I disagree that the omissions you mention make WP8 “half assed.” Those are minor tweaks that I seriously doubt the majority of users care about.
Rotation lock: many apps have them, but I suppose it would be nice to have a system wide setting, though I would also argue that the use case for phones for most people makes this a minor inconvenience
Brightness slider: I see no problem with “automatic.” If you want more control, there are high, medium, and low settings that should suffice.
Custom tones: you can do this already.
Independent volume adjustments: another rare use case, doubt many users actually care about this as well but maybe I’m off base with this one
Other folder: True gripe, though Nokia has updated their firmware to manage this. Too bad other OEM’s haven’t been as on top of the ball, though I suppose this isn’t much of a surprise.
The 928 will be out in stores next Thursday, May 16th. Go to a store that has an actual unit on display and play around with it. If you like it, try it out! I believe that all Verizon stores have either a 14 or 30 day return period.
Also, the off contract price is “only” $499, which is actually pretty good for an unsubsidized phone price. And Verizon will let you pay off the phone over a 12 month period a la Tmobile.