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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.

Nokia Lumia 920 and 928 Cameras

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.

Nokia Lumia 920 and 928 Front

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.

Nokia Lumia 920 and 928 Back

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.

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.

154 Comments
  • My old HTC 7 Mozart had a Xenon flash! Until I broke it... :/
  • You are correct! Updated.
  • Hahaha :) all good! :P
  • It also has powerful speakers that offer 140db audio, as compared to HTC One's 89db, which was the highest in the market till now
    http://toi.in/fOPqyb
  • My HTC 7 Mozart had one too. Snap!
  • Both are beautiful phones. I simply wished the polycarbonate wrapped around the 928. Especially since the battery isn't removable like one would think from its side view.
  • what about the Front facing camera? it looks like vga on 928, but on 920 its 1.2mp
  • Both are 1.2 megapixel.
  • Why do you think it'll be locked for international use? Their 8X isn't.
  • All Verizon devices are unlocked
  • No, it's unlocked. In the press release it states that it is Global Ready.
  • No... locked out from domestic use - for international.
  • I've been under the impression that all of Verizons LTE phones are completely unlocked, and not just for international use. Both the iPhone 5 and HTC 8X are unlocked.
  • The Droid DNA & 8X was sold unlocked with domestic carrier support OOB. Wouldn't be surprised if the 928 is the same.
  • This is a requirement as part of the 700mhz block VZW is using; they are required to release their phones completely unlocked, even domestically. 
     
    DNA, 8x, iPhone5, and a few others are unlocked with full WCDMA HSPA+ support.
  • Can you confirm if this phone will work with a GSM SIM internationally?
  • Even if it ships locked to domestic use, Verizon WILL provide the unlock code for the device if you have been a long standing customer. Direct example, HTC Trophy shipped locked, one call to Verizon unlocked it, even before contract with Verizon was over.
      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.
  • I am hearing the phone is aluminum and not polycarbonate. Which is true?
  • There was confusion leading up to the forma reveal whether the 928 was polycarbonate or aluminum. There's another Nokia device under development that does have an aluminum body - the Catwalk. http://www.wpcentral.com/first-images-nokia-catwalk-surface
  • Thanks Derek, I was under the impression catwalk was aluminum with the huge sensor but that laser might be as well. I wonder how they shaved so much weight off the phone...Welcome aboard btw!
  • You said:
     
    "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
  • FCC requires Verizon to keep all their LTE devices unlocked
  • I hope they are aware of your law
  • LOL
  • Verizon agreed to FCC requirements in keeping all their GSM bands unlock for their LTE devices, However since the VPN is not available to modify, some functionalities may not be available i.e. MMS.  We are very much aware of it :)
     
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/25/verizon-iphone-5-unlocked-att_n_1909972.html
  • Yeah, I have the 8X and my father has the 822, neither of which are SIM locked, so I doubt the 928 will be.
    Wish they would have like a blue color or something else other than just black and white too...
  • Nice phone
  • Wait did I just read that the 928 has a micro SD card slot? If this is true I'm going to be sooooooo happy.
  • Micro SIM, not SD.
  • Ah dang, I was really excited for a moment. :( Oh well 32GB of storage isn't bad.
  • No. You read that is has micro USB and SIM card slot. There's no micro SD slot here. Sorry to break your happiness. 
  • I personally like the 928s design, but I own a 920 so I'm more than happy with what I've got! Another great device from Nokia
  • I also got L920 and to me 920 is better and cleaner design. I don't like the super sqaure front and sides of the L928. The only think that I'm a tad jeleous of, is the fact that L928 will have a better battery life!
  • ^I agree on on the battery holds more charge on the L920.
    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'm getting the impression that the phone might be pentaband
  • Looking at all the frequencies it supports, yes, it looks like a pentaband GSM radio.
  • I think the 920 looks better.
  • I'm partial to the 928 so my preference cancels out yours, making both irrelevant.
  • The 920 looks significantly better. And I don't or won't own either.
  • I'm waiting for Catwalk, curious how 3 different versions of the same phone will compair to eachother (like the 820 series). :D
  • I think even Nokia would agree although in private.  The blocky corners, extra height  to accommodate the Verizon logo, and it only comes in two colors.
  • I also agree. Apart from some small differences I don't see to much difference in the 2 devices. At least not enough to replace my awesome red Rogers unlocked 920 for the new 928. I'll wait until the next wave of WP8 devices to switch.
  • My good old SonyEricsson K800i had a xenon flash, and I miss it.
  • Oops, sorry, not really a smartphone :)
  • Had a SonyEricsson K850i which also had a xenon flash, a better camera and larger screen than the K800i, and I DON'T miss it at all.
  • The top photo of both phones the lenses on both look different colours
  • Considering that they're likely renders and not photos, it's entirely arbitrary.
  • HOW LONG ON STANDBY?!!!! WTF?!!!!!!!!
  • I think he meant 70hrs for 920 lol
  • I hope the 920's camera gets similar tweaks under the hood as the 928.
  • Well the wife can't wait to run to the Verizon store.
  • "better" is subjective. I find the design of the L928 simply atrocious! It's taller when the L920 is already too tall, and the squared design just makes it uglier.
    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. 
  • I agree. From what I have seen so far the 928 is not nearly as elegant as the 920. It seems to me like the models Nokia makes for specific carriers (821 and 822) don't have the same elegance and attention to detail as their other models (520, 620, 720, 920). That is obviously just my opinion though. I hope Nokia does not continue this trend of making exclusive devices for certain carriers. I personally would have just preferred the release the 920 on both Verizon and AT&T to begin with. Having said that the 928 seems like a dang nice device and Verizon customers are lucky to be getting a great Windows Phone with the awesome support of Nokia.
  • In my opinion, of the current generation of Lumia devices the 720 and 920 have the most beautiful designs.
  • Although I didn't fully appreciate the 920 until I held one (I then impulsively bought it off contract) so I'll reserve my judgment until I hold a 928 in my hands.
  • +1 I always thought the 920 looked ugly in pictures/renders but beautiful in person. I too will deserve judgment until I have the 928 in my hand... I really want to compare the two phones screens!
  • While many could agree that the 920 design is beautiful you cannot say that the 928 is outright atrocious. I disagree. The 928 looks good and the 720 based design fits it. My main point is its as nice looking as the 920. 928 ≤ 920 in looks.
  • I cannot say? I thought I just did. And I maintain it. The 928 is atrocious. As is the 720 in a smaller degree. Both phones went way too square and angled to have an elegant design. The 928 just makes it worse with that gigantic and ugly flash which still needs to be tested to see if it was at all necessary and the speakers grid on the back. (I won't even mention the branding on the front and the 4GLTE on the back). If you like them, good for you. Some are bound to like it.
    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.
  • Am I the only person who absolutely hates that the phone's speaker is on the BACK of the phone?:(
  • I'm not a fan of the rear speaker, but if the audio is a amazing as Nokia is saying, it might be with it - not for videos/movies, but for listening to Xbox or Nokia Music!
  • No your not. On my current HTC 8X the speaker is in the back. In a room with other things going on, I have to cup my hand to hear it. Worst design ever for speakers in a phone...
  • I prefer it on the back. I use my speaker phone a lot. I hold my phone with my pinky across the bottom. The sound is always muffled.
  • well its louder than HTC BOOM so you should be able to hear anything from the back
     
  • I also prefer the speaker on the bottom. It keeps the back of the phone looking nice and sleek. Especially since they moved all the ports to the top, I wish they had kept the speakers on the bottom and utilised the extra room that's now there.
  • The speaker on the 'back' can be a better listening experience depending on how you are using the device.   For example some of the HTC products with SRS, like the HTC Trophy has a back speaker, by design to enhance bass.
     
    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.
     
  • does this mean that Sprint is the only U.S. carrier without a Nokia 920+ model?
  • And T-Mobile, us cellular, boost, aio, virgin, and every other wireless carrier in the US other than AT&T and Verizon.
  • aio has 620. :). but it is not hgh end I agree but is an amazing phone nevertheless. My sis has the magenta one and she loves it esp the color.
  • sorry, should've added "major" U.S. carrier although it was implied. Also, isn't US cellular being bought out by Sprint? and isn't Boost and Virgin mobile owned by Sprint? (or so I thought)
  • check the BANDS on the 928 it can be used on TMO-US LTE and HSPA+ out of the box
  • Good article! Welcome to the WPCentral Community Derek!
  • Yes, Derek - Welcome!! Will you be joining the annual WPCentral podcasts?
  • If this phone was unlocked would it work on Sprint's network?
  • I believe it was stated earlier that all Verizon phones come unlocked.
  • No. Different frequencies.
  • Glad to see VZW get a top notch Nokia model finally.  That said, I like the design of the 920 a bit better, but the 928 will appeal to many so it's all good.  Hope it's a big seller.
     
    And welcome DK to the WP crew, glad to have another on board.
  • +1
  • "and 80 hours of music playback (up from 5.2 hours)."
    You mean up "by" 5.2 hours, right?
  • When will the advertising kick in?
  • You're joking, right? The advertising kicked in before the phone was even announced!
  • I need to find out why the cyan and red aren't available yet. I can upgrade at the end of July and I either want red or white.
  • I think the glossy white is amazing.. I got a white 900 for my dad and a white 720 for my brother in law. It is like a phone made out of china glass.
  • +1 but, the red looks hot...Hmmmm
  • yup 100%
  • I wouldn't be shocked if VZW said Cyan was too close to AT&T's brand colors so they wouldn't carry it. I could see them releasing other colors like red (obvious), and maybe a screaming yellow or green once production is ramped up. I don't expect to see a Cyan (AT&T) or a magenta'ish (T-Mobile) offering due to brand identity.
  • Or Sprint yellow.
  • Good point, forgot all about them.
  • I may be in the minority but I like the heft of the 920. Feels significant... Like I could drop it off a building and it wouldn't miss a beat. If I want light, cheaply manufactured hardware... I'll get a Samsung. =P
  • Right.. I like the weight of the 920.. If feels like quality, and I feel like I own something.
  • +1
  • Loving my 720, despite being very light, it does not feel cheap at all. My mother likes her 920, and is impressed every time I teach her something new, but also complains about the weight every time I see her.
  • Not sure why the battery life of the 928 would be so much better than the 920.  If the 928 is rated at 3.41V and the 920 is 3.7V, then the Watt-hour capacity of the 920 is 7.8% greater.  Surely the difference in radios isn't enough to make up that difference and then some.
     
    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.
  • It really needs a "real world" testing on it to confirm what the real life is on it.
  • That's why I'm waiting for the WPCentral review before I put too much faith into the numbers (even though I know from past Nokia devices that they do a good job with them).
  • would definetly get a colored 928, but sadly no colors. nice move verizon. ill have to stick with my 8x
  • Now nokia pls make a lumia 720 refresh with 1gb ram.
  • Any news on screen resolution between the two? Is 928 pentile or rgb?
  • Nice! I am happy with my 8X but looking forward to more people joining the WP8 club. Hurry up GR2!
  • Yeesh, that was pretty well written. Had to check the byline twice. Good stuff Derek.
  • *bows*
  • god i wish the 928 looked like the 920. the 920 is such a better looking phone.its like when youre looking at all of tvs at best buy and you can clearly tell which one has the better picture but you take it home and it doesnt matter anymore. wpcentral, no more side by side pics please. i wanna feel good about my purchase lol
  • It's all subjective though, I was never really a fan of the 920 design & think the 928 looks better.
  • The thing with tvs is tricky. Best buy doesn't run all there tvs at there best. It depends on which ones corporate is trying trying to push more. I've seen it first hand by checking the connections in use at several stores by me. Its really unfair for consumers if you ask me.
  • Incorrect. Best Buy displays the tvs with the default picture mode they are shipped with. /OT
  • I think the side by side comparisons are just bleh because the 928 doesn't have any colors that the 920 does. The plain black and white colors make it seem just plain.
  • I thought the 920 received Bluetooth 4.0 certification?
  • It does, but WP8 doesn't support BT4.0 yet. Hopefully that is something in GDR2.
  • Real shame Nokia could not be bothered to include a MicroSD slot in the 928. lets hope the next wave of phone will have it as standard.
     
     
  • Improvement or not on the L920, those on Verizon is in for some real Nokia goodness. That is a promise.
  • Hopefully I can grab one up day one because I'm going on vacation for a week on the 17th! Here's to hoping I can put it through its paces during vacation!
  • I'm just glad to get a flagship WP8 Nokia product on the carrier I've been with for more than a decade. And fortunately I like black phones.
  • Will the 928 have group text enabled?
  • Yay. Expanding WP users with the 920 experience. You just got the best smartphone you will ever use. One con about the micro USB being on top though. It might limit the use of 3rd party desktop accessories, or not.
  • Nokia is trying to push nfc/wireless accessories, so from that pov it doesn't matter where the port is.
  • Just ordered my charging cover & Qi plate yesterday!
  • Still no word on the full price for us grandfathered unlimiters?
  • Any chance that there will be more colors in the future? Would make sense to slowly launch different colors to keep up interest.
  • I wonder if Verizon would let you buy the phone outright and not activate it on their network.
  • Does anyone know if the AMOLED screen is PenTile or RGB layout? I think you would be able to tell if it's PenTile at 1280x768, though it wouldn't be a huge problem.
  • From the video this looks to be a glossy finish. I was under the impression this was going to be matte finish, which I prefer. I am outside the US so availability of an unlocked 928 is almost a certain with the inclusion of the proper radio. Anxious to see this available soon. Sounds like win-win for me. The 920 is no slouch and most the features listed here are primarily Nokia exclusives or Windows 8, meaning nearly identical on the devices.
     
    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.
  • design is not nearly as good looking as the 920, imo.
     
    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.
  • Me too. A lot hate on the 822's plain look & not being a "flagship" device, but I like the smaller size and the "low" resolution doesn't bother me - the screen is too small to notice (or maybe my eye sight is getting bad - either way). The phone has the sane snapdragon processor so its no slouch and the SD card was a big selling point for me... not that I paid anything for it - another bonus.
  • "The 928 and 920 also come with Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, and NFC."