The Best Windows Phone Handsets

Filed under: Articles,Mobility,Windows Phone |


There’s a lot of excitement about mobile phones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 operating system right now, particularly the Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II. Neither of these impressive devices is available in the UK yet. In fact, they don’t even have UK release dates yet, largely because both are intended to run on 4G networks, and Britain is lagging behind somewhat in that department. More on that later.

Still, in the meantime, what are your Windows Phone 7.5 options? Essentially the best of the best are the two predecessors to the above phones, the Nokia Lumia 800 and the HTC Titan, both of which are extremely similar to their similarly named 4G versions anyway.

HTC Titan

The Titan is big (hence the name), stark, and sturdy, if a little heavy (160 grams). It has one fast processor (1.5 GHz) rather than taking the more impressive dual-processor approach that most high-end phones do, but thanks to Windows Phone 7.5, it still has smooth, fast performance, never stuttering or freezing. Despite its size, it’s reasonably slim, at just under 10mm thick.

Its 4.7 inch screen is possibly too big for comfort, at least for one-handed use. Arguably a smaller but better screen would be better. The Titan’s is only a Super LCD, rather than Super AMOLED, and can’t display at any higher resolution than 800 x 480 pixels.

The Titan II boosts the camera to an impressive 16 megapixels, but as ever for mobile phones, doubling the number of megapixels doesn’t necessarily double the quality of the finished picture. The original Titan’s 8 megapixels should be more than enough for almost any amateur photographer (and a professional will have a separate camera anyway, rather than relying on a phone camera).

Nokia Lumia 800

The Nokia Lumia 800 was marketed as the first real Windows Phone, and it’s certainly fit for the job, with a 1.4 GHz processor, smooth polycarbonate case, and a 3.7 inch Super AMOLED screen (which is all that Windows Phone 7.5 really needs anyway). The integration of OS and handset is impressive, with the Lumia running Windows Phone with unprecedented speed and reliability.

The Lumia 900 just adds a little more battery life, a bigger screen (4.3 inch rather than 3.7), and a front-facing camera – there’s not much else in it.

On balance, if you want a Windows Phone, right now without waiting indefinitely for the Titan II or Lumia 900, pick the Lumia 800 rather than the HTC Titan, unless that bigger screen is a real draw for some reason. The Lumia is over 10% lighter, smaller overall (if a little thicker), and even more smooth-running than the Titan.

4G in the UK?

So, if you would rather wait for a full-blown 4G Windows Phone device, how long is the wait likely to be? More than a year, sadly. OFCOM is currently planning to start auctioning off the available portions of the 4G spectrum to mobile phone operators during the final quarter of this year, so don’t expect the new 4G networks to be in operation until sometime next year at the earliest. By that time, the Lumia 900 and Titan II will be old news.