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What are the best Windows Phones?

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.

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They may not have as many apps as an 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 - including deals with unlimited data, and deals with no upfront cost.

Microsoft Lumia 950

Taking the crown as the number one Windows Phone is the Lumia 950 - 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 is 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.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL

If you want even more bang for your still-reasonable buck, the Lumia 950 is also available as an XL version - with a 5.7-inch screen. That’s perfect for anyone who wants a phablet - it means you can easily do things like read and edit documents when you’re on the go.

As well as that, the 950 XL is hardier, thanks to Gorilla Glass 4, and has bumped-up hexa-core processors and a beefier battery to power it. Other than that, it’s near identical to the regular 950.

Microsoft Lumia 650

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.

Microsoft 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.

Microsoft Lumia 435

Speaking of getting a lot for your money, the Lumia 435 is the ultimate budget phone. Available for less than a tenner a month (£50 or so outright), it’s an ideal choice for a spare, temporary mobile, or your kid’s first phone. The four-inch screen has a 480p resolution, and it’s got cameras on the front and back.

It’s missing quite a lot of features - there’s no HD screen, AC Wi-Fi, or NFC, for instance, plus it’s low on memory - but it costs next to nothing. And you can get it in funky green or orange.

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