Executive vice president of smart devices Jo Harlow poses with the new Nokia Lumia 925 at its launch in London today

Nokia reveals new Lumia with 'smart camera'

Nokia has launched its latest high-end smartphone with its most advanced camera yet and a new metal design.

The Finnish firm unveiled the Lumia 925 at a much-hyped London launch event today where it described the handset as its best smartphone ever and announced that it would sell for about £400 before tax and will be available as early as next month.

The new phone features a lighter and thinner body than its predecessors and an enhanced screen that can be read in bright sunlight. There is also a "smart camera", designed to capture 10 images at once to create the "perfect" high quality image, due to be extended to all Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphones.

Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia's smart devices, stressed the company's push to "keep innovating" as she revealed the latest developments in the Lumia series.

"We're advancing experiences on the Nokia Lumia portfolio, whether that means great new benefits for an existing Lumia owner or bringing new showcase devices like the Nokia Lumia 925," she said.

Introducing the "beautifully refined, beautifully crafted" Lumia 925, Harlow said: "The most innovative smartphone in the world did just get better."

The latest Lumia phone was revealed as Nokia battles to arrest a steady decline in demand for its devices and reclaim ground lost to rivals Apple and Samsung.

The handset was unveiled after Nokia released a teasing video on YouTube which showed partial views of the phone and was accompanied by the slogan "more than your eyes can see".

Its launch came after the company's chief executive Stephen Elop said Nokia was working on new products and "taking tactical actions" as it tried to compete with the likes of Apple.

Alongside its enhanced camera, the Lumia 925 features a navigational function and Nokia Music – a service which allows unlimited streaming of music playlists.

The 925 introduces metal for the first time to the Lumia range and the phone has a polycarbonate back which comes in white, grey and black.

A wireless charging cover can be clipped onto the device, which will be sold separately and will come in white, black, yellow, and red, Nokia said.

But while the mobile phone giant placed much weight on the 925's camera function, it failed to match the 13 megapixels featured on Samsung's Galaxy S4 and experts suggested the Lumia series is still some way behind the iPhone.

Paul Thompson, managing director of mobile advertising company BlisMedia, described the device as a "great-looking phone" but said Nokia's developments amounted to little more than a "repacking exercise".

"If you set this against the design qualities of Apple's iPhone and even the HTC One, it is slightly underwhelming and will not set it apart from its rivals, it doesn't even raise the bar any higher," he said.

"I would expect Nokia to continue to struggle to make an impact in the smartphone markets in the US and UK, especially as it has bet big on the Windows operating system, which has failed to get much traction with consumers despite the millions spent on marketing it."

He added: "The focus on engineering a great camera, sound and video experience in the latest Lumia plays to Nokia's historical strengths but the eight megapixel camera is less than the 13 megapixels available on the Samsung Galaxy S4.

"Is this a radical experience or even a fresh experience? Not really. More a repacking exercise."

But Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at comparison site uSwitch.com, said the 925 is the handset that "true Nokia fans have been waiting for", which would address "all of the critical concerns" levelled at previous models in the same series.

"The marriage of technical expertise in mobile imaging with a gorgeous piece of hardware shows that the Finnish manufacturer still has fire in its belly," he said.

"However, the battle is no longer in just having the flashiest phone. The megapixel wars are over, and consumers are looking for apps and software that make life easier.

"Windows Phone is slowly gaining traction; largely via the Lumia range and positive word of mouth; but is still a small fraction of the smartphone market.

"Nokia would genuinely benefit from also broadening its unique services ... to give those on the fence a real reason to switch."

Stuart Miles, founder of technology and gadget site Pocket-lint, said: "Nokia has created a really good-looking phone with some very clever camera features. It's the phone they should have launched six months ago.

"The real question however is whether they can convince people to part with the love of their favourite apps to go with the windows phone OS. If they can't then Samsung and Apple will retain the upper hand."

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