Until now, Nokia's flagship Windows Phone models -- first the Lumia 900, then the Lumia 920 -- were AT&T exclusives. But with the Lumia 928, a variant of the Lumia 920, Nokia is getting a chance to bring its top-of-the-line Windows Phone 8 device to the largest U.S. network, Verizon Wireless, for an attractive price tag of $99 with a two-year contract.
Sporting a redesigned build and minor upgrades like a Xenon flash, the Verizon-exclusive Lumia 928 is a high-end Windows Phone that, like many of Nokia's devices, prioritizes strong camera capabilities. Verizon customers have waited a long time for a standout Windows Phone, and the Lumia 928 is as good as it gets. So has it been worth the wait?
Build & Design
The build of the Lumia 928 is, in some ways, both appealing and unappealing. I, for one, was never a fan of the Lumia 900 and 920's rounded sides with pointed corners (though I applaud the attempt to do something drastically different/unique), so I was very happy to see that wasn't the case on the Lumia 928. Instead, Nokia went with the more traditional approach of flat sides, but compromised by keeping the sharp corners, giving it a boxy, computer-like look to it. Personally, I like it a lot, but I can definitely see how some wouldn't.
Don't be fooled by the flattering angles at which Verizon and Nokia took press shots of the device, though. The press shots generally only show the thickness of the sides, making it look like a very svelte phone when, in fact the deceptive angle belies the true thickness of the device. Once past the edges, the phone balloons outwards to a rounded back, which admittedly makes it a little more comfortable to hold in the hand, but it brings the phone to 10.1 mm at its thickest point. Make no mistake, this is a big phone...and at 162 grams, it's not exactly light, either.
In fact, the phone is generally a little too big for my tastes. At 68.9 mm wide and 133 mm tall, the footprint is just big enough to make it cumbersome to hold/use and awkward to take in and out of one's pocket. The device doesn't even sport a massive screen to make use of its large dimensions, which is usually a trade-off that people are willing to make. With a 4.5-inch display, Nokia wasn't as efficient with its real estate as, say, Samsung, which used a razor-thin bezel (and less wasted space above and below the display) to squeeze a 5-inch screen into almost identical dimensions on the Galaxy S IV.
And much like the Lumia 920, this thing is slippery as all get-out. The phone only comes in two color varieties, black and white, and the former has a very slight matte finish to it. But otherwise, they're both quite slick (and the white version is an especially bad fingerprint magnet due to its glossy finish). I tend not to think of myself as a particularly clumsy person -- especially when it comes to holding onto my phone -- but I dropped the Lumia 928 the first time I used it. Thankfully, my cat-like reflexes allowed me to catch it before it hit the ground.
Though lacking the full HD flair of many of the other flagship handsets out on the market today, the display of the Lumia 928 still holds its own. The 4.5-inch, 1280 x 768 (332 ppi) AMOLED display looks especially crisp and bright thanks to Nokia's ClearBlack technology, which I've raved about before after seeing it on the company's other handsets. Not only does it help with viewing the screen in direct sunlight, it makes the blacks look especially deep and sharpens the contrast impressively.
Colors look great and are perfectly saturated as well, which is particularly good for an OS like Windows Phone that features such a colorful interface. And with the option to increase screen sensitivity, users can also interact with the display with gloves on or even with foreign objects. Thanks to the Gorilla Glass 2 coating (which not only protects the display, but gives it a nice glossy sheen), there's no concern about scratching up the display.
As is often the case with Windows Phones, all of the buttons on the Lumia 928 are located on the right edge, including the volume rocker up top, the power button in the middle, and the dedicated camera button on the bottom. Consequently, the left side is devoid of any features, as is the bottom edge.
The top, meanwhile, features a 3.5mm headphone jack, a micro SIM card slot/tray (which can, thankfully, be pulled out without the aid of a pin), and a micro USB port for charging. I'm not particularly fond of placing the charging port on the top of the phone, but to each one's own.
That just leaves the 1.2-megapixel, front-facing camera, which is located in the upper-right hand corner above the display, the 8.7-megapixel PureView camera and Xenon flash centered on the upper back, and, below it towards the bottom, the rather noisy loudspeaker.
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