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Hundreds of you replied to this tweet and to CNET’s similar outreach. Windows phone’s Metro software was a “breath of fresh air,” you said. You loved the “amazingly simple and elegant feature” of pinning apps and contacts where you wanted them. You loved that it was more focused and “ergonomic,” and that the OS had features such as iris-scanning, deep links and a profile for kidsthat were ahead of its time. Windows Phone was your sweet spot.

There’s a sliver of good news for erstwhile fans of Microsoft’s mobile software and phones. Although you won’t see any new Windows-based phones, you can recapture some of what you loved in other handsets.

A physical camera button

Most Sony Xperia phones have a physical camera button on the side.

Josh Miller/CNET

  • Try a Sony phone like the Xperia XA2 or XA2 Ultra, which has a dedicated button you can press on the phone’s spine.
  • The Google Pixel 2Pixel 2 XL and HTC U11 Plus’ squeezable frame can launch the camera or a different app depending on how you configure it.
  • Many Android phones let you double-click the power button to launch the camera.

Iris recognition with Windows Hello

  • Try the iPhone X. Its Face ID camera scans your eyes, mouth and nose to unlock the phone and authenticate mobile payments. The iPhone X ditches the fingerprint reader.
  • Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S9 is rumored to get its own version of improved face unlock, which is said to combine iris scanning and facial scanning.
  • The Galaxy Note 8Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus have iris recognition in addition to a fingerprint reader.

Home screen tiles (Metro UI)

After getting used to the tiles on your Windows Phone, both Android and iOS can seem like a boring stream of app icons. We found two Android apps that emulate the Windows Phone look. Both offer a fairly faithful rendition of Metro UI screen tiles and the vertical, alphabetical app drawer.

microsoft-windows-lumia.jpg
Nothing says Windows Phone like that grid of vibrant app tiles.

Juan Garzón / CNET

Track all social networks at the same time in one app

A BlackBerry phone. Really! The resurrected brand runs Android now, but the phone has a hub that groups your social networks into one. They support Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat, Slack, Hangouts, LinkedIn and more.

  • BlackBerry KeyOne: Comes with a physical keyboard
  • BlackBerry Motion: Has an all-touch screen

Robust Microsoft Office apps

  • Download them: You can get Office apps fon any Android or iPhone. Basic functions are free, and you can sign up for Office 365 to unlock additional features across multiple devices.
  • Preinstalled: The Galaxy S8 Microsoft Edition is sold by Microsoft and comes with software like Cortana, Microsoft Office, and OneNote already installed.

That Windows Phone dark theme

The iPhone has its own special dark theme called Smart Invert.

Matt Elliott/CNET

  • Try the Pixel 2. Google‘s Pixel phones give you a pure Android experience, but the latest batch (the Pixel 2 and 2 XL) also have a hidden dark theme
  • You can also download themes for any Android phone; many phone makers have collections of skins for you to download that activate when you give your phone a predominately black wallpaper.
  • iPhone users can do something similar on iOS with Smart Invent.
  • For a few years, the Nokia name used to be linked to Windows phone, but now HMD Global makes Nokia-branded phones that run on Android, keeping close to the same design language we saw from the original Nokia Lumia phones.

If you want a phone with a removable battery

This feature is nearly extinct. The few modern exceptions are both budget devices:

  • Moto E4
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017)

Older models with removable batteries include:

  • LG V20
  • LG G5

Kid’s Corner-like profile for monitored phone use

On the iPhone:

  • The iPhone has Guided Access, which restricts your device to only use one app and require a passcode or Touch ID to change (Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access).
  • Once you set this up, you can make a shortcut that lets you triple click the home button to start. So, you’d just put on your kid’s favorite cartoon, triple click the home button and hand off your phone to your wide-eyed offspring.

On an Android phone:

  • Guest mode lets you set up a new, “fresh” profile for others to use on your phone. It keeps them from peeping your personal data. It’s on the Google Pixel 2 and OnePlus 5T, but not every Android phone, so it’s worth checking yours.
  • Go a step further to create a user account for your kids, which basically creates a new device configuration with its own apps and settings, which lives separately from your usual setup.
  • Pinning an app to the screen, which restricts the device to just one app once you set this up. Hitting the Home, Back or Lock buttons won’t work until the feature is disabled. It should work on most Android phones (you may need to check in other security sub-folders).

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