Nokia Lumia 928 Windows Phone Review

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I

‘m a believer in the Window Phone platform. More manufacturers seem to be putting hammer to anvil to forge a variety of devices. That’s great. Market saturation is sorely needed, as are more apps for the Windows Phone OS. This is something currently swelling at a simmering pace. Still, until then they will continue to struggle. That said, the Nokia 928 we have here today is a fantastic device. It’s packed with mid range tech within but glides along at a pace very similar to a HTC one or GS4.

Hardware

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The Lumia 928 is packing an older Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor clocked at 1.5ghz. The only storage option is 32gb size only. The main camera is 8.7mp PureView. The display size is 4.5 inches and is AMOLED under Gorilla Glass 2 capable of pushing 1280 x 768 with 334ppi. Looks great but movies and video are definitely not as clean as the higher powered HTC One or Samgung Galaxy S4. Aspect ratio is 15:9. Static images are strong and captured video playback is almost equally as nice. The Lumia 928 wields some special black magic in its screen tech. It uses a technique dubbed ClearBlack. We go into more detail in our unboxing. Among other things it provides better viewing angles and traps light reflected off the display. The result is an illusion where the entire face of the Lumia appears to be part of the display. It looks gorgeous and really make the few saturated colors used in the UI pop like no other device has shown. However…

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There are three physical buttons. You have a volume rocker, power button and camera button (access camera + clicker) on the right side. At the top we have a microUSB slot for charging/syncing, SIM card slot and 3.5mm headphone jack. I prefer the power up at the top or somewhere other than among the other most used buttons. I have accidentally pressed it several times while trying to lower the volume.

The Lumia also has NFC and the “usual suspects” plus Xbox remote control support and WiFi channel bonding.

Software

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Did you know Windows is just now getting an official Facebook app and other social networking mainstays just recently hitting the¬†ecosystem? For shame! Conversely, and ss I’ve mentioned before, the dearth of apps on the Windows Phone platform is what helps the ease of navigation, speed of performance and the systems general intuitivism. Mucking around in Windows phone is damn refreshing.

Even still it may be jarring to many longtime iOS and Android users. The UI is incredibly streamlined and Spartan–seemingly too much so at first. There’s no traditional homescreen beyond the unfamiliar Livetiles. It works similar to Windows 8 on a computer, but far more appropriate. Live Tiles makes a lot more intuitive sense on a dedicated touch device and works similarly to the cool BlinkFeed of the HTC One. It’s up to you what you want to see. But it can show dynamic feeds for news, sports, emails social networking updates and more. The content and how it’s presented is more customizable than ever. Plus they’re fun to look at and no two users will see the same info populate through the live tiles. A simple swipe to the left takes you to a nice clean single-file list of all the apps found on the device, so everything on the phone is a flick away.

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Nokia has also tossed in some cool features such as HERE City Lens seen below. It’s an augmented reality app that uses your camera to populate your display with things to do, places to eat and more. Pointing your camera in any direction reveals location markers with descriptions and GPS travel info.

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Windows Phone is like a breath fresh air. It’s all very nice and on the road to greatness, I feel. But it needs so many more app options to compete at this level. It’s as capable as Android, though not as feature rich with its shallow app-pool, comparatively. Finally, the Windows Phone user experience–on its own–is great–hands down. It’s easy to use and not hampered by a lot of fluff, annoying “bleeps” and “bloops” or overly-cluttered with multiple UI’s vying for screen real-estate as I’ve mentioned before. And enough can’t be said about dedicated Office support. Ultimately, I’m just not a fan of the Samsung re-skin.

Camera

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The Nokia Lumia 928, for all the hyped anticipation around the camera, has an slightly above-average clicker in natural light settings. The phone has a 8.7mp camera with the Xenon flash and Carl Zeiss lens in its PureView camera. It takes a fantastic image. It’s just not accurate. There is a lot of added saturation that paints skies in deeper blues and gives grass and other fauna added verdance. But it doesn’t compare to the GS4 in low or natural light settings. The Lumia has a glow in low light setting that’s difficult to remove.

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Also images don’t pop like they do on the Galaxy S4 or look as natural as they do with the HTC One. Similar to like those, the Lumia 928 has equally entertaining ways to play with the pics taken. There is a really interesting Focus Blur tool where users can manually set parameter for the blur effect to enhance and sharpen the focus in a single area. You can also create collage mash-ups similar to the GS4′s greeting card feature. Camera features are more in line with Samsung GS4 than the advanced HTC Zoe and such on the One. But the GS4 has a vast selection of apps to further enhance pictures, than the Lumia 928.

Battery Life

Battery Life

Lumia 928′s 2000mAh. The Lumia 928 does 513hrs of standby and 13hrs of talk over 3G. This varies with use and amount of running apps. But it’s half dead in a bout 18hrs. Music playback is 63hrs with WiFi topping out at 7-hours.

Conclusion

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We don’t speak about it much–probably because it’s among the easier and older features to nail. But call quality on the Nokia Lumia 928 is decent familiar and otherwise run of the mill. Dropped calls and odd distortion when reception is at full bars have occurred. Was it more than most? Maybe! Also could have been due to area and reception issues. But the this is really a handsome looking, intuitive and fun smartphone to use. More apps are needed, but coming at a steady clip. The camera is very good at times but I’m no fan of the heavy color saturation. Battery life is strong. It’s priced well to move units. All in all, I like the weight and feel of the device in hand. The looks scream “Status symbol” even if the hardware doesn’t. But watching movies and general smartphone stuff like checking emails navigating through your favorite social networking apps, texting and browsing the web are all fun and enjoyable. But it is a rare find carrier-wise. AT&T has the 1020. But unlocked versions of the 928 will work on AT&T. Otherwise Verizon is the only legit way to cop a Lumia 928. It’s definitely worth the cost of entry.

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Overview
 

Release Date: Available Now
 
Price: $99
 
Size: 133mm x 68.9mm x 10.1mm
 
Weight: 162.0 g
 
Battery Size: 2000mAh
 
Version of OS: Windows Phone 8
 
Screen Resolution: 4.5-inches
 
Storage: 32gb
 
Model #: Lumia 928
 
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Carrier:
 
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Positives


Elegant and slick both aesthetically and performance. Easy to use and highly intuitive. Beautiful display for only 720p. Movies and video look great. Solid battery life. Nokia doles out cool custom apps. Camera with Focus Blur and other features are very nice. Strong Microsoft Office integration.

Negatives


Only available in 32gb options. No microSD slot. Only available from Verizon. Many fewer apps than the competition.


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Shawn Sanders

 
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.


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