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Nokia Lumia 525 Review

Could This Be The New Best-Selling Windows Phone Device?

By Asif Iqbal on Sunday 9th of Feb 2014

The Lumia series of smartphones from Nokia isn’t as great a market success as the Galaxy series of smartphones. But it is a great deal for Nokia as well as Microsoft. Nokia devices have always been praised for their great cameras and tough build quality. Nokia Lumia 1020 and Nokia PureView 808 were the perfect examples of that. But Nokia has been under constant pressure from cheap Android devices. Nokia’s answer to them came in the form of Lumia 520 which was the cheapest Windows Phone 8 device ever. For a price of INR 10,000, it offered great value. As a result, it became the best-selling device ever in Windows Phone platforms history. But it wasn’t without its quirks. It lacked an LED flash and it had only 512MB of RAM which made it incompatible with some high-end games and applications out there. Nokia has now released an updated version of Lumia 520 in the form of the Lumia 525. It is still priced under INR 10.000 and plugs in the hole of incompatibility with high end games with the help of 1GB of RAM. Let us check out if buying the Lumia 525 is the right choice for buyers if they are on a tight budget.

Nokia 525 Holding in hand

Comfortable To Hold Design 

Nokia’s Lumia line-up of smartphones have always had a very distinct from other smartphones in terms of design. They all follow the similar ‘family design’ guidelines with a wide range of colour options, polycarbonate body and nice build quality. The Lumia 525 is no different. The Lumia 520 and Lumia 525 are indistinguishable in terms of design. There are 3 capacitive buttons just below the screen; back, Start & search. The Nokia branding and the earpiece are located just above the display. The microUSB port is at the bottom while the headphone jack is at the top. The right hand side of the device features volume rockers, power/lock button and the camera shutter button. The loudspeaker and the camera lens are situated on the back, along with a recessed Nokia logo etched on to the back panel. The back panel has a rubbery finish to and is removable which is used to replace the battery, micro SIM card and microSD card. Due to a 4 inch screen, the device has a smaller body than all those phablets and can be comfortably held in the palm and can be operated with a single hand. The corners of the device are a tad too sharp and could have been a bit more rounded off and smooth.

Reflective IPS LCD Screen & an Average Loudspeaker

The Lumia 525 has a 4 inch screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels and a pixel density of 233 ppi. Thanks to the IPS LCD panel, the viewing angles are good. There is a minimum amount of colour shift when viewed at the screen from wider angles. The black levels aren’t that deep though, may be because of exclusion of the Clear Black Display. Also, the screen is very reflective so it doesn’t perform satisfactory in outdoor conditions. Although it isn’t a ‘Retina Display’, the screen sharpness isn’t that bad as well. Thanks to some really good font smoothing techniques from Microsoft, web browsing and general text reading is a decent experience if not great.

Nokia Lumia 525 Camera Sample1

Good Camera Sans Flash

The 1/4 inch CMOS camera sensor used in the Lumia 525 produces images with a maximum resolution of 5MP. It is fitted with an autofocus lens but sadly, there’s no LED flash. The images shot with the Lumia 525’s camera has good amount of details in them. But the shot-to-shot time is a bit long by today’s standards, a problem with all Windows Phone devices. The 720p HD video recording has a steady and healthy frame rate of around 29-30 frames per second. Unlike the still shots though, the videos do not contain good amount of details in them. There are some great camera apps for Lumia 525 developed by Nokia such as Nokia Camera, Cinemagraph, GlamMe, Panorama and Nokia Smart Camera. Those are some of the best designed camera apps ever. The Nokia Camera offers manual controls over all kings of camera settings while the Nokia Smart Camera clicks a series of burst images so as to let the user choose the best image of the bunch, remove unwanted objects from the image or choose the best face from a series of images.

More Camera Samples

Nokia Lumia 525 Antutu Scores

Satisfactory Gaming Performance

A 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8227 SoC is being used to complete all the processing needs of the device.This SoC has dual Krait CPU cores in conjunction with a decently powerful Adreno 305 GPU. The processor is coupled with 1GB of RAM which is the only difference between Lumia 520 and the Lumia 525. This makes the Lumia 525 compatible with apps and games like Nokia StoryTeller, Nokia Beamer and FIFA 13. This negates the biggest quirk that buyers had with the Lumia 520. Day-to-day usage with Lumia 525 is a pleasant experience. Games run quite smoothly, thanks to lower screen resolution. This means the modestly powerful Adreno 305 GPU has lower number of pixels to process for.

Very Good Battery Life

The Lumia 525 is loaded with a 1430 mAh Li-Ion battery which is removable, as mentioned earlier. Even after installing 3 types of IM apps, keeping 4 mail accounts on sync with a refresh rate of 20 minutes each and setting up 4 different social networking services, the Lumia 525 managed to last a complete 24 hour cycle. The device would mostly last through a day even if it is constantly connected to the Internet via 3G data connection or Wi-Fi network.

Nokia Lumia 525 Quick Specs

OS Windows Phone 8 Black Processor Dual-core 1 GHz
Touchscreen Capacitive touchscreen Display Resolution 480 x 800 pixels
Display 4" IPS LCD Primary Camera 5 MP
Dimensions 119.9 mm x 64 mm x 9.9 mm, 75.7 cc Weight 124 g

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Nokia makes the best selling Windows Phone better by upgrading the RAM to 1GB

The Nokia Lumia 525 is priced below INR 10,000 mark. Surprisingly, the Lumia 520 was released with the same price tag back then. Nokia is also bundling INR 2,000 worth of games for free with the Lumia 525 which might justify the price difference between the Lumia 520 and the Lumia 525. Someone looking to buy a no-non-sense smartphone should have a serious consideration about the Lumia 525. But if they can increase their budget by around INR 2,500, there is a much better option in the form of Motorola Moto G which has launched in India a couple of days ago. It comes with better screen, dual SIM card slots and Android v4.4 KitKat operating system.

Nokia Lumia 525
  • Good Build Quality
  • Long Battery Life
  • Great Value For Money
  • Reflective LCD Could have Been Better
  • No Flash
  • No Secondary Camera
  • NFC & Some Sensors Are Missing
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