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The Best Windows phones of 2014

2014 has been an eventful year for Windows Phone, both on the software and hardware side. We saw the release of Windows Phone 8.1 that enhanced what was already a great mobile operating system. We were also introduced to Cortana – Microsoft’s answer to Siri. On the hardware side, things have been equally as eventful – Nokia has released several new devices, we’ve seen the return of HTC and the addition of about a dozen new Windows Phone manufacturers. So let’s take a brief look at five remarkable devices that were released in 2014.

Nokia Lumia 535 – The Affordable One

Nokia Lumia 530

Whenever a company releases an entry-level device, we all adjust our expectations accordingly. And that is precisely why the Lumia 535 is such a surprise – in many ways this 5" Windows Phone surpasses its higher-end siblings while maintaining a very competitive $130 price point. It comes with a quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory, micro SD card expansion of up to 128GB, 15GB of free OneDrive storage and a 1905mAh battery. Microsoft has put an emphasis on the optics as well – the phone is equipped with 5MP cameras both in the front and on the back. This makes the Lumia 535 a great “selfie phone’.

Nokia Lumia 830 – The Midrange One

Nokia Lumia 830

Dubbed the “affordable flagship" by Microsoft, the Lumia 830 gives you exactly that – a happy medium between price and features. Don’t let this dissuade you, however. For normal, everyday use, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in performance between the Lumia 830 and its higher-end siblings. Priced at $449, the 5" phone comes with a 720p display, a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory, micro SD card expansion of up to 128GB, 15GB of free OneDrive storage, a 2200mAh replaceable battery and wireless charging. The back camera features a 10MP sensor, a f/2.2 aperture, a six-lens optics and optical image stabilization. While certainly not print quality, the photos taken with the Lumia 830 will look great on social media sites. An added bonus for US buyers is the inclusion of a free Fitbit Flex activity tracker with the purchase of a Lumia 830.

Nokia Lumia 930 – The Iconic One

Nokia Lumia 930

The Lumia 930, also known as the Lumia Icon, offers the best Windows Phone experience you can get from Nokia in a 5" device. The phone feels premium and sturdy thanks to its aluminum frame, while maintaining the Lumia look and feel with its polycarbonate back. Inside the device you’ll find an impressive 1080p display, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.2GHz, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory, no micro SD card expansion, 15GB of free OneDrive storage, a 2420mAh battery and wireless charging. Microsoft has placed an emphasis on image and video capture as evidenced by the 20MP PureView camera and the four high-performance microphones.

HTC One (M8) for Windows – The Metal One

HTC One M8

Earlier this year HTC ported their flagship phone, the HTC One (M8), to run on Windows Phone instead of Android. Therefore, if you’re already familiar with the Android version, you know what’s inside the One for Windows. Inside the beautiful brushed metal body you’ll find a gorgeous 5" 1080p display, a quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU running at 2.3GHz, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, micro SD card expansion of up to 128GB and a 2600mAh battery. Unlike most phones, the One (M8) for Windows features two cameras on the back – a main one and one for capturing depth information. The main camera is an HTC UltraPixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture. On the front, we have a 5MP camera capable of capturing 1080p video. The phone is outstanding in terms of sound as well. It features two speakers above and below the display. One thing to keep in mind is that there are no capacitive buttons on the phone – those are presented as on-screen controls. Overall, if you’re looking for a blazingly fast Windows Phone that’s not a Lumia, the HTC One (M8) for Windows is your best bet.

Nokia Lumia 1520 – The Big One

Nokia Lumia 1520

As the title suggests, the Lumia 1520 is the biggest and most powerful phone that Nokia has to offer. Saying that the phone is large is an understatement – the big 6" display gives you a near-tablet experience and your hands will feel it too – the phone weighs 206 grams. The Lumia 1520 is massive in many other respects as well – from the 1080p, 368ppi display, to the powerful 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, to the 3400mAh battery. The other specifications include 16GB or 32GB of internal storage depending on your carrier, 2GB of RAM, micro SD card expansion of up to 64GB, 15GB of free OneDrive storage and wireless charging on some carriers. The Lumia 1520 also features a PureView camera with a 20MP sensor, an f/2.4 aperture, a six-lens optics and optical image stabilization.

About Iskren Donev

App developer by day, tech writer by night. Avid podcast listener and a superhero in disguise.