Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to hit the market in early November. We’ve compared the specs of the phones announced to date, and they each have a lot to offer. But which one’s the best? Here’s what our contributors think. Cruise on down to the bottom of this post to let us know which one you prefer.
For me it really comes down to the three “hero” devices: the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8x, and the Samsung Ativ S. While many seem to have already written off the Ativ S I don’t think they should. It has the biggest screen, biggest battery (which is also removable), MicroSD expansion, and is the most conservative design. That being said, the camera on the Lumia 920 is unbeatable, and the phone has the most on-board storage, a big battery, and Nokia’s excellent (and well supported) app suite. Who am I kidding though? We all know it’s actually because it has the best looking yellow case!
I won’t be getting a new Windows Phone this fall, but the phone I’m watching is the Lumia 820. I know it’s not as powerful as nor does it have the amazing camera of the new Lumia 920, but I don’t want a big phone. Only the 820 and HTC’s S8 are appropriately sized for me, and with Nokia’s inclusion of NFC, an 8MP camera, and available wireless charging, the Lumia 820 easily beats out HTC’s lower-end offering.
But since we’re supposed to write more than one word, I’ll go on. Look the Lumia 920 is the device to beat. The camera looks awesome. The Nokia exclusive apps make a compelling story (Drive+Commute is awesome). And the hardware is gorgeous. I loved my original Samsung Focus, but the ATIV, despite the largest screen size, doesn’t have enough other cache to pull me away from the 920. The HTC 8X has me keeping an eye peeled that way. I LOVED my Titan II, and if HTC can deliver some exclusives or significant cost savings, they may have something. But in the end I think the extras Nokia has up its sleeve edges out the competition.
My heart screams “I WANT A YELLOW PHONE”, which is that sexy Lumia 920. They already have my clamoring over the Purity HD Yellow Headphones. However, I think my main issue is with the weight of the 920 at 185g. I currently own a Galaxy Nexus which I absolutely love and it is at 135g, so I can’t imagine adding on another 50g to that. This is why the HTC 8X actually has me the most interested. It is packing a lot of features of the 920 and it also has Beats Audio, a 2.1 megapixel front facing camera with 1080p video recording capabilities, and only weighs 130g. While their yellow is more of a yellow/green, I am really liking their purple color.
Now even though that is my pick for the WP8 phones that I like the best I am still staying in Android land myself. With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean the performance and features blow away the competition. We will see if that changes, but for right now (and until my contract is up in 2013) I am not moving.
All around the Nokia Lumia 920 has the edge. I really wasn’t expecting HTC to show up with a whole lot. They did, and the 8X seems to be a great offering. Don’t forget that Nokia has a handful of exclusive apps, like ESPN Fantasy Football. Their exclusives are big enough to second guess phones other than Nokia, so have a look at the list. The hardware seems to be great all around, but will Windows Phone move the needle on the graph of market share? While technically successful, the Windows Phone position in the market is still undetermined. Time will tell… And for Microsoft, that is a multibillion dollar ellipses.
While I have no plans to jump into the WinPho ecosystem in the imminent future, I have to say that Windows Phone 8’s software potential, matched with the stronger line-up of hardware launching this fall, makes for a compelling entre for Microsoft and its OEM partners. My pick would likely be the Samsung Ativ S (despite the horrid “Ativ” branding, unless it’s pronounced at-eev, because a-tiv is just miserable to say and hear). Why the Sammy? For one, I think it may sell the best because it looks like a Galaxy phone — and a nicer looking version of any Galaxy phone launched to-date. Also, I prefer the lightness of Samsung’s devices (easy on the pocket), combined with the massive battery. Lastly, cameras in Galaxy phones are very, very good, and I assume this will inherent all the great R&D that makes Galaxy phones competitive with the iPhone.
Making the Windows Phone offerings “easy and fun to live with” could be the subtle differentiation it needs to find a place in the market. So, large screens, large batteries, and flawless execution of user experience could — and should be — enough to make it a real contender in 2013… as long as the OEMs & Microsoft commit boatloads of cash to market and promote this alternative pocket platform.