Windows Phone is the third choice of mobile operating system behind iOS/iPhone and Android. It's Microsoft's mobile version of Windows featuring colourful live tiles on the Start Screen.The current version is Windows Phone 8.1 but there's already another version coming in the form of Windows 10. Only certain models will be upgradeable, so make sure you choose carefully if you don't want to be stuck on an older version. See also: Best smartphones of 2015.
Windows Phone 8.1 has lots of great new features including the personal assistant Cortana. The vast majority of handsets are now branded as Microsoft Lumia, as Nokia is no longer owned by Microsoft. The software giant is really the only Windows Phone device maker and makes up our entire list but even then its future is somewhat up in the air.
Nevertheless, there are some good phones available and they are typically cheaper than Android rivals, although the budget phone market has changed a lot even in the last year. See also: Best budget smartphones 2015.
Performance of Windows Phones are generally good and you'll typically get a good screen and reasonable cameras too. However, the OS is still behind rivals on apps so make sure you can get everything you need - especially for third party hardware like multi-room speakers and the like - before taking the plunge.
Here we've collected and ranked the best smartphones running Windows Phone 8 which you can buy right now. We reviewed some of these handsets last year but they are still available now. One Windows Phone we're looking forward to is the Lumia 940 which should arrive later this year with an XL model too.
Best Windows Phones 2015
13. Lumia 530
- Reviewed on: 26 August 14
- RRP: £60 inc. VAT
The disappointing thing about the Nokia Lumia 530 is that it feels like a worse phone than the Lumia 520 it replaces (albeit with a price cut). The display is a deal breaker for us, undoing the good work of the Lumia 530's performance and build quality. We want to see more storage, and the camera is no better than it ought to be. If you really are limited in budget, it is worth considering. But we hoped for more.
Read our Lumia 530 review.
12. Nokia Lumia 925
- Reviewed on: 19 July 13
- RRP: £450 inc VAT
The Lumia 925 stands apart from preceding Windows handsets that Nokia styled more for pre-teens, with a slightly more sophisticated metal and grey plastic look. As a piece of phone hardware it’s competently put together, but ultimately is undermined by an aesthetically challenged and unintuitive software interface, while you’ll be lucky to find half the apps you might need to load on it.
Read our Nokia Lumia 925 review.
11. Nokia Lumia 1020
- Reviewed on: 23 September 13
- RRP: £600 inc VAT
The Lumia 1020 has an amazing camera, the best in a smartphone, and will tempt most smartphone photographers. However, it's expensive for what is essentially a now out-of-date Lumia 920 with a better snapper. Poor battery life and a lack of good apps for the OS put us off significantly.
Read our Nokia Lumia 1020 review.
10. Nokia Lumia 625
- Reviewed on: 1 October 13
- RRP: £189 inc VAT
The Nokia Lumia 625 is a big, bright and colourful Windows Phone 8 handset. If you're looking for a 4G capable smartphone on a budget then this is a great buy. It has good build and performance but has limited internal storage and a mediocre camera.
Read our Nokia Lumia 625 review.
- Reviewed on: 5 August 14
- RRP: £129 inc VAT
If you're considering the Lumia 630 as a first smartphone and you don't plan to buy lots of wireless accessories and install lots of apps, it's not a bad choice at all. Windows Phone 8.1 is very easy to use, and will improve even more when Cortana and its associated features arrive in the UK. However, the sticky problem of a lack of apps in Microsoft's store remains an issue for all Windows Phone 8 smartphones, and the lack of a front-facing camera is a problem if you want to use Skype. Note that the Lumia 635 is the model with 4G support.
Read our Nokia Lumia 630 review.
- Reviewed on: 11 April 14
- RRP: £238 inc VAT SIM-free
With 'okay' performance and a good but not great screen, the Lumia 1320 still offers good value for money. It's certainly not the best handset on the market, but if you want a Windows Phone with a big screen, and you can't or don't want to stretch up to the faster 1520, you won't regret buying the Lumia 1320. The camera is basic and the storage limited, but the battery life is brilliant.
Read our Nokia Lumia 1320 review.
- Reviewed on: 22 December 14
- RRP: £319 inc. VAT
There's nothing shockingly wrong with the Lumia 830, but it does feel like a slight opportunity lost. It is a mediocre performer, with a not-great camera. But it is well priced, nicely built and stylish. Better value can be found by dropping down to the Lumia 630, but if you want a 5in Windows phone this is a decent option.
Read our Microsoft Lumia 830 review.
- Reviewed on: 3 March 15
- RRP: £99.99 inc VAT
We're fans of Windows Phone 8.1 but the Lumia 535 compromises in too many areas to make it a bargain at £100. You're better off with a Motorola Moto E or - if you want 4G - the EE Kestrel.
Read our Microsoft Lumia 535 review.
- Reviewed on: 14 May 15
- RRP: From £13.50 per month, £109.99 PAYG or £129.99 SIM-free
The Microsoft Lumia 640 is a worthy upgrade over the Lumia 630, and this Windows Phone now presents very good value for money. This is the Moto G of the Windows world, with a near-identical spec and a £20 lower price tag. Which phone you choose will come down to your software preferences - many users will be happy with Windows Phone, but if third-party apps feature heavily on your wishlist you may find that extra £20 for the Moto G money well spent.
Read our Microsoft Lumia 640 review.
- Reviewed on: 19 March 15
- RRP: £49.99 with £10 EE top-up
The Microsoft Lumia 435 is the best phone you can buy under £50, even accepting the tired old Windows Phone apps argument. Bottom of Microsoft's line-up and just £49.99 on PAYG it's by no means a great phone, but for first-time or light users it wipes the floor with similarly priced Android phones (and iOS at this price point is just a pipe dream - or a nightmare, but whichever way you look at it, it's not going to happen). Unlike the more expensive Lumia 535, Microsoft has confirmed that the Lumia 435 will get Windows 10 when it is released later this year, which will make this the cheapest entry point for a Windows 10 computer, and that alone makes it well worth a look.
Read our Microsoft Lumia 435 review.
- Reviewed on: 6 December 13
- RRP: £550 inc VAT
The Nokia Lumia 1520 has got so many things right including build quality, a great camera and a good looking screen. It's the best Windows Phone yet but software is still lacking and we just wish the darn thing was smaller because it's severely off putting.
Read our Nokia Lumia 1520 review.
- Reviewed on: 16 October 14
- RRP: £189 inc. VAT
The most fun Nokia on the market, the Lumia 735 really is an ideal smartphone for selfies. At just £189 we can picture many a teenage girl - and boy - adding this great-value Windows Phone to their Christmas list. Given the low- to mid-range price its performance is sufficient, and we appreciate the extras such as microSD support, Qi wireless charging and 4G LTE. We just hope the Lumia Denim update fires up that camera a bit quicker.
Read our Nokia Lumia 735 review.
- Reviewed on: 22 July 14
- RRP: £435 inc VAT
The Lumia 930 is a step in the right direction with its semi-metal design and decent hardware line-up. We like the screen and camera but it's lacking additional features and doesn't have expandable storage. Windows Phone 8.1 vastly improves things on the software side but the platform is still not a priority for developers – especially when it comes to third-party hardware.
Read our Nokia Lumia 930 review.