Best Windows Phones
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The best Windows Phone you can buy

We take a look at some of the best Windows Phone devices you can buy today

We’re entering the busiest time of year for gift giving. This past Friday marked the official holiday shopping period where consumers will spend big on gifts for friends and loved ones. What better gift than a shiny new smartphone running Windows Phone? Here’s a quick guide to help determine which device is right for you or someone you’re shopping for.

Windows Phone doesn’t have the OEM variety like Android does, but we still have great phones available in the ecosystem for different users at different price points. We’ll break it down so you can find the phone for someone on your list.

The best Windows Phone you can buy – the Lumia 925

Put your pitchfork down please. The Nokia Lumia 925 is the best overall Windows Phone you can buy right now. Sure the Lumia 1020 has a (much) bigger camera and the Lumia 1520 has a (much) bigger screen, but the Lumia 925 wins out as the overall best device. Its svelte profile, sexy looks, and beautiful display make it one of our favorite devices running the Windows Phone operating system.

The size is nearly perfect. It measures 129 x 70.6 x 8.5 mm and weighs just 139 grams. The display is a 4.5-inch AMOLED screen that has a resolution of 1280 x 768. When compared to the Lumia 920, the Lumia 925 is thin and light. Specs between the two are the same, more or less, but you’re getting a slightly better camera and a better screen. The display features Nokia’s ClearBlack technology that together with a refresh rate of 60 Hz will make anything you’re looking at dazzle and come to life. Blacks are deep and colors pop, of course you can always go into the settings and change the color temperature and saturation by adjusting the Lumia Color Profile.

While the Lumia 925 has last year’s dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor running at 1.5 GHz is no slouch. Coupled with 1 GB of RAM and the Windows Phone operating system, the Lumia 925 is zippy for all day-to-day phone use. That’s more a testament to the OS itself than the hardware, in fact you’d be hard pressed to find any Windows Phone 8 device that doesn’t perform well.

When it comes down to picking the best overall Windows Phone device it has to go to the Lumia 925. It doesn’t have the camera prowess of the Lumia 1020 or the next-generation specs of the Lumia 1520, but its size, price point, and design makes it complete package for any user. You’re still getting a phone that takes incredible pictures and runs Windows Phone that you can fit in your pocket.

Read our review of the international version of the Lumia 925 or our review of the Lumia 925 for AT&T

The best Windows Phone for those needing cutting edge technology – the Lumia 1520

Is there any question about this? The Lumia 1520 is by far the most advanced Windows Phone out there right now. Its size may be off putting, but there’s no denying that this smartphone is for users who want to experience Windows Phone that’s incredibly future-proofed.

The heart of the Lumia 1520 is the Snapdragon 800 processor from Qualcomm, which is a quad-core processor running at 2.2 GHz It’s the same processor you’ll find in any current smartphone that lives life on the bleeding edge. You’ve also got 2 GB of RAM inside and either 16 GB or 32 GB of on-board storage. Thankfully, the Lumia 1520 does include expandable memory in the form of micro SD card support. Throw in your Class 10 64 GB card and you’ll have to work hard to fill it up with your DNG files.

That’s right. The Nokia Lumia 1520 is so advanced that you’ll be capturing (if you want) RAW files from the camera sensor. RAW is the pure sensor data at the time of capture and is what any photographer worth their salt shoots with when making photos worthy of awards. The Lumia 1520 has the option to save images as DNG (Digital Negative) files. The camera powering those images is a 20 MP PureView sensor that captures images in either 16 MP or 5 MP files. The 16 MP file version is used for incredible cropping after the photo was taken. Where do you view these images? On the display of course.

The best thing about the Lumia 1520 might just be the display. It’s the part of the smartphone you’ll be interacting with the most. The display itself measures 6-inches and is full HD. That’s 2,073,600 pixels in a 1920 x 1080 configuration. In other words, it beats out the 326 pixels-per-inch “retina” display on the iPhone’s with its own 368 pixels-per-inch. You need to see the display in person to truly appreciate how great it is. Even though it’s an IPS LCD, the display on the Lumia 1520 is still a sight to see.

That display does make the Lumia 1520 a polarizing device to own. You’re looking at a big chassis needed in to contain a 6-inch display. Which is why the Lumia 1520 is 6.4 inches high and 3.3 inches wide (160 x 84 x 8.4 mm). It’s a really, really big phone. That can be off-putting for some, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Lumia 1520 is the most advanced Windows Phone you can buy today.

Read our review of the Lumia 1520.

The best Windows Phone for when you’re on a budget – the Lumia 520

We’ve sung the praises of the Lumia 520 ever since its announcement at Mobile World Congress 2013. The Lumia 520 is an entry-level smartphone, so we knew the price would be fairly inexpensive. However, nothing prepared us when we saw the phone going for on average $100 off-contract. The aggressive pricing of the Lumia 520 has made it the most popular Windows Phone ever.

The Lumia 520 won’t win any awards outright for its hardware. That is until you factor in the price and then you’re seeing a phone that dominates similar priced Android handsets. The Lumia 520 still manages to be a Lumia, despite costing hundreds of dollars less than devices like Lumia 920 or 925, which do win awards for their design. The Lumia 520 features a design that is aesthetically pleasing and comes with the ability to swap out the shell for a new color. This trick makes the Lumia 520 a phone that can match your outfit or style in a few seconds.

In terms of hardware, the Lumia 520 does make some compromises in features and technology when compared to higher-end devices. Again, we need look at the device in terms of pricing more than features, when we do that we see fairly attractive hardware.

The IPS display measure 4-inches and has an 800 x 480 resolution. It does however still feature Nokia’s SuperSensitive technology to allow operation when wearing gloves. The phone itself is extremely “pocketable” by feature 119.9 x 64 x 9.9 mm as the dimensions. Viewing angles aren’t the best when you compare it to more advanced phones, but on-par with its similar priced competitors.

The beauty of Windows Phone (especially when compared to Android) is how smooth the operating system is. It’s goes easy on resources and doesn’t require cutting edge hardware for an ideal experience. Which is great, because the Lumia 520 features a 1.0 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 512 MB of RAM. Those aren’t the best specs, but when you pair them with Windows Phone 8 you get a smartphone experience you can’t find anywhere else in that price range.

The Lumia 520 comes with a budget friendly 8GB of storage, but you can thankfully expand that with your own micro SD cards (up to 64 GB). You do get a run of the mill 5 MP camera that lacks flash. You’re also missing out on a front facing camera on the Lumia 520. Again, relatively small sacrifices for a budget phone.

We’ve loved the Lumia 520 ever since it’s announcement and the world has too. If you’re looking for a Windows Phone that won’t break the bank the Lumia 520 is the phone for you. Already have a high-end smartphone? Then the Lumia 520 is the perfect “burner” phone that you can keep in your car, take on dangerous adventures, or give to your kids.

Bonus? You can find the Lumia 520 often going for $70 or less now during the holiday season. That's with no contract. Win-win.

Read our review of the Lumia 520

Honorable mention for budget Windows Phone – the Huawei Ascend W2

The Lumia 520 takes the crown for best budget Windows Phone you can buy, but Nokia might need to step up their game if Huawei keeps it up. The Huawei Ascend W2 is a budget Windows Phone that comes with a few surprises.

Specs between the Lumia 520 and Ascend W2 are similar for the most part, but there are a few things better about the W2 thanks to its slightly higher price. In China, the device goes for about $150, so half a Benjamin more than the Lumia 520. That said, it does feature a much larger battery capacity at 1700 mAh. The processor is also slightly better thanks to being a 1.4 dual-core GHz Snapdragon S4.

The biggest surprise with the Ascend W2 is the build quality. It’s a solid phone coming in at 160 grams and doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. Instead we were surprised by how well it felt in the hand. Which is why the Ascend W2 is worth checking out if you’re also looking for a budget Windows Phone device.

Want more on the Ascend W2? Read our review of it. 

The best Windows Phone you can buy for photography – the Lumia 1020

No surprises here, the Lumia 1020 is by far the greatest pairing of a smartphone camera and Windows Phone. Ever since Nokia announced the 808 PureView smartphone running Symbian in 2012 many have wanted a variant of running Windows Phone. Instead, Nokia waited nearly a year-and-a-half to announce the spiritual successor – the Lumia 1020.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a photographers dream. In terms of specs and design, the Lumia 1020 is basically the Lumia 920. The big differences (besides the camera) are the bump in RAM to 2 GB, display technology, and a few other bits. We’ll go over those first before jumping into the wonderful camera technology inside the Lumia 1020.

The 4.5-inch AMOLED display of the Lumia 1020 is a step up over the Lumia 920, but does features the same 1280 x 768 resolution. You’re also getting Nokia’s ClearBlack and SuperSensitive technology in the display. That means blacks are black thanks to a reduction in internal reflections and you can also use your smartphone while wearing gloves. It’s a great display, but obviously not quite as impressive as that on the Lumia 1520’s.

Let’s talk about the camera on the Lumia 1020, which is easily the biggest-selling point of the phone. The Lumia 1020 features a 41 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor. You’re getting optics from Carl Zeiss that feature an f-stop of f/2.2 and optical image stabilization. What’s crazy too is that the Lumia 1020 camera has a mechanical shutter.

Why does the Lumia 1020 need such crazy technology in the camera? Because when you pair it with Nokia’s software you can get greater zoom levels than in other smartphones. Nokia uses the large sensor in the Lumia 1020 to oversample pixels. This means multiple pixels become one pixel and Nokia can then give users lossless zoom.

The images of the Nokia Lumia 1020 have appeared in National Geographic, and we continue to see images on the web from the Lumia 1020 that blow us away. Pair the device with Nokia’s Camera Grip for the Lumia 1020 and you’re getting a larger battery, another physical shutter, and the option to attach to tripods. There’s honestly no other Windows Phone (or smartphone) that can touch the Lumia 1020 in terms of photography prowess. Which is why we recommend it for anyone considering a Windows Phone that kicks ass at photography. 

Check out our review of the Lumia 1020

Looking forward

This past year we’ve seen Windows Phone grow not just in market share, but the variety of handsets available to consumers. We’ve also seen Nokia come to dominate the Windows Phone market place in terms of quality, hardware options, and more. Nokia has cornered 90 percent of the Windows Phone market and will most likely continue to dominate going forward, even after the acquisition by Microsoft.

Will this scare away other OEMs from Windows Phone? We can’t say for sure, but does it really matter when Nokia has already provided the hardware options that can help Windows Phone a viable option to Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone? Time will tell. 

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Comments

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A carrier exclusive only available on one US carrier in the world? Definitely not.

louisoneal says:

If the 925 had more than 16g I would have moved heaven and earth to get it, probably even switched phone providers :-)
But the title of the article said "The best windows phone you can buy," which for me being on Verizon was the 928.

I'm glad I swapped my 8X for the 925..... A better phone on every level plus I got the 32GB version on Vodafone here in the UK.

conair346 says:

I performed an early upgrade from my '820' to the Vodafone 925 32GB.
Resold my contracted 820 to CPW cause of initial software issues and after 12 months of low end Lumias bought cash I did an early upgrade and recontracted. For £32 monthly with 8GB of 4G I'm happier than any of my iFail colleagues who get a less advanced/sturdy handset with less data for more money.
925 is such a winner, but if it wasn't 32GB I'd have gone for the 1020 even though I didn't like the yellow colour (woo Cyan) or need the 41MP's.

paliotti says:

I have the Ativ S, but if the Lumia 1520 would be available in Canada, then I would definitely buy that

dumaal says:

This article is this long and shows this many options because there is not a "best" windows phone you can buy. ...yet. I might be the Lumia 929 if all we know about it comes to be true. until that we need wo w8.

navidee says:

I would have gladly passed on my 1020 for a 925 w/32gb. Unfortunately as many point out, it didn't happen.

Danial S says:

Same, got the 1020cause its a better 920 but I would have prefered the compactness and design of the 925, y did they not make a 32gb model for US/Canada errhh

sonus says:

You could have bought an unlocked 32GB Lumia 925, that's what I did to get a 32GB L925 on ATT.  However, the L925 and the L1020 are about the same size, and I would have sprung for the 64GB L1020 if they weren't so expensive.

coip says:

What should that matter if it's a Verizon exclusive? If it's the best, then it's the best. Availability is a separate issue. The 925 is easily the sexiest Windows Phone available, but the 928 is better: built-in Wireless charging, 32GB of internal storage, Xenon flash, and has been available for $0 on contract several times.

db4williams says:

+1 on the 928. If it's the best then its the best regardless of availability imo.

KickAssLumia says:

I agree and also think the 929,once available, should replace the 1520 in the above list. It has more features than the 1520 and is of a more manageable size.

wolf1891 says:

+2...  yep, ditto on that.  I love my 928 and, having switched from T-Mo to Verizon for it I did look at what the 925 had to offer and, by comparison I just couldn't see what was so great about the 925 that has everyone all excited about it.  I'll stick with my 32gb over the 925's 16gb, better flash and, IMO, better looking phone (acknowledging that the look of a phone is very much a personally subjective matter so, what looks good to me may not look good to the next person in line, and vice-versa...).

It seems like almost everyone says the 925 is better because it is more widely available (instead of being restricted to just one carrier like the 928) but, this article was not about availability, it was just about what are the best windows phones out there right now and, if that was the real criteria used to measure the phones then the 928 really should have beat out the 925 (if they really wanted to then I suppose they could have listed the 925 as an honorable mention/alternate option for those who did not/could not get the 928).

davidsalazar says:

Well I bought it through Amazon and I'm currently living in Colombia. All frequencies work with 2G/3G/4G and since its carrier unlocked it simply works. Its like the 925 but with wireless charging, a xenon flash that sure and trust me, well used totally works. So can either take awesome shots with or without flash. It has the third mic that neither the 920/925 have and being directional, at the front, helps capturing frontal sound sources. It also has the same AMOLED PureView HD+ screen, 32 GB, high power speaker, and the thing I like the most, its metro-ish design that resembles the rumored Surface phones. Of course you have to buy it off contract but still its totally worth. Now,I'm,waiting for a real successor that has the 1020 camera with all the goodies from,the 928 and the 1520 CPU.

Hell the 928 has a bit of everything from every model. The only draw back is the radio not working but besides that the 928 is the best phone to me. Any time l remove my phone from my pocket people ask me what kind of phone is that because it does look damn good in white and l proudly tell them l have a Lumia 928. The 925 takes it hands down with its slick design but the 928 design is great. L can make it stand on its two feet's.lol

andrew1967 says:

To many rum and cokes but I tgink 920 is fabukous happy new yesr

BBMINI says:

^^ Interesting perspective, Daniel.  So then maybe the article title should be "the best WP devices you can buy that are available on multiple carriers around the world even if other devices might actually have better specs, performance and aesthetics" rather than a title that implies it's an article (and it is a good article) about the best overall devices regardless of availability.  It seems to me that just because not everyone has access to a device doesn't mean it's still not the best overall device.

AV2RY says:

Actually I used my L928 in Russia without any problem. I could receive the text messages without problem but here in the USA t-mobile I received only few SMS since I bought my phone on July 9. So I think its still better than L925

Jas00555 says:

Sam, I believe you mean "put your pitchfork down" instead of "done" (;
Anyway, I like the 925, but the 16gb with no expandable memory was a deal breaker for me. I still like it though.

Clavitox says:

^^^this. Reason I never upgraded to a 925 is this very reason. For now I got a 521 and just waiting to see what fones T-Mobile will offer in the feature

Cellus13 says:

When it comes to T-mobile... You take what you can get. The 925 coming to T-mobile was just love. Nothing could turn me away from it. Especially since it seems like every other US carrier other than at&t and Verizon aren't interested in 20 or 41 MP PureView cameras.

Clavitox says:

Unfortunately all my stuff doesn't fit in it

schlubadub says:

Yeah, 16 GB is woeful and puts it in a firm 2nd place behind the 920 as a result

louisoneal says:

Actually had I had the option I would've gotten the 925 :-)

If Verizon had a 32 GB 925, I'd be in heaven. I like my 928 but its design is pretty dull.

Its not dull to me.it looks great

I used to have a 925. The 1020 is my daily phone now, but I have to agree that the 925 is definitely the best all-around Windows Phone right now. Sexiest device Nokia ever made too, IMHO. Whenever my mom (I gave the 925 to her when I got the 1020) asks me to do some tweaking on the 925 I suddenly miss it and almost want to go get another one for myself :D

The best Windows Phone you can buy on Verizon.

bigbmc26 says:

I thought the 16GB would be restrictive, but after using for about 6 months. I still have more than enough memory. I just didn't transfer my music collection to it. I have to agree, 925 is a great device. Can't wait for GRD3 update.

alphaios says:

totally disagree here, best budget phone is the 620 which has numerous advantages over the 520 for very little extra money. For the overall best WP, I'd go with the 1520 or 920. The Amoled displays can't compete with IPS displays. texts and details look much worse...

alphaios says:

Lets not forget the max. of 16gb of storage on the 925...

Winnabe says:

The 620 doesn't have FM radio.

Tracy Daken says:

Have you seen a 925 in person? Because that screen literally looks like it is floating on top of the phone. Amazing display on the 925. I sometimes have second thoughts to return to it, and I have a nexus 5 (it is amazing phone btw).

Danial S says:

I would agree that the 620 is best budget phone too, I had a 520 before upgrading to a 1020 and my biggest gripe about the 520 is its dismal screen brightness. Having it during the summer was painful to use it outdoors, plus the 620 is $129 here in Canada so $10 more than a 520 (620 was $79.99 during black Friday here at futureshop)

Jupast says:

Agreed. The 620 has the 520 beat in pretty much every department, and as you say, for very little more. By far and away the best bang for buck Lumia around.

 

DHHSMichael says:

As odd as it sounds, I would most definately call the Nokia Lumia 920 the best Windows Phone device you can buy. It has built in wireless charging on the US and International variants, as well as 32GB standard. Not to mention all of the colors it comes in, it still remains a staple WP device in my eyes. All wrapped up in a .49 cent price tag on AT&T, it's a hard deal to beat if you're signing the dotted two year line. The 925 with only 16GB, optional wireless charging, and the limitied color options turned me away this time around.

alphaios says:

I totally agree!

I agree. My nephew bought a 925 and its badass but the 920 I think is overall the best devise for the reasons you stated. I guess the phones they were talking about came out this year though.

lupiochi says:

Beautiful words! Totally agree

CrackFachry says:

+920 for all the reason you've mentioned above. The color options, 32 Gb, built in Wireless charging, and cheaper price makes the 920 the best overall WP for me.

mlekas says:

Absolutely agree. I keep wanting to buy a new phone, but  with the newer ones not supporting built-in wireless and/or less memory, I have kept my 920. Sure it is heavier but it does everything.

Phrozty says:

Completely agree.  Been looking for a WP for my gf, (who I'm converting :)) and took a look at the 925 and 920.  The 925 really makes no sense.  Costs more for less really...

Sarang68 says:

920 is the one i have & its a stunning red one for me. Its a fantastic all round performer.

DaveS. says:

I wouldn't buy the 925 without wireless charging.  The only way to get this is with an accessory back.  I think the 920 is a better choice.

NcmNaty says:

Couldn't agree more. I read it and I totally missed 920. I had an old Samsung Omnia M, and I wanted a knew Windows Phone. Which one to choose? After lots of videos and some review texts, it's impossible to say that 925 is better. And so, I bought a 920, happy after all. :) (Chubby smartphone, but who cares? 32gb yeah :D)

elderjlward says:

Hi Sam, great article. just a heads up on paragraph 5 of the 1020 section, "Because when you pair it with Nokia’s software you can get greater zoom levels in other smartphones." I think you meant to say...greater zoom levels THAN in other smartphones." The omission of the assumed "than" makes it sound like other phones are being giving an unintended advantage. We certainly don't want that. :-) I share many of these WPCentral articles, virtually on a daily basis on Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to rouse interest in the platform(it actually works I had people reach out to me for advice when considering a new phone). So I intend to share this one as well, but would prefer to do so if that sentence could be corrected to ensure the impact to the readers of WP advantage is clearly communicated.

Westoncreg says:

The only reason I held out for the 1520 is since it only had 16 gigs and no expansion otherwise i love the feel of this device

lubbalots says:

It has expansion.

tribexx says:

Knowing only VZW and Sprint users, this article seems irrelevant. 

 

/s

Winnabe says:

720 : the best best-of-both-worlds phone. With a killer camera for that price range.

NIST says:

The greatest was either a 1080p screen or an ultimate camera. 1020 for me. And next year when it gets the 1080p screen it will still be the ultimate Windows Phone.

pankaj981 says:

I actually switched from a 920 to a 925 and back to the 920 again (I have a Rogers variant on T-Mobile US). The 925 looks aesthetically better and is much lighter than the 925 but the lack of SD card/16 GB memory made me switch back to ny beloved 920, overall performance, camera and picture quality is not much of a difference so I can live with it for now, but TBH wireless charging has spoilt me... :) Really looking forward to what MS has for us in the upcoming 8.1 update.

JoRdaNeK says:

1020 owner here, i almost got 925 because of the looks, but in the end i had to choose the camera power of this yellow beauty i now grasp :)

I want so much to disagree with you on the 925. I am so content with my 1520 honestly its like I have had this phone for years it fits me so well. That said you are correct that overall for the masses the 925 wins. Good read thanks for the time kill :)

lubbalots says:

I also love my 1520. Flaw, its just an oversized WP with no Gnote qualities.

Apoc says:

I think the 1520, should've been held back until MS was ready to merge RT and WP together. With a screen that size, it would be wonderful to have some RT features on it. Multiple apps at once (at least two), like watching video and working in excel at the same time. Notification center by swiping to the right, file management, etc. 1520 should've been that device to show the power of the OS itself.

lubbalots says:

Wonder why Nokia would release their most powerful phone being a phablet with no actual phablet qualities?

Fellipe Abib says:

I rather L920 than L925
L920 has qi wireless charger buit-in and 32GB.

DalekSnare says:

Yes, and a sharper screen. 920 beats the 925 hands down unless you value thinness above all else.

mukulvdhiman says:

I think 820 is very underestimated considering it having the same price as 625, at least in India

Compleatley agree. I purchased an 820 for my partner and liked it so much I traded my iPhone 4s in for one. Whats not to like about it, removable battery, memory expantion, changeable covers. I've got a 1020 now, it's a head turner.  

Jupast says:

Yeah 820 doesn't get much love from anybody. I do love that is has most of the features the top of the line Lumias have, and it also has wireless charging built in, sdcard support, and proper changeable Shells, unlike those ugly bra/girdle things the 925 got stuck with. The main area it falls down for me is it's a tad hefty. If they could keep the features of the 820, thin it out and spec up the camera and screen, it'd be perfect.

lubbalots says:

I can honestly say, the best WP ever was the HD7 with its slim profile, kick stand, and perfect size. No other WP can ever compare to this classic. Too bad HTC, no CEO chou, is mental in his obsession for all kind of device with different names and strengths that caused consumer confusion that lead to Samsung's crown. If ever the HD line with kick stand shows up again, I would consider switching from Nokia.

b23h says:

That's funny!   I just moved from my HD7 to a 8X about three weeks ago.  I really did like the HD7, but I am happy to be on WP 8 now.

lubbalots says:

I do miss my hd7. I had hoped HTC would have had continued the line. The most I missed was the kick stand.

Arango0818 says:

If only my 925 had 32GB memory,the 1020 camera and the 1520 processor, it would be perfect

and 1080p screen :)

Fellipe Abib says:

And qi wireless charger built-in :)

KickAssLumia says:

That would be the upcoming Verizon 929.

DJCBS says:

I honestly disagree. I think the best WP you can buy is still the L920. It's still better than the L925 and not only has built-in wireless it also has double the memory.

As for the last rethorical question...if I were Samsung or HTC I would simply drop WP once Microsoft takes over. It's just wasted efford I could be applying on other platforms (and in HTC's case...trying to not follow BB's path).

Also, I wonder if MS will do with phones what they do with the Surface and what Apple does: chart prices and force them to be the same in all countries. Because that will most definitely make sales fall as many people, specially in Europe, buy phones from other EU countries where they are cheaper (example: why should I pay 800€ for a L1020 when I can pay 600€ just by buying from another country of the Union?).
If they do...well, that'll be yet another reason for me to not buy a MS-phone.

lubbalots says:

Like the HD7, the 920 is a loved classic.

rpm5101 says:

16 GB hard drive killed the 925 as an option for me.

b23h says:

I'd love to see the data on that question, but I see the same comment time and again.  I share the same concern.  

I hope the OEM's realize that for many 16gb is a midrange phone.    High end phones are 32gb or higher (some people may consider 16gb with a SD card slot to meet the criteria for high end).

mase123987 says:

Lumia 920...Simply the best, esp. in the US.  Debuted at only $450 off contract on AT&T with NFC, Wireless Charging, 32gb space, etc. etc

 

Enough Said.

sayonical says:

The best windows phone you can buy is an iPhone. It has all the windows apps (SkyDrive, Xbox music, office via subscription, Bing, Outlook etc) all the other apps you can dream of and great camera and design.

Ok I was trolling :D
I think the best will be the upcoming Lumia for Verizon. 5 inches, quad core etc. Best specs at a decent size.

lubbalots says:

I admit, I have to agree. Because no tiles, no iPhone for me.

dbgman says:

Have to disagree about the camera. I had a buddy with his iPhone 5s take the same pic vs my 1520 and it did not compare.

b23h says:

yes, you were trolling...

But I am excited about the 929, unfortunately it is a Verizon exclusive and I am on T-Mobile.   I do agree it looks like a very nice phone, like an updated and upgraded 925 (with 32gb of memory!!).

sdreamer says:

925 doesn't have wireless charging built in.... Matters if you want a personal case.

Ecurb87 says:

L925 "was" the WP I had my eye on; however, my at&t phone insurance gave me the L1020 to replace my damaged Focus S a couple of weeks ago. After using the L1020 I'm thrilled that they sent me it. A plus to now owning the L1020 is I only had to pay the$199 deductible and I still remain contract free!

Micah Dawson says:

The best windows phone for me would have to be the 1020. But I'm making do with my 1520

I'm actually shocked the 920 is nowhere on this list, but the 925 is definitely a sexy phone. Still loving my 920, especially now that I've had better battery life the past few weeks. That and the feather Incipio cases I recently got have reignited my love for this phone!

sicnus says:

Nice article

dv220s says:

My 920 is legendary in my eyes. It certainly brought recognition to the Windows Phone team and then passed on the flag to the 520 later on. It has everything the 928 and 925 don't have while in a beautiful, timeless body. The camera still amazes people to this day with iphones and samsungs with audible "WOW!"s after I take pictures. It certainly isn't light but it isn't overtly heavy and I live the feel.

My 920, besides a few scratches on the back and a small indentation that looks like it was formed by a fingernail, it still looks newer than a phone that has been with me for 11 months and no issues.

DalekSnare says:

Yep, I wouldn't exchange mine for any other Windows Phone. It's still the only one with built-in qi, non-blocky design, full RGB stripe pixel array, pocketable size, and 32 GB. The others all fail on one or more of these criteria.

Aryan Angel says:

Thanks for the captain obvious article. Btw, some users would rather pick 620 as a budget phone. 520 is not even an option for me (coming from someone who used both phones)

It's obvious you don't run a massive website. This article wasn't for you but for people who don't have a Windows Phone or are unfamiliar with the ecosystem. 

Next time, we'll write an article just for you.

Aryan Angel says:

Yay an article just for me? thanks for letting me know. Looking forward to reading the article.
I'm sure you're not being sarcastic or anything, because for a guy like you who runs a whole website, you clearly have enough free time to reply to every worthless comment like mine then I'm sure you have time to write an article just for me as well

dbgman says:

Love my 1520. With the 920 it didn't last the day. The 1520 I get a day easy.

michail71 says:

I wouldn't consider an IPS panel to be a negative. To me it's a positive over amoled.

TheDarKnight says:

I totally agree with you man, I have a 925 and I think it will be awesome if it came on IPS.

blackhawk556 says:

The 520 is the little engine that could :-)

TheDarKnight says:

Lumia 925 is truly the best one out there, i am just a little disappointed i had to go through 3 devices to get a working one. I am really looking forward for what Microsoft going to bring next year.

xyronaut says:

If there's another category for the best underrated windows phone, Samsung Ativ S is the one.

procen says:

I love my N925 and I vote for it.

montel22 says:

I got the 1520 today and I love it. Takes a getting use to but its kool.

Grunt Attack says:

How about Nokia Lumia 525 as budget smartphone? With that added 1GB of ram compared to 2012-2013's budget Windows Phone, you have much stable internet explorer experience and better app compatibility. 512Mb ram phones crashes a lot, so a 1GB phone ram is a worthy purchase.

Lumia 525: a phone not currently on sale and not coming to the US or UK markets. Not exactly something we can recommend as the best budget smartphone that you can buy today, is it? Have you tried one? Have you read any reviews for it?

slyjr2 says:

520 and 525 are the best. I'm sorry but can't justify paying an extra $200 for the same processor with a bigger screen and camera. I got an N8 I keep close by anyway. After getting the 520 I don't know if I will ever buy high end again.

Cellus13 says:

The 925 won in terms of the best windows phone you can buy because it answer alot of request that people made about the 920. Today it's all about THIN! THIN! THIN! THIN! Main complaint about it was it was too fat. People look at the 925 and 920 and see it has 32 GB and wireless charging but 10 mm thick... Compared to 8.5 mm thin. Yeah, its not in the windows phone community but iPhone users and galaxy users put the 925 on a higher pedestal. I remember I showed my iPhone and galaxy friends pictures of the 920 and the first thing they would say how thick and fat it was...

irvin792 says:

They are lames

Cellus13 says:

Lol, but this is the force Microsoft needs to conquer quickly. I'm getting sick of real innovation being ignored.

I have the Lumia 810 but it is too slow for my taste. It's too thick for my taste as well, but I wanted to upgrade from my 710.

I would wait for a 1.5 Quad-Core or a 2.5 Dual-core., better if there is a 2.5Ghz Quad-Core.

2 Gigs of RAM as well.
 

theefman says:

920, 1020 & 620 are the best representation of Windows phone for me.

westex74 says:

As long as Nokia sees fit to keep all the hot Windows Phones on AT&T, they will never be much more than a bit player in mobile. I would LOVE to have a 1020 or a 1520, but I'm not suffering through AT&T's shit signal. Nor would I accept a Windows Phone that has been gimped my AT&T.

Lumia 8x says:

No HTC,zzzzzzzzzzzz

HTC last released an interesting Windows Phone back in 2012. Let that sink in. Furthermore, try and go buy an 8X today. Many carriers have stopped carrying it, so it's not exactly the best phone to recommend to people to go buy right now.

slap0rama says:

I'm an 8X fan but I've used the 925 a couple of times in stores and omg is it sexy! I want that phone so bad but I told myself I did not want to get another phone with no expandable memory and removable battery. I guess if the 925 had 32 gb at least I would get it though I prefer 64. But I dream about that phone sometimes...

dosto says:

Agreed!  The 925 is an awesome device; so glad I picked it up.  Has it suplanted my Q10 as my daily driver?  No, but it's still a joy to use every day and its integration with Office365 is very good.  I'm looking forward to WP 8.1 and the successor to the 925 on TMO.  

Tirinti says:

The best Windows Phone you can buy is Samsung Ativ S. It isn't great phone but the only one with microSD and AMOLED HD display.

Nokia 925 is pathetic, because it has no microSD. At least it isn't too havy and too big and dosen't have stupid hipster camera. But it has wrong aspect ratio 1280x768 instead of proper 720p.

I wish Samsung spent more on Ativ S marketing and Microsoft dump the deal with Nokia, the worst smartphone OEM ever.

Saurabh3321 says:

I don't know what you mean by "hipster camera"
But the wrong aspect ratio is actually a good move.
Since you're defending ativ S, i'm assuming you have one. So have you ever seen black border on apps you run? Well it is simply because 800x480 and 1280x768 have exactly same aspect ratio. So developers don't need to do much extra work except to put higher resolution assets in the app. But on ativ s they'd have to change the layout due to a different aspect ratio.
In short it's a good move nokia chose this resolution.
There's nothing "wrong" with it

erzhik says:

Nokia the worst WP OEM? Nokia was the one who put WP on the map. And what's a hipster camera?

lol, I thought you were serious for a moment. 

Lee Juhan says:

I dont know why would they say having a amoled as pro. I hate how color overly pops up on amoled. If 920 is slightly lighter than now, it just is windows phone without any doubt.

jaywinjv says:

You can adjust the saturation in settings. Even OLED displays can be calibrated, you know...

aeonstar says:

I have the 920 and I too agree that its the best overall. It the jack of all trades with wireless charging, preview, ips screen and adequate storage. While the 925 is sexier, functionality and value for money go with the 920 and 928.

benrp says:

I agree, the 920 is cheaper, more storage, wireless charging and in my opinion looks better than the 925. I prefer the AMOLED screens though

WindowsLocos says:

(personal phone:1520 work phone: 925.) I work for at&t, the best selling windows phone is the 520 hands down, followed by the 920, followed by the 1020, then 1520, it comes down to "bang for your buck wich the 520 and 920 nail, and unless your sold on WP (wich I am but most customers aren't) you won't compromise the size for specs (1520). I know the best is yet to come and if the 925 had the specs as the 1520 I would agree. I have sold more Samsung ativ s neo devices than the 925, because the memory expands and its still rare someone comes in and says "I hear windows phone is the way to go." in conclusion for most customers and numbers don't lie, the 920 is the best windows phone of 2013. Its weight is a little off putting but with 32gb of storage, SkyDrive, WP, wireless charging and amazing camera I have sold more of those windows phones than any other (on contract). Keep on mind most customers want a "free upgrade" and don't care as much about features as I wish they did. Again it comes down to bang for your buck and "what can I get for $.99 on contract." 920 wins.

"...in conclusion for most customers and numbers don't lie, the 920 is the best windows phone of 2013"

I was about to say something like this but I think, as someone exposed to sales of these phones everyday, you're statement carries more weight,

Knowing what I now know about WP (and my own thrifty nature) the 920 at .99 cents would be my choice for an on contract WP phone and I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned in this article.

And while were on the subject of phones....does AT&T have plans to bring a 929 like phone aboard? I'm off contract in Oct 2014 and would be severely interested in that!

irvin792 says:

I still think the 920 looks better than the 925, I don't care for the aluminum. I also think people who say the weight of the 920 being too much are funny.

bossmads says:

Windows Phone 8 Nokia Lumia 920 32 gb :-) 4.8 screem 1gb ram 1.5 gz :-)

SolunaKitty says:

I can upgrade my HTC Titan at last, but I am torn between the black Lumia 925, the White Lumia 1020, and to a lesser extent, the white Lumia 1520. I guess I will make a trip down to the local AT&T store to help me decide. The white 1020 is OOS on the AT&T website :(

BlackGoku says:

Damn it man!Now 525 is coming and that has 1gb RAM!It will come par to these high end 9xx and above ranges not with the photography though but still a lot of apps and performace.Still i'm happy with my 520!

ramyZgHR says:

I don't understand why there is no room for 8x on your list! I find it great phone for low price!

SACRIFICE_84 says:

NL 1520 for sure...

ricocchet says:

Not an HTC Windows Phone in sight, says a lot regarding them, sadly stuck in contract with an HTC 8x for another year! Want a Nokia!!! ;-)

ejlee072006 says:

You should've bought the Nokia in the first place.

joaoseabra35 says:

I have a lumia 800 and I'm thinking about upgrading it for a wp8 phone. Does anyone think the 520 is a fair choice?

Yugiro says:

that's not an upgrade, seriously! You have just change your Windows Phone 7.8 to Windows Phone 8. I suggest, go straight to Lumia 925 or if you have a budget constraint then go with 720.

Im sure the 520 doesn't have IPS? Uses TFT ?

The 920. Solid. Twice the storage.

vk1971 says:

"The best Windows Phone for when you’re on a budget"

Head to ebay

:)

BTW that's what I did, phone wasn't intended as a gift though
 

ejlee072006 says:

The 925 is the best looking wp8.
The 1520 is the most beautiful looking device.
un 100% sure Nokia will follow the 925 chasis for the next phone..
The 2520 is a BEAST..

radde says:

Can't belive barely anybody is mentioning the 1020; I f'n love that phone. Had the 920 previously but got stolen out of my hands 2 weeks ago while I was on vacation back home so I was forced to buy a new phone. Although I liked the 920 a lot and only had it one year I was already playing with the idea switching to the 1020 next year. Basically the 1020 might only be a upgraded 920 (my pc even thinks it is a 920) the changes are absolutley wonderful. And what I like the most about it is not that there is a tremendous Camera on the back, or the top build quality, or that it is noticable lighter than the 920 ... none of this ... it is a simple feature previous Nokias once had but it got lost over time but the 1020 has it back: the lanyard hole build into the housing.

My 920 got stolen for one reason: I did not had a lanyard on it and it got stolen right out of my hand. Now I have a wrist lanyard attached to it and this little design feature will make sure it will not get stolen that easily from me anymore.

I plan on keeping this one for at least 3 years since it fullfills all my needs (but one) I have towards a Smartphone. I can even take breathtakingly good pictures and due to the size of the sensor I can zoom into them afterwards and see details that would be blurry on every other regular phone camera (how often did I tried taking a picture of a sign with a number on, but afterwards could not read the number because it was to far away; problem now solved). The Phone looks and feels sturdy and will not break anytime soon. The only thing that would make that phone even better in my eyes would be dual sim capability.

Nuff Said!

redeyss says:

Just sold my 1020. Enjoy when the screen begins to delaminate on the top and bottom of device as small dust particles make there way under the glass. I've had three 1020s with that happening within weeks of ownership. I'm going back to my dusty front facing camera 920, still the best IMO.

radde says:

Hi redeyss,
I'm sorry that your 1020 had that dusting problem. If I interpret your post correctly than you are an early adopter for both the 920 and 1020. The dusting problem with the front facing camera & sensor was a known issue to the first sold models of the 920 which you could have get fixed for free; all later 920s had that design flaw fixed. As for the 1020, at least for me, I cannot find any signs of dusting under the screen glass; but I also have it only for a short time now, so lets see what happens. So far I could only find a handful of dusting reports from owners (one of them was yours here on WPCentral) but that hardly counts as a proof of a general design flaw.

redeyss says:

I work, play, and live in a dusty environment but the Nokias are the only phones I've had a problem with. Camera quality is second to none and I eagerly await next year's offerings. In the meantime I'm really enjoying the moto x. My wife has a 520 and I have a 920 as my backup phone;)

Yugiro says:

I have to admit. I am drooling after 925. But if I am going to let go of my 920 now after a year of using it, i wouldn't go for 925. I am torn between 1020 and 1520. But since 929 started leaking, I don't know what to now what to do!

boxa72 says:

Honestly who gives a rats about "only" 16GB! I've had my 925 since it launched in Aussie n it's by far the best phone I've had n I still have 8GB of memory leftover which will easily last me until my next WP Quad core upgrade ;)

ivo_apo says:

No mention ATIV S?
100 % agree that 925 is the best Nokia phone. However, ATIV S do have all that + much bigger screen(4.8), almost zero bezel, bullet proof quality, weight less (134g) and is much cheaper (£189 no contract). Yes, you can have all Nokia apps as well.
Now we are talking balanced TOP notch WP.
Well done Samsung. Next time pls support it better.

xyronaut says:

This! I said it before & I'm gonna say it again, Ativ S is the best underrated windows phone ever. Probably the best value windows phone. Actually I like your choice of words...."balanced top notch" Bullet proof quality...hmmm not so much. I got my screen scratched already after my 16mo kid use iy as a wheel-less toy car on a wooden floor & all this time I always thought gorilla glass would survive that. Its plastic battery cover is also not a match to 925's aluminum. The support is not all that bad compare to HTC, as many samsung apps have popped out recently....plus ability to tweak it to root/registry is probably the only WP with unofficial support from the tweakers. It reminds me of XDA winmo golden era. :)

Why can't any of the good phones be on Verizon?!?!?! I have the 928, which is a great phone, but when compared to the style of the ones on ATT it falls flat! I would get the 1520 or 1020 unlocked, but I'm not about to shell out $500+ when I get my phones for free with Verizon!!!

n3rfh3rd3r says:

Honestly, deducting points on the review because there is a knock on carrier exclusivity?  Reality check is in order.

Android Central has had their latest "Best Android OS phone to buy" article up and the Moto X takes the cake this round.  While there are CDMA/LTE versions, there isn't carrier exclusivity that you find with the Lumia 928.  The previous "best phone" was the HTC One - you can pick up that phone from virtually any carrier.  Carrier exclusivity - whether it is with Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry - should be considered a knock against the phone.

The other points about lack of storage, not having all the cutting-edge hardware (1520) or photography bits (1020) are relevant and should be considered for people that prefer one over the other.  

God, I'm glad I jumped ship to iPhone.  This is like the 100th Lumia model released in the last 60 days.  

Kidding Mr. AmbASSador.  You know who you are precious.  *Smoochies*

As epic as the 1520 is with its massive specs, I'd still say that the 1020 is the hands down winner. Such a beauitful-looking phone, with an AWESOME camera.

I personally love my 928, but if the 1020 were available on VZW, I'd grab it in a heartbeat.

nickg0413 says:

couldn't be happier with my 928!! not having an SD card slot was not the dealbreaker i thought it would be for me, though i'd still like to have a removable battery, regardless of what brand phone it is. but other than that i'm really glad i moved form android, plus i like when people ask "Hey, is that a Windows Phone?" :)

But, the 925 doesn't have in-built wireless charging... one of my favourite things about my 920 :)

badger8080 says:

these are all AT&T WTF

Wonginist says:

The 820 is in real need of a refresh it had so many things going for it. It had top notch CPU, RAM, and Graphics, 8.7 MP camera, supersensitive touch, removable battery, microSD slot, a mid sized screen, NFC and rap around back cover.

In the refresh it should add HDR microphones, HD screen, and some pureveiw tech.

LordWriter says:

Waiting for the Lumia 1820

Link

Daum says:

Seems that everyone forgot the 820, it has amoled screen, slim body, 1GB of ram, great camera and optional wireless charging covers that don't add bulk to the body.

keithebrown says:

Didn't even mention my phone, the HTC 8X