Nokia: Thick and HeavyAccording to camera experts, Nokia is the best. The Nokia also has inductive charging, for those who care about that. Now for the bad news: Nokia is extremely heavy and thick, even with its good 2,000 mAh battery. Unless you're a camera buff, Nokia isn't the best Windows Phone.
HTC: Class-Leading DesignThese new HTC designs give Apple a run for its money. I spent a week with the high-end 8X, which is extremely thin and light, and has a curved back, wrapped in a soft-touch material. You absolutely must hold this in your hand. If "feel" were among the criteria for display at The Museum of Modern Art, this phone would be hanging on the wall there.
Samsung: The Bigger BatteryIf you have seen a Galaxy S III, you have pretty much seen the Samsung ATIV. It's a fully competent, very thin, light smartphone with a relatively boring/standard design. Nothing wrong with that! Most importantly, the Samsung has the largest battery of all the new Windows Phones: 2,300 mAh. Before I outline my criticisms of Windows Phone 8, let me note the system's positives. And yes, for some people these will be sufficient and legitimate reasons to pick Windows Phone 8 over iPhone and Android/Nexus.
Software: The Advantages1. Skype Microsoft acquired Skype a year ago, and it will soon (days, weeks?) make available full Skype integration into Windows Phone 8. This is proper Skype, all-IP end-to-end. It will also work in a way that ensures it is connected persistently, but yet does not draw material battery power. No doubt, this is a huge selling point. 2. Microsoft Office For the remaining souls who have not yet migrated to Google Docs, which I find to be so much better, the Office integration is superb. I might add "obviously" as that brings out the larger point of the vertical services integration for all the major ecosystems: Apple, Microsoft and Google. 3. SkyDrive Surprise! For reasons similar to Office, SkyDrive integration is great, and SkyDrive is much better than Apple's iCloud. It's not necessarily better than Google Drive, though. 4. Kid's Corner This is basically a long-overdue "guest mode" for the smartphone industry. It happens all the time that you want or need to hand your phone to someone else, and the ability to put them into "guest mode" is a material advantage. I wonder how long it will take Apple and Google to match this. For the time being, however, this is a strong Microsoft advantage.