Best Windows Phone - which should you buy? $170

31st Jul 2014 | 15:55

Best Windows Phone - which should you buy?

Choose the Windows Phone 8.1 handset that's right for you

TechRadar rating:

4.5 stars

The Lumia 520 looks good, it's got a decent screen, it rarely stutters or slows down, it's great for calls and messaging and might it just be the best entry level Windows Phone handset you can buy.

Like:

Super cheap; Large, expansive screen; Loads of innovation

Dislike:

No front-facing camera; Average battery; No NFC or compass;

The best Windows Phones - which should you buy?

When Windows Phone 8 launched in 2012 it was looking to shake up the mobile market and differentiate itself from the dominant Android and iOS.

While Windows Phone 8 has increased Microsoft's presence in the mobile market, its popularity has dipped in the past year.

There's still hope yet though as Microsoft continues to persevere. The recently launched Windows Phone 8.1 replicates the popular features of Android and iOS whilst combining the comfort of home computing with the convenience of mobile.

We've looked at the Windows Phone devices on offer and picked out the best ones around to guarantee you get the best bang for your buck. Nokia still dominates the list but as a Microsoft entity, that's no surprise.

1. Nokia Lumia 930

Lumia 930

Dimensions: 7.1 x 1 x 13.7 cm ; 167 g
Internal Storage: 32GB

The Nokia Lumia 930 is the Windows Phone handset we've been waiting for and it comfortably sits above all other phones running the operating system.

Its metal frame ensures it looks good, while a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM provide it with a considerable amount of power.

And we haven't even touched on the impressive 5.0-inch 1080p display and 20MP camera. It is, in other words, the complete package. Stylish, powerful and packed with everything you'd expect from a flagship smartphone.

2. Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia Lumia 1020

Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.0 x 13 cm ; 159 g
Internal Storage: 32GB

With the highest spec camera out of all the devices in the Lumia range, it's no wonder the Nokia Lumia 1020 secured a place in our top list.

The Lumia 1020 has an impressive 41MP PureView camera with Xenon flash, which means it takes absolutely superb shots and all those megapixels mean it supports up to 3x lossless zoom as well.

But there's more to the Lumia 1020 than just a camera. It also has smooth performance and all day battery life, so you can snap away to your heart's content. The screen isn't too shabby either, so you can show off your photos straight from the phone.

3. Nokia Lumia 1520

Noka Lumia 1520

Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 16.3 cm ; 209 g
Internal Storage: 32G

If big is what you're looking for then look no further than the Nokia Lumia 1520 with its 6-inch display. However, it's not just the screen that's big, this mobile beast is brimming with powerful specs crowning it the best Windows Phone phablet.

The Lumia 1520 has a Full HD 1080p screen and runs on a quad-core processor, making it the ideal gadget for mobile media lovers.

You'd think all these features would result in an unattractive phone, but it's surprisingly sleek, even the impressive 20MP PureView camera barely bulks it out. Who says size doesn't matter? It certainly does with this bad boy.

4. Nokia Lumia 630

Lumia 630

Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.9 x 12.9 cm ; 134 g
Internal Storage: 8GB

As low-end phones go the Nokia Lumia 630 really shines. A price tag of around £100 almost puts it in impulse purchase territory and it's an impulse you wouldn't regret given its quad-core processor and 4.5-inch IPS LCD display.

Plus it's well built and even has a microSD card slot and solid battery life. Not to mention the fact that it's a very cheap way to experience the shiny new Windows Phone 8.1 operating system.

It's not the only cheap Windows Phone handset but it's arguably the best and even stands up well to its Android rivals.

The best Windows Phones: part 2

5. Nokia Lumia 635

Lumia 635

Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.9 x 12.9 cm ; 134 g
Internal Storage: 8GB

You might struggle to tell the Nokia Lumia 635 and the Lumia 630 apart, as other than a glossy finish on the 635 it looks pretty much identical.

Even looking at the specs doesn't reveal much in the way of differences as it has the same 4.5-inch 480 x 854 display, the same 5MP camera and the same quad-core 1.2GHz processor and 512MB of RAM.

So why does it exist? 4G. The Lumia 635 has it and the Lumia 630 doesn't, so with this phone you can enjoy high speed mobile browsing even when there's no Wi-Fi and it's one of the cheapest 4G handsets available. It's still around £30 more than the Lumia 630 though, so it slips in ever so slightly below it in the list.

6. Nokia Lumia 925

Nokia Lumia 925

Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.8 x 12.9 cm ; 141 g
Internal Storage: 16GB

Sleek, stylish and one of very few metallic Windows Phone handsets, the Nokia Lumia 925 was for a while the flagship 'standard' smartphone.

It's since been superseded by the Nokia Lumia 930, but that just means it's cheaper than it once was and it's still a great phone.

Aside from the look, there aren't many differences between the 925 and its predecessor, the Lumia 920. It still houses a top-flight 8.7MP PureView camera. Just imagine the 920 but all grown up.

7. Nokia Lumia 520

Nokia Lumia 520

Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.0 x 12.0 cm ; 124 g
Internal Storage: 8GB

It may not be the most expensive, most glamorous or most powerful smartphone but the Nokia Lumia 520 still stands out from the crowd.

Considering its low price point the Lumia 520 still boasts impressive specs with a 4.0-inch display, 1GHz dual-core processor and even a microSD card slot if you want to expand your storage.

While it may not have all the fancy add-ons you expect from the top end phones, the Lumia 520 is still a functional and fun Windows Phone handset. It's certainly a winner in our book.

8. Nokia Lumia 625

Nokia Lumia 625

Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.9 x 13.3 cm ; 159 g
Internal Storage: 8GB

The Nokia Lumia 625 outdoes the Nokia Lumia 520 in two key respects; it is 4G enabled and with a 4.7-inch screen it is much larger. It also runs a marginally faster processor.

Nonetheless it's stuck at the bottom of our list as it doesn't provide the same all-round quality as its higher ranking alternatives. It simply doesn't have the same imaging credentials as its bigger brothers with just 201ppi and it's not as affordable as the Lumia 520.

But if you want to take advantage of superfast 4G networks then it's a reasonable option and definitely worth a look.

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