10 Best Windows Phone 8 Devices

Considering the purchase of a new smartphone, but you’re at a loss for what to get because the choices are overwhelming? Of course you could go with an Apple iOS device, like the iPhone, or a Google Android device, like the Samsung Galaxy S III. BlackBerry Z10 is making a valiant effort, and there’s even an Ubuntu option for the Linux lovers out there. But if you’ve decided that you’re a fan of Microsoft Windows and you want to stick with the platform across all of your devices, then one of the Windows Phone 8 devices might be your best option.

And while whittling down your decision to one operating system should make your choice easier, you’ve still got a ton of options. Here are what we’ve found to be the 10 best Windows Phone 8 devices on the market today based on popularity among current users. We’re not trying to pick absolute favorites here, but we want to let you know what’s available and, it is hoped, help you make a decision based on your needs and desires. As always, best is relative.

Please keep in mind that this is written from an American perspective in the early part of 2013. The Windows Phone 8 landscape looks to be pretty volatile looking ahead, so this information can — and will — change! (And we’ll do our best at LockerGnome to keep you posted as it happens.)

Nokia Lumia 920

10 Best Windows Phone 8 DevicesThe Nokia Lumia 920 is currently the big darling of the 10 best Windows Phone 8 devices. When we polled our readers for reasons why this might be the case, the words “camera” and “display” came up a lot as being in the column of positives. With a 4.5″ PureMotion HD+ display at 768 x 1280 resolution and 332 ppi, it’s interesting to note that one person’s negative is another person’s positive. For instance, there’s David Clarke, who writes: “I don’t own it, but from my time trying it out, [I like] the Lumia 920. Gorgeous display and great camera. Downside, however, is the large size.” Adrian Hogan, on the other hand, says: “Big screen on the Lumia 920! Love it; I can watch movies in bed or on the bus on that sucker. One of the best Windows Phone 8 devices out there.”

Mike Granito has another list of reasons to love this phone: “The Lumia 920 is a great handset with quite a number of very usable features. It has a great performing camera [8 MP Carl Zeiss camera and 1080p HD video capabilities with optical image stabilization to eliminate blur and the haze of low-light conditions], great GPS applications, and it just works. I don’t need a phone that has 30 different mail applications or eight different Facebook applications; I need something that is going to be consistent every time. There a few things that I wish the phone did have, such as VPN support and other minor little things, but it’s a new platform and, as such, needs time to mature just like iOS and Android. But I think WP8 is here to stay and look forward to future updates to make it even better.”

The battery in the Nokia Lumia 920 will give you nine hours of talk time, 320 hours of standby, and can be charged wirelessly. It’s got a 1.5 GHz MSM8960 dual core processor, and it runs on GSM 850; GSM 900; GSM 1800; GSM 1900; W-CDMA 850; W-CDMA 900; W-CDMA 1900; W-CDMA 2100; LTE 2100; LTE 700; and LTE 1700 networks. With 32 GB of storage and 1024 MB of RAM, it measures 5.13 x 2.79 x .42 inches and weighs in at 6.5 ounces.

Even after all of that, sometimes it’s the simple things that make people happy. Henrik Johansson writes: “I like the Lumia 920 just because of the curved glass corners.”

In the US, the Nokia Lumia 920 is currently only offered via AT&T.

HTC Windows Phone 8X

10 Best Windows Phone 8 Devices Coming in at a strong second in the 10 best Windows Phone 8 devices is the HTC Windows Phone 8X. As Scott Kitchen says, he likes “HTC Windows Phone 8X for its sharp hardware design.” I’ve unboxed one of these live, so my experience with this phone outweighs the zero time I’ve had with the Lumia 920; while I personally prefer the iPhone as my primary smart phone, I think the HTC Windows Phone 8X is actually a quite workable little gadget if you’re looking for a Windows Phone 8 device.

The HTC Windows Phone 8X’s display is 4.3 inches, Super LCD 2, with a resolution of 720 x 1280 at 342 ppi. It’s covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 2, which is apparently pretty handy if you’re ever attacked by really big primates (RBP). Its camera is 8 MP, features an HTC ImageChip, and is capable of 1080 HD video.

The battery in the HTC Windows Phone 8X will give you up to 15 hours of talk time, and 300 hours of standby. It’s got a 1.5 GHz MSM8960 dual core processor, and it runs on GSM 850; GSM 1800; GSM 900; GSM 1900; W-CDMA 850; W-CDMA 900; W-CDMA 1900; and W-CDMA 2100 networks. With 16 GB of storage and 1024 MB RAM, it measures 5.21 x 2.61 x 0.40 inches and weighs in at 4.7 ounces.

Not bad, I say, and quite a strong contender in the 10 best Windows Phone 8 devices arena. Most people considering a Windows Phone 8 seem to see it as a toss-up between the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X. Says Nathan Ansel: “The Nokia 920 [wins]. The extra software features and exclusive apps are nice. The HTC 8X is a close second, though; it’s gorgeous.” Greg Northam says that it’s “hard to decide between the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X. The 8X has a really nice build quality, but the Lumia 920 just has way more features built into the phone — such as the exclusive Nokia apps that come with the phone.”

In the US, the HTC Windows Phone 8X is currently offered via AT&T, Verizon, Cincinnati Bell Wireless, and T-Mobile USA.

So the Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC Windows Phone 8X are the two heavyweights at the time of this writing. But if neither of them do it for you — due to budget constraints, carrier requirements, or something else entirely — here are the rest of the 10 best Windows Phone 8 devices to consider.

Nokia fan André Paron writes: “The entire Lumia range beats anything HTC or others are offering because of the Nokia collection of apps, which includes an amazing GPS navigation app called Nokia Drive. It’s such a well-put-together app that you won’t need a standalone GPS.” If you’re in this camp, you could have a look at any of these — they’re comparable depending on your preferred carrier.

Chinese firms Lenovo and Huawei are planning Windows Phone 8 devices; doubtless, if we had more information about what’s in the works, their offerings would be in this list of the 10 best Windows Phone 8 devices. But will they be offered in the US?

  • Lenovo (Details yet unknown)
  • Huawei Ascend W1 (Details yet unknown)
  • Huawei Ascend W3 (Details yet unknown)

Contrary to what some may believe, Americans don’t have access to the best of everything tech. As Eugene Auguillard says, “My favorite is one not released yet in the US: the Ativ S. Why, oh, why, Samsung?” Why, oh, why, indeed? If you’re reading this from somewhere else in the world, then you may have these among your options to round out the 10 best Windows Phone 8 devices available:

Do you already use a Windows Phone 8 device? Is there one you’d recommend to someone in search of the best experience possible? Don’t keep it to yourself! Please leave a comment below and let’s talk about it.

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.