5 best Windows Phones of 2016

ByKim Staples
Windows Phone

Looking for a smartphone that looks cool, has a load of useful software, and won’t break the bank? Take a look at Windows Phones.

There may not be as many apps available as on Android or iPhone, but there are a lot of advantages to getting a Windows Phone. The tiled interface is remarkably easy to use, for a start; and you get Microsoft apps included, like MS Office, Skype, and free OneDrive storage. The Windows OS also seamlessly integrates with your PC and Xbox, making it really simple to share photos, documents and apps between them.

As for the handsets themselves, these ones are all built by what was formerly Nokia - now owned by Microsoft - and have inherited its reputation for sturdy, well-designed phones. They come in fun bright colours, too.

But which ones are the best? We've picked five Windows Phones that we like the most, and how to get the best contract deal on them.

5. Nokia Lumia 830

Nokia Lumia 830

Most of the 830's specs are comfortably mid-range, but with one important feature: the camera is fantastic. The 10MP Carl Zeiss lens can capture crisp detail; optical image stabilisation and autofocus mean good performance in low light; and the dedicated camera shutter button is a handy touch. The front-facer has just a 0.9MP lens, but a lot of fun selfie features in the software try to make up for that.

The design is much like the more popular (and slightly more costly) Lumia 930, with the trademark dayglow plastic on the back and metal around the edges. When we reviewed it we found it really easy to hold and use, even with just one hand. As well as that, the Lumia 830 has a Full HD display, 16GB of internal storage, and a decent battery - with wireless charging, no less. 

4. Microsoft Lumia 550

Lumia 550

For a Windows Phone on a budget, the Lumia 550 is your best bet. It's a tiny price point above the even cheaper Lumia 630 and 530, but the extra features make it completely worth it. You get 4G connectivity, for a start, and a 4.7-inch HD display. And a rather nice design for such a low-priced phone: it's solid and sturdy, with sleek colours (this one comes in black and white), rounded corners, and a glossiness that actually looks good. Rest assured this handset can withstand a few bumps and scrapes.

It shows its budget status in some of the specs - low internal memory, for instance, and no NFC. Luckily it makes up for those in other areas, like a quad-core processor that gives surprisingly good performance.


500MB data

250 minutes

5000 texts

FREE handset

£7.50 a month

24 months

See deal

2. Microsoft Lumia 650 

Microsoft Lumia 650

Speaking of getting a lot for your money, there's plenty packed in to the Lumia 650. It's got a lovely HD display, with OLED technology to give it super crisp colours and a good level of brightness, and it ships with the latest Windows 10 operating system straight out of the box. And best of all, it comes at a super low price.

Plus, it looks fantastic - brushed metal edges give the 650 a rather nice premium feel, and the black and white cases make it look cool and minimalist.

The main downside is the internal storage, which sits at a rather low 16GB, with 1GB of RAM. The battery leaves something to be desired too, given that you can get one far better with the 640.

3. Microsoft Lumia 640 LTE

Microsoft Lumia 640

The Lumia 650 is pretty good... but last year's 640 still rules the roost, and for a lower price too. Like the 650, the 640 has a sharp HD display, an 8MP camera, and a quad-core chipset that means pretty much seamless performance, even when you're playing action-filled games. It's another good way of getting 4G without breaking the bank, too - and the battery will last far, far longer than the one on the 650.

Also, you can get it in funky cyan and orange.

The downsides? The back is a glossy fingerprint magnet, the selfie camera only has a 1MP lens, and once again there's only 8GB of internal storage. Still, you get a year's free subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal thrown in too, which includes free cloud storage on OneDrive - so your pictures and files will at least have somewhere to go. 


100MB data

100 minutes

Unlimited texts

FREE handset

£14.00 a month

24 months

See deal

1. Microsoft Lumia 950

Nokia Lumia 950

Taking the crown as the number one Windows Phone is the Lumia 950, along with its larger sibling, the 950 XL - another device generally hailed as the best to date. 

The Lumia 950 boasts one of the clearest displays, a 5.2-inch offering with Full HD resolution and AMOLED screen technology that means colours really pop. In terms of performance, the hexa-core Snapdragon processor handles things very well, with memory in the region of 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. There's even an SD card slot to expand it, so you can store up to 256GB extra pics, videos, apps, and whatnot.

The camera isn't half bad either: a 20MP Zeiss lens complete with triple-LED flash, autofocus, and optical image stabilisation. Oh, and a camera shutter button on the side of the device.

Design-wise, the 950 and 950 XL are a little different from other Lumias: bright colours have been ditched in favour of sleek, professional black and white. But in typical Lumia style, the cost is reasonable - this really won't set you back too much compared to other 'best' phones.


1GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

FREE handset

£30.99 a month

24 months

See deal

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