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Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Nokia Lumia 928

Posted: , by John V.


Nokia Lumia 928 Review

When it came to Windows Phone from Nokia, it was pretty obvious that AT&T received the most love out of the major four wireless carriers. Back last fall, however, Verizon finally saw its first Windows Phone from the Finnish company in the form of the Nokia Lumia 822. Needless to say, it was regarded as a special occasion, seeing that Big Red’s Nokia lineup prior to the arrival of the Lumia 822 was non-existent. Even though it proved to be a great mid-ranger, especially with its fantastic $99.99 on-contract price point right from the get-go, it really wasn’t that super spec’d Nokia Windows Phone that diehard smartphone addicts crave – and when you look at it on paper, it paled in comparison to AT&T’s Nokia Lumia 920.

Fear not people! That’s because Verizon Wireless is getting its own variant of the 920, which should no doubt put Nokia’s name near the top of the ladder within the carrier’s Windows Phone selection. At its core, the recently announced Nokia Lumia 928 might seem like a subtle variant of the version that AT&T has been selling for some time now, but there are some notable differences that should make Big Red’s customers feel proud they’re getting something new. Most importantly, though, it’s priced aggressively at $99.99 on-contract to try and lure people away from some other recent entrants in the space. Armed with Nokia specialties such as a PureMotion HD+ display and PureView camera, it’s a small sampling of what this Windows Phone is packing along for the ride, but ultimately, it’s all about the real world performance that matters the most.

Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Nokia Lumia 928 Review
The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Start Guide
  • Important Consumer Information Guide
  • Global Support Calling Card Guide
  • Product Safety & Warranty Information


Physically, it doesn’t surprise us that the Lumia 928 has the same distinct design DNA we all know and love by now. However, it makes some minor improvements that are noticeable over the Lumia 920, as it’s both thinner (0.4” thin) in profile and lighter (5.7 oz) in weight. Looking at it from its sides, we do recognize its thinner frame, which is partly due to the tapered design that’s been employed by many other contemporary handsets of late. However, despite its skinnier appearance from its sides, it progressively gets thicker towards the middle section of the chassis – and eventually flattening out. From the front, it looks a bit one-dimensional with its straight hard lines and 90-degree corners, which doesn’t particularly make for the best ergonomics when it’s held in the hand.

Constructed out of polycarbonate material, the Nokia Lumia 928 has a sturdy feel in the hand - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Constructed out of polycarbonate material, the Nokia Lumia 928 has a sturdy feel in the hand - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Constructed out of polycarbonate material, the Nokia Lumia 928 has a sturdy feel in the hand - Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Constructed out of polycarbonate material, the Nokia Lumia 928 has a sturdy feel in the hand

Constructed out of the same polycarbonate material from before, the Lumia 928 has the same sturdy feel in the hand just like the 920, but it’s still fairly weighty over other flagships we’ve been seeing. Meanwhile, the high gloss finish of the body makes it more susceptible to finger prints and smudges, but thanks to the white color of its casing, it does a better job of masking them. Overall, it’s not the most dazzling design we’ve seen, but at least it’s moving in the right direction of shaving off some stuff here and there to make it an incremental update.

Nokia Lumia 928
5.24 x 2.71 x 0.4 inches
133 x 68.9 x 10.1 mm
5.7 oz (162 g)

Nokia Lumia 928

Samsung ATIV Odyssey
4.82 x 2.51 x 0.43 inches
122 x 64 x 11 mm
4.41 oz (125 g)

Samsung ATIV Odyssey

HTC Windows Phone 8X
5.21 x 2.61 x 0.4 inches
132.3 x 66.2 x 10.1 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)

HTC Windows Phone 8X

BlackBerry Z10
5.12 x 2.58 x 0.35 inches
130 x 65.6 x 9 mm
4.85 oz (138 g)

BlackBerry Z10

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

In standard Windows Phone fashion, the Lumia 928 is sporting the same trio of Windows Phone buttons we’re accustomed to seeing below its display – the back, start, and search buttons. Naturally, they’re space away from one another to minimize accidental presses, but the backlighting on them is weak. On the other side, we spot its earpiece, light/proximity sensors, and front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera that’s enabled for 720p video recording.

Taking a tour around its edges, it’s quite clear that they’ve stuffed all of the handset’s physical buttons on its right side. Specifically, we find the power button, volume control, and two-level shutter key for quick access to the camera at any time when it’s long pressed. With all of them, they’re raised and have a distinctive feel, but they’re not as springy as we’d like them to be. Both the left and bottom sides of the phone are completely barren, but the top edge is home to the SIM tray, 3.5mm headset jack, noise cancelling microphone, and microUSB port for charging/data connectivity.

Capacitive Windows keys - The sides of the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Front cam - The sides of the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Left side - The sides of the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Capacitive Windows keys

Front cam

Left side

Bottom - The sides of the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Right - The sides of the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Top - The sides of the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review




The sides of the Nokia Lumia 928

Rear camera - Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Rear camera

Sure to entice those individuals that take pride in snapping photos on the go, the Lumia 928 features an 8.7-megapixel PureView camera with Carl Zeiss f2.0 lens, optical image stabilization, and 1080p video recording. The Lumia 928 gets also gets a Xenon flash – to brighten up those shots when it’s just simply too dark for the camera, by itself, to deliver a balanced final product. Still, we’ll reserve our final thought in the camera performance a little bit later.


For us, it was a big departure to see the Lumia 920 opting to use an IPS LCD panel instead of the AMOLED we’ve been seeing used by Nokia’s devices since their Windows Phone venture, however, we see it back on this one. To be specific, it’s a 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ 768 x 1280 (WXGA) AMOLED display with Nokia’s ClearBlack filter and Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2 on top of it. So what’s the end result? Frankly, it’s typical of almost every AMOLED panel we’ve scoped out in the past – such as delivering saturated colors, wide viewing angles, and surprisingly enough, decent outdoor visibility as well. On paper, its resolution pales in comparison to most of its rivals, but nevertheless, it’s detailed enough at a pixel density of 332 ppi to make fine text in the web browser visible from a normal viewing distance.

Viewing angles of the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Viewing angles of the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Viewing angles of the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Viewing angles of the Nokia Lumia 928

Even though we’re nearing the summer season, the display on the Lumia 928 also features a super-sensitive panel that can recognize touch with gloves on. By default, the panel’s sensitivity is set at low in the display settings, but after setting it to high, it’s able to precisely recognize our touch and swipes. As much as we’d like to see at least 1080p resolution here with the Lumia 928’s display, we’re not all too bummed out because our eyes wouldn’t be able to differentiate it unless we’re looking meticulously up close to it. Don’t worry, it’s still an incredible looking display from all angles.

  • Options

posted on 17 May 2013, 06:30 1

1. lubba (Posts: 1313; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)

Well JV, this is the first time I'll have to agree with you. Dammit!

posted on 17 May 2013, 06:36 21

2. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Lumia 920 received a 9/10 and this got a 8/10. Guess the Xenon flash didn't help it at all.

posted on 17 May 2013, 06:56 22

6. raunak (Posts: 507; Member since: 12 Oct 2011)

time also plays a role

posted on 17 May 2013, 06:58 7

8. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

Down-rated for stale specs?

posted on 17 May 2013, 07:22 5

13. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

Have to agree that you do lose a point or 2 for old specs. 6 months in phone years is like 30 in human years. If the iPhone 4 scored a 9 back in 2010 it would score a 5 maybe a 4 by today's standards. IPhone 4s would be a 6 and iPhone 5 a 8. Heck; even the S4 beats my Note 2 in speed and resolution. Samsung is moving faster than any phone OEM.

posted on 17 May 2013, 11:11 2

31. evarod48 (Posts: 154; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)

that's a great point, not sure why you got the downvote

posted on 17 May 2013, 19:54 3

47. Dadler22 (Posts: 161; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)

haha he got downvoted by applefanboys for saying the iP5 is out of date

posted on 20 May 2013, 13:43 1

69. OccupyAJob (Posts: 7; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)

The 920 shouldn't have ranked that high to begin with. In fact, most of these phones are being over-rated. In the "high-end" category, I'd deduct for these things alone where the 920 and any other so called "flagship" didn't meet expectations of the class:

No micro-SD... -1 point
No removable battery... -1 point
Plastic Chassis... -1 point.

That being said, I'll be buying one of these next week.

posted on 21 May 2013, 07:25

70. roldefol (Posts: 4365; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)

So basically you're suggesting that the iPhone, Lumia and any recent HTC should get nothing higher than an 8. And everyone else will never exceed a 9. That seems completely fair.

posted on 21 May 2013, 16:32

71. serg227 (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 May 2013)

to add on to your comment, the phone's backplate looks ugly, its's extremely bulky and heavy

posted on 17 May 2013, 06:49

3. Credo (Posts: 749; Member since: 19 Apr 2012)

It got an Amoled screen PhoneArena how could you do this, besides, all the specs are the same ......

posted on 17 May 2013, 06:56 11

5. GJanee (Posts: 214; Member since: 29 Jun 2011)

i don't really know what kind of spec boost would be necessary for an already snappy handset... it's still not android guys. it still does not require octacores. so yeah. i too call bullsh| on the 8 points.

posted on 17 May 2013, 07:05 3

10. mrcrangle (Posts: 10; Member since: 12 Apr 2011)

Six months is a long time in the smartphone industry, so I think the move down to 8 from 9 - even *with the incremental tweaks - is fair.

Incidentally my own 920 bricked itself a few weeks ago and my supplier (Phones 4U) no longer offers it, couldn't replace it and upgraded me with an HTC one. As much as I loved my Nokia, I can see the difference between the smartphone of today and the smartphone of six months ago!

posted on 17 May 2013, 08:00 1

23. shikroi (Posts: 187; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

You don't know how to fix a bricked lumia? Its as simple as plugging in the charger, pressing the lock and power buttons in sequence, connecting it to your compute and flashing the firmware from the nokia care suite.

posted on 17 May 2013, 18:31 1

42. Edmund (Posts: 656; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

you actually believe this idiot (re the bricked phone) ?? The Lumia 920 is the most reliable phone currently available, bar none. People like him will always praise android while bashing Nokia and WP because it matches perfectly their unstable and erratic lives'.

posted on 20 May 2013, 10:45

68. mrcrangle (Posts: 10; Member since: 12 Apr 2011)

Thanks for calling me an 'idiot'...yes the phone did brick (why would I waste my time posting something I made up?), and no I wasn't going to turn a new phone down. Been a Nokia user for years, from N95 to N900 then eventually to the 920, and this is my first Andriod device. Would have been very happy if Phones4U had replaced it with a new 920...see my review of the 920 I posted a few months back. So...not sure what you mean by 'people like him'...actually if anything I'm a Nokia fanboy who's inadvertently ended up with the HTC One and isn't that unhappy with it!

No doubt you'll be directing your bile towards somebody else you disagree with, but wanted to post this reply even if you never see it.

posted on 17 May 2013, 11:01 3

30. Pedro0x (Posts: 271; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)

Well then why does everyone bash on iphone:s HW? You pay a lot of money for a phone, you want the best, not a year old adreno 225 and that is why they didn´t put 1080p display, I think.
And could you Phonearena please make a comparison between all the new phones cameras including lumia 928 so that we can see if lumia is any good, because I wasn´t very impressed by the pictures. And it would be awesome if you also could put a pro camera in the comparison.

posted on 17 May 2013, 16:43 1

37. UrbanPhantom (Posts: 949; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)

Pedro0x, what are you doing with your smartphone? Are you playing video games with it plugged into your HD TV, transcoding, 3d modelling? You act as if a mobile device requires an intel i7 3770 with a Nvidia GTX 690 video card, and 32GB system RAM. However, that isn't true, and even support for 1080p at 4.5 inches doesn't yield results that you can discern!

People keep praising Samsung for it's "8 core" monster CPU in the S4, and yet the device itself is still pathetic compared to any desktop or laptop computer, or even a tablet for that matter. Exactly how is an adreno 225 such a big liability in a mobile device? PAC-MAN is sure to run as fast on a Lumia 928 as it is on the S4, and so I fail to see your point...

posted on 18 May 2013, 02:00 2

52. Pedro0x (Posts: 271; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)

Ofcourse I don´t need 1080p display on a phone, but it is a trend now, everyone is now doing it, except nokia. If manufacturers finetuned their 720p displays as 1080p displays, it would draw much less battery but we can´t generally do much about it.
We will soon reach a point were our devices will be more powerful than consoles and once we will reach there, you will not need consoles, you will be able to stream games into your tv through wifi. And when 64-bit arm processors will come, we will be able to do much more again. See, we need to advance otherwise we are stuck. And technology advances the most in mobile devices because there you will earn most cash. If you won´t upgrade your phones like Nokia (except camera) almost no-one will be interested in upgrading from lumia 920 to lumia 928.
We don´t really need like tegra 4 in our devices but it is good to know that you have the power, even if you don´t use it you still have the power.
This is the way I see it, I know that the most customers won´t care about HW that much, but I will and I only settle for the best

posted on 18 May 2013, 02:26 1

53. UrbanPhantom (Posts: 949; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)

A flagship luxery device can afford to have all the bells and whistles, even if they are not needed. In case you hadn't noticed, Nokia has built a device to cover virtually every price range, except the top end. The 928 is merely a place marker, in preparation for a killer high end device that will be released this coming summer, or the early fall. However, the lower and middle ground are important to Nokia, which is why they have focused on that instead of building a rocketship with all the options. The majority of Nokia's sales are derived from the developing world, not in North America, and that shapes their priority list...

You can expect an atom bomb to drop on Samsung and Apple later on, possibly in the form of a super-charged Lumia EOS. However, the 928 is a great device, and deserves respect in it's own right. Real photographers will find it's Xenon flash a bonus, and it has the quality low light sensor and OIS that exist in the 920, as well as the excellent Nokia build quality.

As for smartphones conquering the desktop, we're not quite there yet. Intel's Haswell is coming, and Nvidia and AMD's next gen GPU's are on their way too. Unless you can stick a 1000 watt PSU inside your S4 or HTC One, don't talk to me about being a real gamer. Gaming via remote servers is a possibility, but that hasn't grown wings, and so there will still be consoles and PC towers and laptops for a long time to come.

posted on 17 May 2013, 06:53 11

4. SonyFindOneDroidple (Posts: 854; Member since: 11 May 2013)

Why 8?? The phone deserves 8.5-9

posted on 17 May 2013, 07:32 6

17. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

Only if you compare to other Window phones. The competition got even better since Nokia released the 920 which this phone is based off of. Do you really believe that a better flash can out do all the changes from the S3 to the S4 or what HTC, Sony and LG has done after the release of the 920?
Time to stop living in a fantasy land and look at what's around you. Giving this phone a 8 is being generous.

posted on 18 May 2013, 14:51 2

56. rjmlive (Posts: 70; Member since: 07 Apr 2012)

Spec race hasn't improved the Android experience. S4 is a perfect example of offering absolute functionality and surprising uselessness at the same time. Bolt on app UI experiences and general gimmick-ness.

This phone exists to give another carrier a high end Windows Phone with small elements of uniqueness so that customers don't feel they are missing out on carrier exclusives on other networks. When EOS comes out it will be an ATT 6 month exclusive for sure so the 928 has to offer a solid option for people that realize Windows Phone is the best platform for them.

posted on 17 May 2013, 07:50 2

21. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

No it dosen't....


posted on 17 May 2013, 16:17 3

36. UrbanPhantom (Posts: 949; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)

TROLL is a paid shill, working for the competition, and his/her sole purpose for being here is to write fundamentally negative and dishonest comments about Nokia and/or Microsoft products and services.

NOTE: This person's comments should be deleted due to countless past violations, and their account should be suspended indefinitely. PHONE ARENA, please stop allowing paid bashers working for other companies to interfere with the review and feedback process!

posted on 17 May 2013, 08:35 1

26. shikroi (Posts: 187; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

The score is just fine.

posted on 17 May 2013, 06:58 1

7. mydi.maus (unregistered)

NICE number PA..

posted on 17 May 2013, 07:03 1

9. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 872; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)

What method was used to take photos?

Screen tapping or using the camera key to focus and then snap?

posted on 17 May 2013, 18:41

44. Edmund (Posts: 656; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

The "method" where any photo taken with the 928 is made to look as bad as possible and/or worse that the competition (galaxy s4 and htc one). Seriously though, even a mid-range DSLR will give poor results if you don't know how to use it.

posted on 17 May 2013, 07:09 2

11. pyradark (Posts: 882; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

So the 925 will received 8.5-9.0 due to its metallic body. I actually prefer the925 than this big ugly looking phone.

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Nokia Lumia 928

Nokia Lumia 928

OS: Windows Phone 8
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display4.5 inches, 768 x 1280 pixels (332 ppi) AMOLED
Camera8.7 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
Size5.24 x 2.71 x 0.40 inches
(133 x 68.9 x 10.1 mm)
5.7 oz  (162 g)
Battery2000 mAh, 11.8 hours talk time

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