Look out Lumia 928, the Lumia Icon is the new flagship Windows Phone on Verizon

Windows Phone lovers on Verizon have something new to talk about – the Nokia Lumia Icon. Verizon’s new flagship Windows Phone device not only features a large 5-inch display, but also 1080p resolution, 20 megapixel PureView camera with Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, and dual-capture mode. But how does this new beast stack up against the Lumia 928, Verizon’s previous flagship? Should Lumia 928 owners make the jump to the Icon? Let’s explore.

The Lumia 928 was announced and launched back in May of 2013 as a Verizon-exclusive variant of the Lumia 920. The Lumia 928 served its purpose and gave us a 4.5-inch Windows Phone device with a 8.7MP camera. But, as other carriers received newer Windows Phone devices, such as the 41MP Lumia 1020 and the 6-inch Lumia 1520, those of us on Verizon were left sitting on a bench waiting for our turn. Well, Verizon customers can now rejoice as the Lumia Icon, formerly known as the Lumia 929, has arrived. 

Let’s compare the specs between the two devices. As you can see from the chart below, the Lumia 928 and Lumia Icon are similar, yet different, in many aspects. The Lumia 928 features a dual-core CPU, while the Icon dominates with a quad-core chip. The size and weight difference between the two devices are subtle, yet impressive. The Icon feels just right when you hold it. The display on the Icon is absolutely amazing, as the 1080p resolution makes Windows Phone shine. 

Let’s face it. When compared to the Lumia 928, the Icon’s specs are quite impressive. Let’s dive in and see just how impressive these specs are and if Verizon customers and/or current Lumia 928 owners should make the jump to the new Icon. We’ll go over the Windows Phone operating system, the hardware design, performance, the Camera and Camcorder, and final thoughts. Let’s dive in!

Windows Phone and apps

The Lumia Icon comes powered with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system, running Nokia’s latest Lumia Black firmware update. Thanks to the 1080p resolution, you can now see three columns of tiles on the Lumia Icon, as opposed to the two column display on the 928. This allows you to have a greater control on tile placement and size. Tiles that appeared abnormally large on the 928 now appear normal on the Icon. Unfortunately, the smaller tiles appear a little too small on the Icon.

Overall, Windows Phone 8 runs smooth and fast on the Icon. All the apps I need for music, news, and productivity/tools are available in the Windows Phone Store, which is quite impressive for a third-place ecosystem. As time goes on, I fully expect the Windows Phone platform to take second place behind Android. In fact, I cant wait to get Windows Phone 8.1, which is expected to bring a host of new feature, on the Icon!

The Icon comes bundled with a few Verizon apps, but you can easily uninstall them! Office and OneNote come pre-installed, along with Nokia’s Here Drive/Maps, Beamer, Care, MixRadio, Creative Studio, and Storyteller Beta. 

Hardware design

As you can see from the image above, the Icon is quite thick – similar to that of the Lumia 928. It is also really easy to leave smudges on the device. Although they are not necessarily visible from a distance, you can still see the fingerprint marks all around your device body and screen if you look closely. 

The design of the Icon is similar to that of the Lumia 928, except for three things. The MicroUSB port is now at the bottom-center of the device as opposed to the top-center like the Lumia 928. The headphone jack is now located at the top-center of the device and the SIM card slot is now hugging the top left corner of the device.

The Icon feels heavy compared to the Android-powered Nexus 5, but seems just like the Lumia 928. In fact, the only difference between the 928 and the Icon is a 0.1oz weight difference. The Icon features matte polycarbonate on the back of the device, which is a big change from the 928’s glossy polycarbonate. The Icon also features aluminum sides. To top it all off, the Icon also has Gorilla Glass 3 display.

The SIM card slot is quite awkward, as it requires you to dig your fingernail or use a paperclip to open it up. But this should be a minor concern since we don’t really open up the slot that often to even care.


Lumia 928 on the left – Lumia Icon on the right

Sound quality – Music playback on the Lumia Icon was superb. Similar to the Lumia 928, as I could not notice any big differences. Speakerphone volume, on the other hand, wasn’t so great. The speakerphone seemed muffled a bit, creating a bit of a hard time understanding what the person on the other end of the phone call was saying. I did not have this issue with the Lumia 928. This could be subjective, but I preferred the Lumia 928 in terms of sound quality.

Battery life – Battery life on this beast of a device was quite spectacular. I was impressed that a device that comes packed with such great specifications can actually go a full day with minimal to moderate use. The Lumia 928 also offered me a similar battery life, but with less horsepower under the hood.

Overall, the performance of the Icon was fantastic. Compared to the 928, the Icon is definitely better and faster. Gaming on the Icon was fast and quite fun with the large 1080p screen and beefed up specs. I played Rayman Fiesta Run, along with a few other games, and experienced smooth gameplay. Definitely a big improvement compared to the Lumia 928.

Camera and Camcorder

The Lumia Icon comes with a 20MP camera. If you are new to a high-end Lumia device, like the Lumia Icon, you will be amazed at the high-quality camera that comes with the smartphone. Nokia is known for its mobile photography and the Lumia Icon is no stranger to great optics.

As you can see from the first two images below, the 20MP camera takes some gorgeous shots during the day. It isn’t a marketing ploy – the Icon does take great images outdoors. The Icon comes with optical image stabilization, a six element lens, an aperture of f/2.4, and a sensor size of 1/2.5 inch. In layman’s terms, you get a sweet camera!

In the first image, you can see Sulley from Monsters Inc sitting ever so eloquently on the grass. The vivid colors are captured perfectly using the Icon. The second shot is quite impressive too, showcasing the daytime sky and mountains in the background.

In low light situations, the camera works just fine too. Here’s a picture I took of my car’s taillight in a low light environment:

You can capture 720p or 1080p video on the Icon and you can even choose between 24, 25, or 30 frames per second. The video embedded below showcases the Icon’s 1080p 30FPS video recording feature in action. You can even hear the birds chirping in the background, thanks to the impressive 4 mic setup (with 2 mics at the front of the device). Nothing too spectacular, but at least the Icon can record high quality video.

Final Thoughts

What can I say – I love the Lumia Icon. It is a beautifully crafted smartphone that runs Windows Phone 8. I enjoyed using my Lumia 928 since its release and now I have upgraded to the Lumia Icon. The specs, the camera quality, the screen size, and the ecosystem have gotten better over the past year and the Lumia Icon is definitely the phone for you if you are on Verizon.

I have no complaints about the device, which is quite rare for me, since I usually have one or two things I dislike about a smartphone. The 1080p resolution, the speed, the screen size, and 20MP camera, and the body design are all attractive features.

For those of you who currently own a Lumia 928, you definitely should consider upgrading to the Icon when you are able to. This is the new Windows Phone flagship on Verizon and it kicks ass! You can snag the device at Verizon (United States), on contract, for $199.

I plan on doing some more usability tests on the Icon, along with installing Windows Phone 8.1 once it becomes available. If you have any questions about the Icon, please ask them in the comments below!

  • StarEy3

    I saw it coming……………… The Lumia 520 couldn’t be the flagship Windows Phone forever

    • jhtanglewood

      The 520 was never the flagship phone, anywhere… and was never available on Verizon.

      • StarEy3

        Verizon apparently hates Windows Phones, currently the only have five of them

        • jhtanglewood

          Maybe only 4 now. The Lumia 822 has been discontinued, and I think it’s more of an issue with Nokia than Windows Phone.

          • StarEy3

            Yeah maybe………

  • Drewidian

    If Verizon had added a MicroSD HC(32GB is just not enough) to this device and released it for the 2013 holiday season, I probably would have gotten it for my wife and I, but the new AT&T plans and being so close to the 8.1 devices and their substantially increased MicroSD support is enough to make me wait. I can get 3 AT&T lines with shared 10GB of data for $145/month with my corporate discount. On Verizon my wife and daughter are paying $210 with their separate plans. The $65 difference month is not enough to justify the service despite Verizon’s superior coverage. So as soon as those new devices come out, we are going to all switch unless Verizon matches or beats the price difference.

    • jhtanglewood


      I need and must have microSD support, I would have gotten the 928 and Icon if it had an SD slot. As it is, I have to stick with my 822.

      • Landguy

        Not sure why everyone needs so much space. Between the free 25gb of cloud storage that Verizon gives you and the free storage from Microsoft, I am not sure what the space need is.

        • jhtanglewood

          I don’t know about you, but I don’t have unlimited data. Plus, as I said before, I have about 10,000 songs in my collection that I like to have with me and that had to be converted just to fit on my 64 GB SD card. So, that still wouldn’t fit in the “cloud” unless I paid for more storage…
          Then in order to listen to the music I already paid for, I would essentially have to pay for it again – by way of data – whenever I wanted to listen to it.
          Then you add photos (which I have about 4 GB worth), videos, maps and the ability to load apps/games on the SD (coming on WP 8.1)… and I could easily use a 128 GB SD card. My songs alone in their original format take up about 70 GB.

          I see the lack of SD support on certain phones, on certain carriers as a ploy to get more money from people by using more data and paying for more cloud storage.
          I do use cloud storage, but only as a back up for photos/videos and to share documents & such between devices.

          • http://batman-news.com/ Santosh Reddy

            one word google play music

          • jhtanglewood

            That’s 3 words bro.
            The whole point is to not have to stream music and use data.
            Plus, why would I want to pay for music that I already own?
            Then there is the lack of Google products on WP, and the fact that I don’t use Google products.

          • Sectime

            Nokia Mix Radio for $3.99/ month.

          • guest

            what idiot carries every friggin song with him all the time??? hoarder!!!

          • jhtanglewood

            The kind that likes his music, the millions who bought ipods and mp3 players, etc.

            It doesn’t seem very productive to belittle someone for expecting features to work.

        • Drewidian

          Its simple. I have about 30GB of music I listen to regularly. I use Audible and prefer the high quality streams. I take a lot of pictures and want to do so at the highest resolution. I have a friend who is making an app that will allow me to keep the latest episodes of TV shows I have subscribed to in the XBox Video Market place over night the way you can with podcasts. It also will allow me to share this account with my family so we will all be able to pick and choose the TV shows we want. This will allow us to be able to cut the cable cord. I have a number of Apps and want to keep my data with me instead of managing it. All of this will require much more than the measly 32GB of the Icon and built in 16/32GB of the 1520. Getting a 128GB card would solve all of these problems. In all I think I’ll need about 60-100 GB. OK… so maybe its not that simple.

          The bottom line is that the phone companies want us to have limited phone storage so we use more data and I don’t think I should have to when there is a simple technology solution to the problem especially with the improvements in SD card management we will see in WP8.1.

  • Aaditya Menon

    If it were to have a SD Card slot………

  • winslow

    after coming from t noble phone I feel like I have light speed to the future.

  • Jim_MAY

    This phone is sweet have been enjoying it since day one. The Verizon speeds at 44.68 Mbps are just ridiculous. Really looking forward to Windows Phone 8.1

  • Ray C

    Is there a 520 equivalent on all carriers and why don’t they have another no contract phone? Why not offer the 8X or some other phone off contract for about 100 more than the 52x?

  • ja_1410

    Great phone but will not sell. I have been recently in T Mobile store. Two Lumias were gathering dust in the remote corner of the store with no interest of customers that were in the store. I was there to get Samsung Galaxy 4 for my daughter but just pretending that don;t know much asked the clerk about those. He discouraged me from even thinking about them. To be fair he did said that OS is quite good but it lacks good applications. BTW I was replacing Windows 7 phone that my daughter had for the last two years. She did not wanted any Windows phone anymore.

    • Abster

      I have to say carriers need to push WP more. Their clerks (low-paid and ill-informed and having only outright incorrect/outdated knowledge) only push Android or iOS phones while never giving WP a fair shake and often deliberately steer customers away from the latter. Besides their prejudices they must be making higher commissions on the former I’m sure.

      • ja_1410

        I don’t blame clerks. He was right saying that WP lacks apps.That was the reason my daughter did not wanted WP anymore. After 2 years of contract she wouldn’t even look at WP regardless of quality of hardware.

        • Abster

          Lack of apps is a very relative thing, and I’m not just saying that either. Personally I have everything I need available except for a few banking apps I’d like to see represented. Sure your daughter may have unmet expectations about apps (which ones she uses regularly were missing, may I ask?), but in general people should take the time to judge for themselves. Before buying my phone I checked out my relative’s Lumia thoroughly, perused the Store for apps and so on. Going into a shop blind and solely relying on an ignorant clerk’s recommendations (or perhaps those of a friend or blogger who likes only Android or iOS) is hardly the smartest thing to do, yet many seem to do so. Others like to follow fads. If you’re going to spend so much time with a device on a daily basis I recommend at least a little research into which ones will satisfy your unique requirements. What you might find may well surprise you. :) (“you” not referring to anyone specific of course.)

  • Sectime

    The Icon uses a nano sim, I swap between my 5s and icon. That info is backwards in the spec chart.

    • BogenDorpher

      fixed! thanks :)