Archive for the 'Phone Reviews' Category


The Tiger Gets His Paws On The Lumia 925, Reviews The Hell Out Of It

nokia-lumia-925-attI’ve had a lot of experience with the Nokia Lumia family. To date, I’ve reviewed the Lumia 800, 900, 920 and now the 925, so I’m becoming pretty well-versed when it comes to reviewing these phones.

However, for the sake of total transparency I need to say upfront that my experience using other smartphone handsets is limited as I’m not a fully qualified tech reviewer, just an average Joe who likes new technology.

So I can’t draw a comparison between this phone and others out there, but I can give an honest write-up of my experience using the phone so you can make an informed decision the next time you’re due for an upgrade.

So to kick things off, for this review all I’ll be focussing on are first impressions. In later reviews I’ll go more in-depth into the phone’s various features.



First Impressions

Straight off the bat, when I slipped the Lumia 925 out the box, I noticed a considerable size difference when compared to the 920.

The general trend with the higher-end Lumia phones so far seems to be based around making each phone bigger than the last. The 800 was a decent sized phone, but the bigger screen size of the 900 was undeniably sexier.

Then the 920 came out with an even bigger screen size, which was also cool, but it made the phone seriously hefty. Thing is, I enjoyed the experience of using the phone so much and was so impressed by it’s amazing image quality that I was willing to put up with its bulky feel.



The beauty of the Lumia 925 however is that it packs pretty much the same punch as the 920, but in a much, much smaller size.

The 925 is a whole 50g lighter (139g vs 185g) and it’s 0.2cm thinner (0.84cm vs 1.06cm), which makes an incredible difference it terms of the way the phone feels in your hand and the space it takes up in your pocket.

The screen size is identical in both phones though, as is the resolution (768 x 1280 pixels) and the pixel density (332) BUT a major differentiating factor is that the 925 has an AMOLED WXGA display as opposed to the IPS LCD display that the 920 was packing.

AMOLED displays offer a much larger colour gamut than IPS LCD displays, which makes images look more vibrant. AMOLED displays also have a wider viewing angle and are slightly easier on battery life so you’re winning on all fronts.



The other major difference looks-wise is that Nokia has opted to using aluminium for the edging that runs along the side of the phone which looks pretty damn sexy. The back is still polycarbonate, but with the 925 it’s done in a matt finish as opposed to the glossy finish the 920 had.

The camera has taken a bit of fire in some reviews because its placement means that your finger covers it when you’re holding the phone to talk, thus making it a magnet for fingerprints. Reviews have also lamented the fact that it’s slightly raised from the back of the phone, much like a welt on your bum after you’ve been shot with a paintball.

To be honest neither of these factors put a downer on my experience using this phone or its camera, but I can see how they might irritate highly strung users.

Like the other Lumia phones, the 925 has soft touch buttons for Back, Start and Search below the screen and hard touch (I just invented that term) buttons on the right-hand side for volume, power / lock and camera.

So far so good. At face value this is basically the 920, just slimmer and sexier. In the reviews to follow however, I’ll pop the hood on this bad boy and see how it really stacks up before I give my final verdict.

Stay tuned folks!



A Hardline Review Of The Lumia 920 Courtesy Of Your Tiger Pal

002It’s no secret that Nokia and I are friends from way back. Just look at that advert on your right, go ahead do it. What does it say? That’s right, it says somethingsomething NOKIA somethingsomething.

Such is my relationship with Nokia that even their top brass over in Finland has read this site. True story (that I’ll get into another time), but despite this I still try to retain some integrity when reviewing their phones.

That’s why I’m calling this a HARDLINE REVIEW. I’m not going to pull any punches here people, I’m going to tell you straight up what I think about the Nokia Lumia 920 I’ve been using for the past month.

Let’s start from the start, shall we?


For about four weeks before I got the actual phone to review, Nokia faithfully sent me a whole variety of drops of all kinds of shit stuff like a travel journal, an old school disposable camera, a cactus in a pot made from old stiffy disks, that sort of thing.

The idea was to highlight how technology has changed over the years in a “Hey, remember when we used stiffy disks?! How nuts were those! Look at how far we’ve come, sho!” kind of way.



I thought the drops were a nice idea, except the poor cactus, which got all battered up by the couriers and came out looking like it had fought a war (and lost).

All this built up to the big moment itself, when the final drop arrived and KAPOW! It was the Lumia 920! And a chopping board! Which was very useful… for chopping… stuff…


Form Factor

In my previous in-depth reviews of the Nokia Lumia 900 I’d mentioned how much bigger it was compared to the Lumia 800, something that took a little getting used to at first.

Well, the Lumia 920 continues this trend – size-wise it’s actually slightly thinner than the 900 (10.7mm vs 11.5) but width and height are both considerably more (130.3mm x 70.8 mm vs 68.5mm x 127.8mm).

It’s also one heavy-ass phone, weighing in at a hefty 185g in comparison to the 160g that the Lumia 900 weighed.



I was given the red Lumia 920 to review and holy shizit-balls does this phone look sexy! A shinier, smoother, more scratch-proof, slicker piece of technology you will NOT find.

Sure, it was a little hefty, but the second I fired it up and was bathed in the warm glow of no less than three hundred and thirty two pixels per inch on a 768 x 1280 PureMotion HD display, any reservations I had about it’s large size vanished instantly.




I don’t really know what to say here except wow.

The colour on the display is so rich you can practically taste it. It’s one of those things where at first you’re like “Huh, the display looks nice…” but after a week or so of using it, especially when you start using the camera, you really come to appreciate what a 332ppi 768 x 1280 display can do.

Videos play like magic, images are incredibly vivid, even webpages look pretty sick. It’s a big step up from the Lumia 900 AND you can use the touch-screen whilst wearing gloves (apparently. I never tried this, not much of a glove-wearer…)



Operating System, Speed, All That Good Stuff

Processor-wise, Nokia has seriously upped their game when it comes to the processor speed of the Lumia 920.

What am I talking about here? I’m talking about a Dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor bitches! That thing FLIES! And when combined with a solid 1GB RAM you must know, the last thing you’ll be doing is sitting around waiting for the phone to crunch apps, games, videos or webpages (connection dependant).

As for Windows 8, it’s just as much of a pleasure to use as Windows 7.5 was and operates according to the same tile logic. I have no issues with the OS on new Windows phones. I use a Windows laptop in my working life, so it makes sense to run in on my phone as well.

I had ONE instance where the phone froze which was a little disconcerting as my Lumia 900, in the 6 months I’ve been using it hasn’t frozen once. The screen got stuck displaying the Nokia logo and I had to hard-reset it (hold down volume down and the lock buttons) to get it up and running again.




This is always a tricky one to review over a mere month. The standard charge you get out of a smartphone these days is roughly a day of using it at medium-intensity for calls, internet browsing and taking pics.

My Lumia 900 used to give me just more than a day on regular battery (not power-saving) mode but that came down drastically over the time I used the phone. Now I take it off charge at about 7am and by 7pm it’s dead to the world.

With the Lumia 920, I can easily get nearly a day and a half out of the battery before it snuffs it, but who knows what the story would be six months down the line.

As for the wireless charging, at the time of writing this I was unable to confirm whether you get the Fatboy Wireless Charging Pillow bundled with Nokia Lumia 920s or not – what I do know though is it’s not included in the Lumia 920 box at all.



If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say the charging pillow is sold separately and probably isn’t cheap, but it’s totally worth it to just place your phone on a pillow and magically have it start charging right before your very eyes!

Yeah. Not really. Essentially there is no difference between plugging your phone in to charge and plugging a charging pillow in to charge and putting your phone on it. One thing I will say though is that the charge the phone got from the pillow seemed to be pretty legit – charging time was minimal and the battery lasted just as long as if it had been plugged into the wall.

It’s a start though. The day they invent something that broadcasts electricity to my phone the same way wifi is broadcast is the day I’ll really be impressed. And also the day THE ROBOTS TAKE OVER, RRARGRGRAHGRAHGRHAGRARAAAA!




This was my biggest gripe on the Lumia 900. Despite being a pretty solid phone I found the camera took blurry pictures unless held in a vice-like, unwavering grip and it performed shockingly in low-light conditions.

They’ve rectified both of these problems with the 8.7-megapixel PureView (with Carl Zeiss Tessar lens) primary camera the phone comes packing.

It brought back fond memories of the 12MP camera my old Nokia N8 used to pack in terms of image quality and general reliability. The only thing I struggled a bit with was zooming, which you can only do by pinching the screen.

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but touching the screen when on camera mode instantly takes a picture so unless you get your pinch perfect, you’ll end up snapping an unzoomed pic of something random and who the hell has time for unzoomed pics?! (#1stworldproblems).

On every other front, the camera was a vast improvement though and with 1080p video, the next random gig you go to and film with your phone knowing full well you’ll never actually watch the footage will never look better.



I could go on…

There’s still a lot more to cover with this phone – apps for example, how does it fare on that front? And what about my socials? Will it handle my Twitters and Facebookings like a pro?

And how about the built-in LTE antenna, how that that bad boy work (VERY flippin well if you’re in an area with coverage – Twitter and Facebook both opened and updated pretty much instantly, boosting my show-off factor considerably).

And mapping? What’s the mapping like (beyond awesome. That’s one thing the new generation of Nokia phones has got so right it’s not even funny).

But yeah, if you want my final verdict then here it is:


Final Verdict:

The Lumia 920 is the Lumia 900 on steroids. Despite its increased bulk, I really enjoyed using the phone and only had one minor glitch when it froze solid about three weeks after I started using it.

What would really boost the hell out of this review would be any comments from people who have used this phone alongside an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or HTC. I can only review this phone in comparison to Nokia’s previous phones and when viewed in that light, it’s a great phone.

My view in the end of the day is this: if you are a Windows user, you’d be retarded NOT to try out one of Nokia’s new Windows phones of which the Lumia 920 is by far the best (until the 925 is available…).



The Tiger Asks Some Hard Questions About The Lumia 900

interrogationI originally wrote this piece before the Nokia Lumia 920 was announced yesterday, so it feels weird to be writing about this phone when everyone else is shouting about the Lumia 920.

Still though, it will be a while before the Lumia 920 hits shelves so until then the Lumia 900 is still Nokia’s flagship Lumia phone, so from that perspective, this review still has a lot of merit.

We’ve gone through the preliminary reviews on the Nokia Lumia 900, we’ve put it through the first couple of paces and overall the phone has performed well.

But it’s time to take the gloves off and ask some difficult questions about the Lumia 900 because the bottom line is that Nokia has logged more than 3 billion euros in operating losses in the last 18 months and its smartphone market share has dropped to less than 10% from 50% before the iPhone arrived in 2007.

In most consumer’s minds, Nokia doesn’t feature at all when they’re considering what smartphone to buy – iPhone, Android-based phones and, despite the fact that they’re also on the ropes in a huge way, Blackberries are still top of mind for SA consumers.



Is it time people shifted their perceptions and started considering Nokia’s Windows Phones as a viable alternative to other smartphones in the market?

To answer that question, I asked myself what people want in a smartphone and came up with the following criteria:

  • Aesthetics (does it look sexy?)
  • Speed (does it hang, lag or freeze? What’s the browsing experience like?)
  • Functionality (can it navigate, take video and pics and make me coffee?)
  • Synchronicity (how well does it talk to my other devices?)
  • Apps (does it have sick apps?)
  • Finer details (is typing on the phone a pain in the ass? What’s the battery life like? What are the small things that the phone does right / wrong/)

So, keeping those criteria in mind, here’s how the Lumia 900 performed:


There’s no denying the Lumia 900 is a damn sexy phone. With its 4.3in AMOLED display, colours are rich, deep and pack a lot of punch.

Its matt polycarbonate body makes the phone scratch proof and thanks to its striking colour variations, it’s the kind of phone that people take notice of when you whip it out.



I mean with a screen that’s basically 12 x 6 cms, it’s hard not to. But as mentioned before, I think the increased screen size is justified and makes viewing photos and videos on the phone a pleasure.

So on the aesthetics front, the Lumia 900 is a kickass phone, no complaints there.


Another front I cannot fault the Lumia 900 on is the speed of the device. In nearly a month of using it, the phone has not lagged or frozen once and as I mentioned in my previous post, browsing on this phone is motherflippin’ AWESOME.

To give you an idea, I read a piece on recently about 5 ridiculous rockstars you would never think are secretly musical geniuses, one of which (much to my surprise) was Prince.

Later in the bar with my buddies, I wanted to share this newfound nugget of highly useful information with them so I tracked down the video below of Prince playing a solo that will melt your face off 1 000 000 times over started playing it for them.



I shit you not, the video played on my phone without buffering for even a second. That’s something not even my fixed line at work can do.

Were you able to play the video above without buffering? (Don’t answer that question if you live outside of SA. You don’t know what it’s like down here. Bandwidth is like crack in a rich, white neighbourhood – scarce and unjustifiably expensive).

So on the speed front it’s also a winner and that’s a huge plus for any phone.


Does it navigate? Yes it does using both Nokia Maps (if you just want a quick fix on your position and a simple way to get to your destination) and Nokia Drive (if you want turn-by-turn voice navigation while you’re driving).

Both are also blisteringly fast. I have a Garmin in my car and yes, granted it’s about two years old now and I haven’t updated it recently, but by the time I’ve switched that thing on, found satellites, punched in the address where I’m going, found the place and hit “Go”, my Lumia is already at the finish line where it’s carving up a celebratory spitroast it started cooking five hours ago.



On the camera side, as I mentioned in my previous post, the Lumia 900 is a little lacking. The pics are almost always blurry unless you hold your breath while taking them and the digital zoom decimates picture quality and zooms. In. Like. This. Instead of zoominginlikethis.

I tried to do a little reading up to find out if there’s a camera app out there that fixes this, but wasn’t able to find anything.

So it’s a huge thumbs up for the awesome navigation on the phone but a bit of a disappointment on the camera / video side of things.


If you are a PC man, I see no reason why you shouldn’t get this phone. It syncs so easily with a PC (provided you install Zune first) it’s scary and if you activate Office 365 on the phone, you can take your work with you wherever you go.

Excel works like a bomb, as does Word, both of which allow you to create and edit documents like you would on your PC in a comfortable, user-friendly way.

Unlike Windows Mobile, viewing and editing documents on the Lumia 900 won’t frustrate the shit out of you and make you want to throw the phone with all the force you can muster into oncoming traffic.



If your laptop got stolen / gave up the ghost, you could almost work entirely off this phone and not skip a beat.

If you aren’t a PC man, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to be using a Windows Phone so yeah… why are you reading this?


Aaaahhh, apps… the one aspect of this phone I don’t really feel comfortable writing about yet.

I haven’t dived very deep in here, right now the only apps I have running on the Lumia 900 are Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook and Twitter run pretty smoothly, but Whatsapp exits unexpectedly sometimes and has been designed in this utterly retarded way that hides the words you’re writing behind the virtual keyboard if your message is too long.



It will also show you who has just Whatsapped you and the first line of what they’ve typed along the top of the screen as soon as you get e message, but then when you go into Whatsapp to read the message, it takes a second or two to refresh the conversation before the new messages appear.

It looks super-slick though, but for a heavy duty user like me, I’ve found it a little frustrating and cumbersome to use.

I’ll get back to apps on the Lumia 900. For now let’s just say they seem to be ok and leave it at that.

Finer Details

These are the things that can really make or break a phone. You could have the sickest phone known to man, but if you hate typing on it (for example), it’s a total deal-breaker.

Luckily typing on the Lumia 900 is a breeze thanks to the highly responsive touch screen and the fact that it starts predicting the word you’re typing and several variations of it as you’re punching it in that you can just select to save yourself the trouble of typing the whole word out.

I also like the fact that the phone doesn’t work according to a whole set of predefined profiles like previous Nokias did. You want your phone on silent? Hold the “volume down” button until the volume is on zero and bam! The phone’s on silent.



And that’s really one of the things I love the most about this phone, it’s dead simple ease-of-use. The “back” button (one of three that the phone comes with) works universally whether you’re switching between apps, browsing the internet or looking through pictures.

Navigation is quick, clean and intuitive. There isn’t one person I’ve showed the phone to that isn’t impressed by how right Microsoft have gotten the Windows Phone interface.

It also does social like a dream.

I used the N8 for many years (nearly three in total) and though it took the most amazing pics and videos you’re ever seen on a cell phone and was sturdy enough to survive at least five falls that would have shattered most other phones, the simple task of uploading a photo to Twitter was like trying to split an atom.

The Lumia series was built for social. Take a picture –> hit share –> choose medium (ie. Messaging, Google Mail, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp) –> write caption (optional) –> hit upload.

Of course the downside of such a powerful smartphone is that the battery life typically lasts one day (which is actually pretty standard for smartphones these days) on full power and two at a stretch on power saving.



If I’ve done this right, you should hopefully have a much clearer picture of the Lumia 900 having read this review and are in a better position to decide if you think it’s worth taking a chance on or not.

To put it bluntly, if you use a PC, there is no reason I can think of as to why you shouldn’t have this phone.

Will the Lumia range of Windows Phones save Nokia’s smartphone market share? Yes, I believe they will, but not until people break out of the mindset that Nokia isn’t a serious contender in the smartphone market.

All that needs to happen is for people to actually try out the Lumia range and I can almost guarantee you they will be pleasantly surprised.



Gettin’ Steamy With The Nokia Lumia 900

1301066774672I’ve had the pleasure of using the Lumia 900 for about two weeks now, so I’m starting to get to know this phone on a far more intimate level.

I have one or two gripes so far, but before I get into those, I want to focus on one of the things this phone does really well and that’s speed.By which I mean the phone is very fast.

This is a legitimate phone review damnit, not a rave in the 90s.

The Lumia 900 packs a 1.4 GHz Single Core processor which specs-wise doesn’t sound too impressive considering the iPhone 4s has a 1GHz Dual Core processor and the HTC One X has a 1.5 GHz Dual Core processor.

BUT read a few reviews online and most people agree that the experience of using the Lumia 900 is just as fast if not faster than other heavy-weight smartphones on the market.

Web browsing is ridiculously sick. Resickulous. Most 1-5min YouTube clips stream without buffering (provided you’re in an area that has decent 3G coverage) and websites open in a matter of seconds.



I’d recommend downloading the free Twitter and FB apps featured on the Windows Phone Marketplace because not only do they look slick, but also open and update almost instantly.

It was the one thing that used to drive me nuts about the N8 – tweeting from that phone was a total ballache.

Not so with the Lumia 900, which I can see being a potential problem the next time I’m out and I think up a hilariously insightful tweet after my 7th whisky…

So that’s a huge thumbs up for the Lumia 900 – browsing, Facebooking and Tweeting are all quick and painless.

One of the things I’m finding a little frustrating though is taking pics and recording video using the Lumia 900.



As with the Lumia 800, unless you hold the phone dead still when taking pics, they come out blurry almost every time.

The lens is super-sensitive and doesn’t perform well in low light situations. The digital zoom is very clunky and basically decimates your picture quality when you’re fully zoomed in.

If anyone knows a great photo / video app for the Lumia 900 that fixes this problem, lemme know.

I’ll be looking for one as well because I don’t think the hardware is the issue here, it’s packing an 8MP camera with a Carl Zeiss lens so it should be shooting like a dream.



I found the same thing when trying to record sound with the Lumia 900. It doesn’t come with a native sound recording app, so I used OneNote, which comes with Outlook on the Lumia 900.

OneNote allows you to record voice notes but the sound quality sounds like you were speaking into a tin can with a string attached to a second can your neighbour three houses down was holding to his ear.

I downloaded the “Pocket Recorder” app from the Windows Phone Marketplace and magically fixed the problem in less than 5 mins.

So to sum up, I’m still very much into the Lumia 900. She’s sexy, laughs at all my jokes, is seriously low maintenance and moves fast.



If the Lumia 900 were a girl she’d have a mind like a diamond, and you bet your ass, she’d know what’s best.

She’d wear shoes that cut and have eyes that burn like cigarettes Winking smile

More on the Lumia 900 next week.

Later Party People.



Nokia Lumia 900 First Impressions

nokia-lumia-900A couple of months ago I wrote a series of reviews about the Nokia 800 which, if you want to kill a good 20 mins, you can read here, here, here and here.

I quickly became inhumanly attached to the Lumia 800 and at the end of the review period, I felt like I was losing a limb when I had to return it.

So when the kind folks at Nokia contacted me about reviewing the Lumia 900, I jumped at the opportunity to sink my teeth into this new addition to the Nokia Windows Phone family.

This review is just going to touch on my first impressions setting up and using the phone, I’ll get into more detail over the next few weeks.

The first thing that struck me about the Lumia 900 is how impressively huge it is.



If you compare the phone size wise to the Lumia 800, the Lumia 900 is 127.8 x 68.5mm where as the Lumia 800 is 116.5 x 61.2mm. So the Lumia 900 is basically a centimetre taller and half a centimetre wider than its predecessor.

Doesn’t sound like much, but have a look at the two in a side-by-side comparison and the difference is massive.



It’s a far cry from a Galaxy Note, but I must admit when I first saw how much bigger it is compared to the Lumia 800, I thought they may have taken things a bit far.

However, after a couple of days of use I quickly got used to the increased screen size and found that it makes things like browsing (which was an issue with me on the Lumia 800) and basic menu and app navigation pretty slick.

Also, viewing pictures and videos is a whole other experience with this phone. The 480 x 800 pixel screen means images are crisp and clear and the few experiments I’ve done so far with streaming video from YouTube have produced some impressive results thanks to the device’s download speeds which are nearly 2x faster than the Lumia 800.



There are a shiteload of similarities between the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 900 though so a lot of the stuff I covered in my Lumia 800 review will apply to the Lumia 900, but the longer I use this phone, the more subtle differences I pick up.

At this stage, I’d say that the Lumia 900 is more suited for people who want a smart phone that browses like a demon, handles multimedia content with ease and streamlines all your email and social media accounts so that communicating with your contacts as easy as falling off a piece of cake.

I’ll post more thoughts on this phone next week, but needless to say my initial impression has been very positive, but let’s see how the Lumia 900 holds up once I start seeing what this bad boy is really capable of.