Nokia Lumina 925

#Lumina #Nokia #WindowsPhone

So my latest toy has rocked up!


So I am an iPhone user.  I have had 3gs and currently have a 4.  I suppose deep down, when Apple went to war with Samsung, I thought Apple had turned in to a bully!  So when my iPhone started playing up, I decided to drop Apple and look elsewhere.  That really left 3, Android, BlackBerry or Windows Mobile.

What I don’t like about Android is the open nature of the apps.  Yes as an OS it’s looks great and has some awesome devices, but no.  BlackBerry, well no thanks ;-).  I suppose I was always going to get a Windows Mobile device.  I have had many in the past, so  It was just a matter of time.  I thought about and Lumina 920, but then got a hint that something new was in the pipeline so held off.  The 925 is what is new!

As it goes, it was also time for to switch mobile provider.  I have been with T-Mobile in the UK for ages, and for the last few months the signal has been pants.  I look around at price plans and EE is soooo expensive.  All I want is unlimited data, and a bit of calls and text.  I am looking at the EE website now, and to get say 1GB a month will set you back £41!.. So I settled for 3.  For £34 a month, I get a FREE Nokia Lumia 925, as much data as I want and more calls & texts than I could ever use. You know what is funny, when I called T-Mobile to asked for a PAC code, all of a sudden the prices of phones and contracts fell through the floor, but that doesn’t fix the issue of bad signal!

Lets get started ..

… with the boring stuff shall we.  I was disappointed the phone didn’t come fully charged, so had to wait for a full charge.

Phat Farm was interesting, it is actually 1g lighter than my iPhone 4 .. but a lot bigger!

Nokia Lumia 925 

<- 70.6mm ->

Nokia Lumia 925
<-  8.5 mm ->

Height: 129 mm
Width: 70.6 mm
Thickness2: 8.5 mm
Weight: 139 g

The display is lovely.  It’s 768×1280 and the glass just wraps in to the case. When it comes to phone screens I am a nightmare.  I nearly always put a phone in my pocket with change or keys. The glass on the 925 is Corning Gorilla Glass 2, but I don’t trust myself, so will look out for a Zagg invisibleshield. 

One problem I have found is that the device is nice in the hand, but slippery.  A number of times I have almost dropped it.  I find that the top of my hand sits well below the back camera, and that seems to be good for me.

It has a Dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4  processor (whatever that means), all that matters to me is that it performs really quite nicely.  I have not noticed any lag when switching apps or downloading. 

It comes with 32GB of storage and no micro-SD slot, but to be honest, I am going to use it play music or watch video, I have a Microsoft Surface RT for that.  It funny, years ago I wanted just one device to do everything.  This meant not getting the best device, but a middle of the road one.  These days, I just want a device to do what is says on the box, and get what I think is best for me.  Yeah I know I could put loads of music or videos on my 925, but I want to save the battery.  There is nothing worse than wanting to make a phone or check something on the web, and you device only has 10% battery.  I just hate that!

My 925 is running Windows Phone 8.0 [8.0.10327.77] with the Lumia Amber software, and it was made in Hungary.

I borrowed these off the Nokia website.  Basically 4 buttons on the side with headphone and micro-USB on the top.


Items listed left
to right or top to bottom. On front of phone: touch screen. Above
screen: earpiece, front camera, proximity sensor/ambient light sensor.
Below screen: back key, start key, search key. At bottom: microphone. With front of phone facing you,
on top edge: micro-SIM card holder, micro-USB connector, connector
for headphones and loudspeakers. On right edge: volume keys,
combined power and lock key, camera key.

1 – Micro-SIM holder

2 – Micro-USB connector

3 – Connector for headphones and loudspeakers (3.5 mm)

4 – Front camera

5 – Proximity/Light sensor

6 – Volume keys

7 – Power/Lock key

8 – Camera key

9 – Back key

10 – Start key

11 – Search key

12 – Microphone

13 – Earpiece



Items listed top
to bottom. With back of phone facing you: camera lens, wireless charging
connectors, loudspeaker.

14 – Camera flash

15 – Back camera

16 – Wireless charging connectors

17 – Loudspeaker

It also has a couple of other things of interest. On the each corner there is what look looked like an LED.  Not sure what they are for.


So this is probably the most disappointing thing about the phone.  Yeah I know Microsoft is trying to get people to write Apps, but there is no comparison to the Apple, or Google app stores.  Why can’t Microsoft just make it so?!  They are a software company.  Find the most popular apps and just port them to Windows Phone?

The killer for me is no official Starbuck Apps (come on Starbucks you started just a stones throw from Microsoft in Seattle, fly the Seattle flag and bring us an app! pleeeeeeeeeease!) but I did find one that let me “scan with phone”.  The app store is searchable which is good and easy to navigate. 

Icons on the start screen have 3 sizes. 


Not apps have “Live Tiles” which is a shame.  Flick to the left and get the app list.  To start with this is just a list of the apps.  When you reach some kind of threshold, it changes to an ordered list.  What is cool is that you can tap say A and a new list appear.  Tap on a letter and then is goes to apps.  If you pin an app to the start screen, it’s one tap to load.  If you don’t, it’s one swipe and 3 taps away.  Once you get used to it, it’s really fast.  On an iPhone it’s find the container, tap to expand it and tap to open the app.  I always had trouble with the small icons on the iPhone and the 925 with Windows Phone 8 make it nice and easy!

Battery Life

I suppose battery life is a common problem with any phone.  it has a 2000 mAh battery which is quite quick to charge.  So far so good, it lasts more than a day, and I have seen that with WiFi off it last longer.

So what do I think?

The device is great, and I think a lot of people are saying the same.  I compared it to Matt’s Lumina 920 and was surprised at how much smarter the 925 is.  Not only thinner, bit it looks good.

What isn’t great are the Apps!  Microsoft has a very long way to catch up with Apple and Google, which does make me hang my head in shame, as Microsoft used to be a big player in the mobile phone arena with Windows Mobile.

I am still getting used to the new OS, but so far it easy to use.  What is quite nice is that the device gives you hints and tips when you do things.  For example, to delete email in the mail app, I was pressing and holding on the message and a dialog would allow me to delete.  It suggested you tap to the left of the message to select and delete!

I have not had any kind of serious play with an Android, so can’t comment, but if your not an App monster, I would take the Nokia Lumina 925 over any iPhone.  It looks nice, feels nice and is more than fast enough for what I need.


An FYI.  If you want a new phone and you are out of contract, the just threaten to leave!  Most mobile providers will bend over backwards to keep you!  Also remember that reception is key.  You may get 2000 minutes of calls and unlimited data, but that is useless if you have no signal!

Lenovo Helix

I have been waiting for this to rock up for a while.  It was supposed to be release earlier this year, but on hit the streets recently.

By luck, I ordered one and expected to get it at the end of May, but it turned up within a week.

Why did I want one?  Well I have been using Tablet PC’s for a while.  I used my first one when I worked for Microsoft many moons ago.  It was a Toshiba M400.  I then purchased one and we have a nice life together.  It was only pen, but good.  I then upgraded to a Toshiba M750 which had touch and pen.  It was good but Windows 7 didn’t really do it justice.  In a fit of madness I got my hands on a Asus EEE slate.  Again windows 7 was okay on it, but the device was heavy.

Next on my purchasing history was a Surface RT.  I like this! Windows 8 rocks and touch is just amazing, but I wanted to Ink.

The helix had everything I was looking for.  Touch and Ink, detachable screen, processing grunt and a decent amount of RAM. It is pegged as a business laptop, but the price point seems too high for general business use. 

So meet my Lenovo Helix.


I have the the top end Core i7 with 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD.  Out of the box there isn’t too much bloatware.


For those of you that have used or see a Surface RT, it is on the top and the helix on the bottom.
It is also a little thicker but not too much

The phat club measuring is interesting.  The Surface RT comes in at 894g The helix with keyboard dock is 1689g, while the screen is a feather weight 851g! Lighter than the Surface RT!

Size wise

Helix Surface RT

  • Width: 296.1 mm
  • Depth: 187.3 mm
  • Height: 11.1 mm

  • Width: 274.6 mm
  • Depth: 172.0 mm
  • Height: 9.4 mm
Keyboard dock:

  • Width: 296.1 mm
  • Depth: 226 mm
  • Height: 8.5 mm




  1. The tablet is the main unit of the product.
  2. The keyboard dock is designed specifically for the ThinkPad Helix. It provides the function of a port replicator and holds the tablet in an upright position to provide a typing experience similar to that of a notebook computer.
  3. The illuminated ThinkPad logo on the palm rest functions as a system status indicator.  This is the ONLY indicator light.  How hard disk light nothing, but the the red dot on the doc and the back of the screen.
  4. TrackPoint pointing stick
  5. Touch pad. The touchpad seems to attract sweaty palm and finger prints
  6. Fn key. Will talk about this key later
  7. Eject Button.


  1. 2 x USB 3.0 connectors
  2. Mini DisplayPort connector.  An adapter is provided in the box
  3. Emergency reset hole
  4. Power connector


  1. Tablet Digitizer Pen storage
  2. Fan louvers
  3. Power button
  4. Combo audio jack
  5. Volume control buttons
  6. Screen rotation lock button
  7. Label trays
  8. USB 2.0 connector
  9. Mini DisplayPort connector
  10. Keyboard dock connectors
  11. SIM card tray
  12. Emergency reset hole
  13. Power connector
  14. Built-in stereo speakers
  15. Windows button
  16. Multi-touch screen
  17. 2-megapixel front-facing camera
  18. Microphones
  19. Ambient light sensor


  1. 5-megapixel rear-facing camera.
  2. Status indicator.
  3. Near Field Communication (NFC) logo.

Lets get practical!

Interestingly this weekend I have gone native with the Helix, attempting to use it alone for in my day job.


The keys are nicely spaced and bounce well.  My issue is with the FN key.  Using a normal keyboard it is where the CTRL key is, and this takes some getting used to.  The amount of time I have tried to copy and paste stuff and hit the FN key not CTRL.  Annoying, but I guess I will get used to it.  Also the END key by default is classed as a function key you so have to press FN + END to use it.  This is really really annoying and makes page navigation a pain in the butt!  [AH RTFM!  You can use the function keys in default mode or in legacy mode.  Legacy mode is the daddy.  You can toggle by pressing FN + ESC]

Something that I have started to notice after using the keyboard is sometimes, some of the keys are generating a “ping” sound, and the buttons on the touch mouse occasionally do the same?  Build quality issues?

Connectivity is another interesting one.

Most business laptops have at least 3 USB ports, but as you can see the Helix only has 2.  Why is this an issue?  Well looking at the ports you will see the Helix is missing a network port (yeah I now Wi-Fi blah, blah, blah).  In the box they provide a USB to network adapter which is cool, but that takes a USB port.  Which leaves one.  Now an external mouse is nice, so that is port 2.  Also external storage is a must, but with no spare USB ports your stuck! I know, a USB hub! great, but they don’t the grunt to power the external hard disk, and I really don’t want to have to carry another power supply with me to use a USB hub! Hey ho! Mouse or NIC or Hard disk?

Next up is the screen.  When you undock it you only have 1 USB port, and it’s on the bottom, so you are unable to utilise it when you are using the keyboard dock.  So if your working on a document from say a USB stick and you want to switch to tablet mode, you have to save the document, undock the screen and they jack the USB stick in the bottom.  It would have been really great if they have put a USB port in the side of the screen.  On that note my big beef is that there is no SD or Micro SD slots.  Instead on the bottom of the screen there are two stupid Label Trays (#7 in the picture above!)  WTF why waste space with two bits of plastic, when they could have put an Micro SD connection instead.

Another interesting thing again is that when you undock the screen you lose all your USB connections (No really!) so network connectivity wise you need to use Wi-Fi.  However, in the box Lenovo provided a SIM card that you put in to the screen.  This is essentially a Pay as You Go SIM.  Lenovo has teamed up with Macheen to provide this service.  The costs are actually quite good for 3G connections, and adds another element to the Helix.  Not too sure how businesses will take this, but you can stick any SIM card in.  I have tried it with a T-Mobile one and it works well.

To fix the connectivity issues, I purchased one of the Lenovo USB 3 docking stations.  It was a good buy.  At home in my office I jack everything I want in to it, especially with the 5 USB 3.0 ports.  You get a DVI  port for an additional monitor as well as the mini display port adapter.  The result are 3 screens, the laptop and two external monitor .. Shweet!  Note to self, at some time I should get hold of a couple of touch enabled external monitors.

The Battery

Battery charging is interesting.  Essentially the battery in the keyboard dock appears to charge the tablet.  But a couple of modes are available


That got me when i first charged the battery as it was set to automatic and i couldn’t workout why after a night on charge both keyboard dock or tablet did not show 100%

Battery life?  Well when both batteries are 100% fully charged, Windows reports 8hrs in Energy Saver Mode

image image

I change the Plugged in sleep settings to Never!

The Pen!

Well I suppose i could myself a seasoned tablet user.  One of the nice things when say using OneNote is that you can ink, then flip the pen around and you have an eraser.  Humm not with the Helix! The pen only works with the pointy end and turning it around does nowt!  Come on Lenovo get this the program!  One good thing is that I can use the pen off my Toshiba M750 and both ends work! It appears that when you use “dock” the Helix pen, it turns on/off the digitiser on the screen, so when you use another pen you have to slide the helix pen up a few mm before you can user it.

Other Stuff

My Helix comes with Intel Widi <>  Just by chance i read an article on The Verge talking out Intel chips.  I checked the installed apps and hey there it is.  So try it I purchased a Belikin Screencast from Amazon and jacked it into my TV.  Wow that is easy.  A few clicks and its on the big screen ! Like it!

Windows 8

I have been using Windows 8 since it was available on customer preview.  I love touch and ink.  Microsoft has finally got with the program and developed an operating system that is truly user friendly.  It funny, some of you maybe able to relate, but if I use my iPad, it automatically swipe up or right to left, or on my desktop touch the screen.  Crazy but true!

On the Helix it would fine.  I have had a few issues, one is is when I shut the helix down, sometimes it crashed and restarts. Dunno why but it just does. Using Pro vs. RT is also a no brainer.  RT is okay for me, as the battery lasts a couple of days and I use it to watch movies or TV on the way to work.  RT is probably equivalent to my iPad, but the only thing really missing are the Apps.  The Apple Store is far better than the Windows Store.  I want to be able to read magazines like wired in Windows 8, but this is just not possible at the moment.  Come on boyz sort it out! so I can dump my iPad.

In Summary

Was my Lenovo Helix worth the money?  This is the real question.  When you look at the competition in the market place, and look at all the pros & cons, I would say yes.  It does everything I want it to do.  I have a few moans about it but that doesn’t stop me from using it.

What I do find interesting, is this review on The Verge ( “The rest of the tablet’s bottom is full of ports that become completely inaccessible when you dock the device. There are two USB ports on the back of the dock, along with a MiniDisplay port; there’s a USB 2.0 port and another MiniDisplay on the tablet itself, plus SD and SIM card slots.”.  Humm I don’t see an SD slot.  Maybe they are reviewing a different model?

#Riverbed Steelhead and #MsExchange

So I ate some mumble pie this morning!  In the gig I am doing at the moment, they have deployed Riverbed Steelhead appliances to every remove location they have, with the view that with a centralised Exchange 2010 will work, even with high latency low bandwidth links.

As expected I had my concerns!  I moved a couple of hundred mailboxes over the weekend from various Exchange 2003/2010 servers around the world, and checked the Steelheads in the main data centres this morning.


What do you think! The best result was 93% LAN vs WAN data compression which is just amazing!  This was actually for BlackBerry connecting to a remote Exchange 2003 server!


For pure Outlook the numbers are impressive.  The Steelheads actually “learn” what a user is doing so the compression will only get better.  Add to that, the fact that the steelhead will keep an open connection to the CAS Array and pre-fetch any new mail, so the when the user connects to the mailbox in the morning, new mail will be almost instantly delivered!

If you have high latency, low bandwidth links you have to have a look at these as they are amazing!  They are actually an RoDC so they can decrypt compress, transmit and re-encrypt the data!

On another point, it is possible for the steelheads to optimise DAG replication traffic! I am going to try this in the lab! 

On a downside, they are unable to optimise mailbox move traffic, but I have been told that an update is coming soon that will fix that too! 

I am going to put the update in the lab, so will update you on any progress.