Should You Buy a Windows Phone?

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on September 1, 2014, Buying Guides

For a long time your smart phone choices have pretty much been limited to Apple’s iOS devices or Android. But with Windows phones growing in popularity and gaining more and more market share, now might be the time to consider opening your mind to other options when phone shopping. We’re taking a look at why you should consider a Windows phone and giving you some recommendations for solid models, whatever your budget is…

Why Buy Windows?

Windows phones have long had a reputation for being clunky and difficult to use. The first versions of the operating system had none of the intuitiveness of iOS or Android, which was off putting for many customers. However, times have changed. What happened? First, Nokia teamed up with Microsoft to develop a decent mobile Windows version along with a top class handset, and eventually, of course, Microsoft bought out Nokia’s hand set division altogether.

The result of this collaboration (and eventual take over) is that nowadays, Windows mobile is a force to be reckoned with. The newest Windows 8.1 mobile version is streamlined, uses far less operating memory than either iOS or Android, is easy to use, and even comes with an assistant to match iPhone’s Siri.

And whilst your brand choices are still fairly limited, with Nokia, a couple of older HTC models and Huawei really being the only options, there’s a lot to be said for a Windows smart phone. For those of us used to using Windows on a home computer there’s no learning curve at all, and you’ll get full compatibility with all your home office software. In fact, you’ll get Microsoft Office on your phone out of the box for free.

You might be disappointed with the lack of brand options, but the truth is that Nokia have some very impressive handsets, stunning design, great build quality and top of the line camera tech too, so there are plenty of selling points. What are your best options for a Windows phone then?

Top of the Line Windows Models

High End Nokia Lumia 1520

High End Nokia Lumia 1520

If money’s no object, there are two current top of the line Nokia models that rank up there. Your choice is going to depend on whether or not you’re willing to enter phablet territory.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 was the first real Windows phablet, meaning that it’s got all the functions of a mobile along with the large screen of a tablet. The 1520 doesn’t come cheap, SIM free you’ll be paying around five hundred pounds, but it’s got some serious specs. That screen is a six inch behemoth, you get a quad core 2.2 GHz processor and a full 2 GB of RAM. Top that off with a 20 MP camera, complete with the Carl Zeiss optics that have long been used on Nokia hand sets, and you’re getting a very impressive piece of tech.

If phablets aren’t really your thing, then you might want to take a look at the Nokia Lumia 1020, which is basically the 1520’s little brother. You’ll save a solid wad of cash, since the 1020 costs under four hundred pounds, but you’ll compromise a bit on specs. The Lumia 1020 has a 4.5 inch screen, so it’s easier to put in your pocket. The processor is a dual core 1.5 GHz model, but again there’s 2 GB of RAM. And the camera? Oh, it’s only a massive 41 MP cam with Zeiss optics. Yes, you read that right…

Middle of the Market Windows

Nokia Lumia 925 - Mid Range

Nokia Lumia 925 – Mid Range

For middle of the market shoppers there are again two choices, a phablet and a regular smart phone, depending on what you’re looking for.

The Nokia Lumia 1320 is a solid mid market phablet, and one of the best deals around at the moment, costing around two hundred and fifty pounds SIM free. You still get that huge six inch screen, but this time there’s a less powerful dual core 1.7 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. The camera is a little disappointing at only 5 MP, but that’s a fair compromise to make for a phablet at this price point.

For non phablet shoppers, the best bet is the Nokia Lumia 925 at the moment (at least until the release of the Lumia 930 later this year). The 925 sports a 4.5 inch screen, a dual core 1.5 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. The camera is better too, an 8 MP cam complete with your Carl Zeiss optics. All this for around two hundred and fifty pounds? That’s a pretty good deal…

Budget Windows Phones

Nokia Lumia 630 - Budget

Nokia Lumia 630 – Budget

If you’re looking to spend less than a hundred and fifty pounds on a Windows phone, then you’re in luck. Budget Windows models are becoming more and more popular. Again, there are two great choices, though no phablets at this price point.

Our budget Nokia choice is the Nokia Lumia 630, the newest budget model from Nokia. The 630 has a 4.5 inch screen, coupled with a dual core 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM. The camera is the same 5 MP cam that you’ll find on the Lumia 1320, but for a budget model that’s more or less what we’d expect to see.

Our second choice isn’t a Nokia. The low cost Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei have recently started releasing some awesome Windows phone models, and their Ascend W2 is a popular budget choice with a lot of UK operators. The Ascend has a slightly smaller screen than the Lumia 630, measuring in at 4.3 inches, but it’s got more power with a dual core 1.4 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM. Again, there’s a 5 MP camera on board.

If you’re shopping for a new smart phone, then maybe you should start thinking about switching to Windows. The operating system might have deserved its shoddy reputation a couple of years ago, but Windows is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with. You’ll get a beautifully designed mobile that’s fast and intuitive, and in most cases you’ll find yourself paying less than you would for an equivalent iOS or Android. There’s a lot to be said for making the switch to Windows…

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