Here’s our Nokia Lumia 928 review after playing with it for a couple of weeks. Verizon customers who waited for a high end Lumia device can finally get the Nokia Lumia 928. It’s available now at Verizon for $99 with a 2 year contract, but you can get it for a lower price at Amazon. Last I checked, it was $49. Is this the best Lumia yet? Watch the video after the jump.
You can also watch this video in HD on Youtube. Subscribe to the channel to preview the latest videos before they get published on the blog.
The Nokia Lumia 928 has a 4.5-inch touch screen with 1280×768 resolution. It is sharp, bright, very visible in direct sunlight, and the colors really seem to pop. Another cool feature is the supersensitive display. You can use it with gloves. One problem that I noticed though is a green tint. It gets more noticeable when you tilt the phone at certain angles.
The front of the Nokia Lumia 928 is covered fully in glass. It looks cool, but it makes you notice the borders around the screen. There’s a lot of black space especially on the sides. You can notice this right away on the homescreen.
The design is simple. The sides, top, and bottom are flat. The edges are tapered to make it feel thinner than it really is, but overall, the Lumia 928 still feels thick compared to other devices like the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5. The body is made of a polycarbonate unibody shell. The white version is glossy. I don’t hear any creaks or sounds when I press or squeeze the device.
How does it feel in the hand? You really should try to hold it yourself. My wife likes the feel of it better than the Lumia 920, but I feel different. I prefer more curves and would be happier if the 928 was thinner.
On the front display is a 1.2 megapixel camera. There’s also the standard back, home, and Bing buttons which vibrate on touch. Take a closer look at the Windows Phone logo on your device. Many users have reported a weird backlight. Mine looks like there’s a map underneath.
On top of the Lumia 928, there’s a headphone jack, the sim card tray, microUSB port for charging, and another microphone.
The right side of the Lumia 928 shows the volume buttons, power button, and a dedicated camera button. These buttons appear to be made of the same polycarbonate material as the rest of the body. Pressing down on these buttons feel good and the device did not have any problems recognizing my presses. I like that there’s a lot of space below the camera button. This makes the phone better to handle when using the camera especially with just one hand.
There are no buttons or ports on the left side and the bottom of the 928.
The Nokia Lumia 928 runs Windows Phone 8. One thing you’ll notice right away is the homescreen with the live tiles. You can change the sizes of the live tiles. I’ve put my most used apps on top. You can use small, medium, or large tiles.
Scrolling and swiping through the menus are very fast. The web browser is pretty good. You can see that pinch to zoom and scrolling through webpages work very well. Full desktop versions of websites are also displayed properly.
I like that you can easily copy and paste by pressing and holding on text then dragging the in and out points. The keyboard works great too.
One thing I don’t like is that you can’t change the default browser search engine to Google. You are stuck with Bing. You can change this in the settings of the Nokia Lumia 920. I wonder why that option was removed in this model.
The Nokia Lumia 928 has an 8.7 megapixel camera with Pureview technology for better low light photos. The night photos are really amazing even without flash. Thanks to the Optical Image Stabilization on the Lumia 928, it can allow longer shutter time which brightens up the photo. A downside to this is that your subjects will appear blurry if they’re moving. To solve this, the Lumia 928 also features xenon flash. It’s brighter than the usual LED flash on most smartphones and is great at freezing your subjects in the photos.
The daylight photos look okay, but I expected better. I prefer a little more contrast in my photos. There’s also one issue that I want to point out. The built-in photo gallery shows a lower quality photo than what is actually captured. Reviewers, bloggers, and users of this phone might complain that the photos appear soft, but that’s because the image quality is decreased by the gallery. To view the real high quality photos, download this application called HD Photo Viewer. It’s free and it does a better job of showing the real quality of the photos that you took. The difference is very noticeable.
I don’t know why Microsoft decided to mess up the photo gallery. They should update it so that we can see the actual quality of our photos.
The camera interface is simple. You can capture a photo by using the camera button or tapping the display. You have controls for the white balance, exposure, ISO, and aspect ratio. I wish there was an option to change how the camera determines exposure. When you take a photo by tapping the display, it would be nice if the camera also changes the proper exposure for the subject you tapped on. Instead, the camera keeps the exposure measurement from the center of the camera. This is fine for the most part, but not good when certain areas of the photo are very bright.
Speaking of cameras, the front facing camera on the Nokia Lumia 928 can record 720p videos and shoot 1.2 megapixel photos. This is great for video bloggers who like to see themselves while recording. The quality is not as good as the rear camera, but images look fine when there’s enough light.
Also on the back of the device are the speakers. They are loud and I don’t have any complaints about it.
The app selection has gotten better since Windows phone was introduced. The Twitter application is now pretty good. There’s now a Youtube application. Before it was just a shortcut to the youtube website. Foursquare is also there. There’s Spotify and Pandora that are available in addition to Nokia Music which I actually use a lot. There’s also now an Instagram app. It’s called Itsdagram. The Tumblr app is also one of the best looking apps I’ve seen on any platform. The app situation is definitely better today compared to when the Lumia 920 or 820 was released last year.
One app that stands out on this phone and other Windows Phone devices is Here Maps. It’s integrated with Nokia Drive, which gives you free turn-by-turn navigation. You can also download maps so it will work even when you’re offline.
A missing feature on Windows Phone 8 that I’d like to see is a notification center. The Nokia Lumia 928 gets notifications on top of the screen like Android and iPhone, but there’s no place to check notifications that you may have missed. Others may argue that the homescreen with live tiles is good enough, but I definitely disagree. I hope this gets added in the future.
The Nokia Lumia 928 has a 2,000 mAh battery. With my usage, it usually dies by 7pm when I leave the house at 9am with a full charge. Your usage is different so you’ll probably get different results. I check 3 emails constantly. I check my Twitter account throughout the day, upload a few photos, and browse the web along the way.
Speaking of batteries, the Nokia Lumia 928 supports wireless charging. Just place it on top of a wireless charger and you’re good to go.
To summarize this review, I think the Nokia Lumia 928 is the best Windows Phone device out right now. It’s also currently the best Nokia Lumia. I said the same thing when I reviewed the Nokia Lumia 920, but the 928 has a few improvements. It improves on the camera flash with xenon flash. It is also available on a very reliable and fast Verizon LTE network.
If you’re an Android or iPhone user looking to switch, the Windows Phone 8 experience feels refreshing. Many of your favorite apps are also showing up in the Windows Phone store. The app selection may not be as big as Android or iPhone right now, but it is definitely getting better each day.
In this review, I talked about some of the important features on the Nokia Lumia 928, but I think a major selling point is the price. The suggested price right now is only $99 with contract, but keep watching Amazon. You can get it much cheaper there. Those who do not want to sign 2-year contracts can also buy the phone directly for $499.