Best Windows phone of 2016

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. But we don't recommend buying a Windows Phone at all in 2019.

Our pick

Lumia 950 XL

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 too. 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 is not. Microsoft recommends customers purchase an iOS or Android device instead, and install Microsoft's apps instead.

Reasons to buy:

  • Great camera
  • Nice size

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 HP Elite x3

If you don't want a Lumia 950 XL, perhaps our other picks might tickle your fancy.

Runner-up

Alcatel Idol 4S

This first-class offering from Alcatel features a glass and metal body that's just 6.9mm thin and weighs only 0.3 pounds (152 grams). The screen is a 5.5-inch AMOLED at 1080p that looks fantastic, and you get 64GB of internal storage that can be bumped up significantly with a microSD card. It has 4GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 820 processor, making it fly through whatever task you give it. It also has a fingerprint reader that unlocks your phone with Windows Hello.

If you're interested in seeing what VR is all about, the Idol 4S comes bundled with a VR headset. Toss in Continuum compatibility and a 21MP camera, and you have an exceptional phone that starts at about $140.

We would also include the HP Elite x3, however that phone is no longer available for sale in new condition anywhere for a reasonable price, so we've decided not to list it here. You can likely find a used one on eBay for cheap. This is the last time we'll be updating this article, as there are no new Windows Phones coming.

If we're honest, the best Windows Phone you can buy today is an Android device running Microsoft apps.

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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