Best Windows phone Windows Central 2021
If you need a Windows Phone in 2019, the Lumia 950 XL is your best bet thanks to its good camera and manageable device size. However, we don't recommend buying a Windows Phone at all in 2019. Instead, we're recommending other Android phones that we think are a good fit for Windows Phone users looking to make the switch.
The only flagship offering you can still buy in 2019
The Lumia 950 XL is our pick for best Windows Phone in 2019 thanks to its large display in a small package, excellent camera, and removable battery. It's also the only good flagship Windows Phone you can buy new in 2019.
Who should buy the Lumia 950 XL
If we're entirely honest, you really shouldn't be buying a Windows Phone in 2019. Starting in December, Microsoft will no longer update Windows 10 Mobile handsets with security patches and bug fixes, and soon, features and apps will stop working. Only buy a Windows Phone if you know what you're getting yourself into.
Is it a good time to buy a Windows Phone?
It's not. Microsoft recommends customers purchase an iOS or Android device and install Microsoft's apps instead.
Reasons to buy:
- Great camera
- Nice size
- 16:9 display
- Can buy new in 2019
Reasons to not buy:
- Windows 10 Mobile is out of support soon
- Battery is not good in 2019
Why buy a Lumia 950 XL?
If you're not deferred by the impending death of Windows 10 Mobile, the Lumia 950 XL is a great buy thanks to its relatively small form factor for a 5.8-inch device with a 16:9 display that isn't bezel-less.
This phone is good to shoot pictures with. The rear-facing, 20-megapixel PureView camera has a ZEISS F/1.9 lens and a three-LED flash that captures stunning stills and 4K video, while the front-facing, 5-megapixel camera is enough for selfies and video chats.
The Lumia 950 XL comes with 32GB of included storage that can be expanded by up to 200GB with a microSD card, which is great for anyone who loves to shoot 4K video. It's the best camera on a Windows 10 Mobile device today.
Unfortunately, those are the only stand-out features of the Lumia 950 XL in 2019. Every other non-Windows Phone flagship released in the last 12 months beats the Lumia 950 XL in all departments.
Alternatives to Windows Phone
We do not recommend buying a Windows Phone in 2019. Here's a list of devices that we do recommend instead.
Best overall for Windows Phone converts
The OnePlus 7 Pro is OnePlus's first big flagship for 2019, and wow is it something special. The pop-up selfie camera allows for a display without any bezels or notches, there are three cameras on the back, and blazing fast performance with great software. All of that, and it costs hundreds of dollars less than some competing flagships.
We outright recommend the OnePlus 7 Pro as the device to get if you're just switching from a Windows Phone since the software is so easily customizable. You can load it up with all of Microsoft's software and services, including the Microsoft Launcher, Your Phone Companion, Outlook, Edge, and more, and essentially turn it into a Microsoft smartphone. It also integrates nicely with Microsoft's Your Phone app on PC.
Best camera for Windows Phone converts
Whether you get the Pixel 3a or larger 3a XL, these are two of the best mid-range Android phones we've seen so far in 2019. The camera performance has no competition for anything in this price range, and when you add that together with a great software package, smooth performance, and solid OLED displays, you end up with two pretty great handsets.
The Pixel 3a is an excellent pick if you're not too keen on splashing out a lot of cash for a new Android phone, but want to ensure you have an excellent camera in your pocket. At just $399, the Pixel 3a is packing the same flagship tier camera found in the normal Pixel 3 line, providing clear and crisp photos that are unmatched in the smartphone industry. It's also a great first time Android device for those switching from Windows Phone, thanks to its plastic shell, cheap price, and clean software experience.
Best flagship for Windows Phone converts
Samsung has once again topped the competition with the Galaxy S10+. It offers features that anyone can lust after, wrapped up in a beautiful hardware package with the best screen you can get on a smartphone today. The new triple camera is fun and consistent, and battery life is exceptional.
If you're not afraid of the Android ecosystem and want the absolute best of the best, you can't go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S10+. It has everything, even features you probably don't need. It features an under display fingerprint sensor, five cameras throughout the front and back, the best OLED screen on the market, a hole-punch camera cutout for the dual-front facing cameras, and an excellent premium design. This all comes at a premium cost too, so you know it's a true Android flagship.
Do not buy a Windows Phone in 2019. It simply is not worth it. Apps are being removed, and Microsoft is outright pulling support for the platform at the end of this year. None of the phones that run Windows Phone today are "new," and definitely not worth your money. Get an Android. If you must get a Windows Phone, the Lumia 950 XL is your best bet thanks to its good camera, large OLED display, and removable battery with expandable storage.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Zac Bowden is a senior editor at Windows Central, which means he covers a wide array of software and hardware here at Windows Central. Joining Mobile Nations in 2016, you can usually find him playing with new Windows 10 builds or secret unreleased prototype devices. Hit him up on Twitter: @zacbowden.
Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.
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