Windows Phone 8: all the reviews you need

Windows Phone 8

Microsoft is taking another stab at the hyper-competitive phone market this fall with the release of Windows Phone 8, the latest iteration of Redmond's reimagined mobile platform first introduced in 2010. We're reviewing the platform itself along with many of the flagship phones that are running it, so keep this StoryStream bookmarked as our verdicts roll in.

3 updates and 2168 comments below.

Nov 13 3:00p

Nokia Lumia 820 review

Nokia's focus with Windows Phone 8 might be on its Lumia 920 handset, but the Lumia 820 might be even more appealing but for those looking at smaller and lower-cost options. It’s a promising handset that will be available in several variations on US networks, with near-identical internals but different outer casing designs. With a 4.3-inch ClearBlack display, removable wireless charging shells, microSD storage, and a removable battery — the Lumia 820 is clearly aimed at smartphone buyers who want added control over their smartphone hardware and a different experience than the Lumia 920. This added control comes at a cost though, like a smaller, lower-resolution display and just 8GB of internal storage. Can this mid-range handset popularize Nokia's Lumia range for the masses, and be the low-cost option that boosts the company’s chances at improving Windows Phone market share? Continue reading »

Nov 01 5:18p

Nokia Lumia 920 review

<p>The Nokia Lumia 920 is the company’s third attempt at launching the definitive Windows Phone. In April, Nokia and Microsoft tried to convince the world that the <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/3/2921472/lumia-900-review">Lumia 900 and Windows Phone 7.5</a> was that device, but that claim had a shorter expiration date than anybody realized. Its days were numbered, as Windows Phone 8 was an under-the-hood overhaul that wasn’t compatible with the phone.</p><p>The Lumia 920’s launch was mishandled at best. The compelling PureView camera was undercut by a <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/5/3294545/nokias-pureview-ads-are-fraudulent">marketing snafu when Nokia faked a video</a> purporting to show its low-light capabilities. Neither Nokia nor its carrier partners could commit to a firm release date, and potential buyers have had to wait nearly two months to purchase the phone. In that time both the iPhone 5 and the Nexus 4 appeared on the scene — the competition has not stood still. </p><p>Though the Lumia 920 stumbled out of the gate, it still aims to be the long-shot, dark horse surprise of the smartphone race. Can Nokia pull it off? Read on for our full review.</p> Continue reading »

Oct 29 2:21p

HTC Windows Phone 8X review

<em>The</em> Windows Phone 8X. Reversing a habit of putting merely a <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/10/2937713/htc-titan-ii-review" >token effort</a> into its Windows Phone range, HTC is greeting the launch of Microsoft’s eighth mobile OS with a handset that leaves no doubt about its flagship ambitions. The statement of intent that’s apparent from the look of the 8X — which immediately feels fresh, innovative and modern — is underlined by a bullish <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/21/3533650/nokia-lumia-920-htc-8x-pricing-pre-oder-att-best-buy" >$99 price with AT&T</a> in the US. For an LTE-capable phone without a single blemish on its <a href="http://www.theverge.com/products/windows-phone-8x/6150" >spec sheet</a>, that represents a tremendously aggressive proposition. The big unanswered question, however, is inherent in the handset’s name — how well does Windows Phone 8 fare against the incumbent leaders of iOS and Android? Can it finally summon up enough pluses to draw people away from the comfortable and familiar into a bold new world of live tiles and flying animations? Let’s find out. Continue reading »


Windows Phone 8 review

<div style="font-size:0.8em;line-height:18px"><em>By Dieter Bohn and Chris Ziegler</em></div> “<em>This</em> is Windows Phone. No, for real this time.” That’s what I thought when I started hearing about <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/20/3101545/windows-phone-8-summit-details-features" >Windows Phone 8</a> a few months ago. Just like Windows Phone 7, it represents yet another clean break for Microsoft’s mobile ambitions — but unlike 7, now it’s got the hardware to match. The truth is a little more complicated: this clean break isn’t as nearly as obvious as Windows Phone 7’s split from Windows Mobile was back in 2010. A quick glance at Windows Phone 8’s home screen, its apps, and its overall aesthetic lead you to believe that it’s only a mild evolution of Windows Phone 7.5 — and in many ways, that’s true. Much of Redmond’s grunt work instead went into overhauling what’s under the hood: these latest-generation phones now use what Microsoft calls the “NT kernel,” the same kernel that underpins Windows 8 and several generations of Windows for the desktop that came before it. As much of an engineering challenge as that conversion may have been, the switch to the NT kernel is something Microsoft insists it needed to do. Amazingly, the framework lying beneath Windows Phone 7.x traces its roots back to Windows CE, Microsoft’s first attempt to port Windows to lightweight devices in the 1990s. It was never designed to accommodate today’s turbocharged smartphones — a market segment where features like multi-core processors are now the norm, not the exception. But under-the-hood changes are tough sells for consumers drawn in by visuals and feature lists. So many of the questions raised by Windows Phone 8 are the same questions raised by Windows Phone 7.5 and 7 before it: is this finally the mobile platform that Microsoft (and Nokia) need to find widespread success? Continue reading »
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