Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia 925 - teaching an old dog new tricks

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Guest writer Nirave Ghondia again brings us some musings, this time on the subject of applying latest Windows Phone updates to an old phone, the Lumia 925, in order to bring it right up to date and into the world of late 2014.

Nirave writes:


Lumia 925

One benefit to having a modern smartphone is that you'll usually get a few updates before your manufacturer stops supporting it. In the case of Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft's latest platform brings a few new features that mean the Lumia 925 is still a relevant smartphone, 14 months after it first went on sale.


Lumia 925 Homescreen before (left) and after (right) the Windows Phone 8.1 update

Having spent a week in New York last year (for the Lumia 1020 launch) armed with the Lumia 925 for my tourist needs, I know that it was a polished handset whose polycarbonate and aluminium build set the design benchmark for future flagships (like the Lumia 930). However, the Windows Phone 8.1 Update brings the handset back to life with features such as Cortana, Action Centre and the additional (optional) column of live tiles on the homescreen all adding new functionality.

Below are five images captured on the Lumia 925 which showcase the quality of the Lumia 925 camera:

NYC River Cruise Hero - The Great Wash

NYC Statue of Liberty

NYC St Patrick's Cathedral

Times Square, low light

View from the Empire State Building

Looking at the new Windows Phone 8.1 features, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which one makes the biggest improvement to the Lumia 925. For me personally, Action Centre is the most important as it provides the much-requested notifications, but for others Cortana may be as important (if not more important). Others may argue that the additional column of tiles was made for handsets like the Lumia 925 and having used them, I can say that the Start screen feels more natural than it did before the update.


Cortana and Multi Tasking in action on my Lumia 925

Looking back to the Lumia 925 launch last year, it’s clear the handset never really had a chance. Within a couple of months after launching in the UK, all marketing activity was diverted towards the Lumia 1020, yet whilst the latter had the impressive camera, the Lumia 925 combined style, design and specs into an entire package. Compare it to a current mid-range smartphone such as the HTC Desire 610 and there are many similarities; from a mid-range specs list to a price tag under £200 (the Lumia 925 is discontinued but available to buy online for under £200 brand new), these two handsets could be in direct competition (if the Lumia 925 appeared in any marketing that is).


More of Cortana in action on my Lumia 925

Although the handset doesn’t sport a superfast quad-core processor or the bells and whistles found on other devices, I can’t help but feel that Microsoft have missed a trick. As a source inside the company told me, the Lumia 925 didn’t perform as well as Nokia had hoped, yet in my view the Windows Phone 8.1 OS means the company could re-release the handset and it would still be relevant. The stylish build is, in my opinion, one of the nicest smartphones ever made and with Microsoft apparently focusing their efforts on the low and mid-range markets, the Lumia 925 could yet have a part to play.