We purchased the The 4 Best Windows Phone so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full products reviews.
Best Overall: Alcatel Idol 4S
For its time, the Alcatel Idol 4S () was a good Windows phone. With a banger of a smartphone, Alcatel introduced its newly developed design language to the Windows world. The Alcatel Idol 4S is one of the most recent Windows 10 phones available, with a Snapdragon 820 processor. The 820 is still a powerful machine for running Windows 10 Mobile.
While the 5.5-inch AMOLED display is incredibly bright, it only supports a 1080p resolution, which is plenty sharp if apps are your bread and butter. A 21MP camera with phase detection autofocus and an 8MP sensor for selfies and video calls are included in the optics. Memory is limited to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, but the latter can be expanded to 1TB with a microSD card. The internal 3,000mAh battery will last for about a day. While it does have a USB-C port, charging speeds are relatively slow at only 10W. Despite this, the Alcatel Idol 4S is a capable Windows phone that can handle any task.
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Runner-Up, Best Overall: Lumia 950 XL
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL () is one of the last great Windows Phones, with a 5.7-inch AMOLED Quad HD display being one of the few. It also includes Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB of RAM, which was once considered a flagship configuration. Successors have surpassed that power a half-dozen times, but it still handles the highly optimized Windows 10 Mobile OS admirably.
With features like optical image stabilization, the Lumia’s 20MP Zeiss camera delivers respectable results, true to the Lumia name. On the front, a 5MP sensor joins it. The Lumia 950 XL charges and transfers data via USB Type-C 3.0, which is a rare feature for a Windows phone and provides significantly faster data transfer speeds. That distinction is important to note because many manufacturers overlook this useful piece of technology. You’ll also get 32GB of expandable storage (microSD), a 3,340mAh battery, and a slew of LTE bands, allowing you to use it on virtually any modern wireless network in the world.
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Best Windows Phone Alternative: Samsung Galaxy S10
You’re probably wondering how an Android phone can be ranked first among the best Windows phones. This is because Microsoft has discontinued the Windows Phone operating system, and we believe it is preferable to use an Android phone, as Microsoft advised when the OS was discontinued. The Samsung Galaxy S10 () is the right phone for the job.
The Galaxy S10 is an all-around beast that ranks near the top of every relevant smartphone category. It also helps that these two companies collaborated on special Windows Edition Galaxy phones in the past. Samsung’s phone and Microsoft’s apps, all of which are available on Google Play, are expected to work well together.
In terms of specifications, you’ll get an excellent, large OLED display, a fast Snapdragon 855 chipset, five high-resolution cameras, PowerShare wireless charging, an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, and more. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is the best choice for Windows Phone refugees, whether it’s Microsoft Office, Cortana, or notification mirroring from your Windows 10 PC.
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Best for Business Users: HP Elite X3
With Microsoft’s push to bring Windows Phone into the enterprise, HP seized the opportunity to resurrect its smartphone efforts with the HP Elite x3 (). If the device’s understated design didn’t already give it away as a business tool, the addition of biometric security options and desktop computing capabilities will.
For added convenience and security, HP included a fingerprint and retina scanner. It also comes with a Snapdragon 820 processor that can handle all of your apps with ease, 4GB of RAM for multitasking, a massive 5.96-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, a 16-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front camera. For excellent sound quality, Bang & Olufson lends its expertise to the powerful speakers at the bottom.
The HP Elite x3 runs Windows 10 Mobile and can be used with a desktop dock to simulate a traditional PC experience when using a mouse and keyboard. Other Windows phones have similar tricks, but the HP Elite x3 is the only one that comes with the accessory.
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Best Small: Lumia 950
If the Lumia 950 XL is a little too big for you, the Lumia 950 () might be a better fit. Microsoft opts for the hexa-core Snapdragon 808 over the octa-core Snapdragon 810 here, but still offers 3GB of RAM, a 20MP f/1.9 rear Zeiss camera with OIS and 4K video recording, a 5MP front camera next to an iris scanner, and 32GB of storage expandable via microSD card slot.
It also has a 3,000mAh battery that can be removed and charged via Qi wireless charging. If you use the included USB Type-C fast charger, Microsoft claims that you can get up to 50 percent battery life in 30 minutes. The 5.2-inch AMOLED display is the most notable difference. With a Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440, it’s razor-sharp. This gives us a pixel density of 564 ppi, which is well above the reading distance limit of the average human eye. When you add in niche features like NFC and FM Radio, the Lumia 950 becomes a small Windows phone with a big punch.
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