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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mobile life: Nokia Lumia 928

Nokia Lumia 928 for Verizon Wireless is the carrier's long awaited, exclusive Windows Phone 8 flagship. The LTE smartphone was part of the rumor mill for quite some time - the first reports
of a high-end Nokia smartphone for the Big Red emerged right when the Lumia 920 landed exclusively on AT&T late last year.

As its name mildly suggests, the Nokia Lumia 928 is not dramatically different from the Lumia 920 for AT&T - mostly thanks to Microsoft's strict hardware restrictions for its mobile OS.
However, with a full xenon flash supplementing the 8MP OIS camera and the PureMotionHD+ AMOLED, the Nokia Lumia 928 for Verizon has enough bragging rights on its own.
The Nokia Lumia 928 is the first Windows Phone device to pack a xenon flash from the Finnish company, so, naturally, the expectations towards its low light imaging talents are as high as they get. Nokia's marketing campaign for the model is centered on its camera prowess too, so we expect the Lumia 928 to be truly special in the imaging department.
Here goes the full list of talents, which the Nokia Lumia 928 has to offer.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • Dual-band CDMA support
  • Penta-band 3G with 42 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
  • 4.5" PureMotionHD+ AMOLED display with a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels; Gorilla Glass 2
  • 8 megapixel autofocus camera with Xenon/LED flash, 1080p@30fps video recording
  • Optical Image stabilization; Smart Camera suite
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • Windows Phone 8 OS
  • 1.5GHz dual-core Krait CPU, Adreno 225 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset, 1GB of RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band
  • GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS support
  • Free lifetime voice-guided navigation
  • 32GB of built-in storage
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
  • 2,000mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Integrated wireless charging
  • Built-in accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • microUSB port
  • Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP and EDR, file transfers
  • SNS integration
  • Xbox Live integration and Xbox management
  • NFC support
  • Digital compass
  • Nokia Music

Main disadvantages

  • Windows Phone app catalog falls short of Android and iOS
  • No microSD card
  • No FM radio
  • No system-wide file manager
  • No lockscreen shortcuts
  • Too large a footprint for a device with a 4.5" display
  • Non user-replaceable battery
With the silicon inside the Nokia Lumia 928 being a standard Windows Phone 8 affair, it is the camera and the new screen tech that command the bulk of the attention towards the device.
On paper, the 8MP snapper all but promises to be one of the most capable ones around, while the new 4.5" AMOLED display has helped the Lumia 928 shade a few grams in comparison to the Lumia 920.
Despite being slimmer than the Nokia Lumia 920 however, the Lumia 928 for Verizon is still far from pocket-friendly. Because of the large bezel around its display, the Lumia 928 has the footprint of today's crop of 5" Android smartphones. Add the thickness of 10.1mm thick, and you get a rather bulky handset, though we find this particular niggle forgivable, given the camera tech, packed into its polycarbonate body.
At first glance the Nokia Lumia 928 appears to be the best equipped Windows Phone 8 smartphone on offer at the moment. Read on to find out if the device will live up to the high expectations. As always, we'll kick the review off with an unboxing, followed by a design and build quality inspection.
Editorial: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn't include some of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our home office and test lab. Still, we think we've captured the essence of the phone in the same precise, informative and detailed way that's become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!

A bright red box has the bare essentials

The Nokia Lumia 928 comes in a bright red, Verizon branded box. Inside it, you will find a charger, a USB cable, as well as the usual set of booklets
A stereo headset would surely have been a welcome addition to the retail package of the Lumia 928. Sadly, the trend set by the US carriers is to omit headphones as a bundled accessory.

Design and build quality

The Nokia Lumia 928 is the first one to break the string of high-end Nokia Lumia smartphones, which feature attractively rounded side edges. The Verizon offering features angular design with a number of sharp edges - it is hardly the best looking Nokia Lumia to date
The Nokia Lumia 928 is only available in a black or white color scheme - gone are the bright colors, which Lumia smartphones are known for. Regardless which color scheme you pick though, the smartphone's front will remain black. This makes the black version look really stealthy, while the white ones almost have dual-color setups.
Build quality is, unsurprisingly, exceptional. The Nokia Lumia 928 body is made from a single piece of polycarbonate with gloss finish. The entire front of the handset is covered in Gorilla Glass 2, so the occasional beating and the daily wear and tear shouldn't be a problem for it.
The measures of the Nokia Lumia 928 are 133 x 68.9 x 10.1 mm, while its weight tips the scale at 162 grams. While the considerable thickness of the handset is easy to forgive, considering the solid camera hardware, we couldn't help but notice that the Lumia 928 with its 4.5" display has the same footprint as a 5" Android flagship.
The 4.5" PureMotionHD+ AMOLED display of the Nokia Lumia 928 is a solid improvement over the IPS unit of the Lumia 920. The deep blacks and infinite contrast ratio of the AMOLED screen make a perfect companion to the Windows Phone 8 UI
The screen features a PenTile matrix like most AMOLEDs we've encountered. The display's pixel density of 332ppi however, makes sure that you won't notice the matrix having fewer subpixels than an RGB unit does.
Above the display is where the earpiece, the ambient light, and the proximity sensors reside. The front-facing camera and a set of Nokia and Verizon logos are also to be found above the screen
Below the screen is where the usual trio of capacitive buttons for controlling Windows Phone 8 can be found. The mouthpiece is there too.
Regarding the mouthpiece and earpiece of the Lumia 928, we must point out that both are prone to collecting dust easily. Their functionality is not affected, but it is nevertheless irritating.
There's nothing on the left side of the Nokia Lumia 928. The power/lock key, the volume rocker, and the dedicated camera button are all located on the right. They have the same finish as the Lumia's polycarbonate body.
The SIM card tray, 3.5mm audio jack, the microUSB port, and the dedicated microphone for active noise cancelling are all located on top of the smartphone. There's nothing on the bottom of the smartphone
The back of the Nokia Lumia 928 is where the great-looking loudspeaker grille and the entire camera tech reside. The presence of the dual LED/Xenon flash and a dedicated microphone for noise cancelling during video recording speak plenty about the snapper's serious intentions
The heavily touted loudspeaker performance of the Nokia Lumia 928 was very good, considering its non-stereo nature. Sound is loud and clear, though far from what the HTC One has to offer.
The Nokia Lumia 928 sports the same 2,000mAh battery as the Lumia 920. The newcomer achieved an endurance rating of 41 in our battery test
Handling the Nokia Lumia 928 feels slightly awkward. The high-gloss polycarbonate is kinda slippery, so accidental drops are not unlikely. The tapered edges of the device, combined with the large bezel make holding it in one hand slightly uncomfortable, too.
Overall, we'd give the Nokia Lumia 928 high marks for its build quality. The design and ergonomics of the handset are far from perfect though. Nokia and Verizon have obviously tried really hard to differentiate the Lumia 928 from the rest of manufacturer's range. We are not sure however, that the end result is worthy of the high-end stature, which the Nokia Lumia 928 possesses


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