I'm ready to upgrade my mobile but I'm not sure which phone to choose. All of my friends have an Android phone or iPhone, but I'm thinking about switching from my BlackBerry to something with Windows Phone.
Can you please tell me which Windows Phone smartphones are best?
Callum Bennett via email on 10 May, 2012
When it comes to choosing a new mobile phone, we've never had so much choice. It can be quite a daunting task and knowing where to start is often quite tricky.
Of course, you can compare mobile phone deals or just see which network offers the handset you want. Alternatively, as you've pointed out, we can now shop for a smartphone looking at which operating system we'd most like to use.
The most popular mobile software right now is the Google-operated Android platform, which is used to power smartphones from HTC, Samsung and Sony, among others. Meanwhile, Apple's operating system, iOS, is exclusive to the company's own devices, such as the iPhone 4S and iPad.
Although unlikely to be the first choice of many as yet, the Windows Phone mobile platform is now beginning to gather some support. It has lots of similarities to both Android and Apple software, as well as sharing some of the same qualities as a BlackBerry mobile too.
Before you decide which smartphone to buy, you need to be sure that Windows Phone is the right choice for you, then you just have to pick the device you'd most like to be seen with! Keep reading for the Mobilechoices.co.uk guide to the best Windows Phone handsets around.
When thinking of mobile operating systems, the first which springs to mind is probably Android. The latest figures show Google's platform is powering around half of all smartphones sold globally. Then, of course, there's the iPhone which runs on Apple's own iOS software.
Windows Phone is in many ways the underdog. Despite being the mobile equivalent of Microsoft's ubiquitous PC operating system, the number of handsets in the UK it powers is tiny compared with the likes of Apple and Android.
But its lesser-known status shouldn't mean you don't even consider it when choosing a smartphone. There are now some really great handsets making excellent use of what Windows Phone has to offer. Read on for some of the key things to bear in mind.
The majority of what Windows Phone can do is remarkably similar to Android and even bears a striking resemblance to iOS at times. However, there are a few stand out features which could make Windows Phone a better choice for you.
For starters, if you're an Xbox gamer, the integration of Xbox Live on smartphones powered by Windows Phone might be enough to sway your decision. It means you can unlock achievements while commuting to work, using your existing Xbox Live gamer tag.
If your smartphone's more for work than for play, then the seamless integration of Microsoft Office programs might be what you find most attractive.
You can access Exchange email accounts, as well as creating and editing Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents without the compatibility issues which can cause problems on other operating systems - including Apple, BlackBerry and Android.
Some of the world's best known mobile manufacturers, including Samsung, Nokia and HTC, have released smartphones powered by the Windows Phone operating system. The summary below gives just a few examples of the best ones currently on the market:
One of bestselling Windows Phone smartphones right now is the Nokia Lumia 710, closely followed by its slightly bigger brother the Nokia Lumia 800. Both mobiles run on Windows Phone 7.5 and are sturdy little things with tough Gorilla glass-coated touchscreens.
Each of them features a speedy 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor, allowing swift navigation of webpages and the slick Windows Phone interface, and thus provide an overall user experience to rival the best of what Android and Apple can offer.
Although very similar in appearance - with an identical 3.7in touch display - the more powerful of the pair, the Nokia Lumia 800, features an eigh -megapixel camera, compared with the Lumia 710's 5Mp lens, as well as an extra 8GB internal storage.
Two of the best Windows Phone handsets around are the HTC Radar and the higher spec HTC Titan, which also both run version 7.5 of the Windows Phone platform, better known by its fruity nickname Mango.
Both smartphones have a powerful Qualcomm chipset onboard - though the Titan's 1.5GHz processor offers even quicker and slicker performance than the Radar's 1GHz - making either a strong competitor to the likes of the HTC Sensation or HTC Desire S, which are powered by Android.
Also worth a mention is the HTC Pro 7. First released in January 2011, it's one of the older Windows Phone 7 handsets on the market, but its slide-out QWERTY keypad makes it ideal if you do lots of typing on the move - or if you haven't yet adapted to on-screen keyboards.
Another handset that's been knocking around a while - since long before Samsung shifted its focus almost entirely to Android - is the Samsung Omnia 7. It's less powerful and impressive than, say, the Samsung Galaxy S II, but still puts up a good fight in the reasonably-priced smartphone category.
Its core assets include a vibrant 4in Super AMOLED touch display - designed to consume less battery power without compromising on brightness - and a pretty decent 5Mp camera complete with LED flash. It also packs a relatively feisty 1GHz Scorpion processor.
For a smartphone similar to the Samsung Omnia 7, but with extra internal storage, you might consider the LG Optimus 7. It's quite bulky and weighs considerably more than most other phones of its size, but provides an affordable alternative to the Android-powered likes of athe LG Optimus Black.
It's one of the lesser known brands in the UK market, but Chinese firm ZTE is actually one of the world's biggest manufacturers of mobiles. Its latest Windows Phone 7.5 handset, the ZTE Tania has a large 4.3in display in many ways is similar to the Nokia Lumia 710, but ideal for those on a budget.