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.

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It took plenty of time and marketing dollars for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system to finally gain some real traction -- 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 Windows Phone "Ativ" devices on June 20 .

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.


T-Mobile's Nokia Lumia 925
Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Nokia Lumia 925 (T-Mobile), June 2013 to Europe, TBA for U.S.
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 check out photos here. Nokia Lumia 925 impressions.


Nokia Lumia 928
Josh Miller/CNET

Nokia Lumia 928 (Verizon), May 16, 2013
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. Read the full Nokia Lumia 928 review.


Nokia Lumia 521
Josh Miller/CNET

Nokia Lumia 521 (T-Mobile), April 27, 2013
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. Read the full Nokia Lumia 521 review.


Wireless charging on the Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia's Lumia 920 is big, bold Windows phone. Josh Miller/CNET

Nokia Lumia 920 (AT&T), November 9, 2012
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. Read the full Nokia Lumia 920 review.


HTC Windows Phone 8X
HTC has crafted a beautiful device. Josh Miller/CNET

HTC Windows Phone 8X (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon), November 20, 2012
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. Read the full Windows Phone 8X review.


Samsung Ativ Odyssey
Samsung's Ativ Odyssey is simple and inexpensive, but won't wow you. Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Ativ Odyssey (Verizon), January 24, 2013
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. Read the full Samsung Ativ Odyssey review.


Nokia Lumia 820
Nokia's Lumia 820, 810, and 822 are variations on the midrange theme. Josh Miller/CNET

Nokia Lumia 820 series (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon), November 2012
Along with the Lumia 810 for T-Mobile and the Lumia 822 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. Read the full Nokia Lumia 820 review.


HTC Windows Phone 8S
The colorful HTC Windows Phone 8S comes in an array of eye-catching colors. CNET

HTC Windows Phone 8S (unlocked), November 2012
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. Read all about the HTC Windows Phone 8S.


Huawei's Ascend W1 takes colors from Nokia's Pantone playbook.
Huawei's Ascend W1 takes colors from Nokia's Pantone playbook. Sarah Tew/CNET

Huawei Ascend W1 (unlocked), January 2012
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. Read all about the Huawei Ascend W1.


ZTE Render
U.S. Cellular's ZTE Render is the carrier's only current Windows Phone option. Josh Miller/CNET

ZTE Render (U.S. Cellular), September 29, 2012
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. Read the full ZTE Render review.

 

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