Windows Phone 8 decision time: Samsung, HTC, or Nokia

Summary:Next Monday we will see all the details of Windows Phone 8 and then start to pre-order hardware. I am planning to buy one WP8 device to use on AT&T and am gathering feedback to help me make that decision.

Next Monday we will see the official Microsoft Windows Phone 8 full reveal and at this time I am planning on making the day trip down to San Francisco to see everything in person and get some hands-on time with the devices. Regular readers know I am a fan of Windows Phone, this was a major factor in my recent Microsoft Surface purchase , and it is a given that I will be buying one of the new WP8 devices as soon as they are available as an upgrade to my Nokia Lumia 900. Like I typically do when I think about devices, I created the lists below for each device to help me try to make a decision on a which one to buy. It isn't easy and it comes down to design versus services, company history, and speculation about the future. I would greatly appreciate your comments that I will read to help me try to narrow down my decision. Our new CMS doesn't have the ability to create a poll, but I would be interested in seeing which device you prefer.

HTC Windows Phone 8X

 

Windows Phone 8 decision time: Samsung, HTC, or Nokia

I had the chance to hold this device in New York a few weeks ago, but was unable to test out the Windows Phone 8 OS at all since Microsoft still has a lockdown on showing it off until next week. The hardware and design is FANTASTIC though and if I was just interested in the coolest looking and feeling product then my decision would be easy. I think my wife and oldest daughter will be getting the 8X on T-Mobile as soon as they are released since they like good design and feel while services and high end geeky features don't mean as much to them. Here are my current thoughts on the HTC Windows Phone 8X:

 

  • Excellent design and feel in the hand
  • Brilliant color options
  • Solid camera technology with useful ultra-wide angle front facing camera (self portraits with friends and family are very popular with my crowd)
  • Availability likely on the four major carriers
  • Attractive 4.3 inch super LCD 2 display
  • Beats Audio with integrated amp
  • Minimal HTC services, basic Windows Phone 8 experience
  • Not well known for timely software updates

HTC Windows Phone 8S

I personally will buy the highest end model of Windows Phone 8 from HTC or Nokia, but the 8S is a device for others to consider too. I do like the multi-color casing scheme and if design and color were my main considerations I may try to get one of these.

 

WP8s

 

Here are my thoughts on the HTC Windows Phone 8S:

  • Attractive multi-color shell
  • Replaceable microSD storage card
  • Beats Audio

Nokia Lumia 920

 

NUSA-920-PP-Image-Carousal-Images-01-png

I have the Nokia Lumia 900 now and the services I have, when compared to other Windows Phone devices, are of great value to me and the ability to get that on the 920 is very attractive. Nokia's cool new touchscreen technology, with support for stylus and gloves, looks to be very useful as winter approaches. Here are my current thoughts that have me with the Nokia Lumia 920 right now at the top of my list:

 

  • Display technology
  • Nokia Maps, including turn-by-turn and offline navigation
  • Wireless charging
  • PureView camera with Carl Zeiss optics has been shown to stand out above others
  • FREE Nokia Music service
  • Other exclusive Nokia apps are useful and worth value
  • AT&T exclusive is NOT a good thing
  • Design doesn't appear to be as sleek as the HTC 8X, but I need to hold both first before passing final judgement
  • Very responsive to issues and sending out software updates

Nokia Lumia 820/810

Nokia-Lumia-810-hero

I won't be getting the Lumia 820/810 for myself, but the 810 is going to be on T-Mobile so I am considering it as an option over the 8X for my wife and oldest daughter. The 820/810 actually has some features that may sway people to get this over the 920, notwithstanding the AT&T exclusivity. Here are my current thoughts on the Nokia Lumia 820 and Lumia 810:

 

  • Smaller 4.3 inch ClearBlack display with lower resolution
  • FREE Nokia Music service and Nokia Maps
  • Replaceable cover with ability for wireless charging
  • Removable battery
  • Replaceable microSD storage card

Samsung Ativ S

SamsungAtivS_side_610x455

The Samsung Galaxy S III is a fantastic Android smartphone and Samsung is doing the simple thing and basically taking this hardware and putting in Windows Phone 8, which is a strategy most manufacturers took the first time with Windows Phone 7. That isn't necessarily a bad thing though since the GSIII is great. Here are my thoughts on the Ativ S:

  • Large 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED display
  • Slick design with solid camera experience
  • Large 2,300 mAh battery
  • Expandable memory via microSD card slot

For my personal choice, I am going to go with a device on AT&T and have it be either the HTC 8X or the Nokia Lumia 920. I have my iPhone 5 on Verizon and new Samsung Galaxy Note II on T-Mobile so have no plans to add Windows Phone 8 on those carriers. As you can see above, it primarily comes down to services or design so please give me your feedback and recommendations to consider as there may be more I haven't thought about. I will also try to get some hands-on time with these devices to make an even more informed decision as well.

Related ZDNet coverage

Topics: Mobility, AT&T, HTC, Nokia, Samsung, Smartphones, Telcos, Verizon

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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