Mega-size smartphones have obvious appeal for business users. So-called phablets offer large displays that provide ample screen space to complete productivity tasks on the go. But bigger phones usually come with higher price points, and you'll have to shell out a big chunk of change to get a top-tier phablet. For everyone else, there are more affordable, midrange phablets such as the Nokia Lumia 1320.
The 6-inch Lumia 1320 packs most of the same features that make the equally huge Lumia 1520 such a great business device, but at half the price. There are plenty of tradeoffs: the Lumia 1320 sports a lower resolution display, a slower processor, less internal storage and other downgrades compared to the more premium phablet. But it retains many of its strengths, including a sprawling display, eye-popping battery life and the Windows Phone operating system, which features Microsoft Office integration and a host of handy features for business users.
The centerpiece of the Lumia 1320 is its massive 6-inch display, and business users can benefit from the extra screen real estate afforded here. The 1320's big display is more comfortable for basic tasks such as email and Web browsing, compared with the cramped screens on smaller devices. And it offers the space you'll need to view or edit documents and spreadsheets on your smartphone.
That could come in handy, considering that this phone features full integration with Microsoft's desktop Office suite, and ships with fully featured mobile versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Lumia 1320's large display also allows room for a bigger touch-screen keyboard for more comfortable typing in those programs.
To make this new Windows Phone phablet more affordable, Nokia scaled back the screen resolution considerably. The Lumia 1320 has a 1280 x 720-pixel display, compared with the Lumia 1520's 1920 x 1080 resolution. Still, the 1320's AMOLED display provides bright colors and wide viewing angles, and should be sharp enough for the average business user.
The operating system
The Lumia 1320's big screen makes the Windows Phone operating system even better for business by putting the spotlight on Live Tiles. Instead of launching apps to check your calendar or view notifications, Live Tiles display relevant information right on your home screen — and the Lumia 1320's big screen can display more tiles than ever before so you never miss a message or meeting.
And the phone ships with Lumia Black, a new software upgrade that adds productivity-boosting features. That includes a new and improved "glance screen," which saves you time and energy by displaying the current time on your Lumia Phone, even when the screen is in standby mode. Now notifications have been added to the glance screen, making it even more useful. It lets you see alerts for emails, text messages, missed calls and more at a glance, without draining battery life because only the pixels that are needed are lit up.
The Lumia Black software also includes handy screen-sharing functionality to help you collaborate remotely with a colleague on another smartphone. Meanwhile, the new "Beamer" feature lets you beam whatever is on your phone to any larger, Internet-connected display, so you can use your Windows Phone like a projector for business presentations.
Like other Windows Phones, the Lumia 1520 features native integration with Microsoft's Office 365 cloud ecosystem for seamless switch between devices. That means you can edit a Word document or PowerPoint presentation on your phone, then access the edited document from any other connected Windows Phone, tablet or PC. If Microsoft Office is part of your daily work flow, this functionality could give you a boost when you're away from the office. In addition to Word, Excel and PowerPoint, the Lumia 1320 also ships with Microsoft OneNote, a robust application for taking and organizing notes.
Business users who have never owned a Windows Phone, however, should make sure the platform supports the apps they need. The Windows Phone Store is perhaps best known for having a much smaller selection of apps than competing platforms – about 200,000, compared to selections of more than 1 million on Android and iOS. That doesn't mean there isn't a Windows phone app to cover all the needs of business users. If you're looking for a good calendar app, or a popular productivity app such as Evernote, you're likely to find it. The Windows Phone Store is also growing fast. But for now, if you're loyal to a particular mobile app or service, make sure it's available on Windows Phone before committing to the platform.
The Lumia 1320 packs a huge battery to match its huge display. The hefty 3,400 mAh battery will keep your phone running for up to 12 hours of continuous Wi-Fi browsing. With average use, the phone could last for two full days or more before it needs a charge. Battery life this long really benefits business users who depend on their smartphone and simply can't afford to be disconnected due to a dead battery.
Nokia's new smartphone is far from the best business phablet on the market – that distinction probably belongs to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3. But the Lumia 1320 has most of the features that really matter to business users: a big, bright display, useful software and long battery life. And it's more affordable than top-tier phablets, making it a good pick for business users on a budget. A phone this big isn't for everyone, but if you can handle the bulk, the Lumia 1320 could prove to be a worthy mobile business companion.