Someone other than a geek tries the Lumia 925

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Let's be clear, everyone at All About Windows Phone loves the Lumia 925 from Nokia. We might have our own personal favourites (the 1020 for Steve, the 820 for Ewan, and the 720 for Rafe), but you'd be hard pushed to find a better all-rounder than the Lumia 925. But what happens when it's taken from the hardcore WP fans, and handed to a normal user? I volunteered my wife to try the Lumia 925 for a week.

It's probably fair to start off with some background here. Vikki is a long term user of Windows Phone, currently quite happy with the Windows Phone 7 powered Lumia 800. What would she make of the Lumia 925 over a week of usage?

Nokia Lumia 925

Splitting the 925 down the traditional lines of software and hardware, both of which have changed for Vikki in the move from the Lumia 800, one area picked a thumbs up, and one a thumbs down.

The thumbs down was around the hardware, but to be fair it wasn't a huge thumbs down. Neither was it for the actual specifications. The amount of memory or storage wasn't a big consideration, and everything worked as advertised. The hardware 'platform' has no issues. No, the main issue was the physical size of the 925. Even though the 925 is one of the smaller handsets that has been marked out as the flagship handsets, it was still too big for Vikki's hands.

The width of the 925 is to blame, not allowing the handset to sit comfortably in the hand. That made one handed operation tricky at best, and impossible in many situations. This wasn't helped by the soft-feel texture on the back of the handset. This did not provide a huge amount of friction, and coupled with the inability to get a good grip around the edges of the device saw the 925 slide out the bottom of Vikki's hand as it made a break for the floor.

Size aside, the one area of styling that caused some issues was the bulge for the camera unit. While there is a tiny lip around the edge, there was a worry that the lens could be easily damaged as it rested so frequently on the table. Adding a millimetre or two to the depth of the 925 would allow more vertical space to protect the lens.

The hardware buttons for volume seemed to be very sensitive and easy to press, with the volume being turned down on more than one occasion when the handset was put in a pocket. On Vikki's Lumia 800, the silicon case shielded the buttons to a certain extent -- and that's not the case here with the Lumia 925.

Windows Phone 8 gets a pass though, and part of this is down to the changes to the live tiles, allowing for three different sizes of tiles to be shown. The extra information that can be displayed on the first screen, without scrolling, makes the live tiles far more useful here than on WP7.x.

Nokia Lumia 925

The other software area that went down well was the imaging software, and specifically Nokia's extra lenses and features. These were fun to explore and use, with Vikki enjoying the panoramic lens and the smart cam apps especially. The camera quality itself was a step up from the Lumia 800 in terms of quality, and returns the confidence in Nokia's USP in smartphones - having a really good camera.

Overall there was a lot to love in the Lumia 925. The updates to the OS that are present in Windows Phone 8 make a big difference to the operation, especially Nokia's additional imaging applications. The bigger screen was nice, but coupled with the required increase in physical size of the handset, meant that the 925 was just too large to be a comfortable choice. If there was a way to have the larger screen but still be a one-handed smartphone (apart from being a neat trick) that would have been a desirable phone. As it was, the handset's physical design is a stumbling block to adoption.

In a roundabout way, the week with the Lumia 925 has answered the question for Vikki on what handset to go to next. Windows Phone 8 is very much appreciated, and Nokia's extra software makes the difference. It's unlikely an HTC would be considered, given the strength and fun in the camera software from Finland.

So which handset gets the nod instead of the 925? Probably the Lumia 720. "It's a smaller handset, but it has the same camera software. The design doesn't have the slippy texture, and it reminds me of the size of my Lumia 800 in the silicon bumper case."

Any final thoughts? "If I was a drag queen, the large Lumia 925 with a silicon case would be perfect, lots of functionality, and a handset that looks like it should be smaller than it is, which would be a great contrast for those large and manly hands."