The wide world of Windows Phone 8 handsets (roundup)
Smartphones bearing Microsoft's challenger operating system are still coming down the pipeline, with Nokia and HTC leading the charge.
It took plenty of time and marketing dollars for Microsoft'sto finally -- slowly, but surely.
Nokia has been especially fierce as the sole Windows Phone-only handset maker, its strategy to hinge the company's comeback on Windows Phone. Nokia's phones span the range from high-end to entry-level, with an emphasis on pushing prices lower, both on-contract and off.
Other major handset makers like HTC and Samsung have been more reserved, though Samsung has promised to announce new.
Here are some of the Windows Phone handsets you can get today.
Editors' note: This story originally published April 1, 2013, and was updated June 3.
A mostly metal chassis and a sixth camera lens are what set Nokia's next global flagship apart from other phones in its 920 series. It's confusing, we know. There's no exact price or availability yet, but we did get our hands on the T-Mobile variant, so you can here.
As Verizon's most powerful Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia 928 shares most of its characteristics with AT&T's Lumia 920 (below). One difference, beyond the few preinstalled Verizon apps: the 928's ultrabright Xenon flash and improved low-light camera performance.
At just $150 off-contract with T-Mobile, the Lumia 521 is Nokia's best Windows Phone deal anywhere. Hardware features are predictably lower-end, though the 5-megapixel camera took decent photos and all of Nokia's extra apps were onboard. Although the lack of LTE may turn some off, the 521's all-around value will attract those who don't thirst for the fastest 4G speeds.
Nokia's Lumia 920 is my top Windows Phone pick when it comes to all-around features, including a fancier camera with strong low-light performance, Nokia-specific apps, a hypersensitive touch screen, and wireless charging.
Although it is not as feature-rich or camera-steady as Nokia's Lumia 920, HTC's premium Windows phone effort is the more attractive, comfortable device that I'd reach for more often based on design alone.
Samsung's lackluster Windows Phone 8 effort may have filled a gap in Verizon's budget lineup, but the just-adequate phone didn't do much to inspire, or to advance the Windows Phone cause.
Along with the for T-Mobile and the for Verizon, AT&T's Nokia Lumia 820 downshifts from the chockablock 920 in price and hardware design but offers the same essential features, including a great screen and wireless charging capabilities.
Although it never landed in the U.S., HTC's bright Windows Phone 8S grabbed our attention for its attractive and colorful designs, especially the bright yellow version. Features-wise, it's more middle-of-the-road than its 8X cousin.
I saw Huawei's first-ever Windows Phone handset this past January at CES, but despite word that the U.S. would see it, it's so far been MIA. The device follows Nokia and then HTC's lead in a squared-off industrial design set off with bright colors. Without testing, it's hard to say how its dual-core processor and 5-megapixel camera fare for this midtier Windows phone.
Kudos to U.S. Cellular for seeing the need to add a Windows Phone device to its lineup. Unfortunately, the Render, which runs on Windows Phone 7.8 instead of Windows Phone 8 OS, doesn't cut it. Although it's still simple to use, the hardware and software are already outdated.