Best Windows Phones: Holiday 2014by Brett Howse on December 3, 2014 8:00 AM EST
The end of 2014 is quickly approaching, so this is a great time to look back at the year that was in Windows Phone, and give our recommendation on the best Windows Phones for various price ranges. 2014 saw some change in the Windows Phone market, with the dominant player Nokia being purchased by Microsoft earlier this year. Microsoft also made some changes to the platform to make it easier to build a Windows Phone from scratch with the Qualcomm reference platform, and they changed the hardware requirements of the software to allow device makers to port their Android based smartphones over to Microsoft’s platform.
The former Nokia smartphone division is now Microsoft Mobile, and they have continued to churn out many different devices this year. This new division has focused mainly on the lower cost devices where they have seen the most traction. But the new hardware requirements have allowed a larger array of devices and manufacturers to come on-board in 2014. This has changed the landscape with competitive offerings from many manufacturers over a wide price range.
Flagship Phone: HTC One (M8) for Windows
Phones called flagships are going to need to earn it, with shortcomings more harshly criticized when the average selling price can be north of $600. The HTC One (M8) for Windows is the winner in this category. The combination of a sleek aluminum design, light weight, good battery life, microSD support, Boomsound speakers, and the fastest SoC available in any Windows Phone puts it over the top. Performance is important on all platforms, and the Snapdragon 801 is a potent choice for Windows Phone. Battery Life is another key, and here the HTC has a great showing as well. The 5 inch LCD has a 1080p resolution for 440 pixels per inch, and with a RGB subpixel arrangement.
|HTC One (M8) for Windows|
|SoC||MSM8974ABv3 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 801|
|RAM/NAND||2GB LPDDR3, 16/32GB NAND + microSD|
|Display||5.0” 1920x1080 IPS LCD|
|Network||2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x25 UE Category 4 LTE) up to 150 Mbps|
|Dimensions||146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 (mm)|
|Rear Camera||4.0 MP (2688 × 1520) Rear Facing with 2.0 µm pixels, 1/3" CMOS size, F/2.0, 28mm (35mm effective) and rear depth camera|
|Front Camera||5MP f/2.0|
|Battery||2600 mAh, 3.8 V, 9.88 Wh|
|OS||Windows Phone 8.1|
|Connectivity||802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.0, USB2.0, DLNA, NFC|
|Location Technologies||Qualcomm IZat Gen8B|
|SIM Size||Nano SIM|
The one shortcoming on the HTC One M8 is the camera. The 4 Ultrapixel duo cam rear shooter cannot compete against the likes of the Lumia 930’s 20 megapixel 1/2.5” sensor, but it still gives good low light performance although at the expense of resolution.
The HTC One (M8) for Windows also supports the funky dot view case which allows Cortana integration through the case. People who purchase the HTC One (M8) for Windows in the USA can now get the limited edition green Xbox dot view case until January 31st 2015, and the device is now available from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile for around $600.
Overall, the HTC One (M8) for Windows is the more complete package, and camera aside, checks all the flagship boxes. If you value camera performance above battery life, the Lumia 930 would be runner up.