Several weeks ago, we were contacted by tapinfluence on behalf of Microsoft asking whether we’d be interested in testing the new Windows phone Nokia Lumia 928. To that point, I had been using Android and in the past my wife has used an iPhone, so I was curious to see what the new Lumia had to offer, especially since I use Windows 8 on my laptop. When they told me that the new selling point of the phone was the reinvented Carl Zeiss camera, I was sold because this company has always produced stellar optics, and I am an avid photographer shooting with Leica, Nikon and Olympus. Even though I am serious about my photography, it is undeniably compelling to think that a camera phone, something that’s always with you, could be more than just a convenient stand-in for a real camera.
Over the next three months, you’ll be seeing a sponsored series of posts about my summer adventures accompanied by pictures shot with the Lumia 928. On top of that, you can win a $5,000 check or one of 10 Nokia Lumia 928 phones by leaving a comment below!
Win $5,000 or one of 10 Nokia Lumia 928 Phones
- I. Just leave a comment below, explaining how you’ll reinvent yourself this summer
- II. No purchase necessary
- III. Ends August 23, 2013
Nokia Lumia 928
I have used the new Nokia windows phone for about two weeks and so far, I am impressed. On paper, the dual core processor with 1.5 GHz doesn’t seem en par with the new iPhone or Samsung flagship models, but when you use the phone it’s as smooth as butter. So far, I did not have a single crash or lag when I used it, whereas my Android phone and the iPhones I used always had some lag or issue after a while.
A key stand-out feature on the new Lumia 928 is the screen. Measuring at 4.5″, it is plenty big but still fits comfortably in the hand; it doesn’t feel like a “brick” in your pocket, like some have described the Samsung Galaxy SIII & IV. With a resolution of 768×1280, 334 pixels per inch renders everything super clear, which is even better than the iPhone 5 at 326 ppi. The colors of the AMOLED display are crsisp and everything from your emails, over to photos to video is simply beautiful. I have set it to the auto-brightness function and so far I have never had any issues reading anything off the display, even in bright sunshine or at a steep angle. Also, the colors are rich by default, making it a joy to use.
Ergonomically, Nokia made a few changes to usual smartphones:
- The Power/Lock/Unlock button is not positioned on top of the phone, but in the middle on the right side. That means as a right handed person, you can unlock it with your thumb and if you are left handed, you can use your index finger comfortably. It eliminates poking the home button with your index finger, or holding the phone awkwardly from the bottom edge to land on your home screen. With other phones, you often have to use two hands and I find this little change remarkably helpful in everyday life.
- On the right bottom side, there is a designated camera button, that switches to camera mode right away, not matter what you are doing with the phone. So in case you need to take a quick photo, there’s no need to fiddle with the home button and the following menus. Instead, the camera pops up in that very moment. With my Andorid phone, I have found myself missing numerous shots because of the need to go through menus to activate the camera. Furthermore, the camera button is located where the traditional shutter button on a camera is positioned when held horizontally, simulating the “real” camera comfort, ease of use, and feel even more. In my opinion, the only thing worth improving is the location of the search button because it is easy to hit it when you want to take a picture. Sure, all it takes is a tab on the shutter button to get you back to camera mode in a whim, though it can be annoying at times.
- The back button on the phone doesn’t just take you back to the home screen; it actually takes you back in the exact steps you followed before, like an internet browser. So If I went from the home screen to search, then internet explorer, my netflix app, email inbox, photos and calendar, I can go back in the reverse order without a problem. With android I often found that the back button operated differently depending on the app; the Lumia standardizes this for consistency.
- Overall, the usability of the new Nokia Lumia 928 windows phone was outstanding in my experience so far.
Smartphone Photography Reinvented
The core selling point of the new Lumia is its 8.7 megapixel Carl Zeiss PureView camera. The important aspects are:
- Low Light Performance due to an aperture of 1:2.0 compared to 1:2.4 for the iPhone 5 and 1:2.2 for the Samsung Galaxy 4. This means that in the same environment, the Lumia will capture more light than the Galaxy or iPhone, allowing you to get either faster shutter speeds (meaning sharper pictures) or lower ISO levels (meaning less noise and better image quality).
- PureView image technology uses pixel oversampling to achieve a higher quality at higher ISO levels . For more details click here.
- 8.7-megapixel 1/3.2″ BSI-CMOS sensor that provides excellent results at 4:3 and 16:9 image ratios, meaning nothing will be cropped but rather a different part of the sensor is used.
- Optical image stabilization helps to create sharp pictures of non-moving objects. It won’t help to get better pictures of moving children, cars or objects but it is a huge improvement for anything that does not move because the shutter speeds can be longer than without stabilization.
- Industry leading Carl Zeiss optics
- Great software algorithm to reduce noise
- Xenon flash, which is much brighter than the usual LED flashes you find in smartphones. It is usable up to 3 yards, but don’t expect too much because light that comes from the same axis as the lens always looks poor.
- Lumia Flash can trigger off-camera flash for considerably better picture quality (a feature only photography enthusiasts with external flashes can use, but the results are better)
Overall, the picture quality is excellent for the size of the sensor and the 26mm focal length (in 35mm equiv) are ideal to take picture of family, landscapes or snapshots on the go. In addition, it can focus very closely, allowing you to get detailed close-up shots. Obviously, the Lumia is not a substitute for a DSLR camera in terms of quality but compared to compact cameras, the Lumia performed surprisingly well. It really shines in everyday situations when you either don’t have your big camera with you or you find it too inconvenient because you can always carry the Lumia in your pocket.
Overall the Nokia Lumia 928 currently has the best smartphone camera on the market, especially compared to the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S 4. Only the Lumia 808 phone features a better camera due to its sensor which is five and a half times as large and hence falls in a class of its own. Update July, 11 2013. The Nokia Lumia 1020 with its 41 megapixels and same size sensor of the 808 has now the best smartphone camera on the market. Stay tuned for further articles as we experiment with other features of the Lumia 928; we’ll even see if it can measure up as our only camera on an upcoming vacation!