Updated April 20, 2017: We've refreshed this list to include the Alcatel Idol 4S, which is soon coming to Europe under the name Idol 4 Pro.

Best overall

Lumia 950 XL

See at Microsoft Store

The Lumia 950 XL is one heck of a phone, all things considered. It boasts a 1440p, 5.7-inch display that makes everything look downright gorgeous, a 20-megapixel PureView camera, wireless charging capability, and a 3340mAh battery. Everything you love about Windows 10 Mobile can be found here, including Continuum, Windows Hello, and your personal assistant, Cortana. Finally, you get some Lumia exclusives like Glance not found yet on other Windows 10 Mobile phones.

Bottom-line: For the Windows phone that can do it all, you have to go with the Lumia 950 XL.

One more thing: The Lumia 950 is also available for about $100 less, and has most of what you love about the 950 XL but in a smaller body and a slightly slower processor (Snapdragon 808).

Why the Lumia 950 XL is the best

Despite being relatively thin and light, the Lumia 950 XL comes packed with features and enough power to tackle any challenge you throw its way.

Microsoft decided to go with a double-threat flagship offering which brought us both the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. While the two phones share a lot of similarities, the 950 XL is definitely the better phone.

The 5.7-inch AMOLED display has a 1440x2560 resolution, which makes pretty much everything you view look amazing. Contrast is perfect, it's plenty bright for when you're using your phone in direct sunlight, and colors really pop out at you (you can adjust the color profile in settings too). Getting stuff done, especially when using Microsoft Office apps, is a breeze because of the size of the screen.

Even those of you with relatively small hands shouldn't find the phone uncomfortable to use over long periods of time. Big phones are usually heavy, but the Lumia 950 XL is surprisingly light at 5.82 ounces (165 grams). The body is also quite thin considering how much is packed into it, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage.

This phone is seriously a pleasure 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.

Windows phones wouldn't be the same without all the mobile platform goodies, which you'll find here. A built-in iris scanner works with Windows Hello to add an extra layer of security to your device, Cortana is waiting to lend a hand, and Microsoft Continuum lets you plug in your phone at your desk to take advantage of a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. If you travel a lot or if you want to manage two numbers on the same phone, the Lumia 950 XL has a dual-SIM feature.

The plastic back of the phone pops off to reveal the removable 3340mAh battery which has more than enough juice to get you through the day. If you like to keep your battery topped up, the Lumia 950 XL has Qi wireless charging capability. For the fashion conscious out there, you can pick up different backs for the phone, or you can choose from black and white options straight from the factory. The Lumia 950 XL, everything included, starts at about $500.

Best budget

Lumia 650

See at Amazon

For the price you're paying — about $200 — the Lumia 650 is an amazing phone. The display, a 5-inch 720p AMOLED panel, has a crisp picture with vivid colors, and can be easily read despite its lower resolution. It comes with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera that can record 720p video, a 5MP front-facing camera, and it has 16GB internal storage that can be expanded up to 200GB with a microSD card. So where does the price difference really appear? You won't find Windows Hello or Microsoft Continuum here.

Bottom-line: If you love the Lumia line of phones, but don't want to pay top dollar for a Lumia 950 XL, you'll definitely want to go with the Lumia 650.

One more thing: The Lumia 640 is a comparable phone and can be had for even less, sometimes in the sub-$50 range — but that's only if you manage to find one. It also does not ship with Windows 10 Mobile, so you'll have to do a rather lengthy upgrade process to get it to the latest OS.

Best business

HP Elite x3

HP Elite x3

See at Microsoft Store

HP's Windows phone is essentially a PC that's been shrunk down to fit in your pocket. An enormous 5.96-inch, 1440p AMOLED display lets you get more done when combined with Microsoft Office apps, and if you're sitting at your desk, you can use Microsoft Continuum to hook things up to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. HP understands how important security is in the business world, which is why they included fingerprint and iris scanners. The front-facing camera is a respectable 8MP to ensure you come in clear during conference calls, and the 4150mAh battery will keep your phone on and working for the entire day. This phone starts at about $600 with a desktop dock included.

Bottom-line: If you want to get a phone that was built from the ground up with business in mind, have a look at the HP Elite x3.

One more thing: Check out my review for much more information on the HP Elite x3.

Best for VR

Alcatel Idol 4S

See at Microsoft Store

This first-class offering from Alcatel features a glass and metal body 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. A 3,000mAh battery will get you through a day and then some, and a fingerprint reader 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 just $400.

Bottom line: For the best Windows phone that's also compatible with a VR headset, you have to go with the Alcatel Idol 4S.

One more thing: Have a look at my review for a more detailed look at the Alcatel Idol 4S.

Conclusion

If you want a great Windows phone but don't want to shell out the big bucks, check out the Lumia 650. If you're in the market for a phone that was designed specifically for the business-oriented, you'll want the HP Elite x3. Interested in VR? Check out the Alcatel Idol 4S. For the best overall Windows phone, stick with the Lumia 950 XL, which can be found on the cheap these days too.

Best overall phone

Lumia 950 XL

See at Microsoft Store

The Lumia 950 XL is one heck of a phone, all things considered. It boasts a 1440p 5.7-inch display that makes everything look downright gorgeous, a 20-megapixel camera, wireless charging capability, and a 3340mAh battery. Everything you love about Windows 10 Mobile can be found here, including Continuum, Windows Hello, and your personal assistant, Cortana.

Bottom-line: For the Windows phone that can do it all, you have to go with the Lumia 950 XL.

One more thing: The Lumia 950 is also available for about $100 less, and has most of what you love about the 950 XL but in a smaller body.