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Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Nokia Lumia 928

Posted: , by John V.



On the surface, the camera UI is pretty much stock Windows Phone 8, which is uncluttered with most of the controls and icons positioned towards the right edge of the interface. In addition to using the shutter key to control its focus, it also features the always handy touch focus system as well, which also seems to adjust the exposure as well. Perusing the lens options in the camera app, there are three that add some much-needed variety to an otherwise straightforward shooting experience:

  • Smart Shoot: Essentially, it captures a series of photos and enables us to merge different aspects of the image, such as faces, so that that we’re given the best image possible. Also, there’s a remove function that comes in handy if you’re in a busy area with people randomly appearing in the shot. It’s definitely a nice addition, but it requires just a tiny bit of work on our part to deliver the best shot.

  • Panorama: Just like many other smartphones, it stitches a series of photos to get a panoramic shot. Thankfully, the process is a breeze to handle, since bubbles in the UI point us towards the correct direction to steer the smartphone.

  • Cinemagraph: Yet another camera feature that requires some tinkering to get the best results, cinemagraph allows us to add “movement” to different areas of our taken shot – so the result is similar to an animated gif.

Camera interface - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Camera interface - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Camera interface - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Camera interface - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Camera interface - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Camera interface - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Camera interface - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Camera interface - Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Camera interface

So let’s get down to it! You know, the kind of raw picture quality we can draw from its 8.7-megapixel PureView camera, which features Carl Zeiss optics, an f2.0 lens, and optical stabilization. For starters, the Lumia 928’s PureView camera is incredible when it comes to snapping macro or portrait shots – in perfect lighting conditions, of course. In fact, there’s a nice bokeh effect that becomes prominent, which then focuses most of the attention and detail on the subject. For landscape scenery shots, we’re again happy with the balanced results, since it’s sharp in tone and colorful, but if we take a closer look, we recognize that fine details appear a little speckled.

By now, we’re well aware how this is advertised as a phenomenal thing to use under low lighting situations, since its f2.0 lens combined with optical image stabilization, allows it to draw more light from the environment. So how wonderful are the results? Well, we’ll mention that shots are significantly brighter than what most other smartphones can produce, but at the expense of casting softer details and a little bit of noise. It’s not terrible, and we appreciate its ability to draw out some details that are otherwise lost.

Proving itself as a contender in the still shot category, the Lumia 928 also manages to closely do the same in the 1080p video recording quality department. However, there are still some minor distracting elements that sometimes stand out – like its speckled-like details, sensitive/jumpy exposure, and long time to adjust focus. On the other hand, the biggest attention grabber is its optical image stabilization, which so happens to wonderfully cast a flowy, yet pleasing appearance to the entire package. The captured sound is also of very high quality compared to other phones.

Nokia Lumia 928 Sample Video 1:

Nokia Lumia 928 Sample Video 2:

Nokia Lumia 928 Nighttime Sample Video:


Jumping to the music player, which is typical Windows Phone fashion, it’s still visually pleasing seeing that it employs many of the elements in the platform’s Modern UI. In contrast, there’s also Nokia Music, which is an alternative for those who prefer streaming functions. Cranking its volume level to its highest, there’s no shortage of pounding tones emanating from its speaker, but there’s a subtle amount of crackle that can be heard.

Music player - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Nokia Music - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Music player


Nokia Music


Supporting different video codecs out of the box, like DivX, H.264, MPEG-4, and Xvid, it’s wonderful watching high-definition 1080p videos in all of their glory on the Lumia 928. Naturally, its vivid colors, large real estate, and strong brightness output help to contrast its smooth playback.

Video playback on the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Video playback on the Nokia Lumia 928 - Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Video playback on the Nokia Lumia 928


To expand upon some of the handset’s app goodies that we mentioned briefly earlier in the review, we have the following highlights about some of them.

Starting with Nokia’s HERE City Lens, it’s one of those apps that are great for sniffing out local points of interests. Being an augmented reality app at its core, we find it extremely useful to visualize nearby locations with it.

HERE City Lens - Nokia Lumia 928 Review

HERE City Lens

With Nokia Drive and Maps, the two are here for all our navigational needs. Therefore, whether it’s searching for an address or getting voice-guided directions, the apps are extremely useful in getting us around. To be honest though, Nokia Drive isn’t as comprehensive compared to other dedicated GPS apps (think Navigon or Magellan), but at least it has the basics to get us from point A to point B in one piece.

Nokia Drive and Maps - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Nokia Drive and Maps - Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Nokia Drive and Maps

And lastly, there’s Nokia Music for those who want to surround themselves with an array of music. One part a free radio station service, similar to what you’d experience with Pandora, Nokia Music also provides us access to any purchased content that are bought from Microsoft’s Music Store. Additionally, it integrates a bunch of social networking aspects to its functionality, like sharing songs you like on Facebook or reading about tweets regarding specific artists.

Nokia Music - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Nokia Music - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Nokia Music - Nokia Lumia 928 Review
Nokia Music - Nokia Lumia 928 Review

Nokia Music

  • 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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