The successor to the world’s most popular Windows Phone device, Nokia Lumia 520, is here. Lumia 525 is Nokia’s attempt to refine the 520 and address its shortcomings without increasing the price. At Rs 10,399, the 525 is priced competitively and is more powerful than its predecessor. Let’s see how much of a difference that makes to your experience, should you choose to buy it.
Quick Tech Specs: Micro-SIM | 4-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen (800×480 pixels) | Windows Phone 8 | 1 GB RAM | 8 GB storage | microSD slot (up to 64 GB supported) | 5-MP autofocus rear camera | 1,430 mAh battery
Design: It is hard to tell the Lumia 520 and 525 apart. The two phones have the same dimensions, weigh the same and look the same. The buttons are in the same place, just like the charging and audio ports. But when you hold them, you will notice the difference. The Lumia 520’s body is made of glossy plastic (unless you get a black 520), which means it is slippery. The 525 has a different finish, which provides better grip. One complaint is that the lock button feels a little weak. Many 520 users complained of the button going soft after six to eight months of use. Let’s hope that users don’t face the same problem with the 525. Nokia’s bright colours have become distinctive now.
Display: The 4-inch screen has with a resolution of 800×480 pixels. This is good enough for reading, watching videos and gaming. When you’re using the phone in bright sunlight, you’ll have trouble reading on the screen. Of course, a higher resolution would have been welcome, but you won’t notice it unless you are downgrading from an expensive phone with a better display. When you tilt the phone a bit, you’ll notice white light bleeding from the top. This is a minor annoyance, which you’ll not notice unless you look for it.
Performance: Having 1 GB RAM greatly improves gaming performance. Last year, several developers had to optimise their games to run on phones with 512 MB RAM because of the Lumia 520. There will be no such issue this year. Games such as Temple Run 2, Rail Rush and Angry Birds Go! are playable on the Lumia 525, although minor stutters were noticed some times. The phone did not show any lags when running several applications and switching between them.
Memory: Lumia 525 has 8 GB internal storage and supports a microSD card of up to 64 GB. This is sufficient for most people. Once every two or three months, you will have to remove apps you don’t use to free up space. Other than that, as long as you’re storing photos and videos on the microSD card, the phone should not run out of space.
Software: Windows Phone 8 has received crucial updates in the past year. One of these has cured the OS of the other storage bug that would eat up all space on your phone. The OS works well and we did not face any random reboots or stutters. I could not synchronise contacts from my Google account with the Lumia 525. Instead, I used the Transfer My Data app to pull contacts from my primary phone. Apart from chat apps such as WhatsApp, most apps worked well on Lumia 525. With chat apps, notifications were often delayed. Every time I opened WhatsApp, I found several unread messages for which I had not received notifications.
Camera: The Lumia 525’s camera is similar to the one on its predecessor. The 5-MP autofocus camera takes satisfactory pictures in daylight with good colour reproduction. However, pictures lost details when clicked in low light. Pictures shot at night were grainy. Lumia 525 does not have a front camera, so if you love selfies or make a lot of video calls, this is not the best phone for you.
Battery: The battery life of the Lumia 525 is satisfactory. It lasted a little less than a day on moderate use involving a few calls, gaming, browsing, social networks and chatting. Heavy use takes a toll on the battery, so it would be wise to invest in a portable battery pack.
Verdict: Windows Phone has its shortcomings, but is a smooth and stable operating system. The Lumia 525 is an incremental upgrade over the 520, and is a good alternative to Android phones for the price (Rs 10,399). The 520 is still available for around Rs 8,000, in case you’re short on cash and gaming isn’t on your mind.