The Nokia Lumia 928 - the Lumia 920, a bit better and on Verizon
We've been saying for a while now that the Nokia Lumia 928 is essentially a slightly-retooled Lumia 920 for Verizon. And sure enough, now that 928's been formally announced, we can compare the spec sheets and say, "Yes, they're just about the same phone." But there are some differences - let's see just what they are.
Both phones sport an 8.7 megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilization. Where the 920 has a dual-LED flash unit, the 928 packs what in theory should be a more powerful blinker with a xenon flash. The 928 is one of a rare breed of smartphones to sport a flash we'd expect to find on a dedicated point-and-shoot camera. Other examples include the HTC 7 Mozart and Nokia N8 (the progenitor of the modern Nokia design language)
Oddly, Nokia quotes the 928's xenon flash as having a range of 3 meters - the same as the 920's LED flash. Both cameras otherwise appear to be identical, with 1/3.2" sensors, f/2.0 apertures, focal lengths of 26 mm, and a minimum focus range of a ridiculously close 8.0 cm. Spec-wise the cameras are the same, but we imagine Nokia's put some polish work under the hood to make an already great camera even better in the 928.
Both phones have 4.5" PureMotion HD+ and ClearBlack screens with a 1280x768 resolution under a sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass. But where the 920 has an LCD IPS matrix under that chemically-hardened glass, while the 928 has an AMOLED display.
AMOLED screens are historically more difficult to read in direct sunlight, but if Nokia's ClearBlack polarization enhancements are as good as they've been in the past, it might not be too bad. Both touch panels also sport super-sensitive touch so you can use the phones with your fingers swaddled in the warmth of gloves.
Both phones sport Micro SIM slots, Micro USB ports, and 3.5 mm audio jacks, though on the 928 all three on are on the top of the phone, while the 920's USB port is on the bottom. The 928 and 920 also come with Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, and NFC. The have the same dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, the same 1GB of RAM, and the same 32GB of internal storage and 7GB of cloud storage.
Radios are where things really start to get different, seeing as the 920 is exclusively a GSM device, while the 928 is exclusive for Verizon - a CDMA carrier. The Lumia 928 packs a CDMA Rev 0/A radio for 3G connectivity and an LTE radio for connecting to Verizon's 4G network. In addition to those two, there's also a GSM radio on board, but knowing Verizon the way we know Verizon, it's bound to be locked for only international use.
Those radios coupled with the AMOLED screen make a difference when it comes to the battery. While both phones lay claim to a 2000 mAh battery, the 928's operates at 3.41 Volts - lower than the 920's 3.7 Volts. Neither battery is removable, being tightly packed inside the hacker unfriendly unibody polycarbonate case. The 920's no slouch when it comes to battery life, but the 928's stated battery life is simply superior.
We're looking at 541 hours of 3G standby (up by 221 hours), 16.2 hours of talk time (up by 7 hours), and 80 hours of music playback (up from 52 hours). Of course, we'll have to get our hands on a 928 for a thorough review before we can say whether such absurdly long battery life really is possible with so much about the 928 being the same as the 920. Both phones come with integrated Qi wireless charging support.
The last bit to compare is the physical design of the two brothers. The 920 has been the standard bearer for Nokia's design language, featuring a curving unibody dye-injected polycarbonate shell topped by a sheet of black glass that curves gently near the edges. The 928, however, breaks with that design language. Whether it represents a the next evolution of the Nokia design ethos or merely the dictates of notoriously picky and selfish Verizon, the 928 represents a different design language for a Nokia flagship. The front is a single sheet of black glass that barely curves near the edges, and it goes all the way to the phone's edge - there's no color peaking out here. And speaking of colors, while the 920 comes in black, white, red, yellow, and blue, Verizon customers looking at the 928 are only going to see it in white or black.
The shape of the 928 is more squared and angular than any Lumia device to date. Instead of gently and naturally curving from front to back, the 928's polycarbonate shell has chiseled angles and straight lines, with only a subtle along the back plane. The speaker has been moved onto that back plane on the 928, allowing for a much larger grille opening.
Dimensionally, the 920 and 928 are nearly identical. The 928 is 2.7 mm taller, 1.9 mm narrower, and 0.6 mm thinner. Nokia has managed to shave away some mass, though, with the 928 weighing in at 162 grams - a full 23 grams lighter than the older 920. That's still heavier than many other smartphones on the market, even the large Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Android smartphones, but few phones are as much smartphone as you'll get packed into the Lumia 928.
So compared to the Lumia 920, the new Lumia 928 has the same size but a different tech display, the same camera, and the same battery, the same processor, and the same RAM and storage. But the 928 sports what could be a better flash, is marginally thinner and substantially lighter, and is stated to last so much longer on a charge.
The most important distinguishing characteristics, however, are those cellular radios. The Lumia 928 isn't Verizon's first Lumia - they've had the Lumia 822 since late last year. Like the 822, the 928 packs a full complement of Verizon-compatible CDMA and LTE radios. But the 822 was no flagship device for Windows Phone on Verizon, even if it has proven to be a popular Windows Phone device for the carrier. Then again, Verizon's Windows Phone 8 offerings have been pretty slim, with the Lumia 822 until now accompanied by just the HTC 8X and Samsung ATIV Odyssey.
The Nokia Lumia 928 is going to kick the level of Windows Phone competition up a few notches for Verizon, even if it's just an improved a repackaged Lumia 920.
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.
DNA, 8x, iPhone5, and a few others are unlocked with full WCDMA HSPA+ support.
Other phones have shipped locked as well because of the 'contract' terms and Verizon not wanting someone to grab a free/discounted phone and then move to a another provider.
"but knowing Verizon the way we know Verizon, it's bound to be locked for only international use. "
My 8x and 822 on VZW are not SIM locked...hoping the 928 is the same and that you are incorrect here. From what I've seen recently, VZW isn't SIM-locking their 4G devices. :D
Wish they would have like a blue color or something else other than just black and white too...
One thing I noticed recently is that on my L920, when ever I turn on the battery saver while on highest level on brightness, the brightness of the screen reduces a bit, so it makes it a bit harder to read he screen under the bright light. I wonder if this going to make it harder to read on the L928?
I surely hope that this is not the way Nokia is going and is more the result of Verizon's decisions. Though...judging by the prototype of the 925...it doesn't look promising.
And others won't. And I don't. To me it is atrocious. My favourite design is still the L800. It had the best proportions. While I find the L920 very elegant, I find it too big. And I'm not that fond of mammoth phones.
When the device is sitting on a table or other 'hard' surface or even sitting tilted on a harder surface, the back speaker uses the surface to reflect/amplify/smooth the sound out, giving the phone much better and lounder sound, as the area for vibration is larger on the surface than the tiny phone itself.
Various sound MFRs going back to the 60s have used these designs and when done properly can produce rather impressive results from smaller speakers. Go find a 1980s Corvette with Bose sound, as the speakers are angled at the large back Window and other key elements in the interior. Using the BOSE array technology, four 4" speakers can produce rather loud sound and reproduce frequencies that normally would require a 10" dedicated woofer. (So much Bass that in the 1990 GM had to lower the BASS levels because it would vibrate the drivers too much.) Various other newer year Corvettes also have the same experience, that produce bass levels using the environment of the car and speakers array design. For the covertibles that do not have the larger back window to use with the speakers, the rear speakers are slightly larger and are angled at the fiberglass deck to compensate.
If you are holding the device in your hands, the back speaker and bass direction makes very little difference. Additionally if you are holding the devide, most user have headsets on when listening to music/movies.
The other good thing is that it sounds like Nokia was liistening to customers, because the sound in the 920, and especially the 822 is rather ordinary where the older HTC WP7 devices can provide playback for a room of people.
And welcome DK to the WP crew, glad to have another on board.
You mean up "by" 5.2 hours, right?
The backlight in the LCD usually consumes the bulk of the battery life. Maybe that's it? I suppose the AMOLED screen can be more efficient when displaying dark backgrounds, but I never got the feeling that phones sporting OLED screens actually saw improved battery life in real use.
So either Iget a matte finish (watching a few cyan 920s for price reduction) or I dig deeper for a white 928. Almost ready to make a jump from my Titan.
sad, because this will probably be my next phone. maybe ill grow into it. i didnt feel so hot about the 822 when i first saw it. i bought it shortly after it was released and now i love it.
Technically the 920 comes with Bluetooth 4.0, so we should assume that Bluetooth 4.0 will also be available on the 928.
Bluetooth 3.0 is not correct. The Nokia 920 and 928 both are Bluetooth 4.0 devices.
On the Verizon 8X the "Add MMS APN" function was first nonfunctional and later removed in the Portico update. The HTC Connection Setup app doesn't work on the Verizon 8X either. So there is no way of getting MMS working on any carrier but Verizon.
On the Lumia 822 the "Add MMS APN" function was at first present and somewhat functional and later removed in the Portico update. You can download the Nokia APN configuration app (Access Point) and it works on the 822, but even configuring MMS correctly it doesn't work. Outgoing MMS works but incoming doesn't work. It just says "Message not found". I tried every possible combination of settings and couldn't get 822 MMS working on AT&T.
So you can use a Verizon WP phone on ATT or TMO as long as you don't want MMS. I don't know about Android phones but I assume you can get MMS working either out of the box or through rooting or flashing a custom ROM.
I bet many non-Verizon consumers wants this as well.
Any Lumia device works all over the world. Unlike what most Americans think the world is bigger than the US and the majority of the worlds cellular networks run on GSM, not CDMA. The US is the exception to the rule with more CDMA carriers than GSM. For countries that do use CDMA there's also at least one competitor providing a GSM network. For about every CDMA subscriber there's about four times as many GSM subscribers. The reason for GSM's success is simple, it comes from a industry consortium whereas CDMA is basically controlled by Qualcomn; this makes it less expensive to build GSM equipment. But at the time when Verizon and Sprint popped up, CDMA was the hot new thing and at the time was better than GSM. GSM caught up but the paths were already chosen.
Roaming is also easier on GSM because any GSM network to be called GSM must accept any other GSM phone on it. This in contrast to CDMA where network access is controlled based on white-list of which phones are allowed. So for your CDMA phone to roam you're usually going to need a GSM modem too anyway.
The only advantage this phone has over the rest of the Lumia line is that it'll work world wide on GSM networks (except the US ones I'm betting) and additionaly can work on 1 CDMA network, Verizon's. Wooptiedoo.
For some reason, which I'm betting on being Verizon, Nokia dulled down the design of the 928. Instead of being a real flagship and a showcase of Nokia engineering it appears to be a comprimise between an HTC 8X (the back) and an iPhone 4/5 (overall look and feel) thrown in to a blender. The colours are gone, the playfulnes which is something you find in the entire OS is gone, this whole feeling of something just a bit different and so obviously fun has been replaced by a square, black and white, executive suit.
Though this is a proven design, just look at the iPhone's and the majority of Android hardware, it completely breaks with what the Nokia design and Windows Phone have stood for; the smartphone reinvented around you. This whole device feels impersonal, like something that your boss would use at the office but doesn't represent him as the father of two lovely daughters.
I think this even shows in the pictures Nokia put up for the device. If you look at the 920 it's always showcased in one of the vibrant colours, usually yellow, something really popping. The tiles shown on the first picture of that device include Sky Drive, City Lens, Me Tile, IE, Music, Cinemgraph, camera, pictures, email (1), SMS (2). Stuff that's mostly personal, fun. If you go further down the line of pictures though there's a very busy lock screen with lots of things to do it does have the picture of a skater as it's background, yet again fun and playful.
If you now take the 928 showcase, they used the red tiles. It's a beautiful combination with the black of the screen but it's more dull, toned down. The tiles showcased are Xbox, Phone, Store, IE, ESPN, Weather Channel, CNN, App Hilights, Me Tile, Here Maps and two tiles I can't make out. Except for Xbox and Me those tiles are boring and represent applications to get outside information from, nothing particularily social about them. If you look even further, the 928 is showcased with 3 missed calls, 3 SMS'es and 8 waiting e-mails. That feels more like work, stuff I need to do, pressure, than just fun. Yes there's two pictures involving the camera that look more personal but hey, the whole Lumia line is about camera's too.
Maybe I'm reading too much into it but I find it striking that in so many aspects this device breaks with what Nokia and Windows Phone have stood for until now. I really hope this trend isn't going to take over the Lumia line. I'd hate to end up with yet another phone that looks like half a dozen of others.
Till today I envied the new 928 owners (Amoled, Xenon). But now I've read this.... I don't see any reason why. Amoled in sunlight indeed is harder to read (owned a Lumia 800) and, according to the article, the Xenon flash doesn't make any difference.
Besides that... I like the design of the 920 more, esspecially because of the flat top and bottom with rounded corners/sides, and the curved screen. Which IMHO gives it a unique design.