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Windows Phone 8 Review: Good, But Not Good Enough

Stocks in this article: MSFT GOOG AAPL

3. Other Issues

No AirPlay. Apple has the great advantage of selling the $99 AppleTV, which can play almost anything from/through the iOS device with outstanding ease.

Price. You can buy a Google Nexus device for as little as $299 unlocked, contract-free. Then you can trek to Walmart and buy unlimited data for as little as $30 per month. So far, Microsoft has only announced contract-based prices (industry-typical, at $199 and a little less), forcing you to pay outrageous monthly fees to carriers. With these, you lose the international flexibility of a SIM-unlocked device. I will never again buy any smartphone that's not SIM-unlocked and not contract-free.

Bottom Line

Windows Phone 8 is great for some users but not for most.

The computing industry has now arrived at a point of ecosystem lock-in with only a few ways to be multiplatform as a user. In this brave new world, Windows Phone 8 is a strong performer in terms of its basic operating system stability. However, too many apps are still missing, and if you are already knee-deep into the Android and iOS ecosystems, I simply cannot see any compelling reason you would want to switch to Windows Phone 8 except for those mentioned above.

The vast majority of smartphone users are better off buying the Nexus 4 directly from Google for $299 (and up) and choosing the cheapest possible month-to-month data for as low as $30, which will save them more than $1,000 over two years, while at the same time giving them a smartphone with more and better apps. For those willing to spend a lot more money, the iPhone 5 is a worthy contender for the smartphone throne as well.

At the time of publication, Wahlman was long GOOG, AAPL and MSFT.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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