasNo Data
    Max Aperturef/2
    35mm equivalent26mm
    Optical ZoomNo Data
    Image Sensor
    Pixels8.7Mp (Megapixels)
    Pixels (W)3552
    Pixels (H)2448
    Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
    Sensor Size1/3 inch
    Sensor Size (width)No Data
    Sensor Size (height)No Data
    Aspect Ratio
    • 4:3
    • 16:9
    LCD Monitor
    LCD Monitor4.5in
    Screen resolutionHD+ WXGA (1280x768)
    Touch ScreenYes
    Focusing modes
    • Autofocus
    • Touch AF
    • Face Detection
    Exposure Control
    Shutter speeds shortestNo Data
    Shutter speeds longestNo Data
    ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
    Movie modeYes
    Video Resolution
    • 1920x1080 FullHD
    • 1280x720 HD 720p
    Video FPS30
    Stereo SoundNo
    Other Features
    Image StabilisationYes
    USBUSB 2
    Internal Memory32000MB
    Power Source
    Battery Type2000mAh
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsNokia Lumia 925, Nokia AC-50 MicroUSB Charger, Nokia Charging and Data Cable CA-190CD, Nokia Headset WH-208, Quick guide, SIM Door Key

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    karl Avatar
    karl Plus
    19 656 United Kingdom
    16 Jul 2013 11:34AM
    ISO800 looks as good as on my 7D!

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