Need a new business phone? Android and iPhone aren’t your only options.
Need a new business phone? Android and iPhone aren't your only options. Microsoft's Windows Phone platform is packed with business-friendly features, and the recent release of Windows Phone 8.1— a major operating-system update — brings Windows Phone closer to matching the features offered by those other platforms.
Windows Phone 8.1 marks the debut of Cortana, Microsoft's voice-activated personal assistant, whose context-sensitive alerts and voice commands are sure to improve your productivity. Windows Phone 8.1 also introduces a new notification hub called the Action Center, which puts all of your alerts in one place; simply swipe down from the top of your phone's display to access it.
However, Windows Phone does have some drawbacks. The Windows Phone Store has a smaller selection of apps than competing platforms do — about 200,000 apps, compared with the more than 1 million each for Android and iOS. But don't let that discourage you; Windows Phone easily covers all of your basic business needs.
The platform has other benefits, such as security that's comparable to that of iOS and better than Android's, as well as native integration with Microsoft Office. If you're not sure which Windows Phone to pick, here are six of the best.
Nokia Lumia 1520
A big display is a real asset for business users. The Lumia 1520 stands out thanks to its massive 6-inch, 1080p display, which offers enough screen real estate to do real work. That makes the Lumia 1520 a good pick if you need to view and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations on the go. And the Lumia 1520 is one of the most powerful Windows Phone devices available, so busy business users can look forward to smoother browsing and snappier multitasking. Additionally, the phone's epic 11.5-hour battery life means you can work longer in between charges. But to get all those features, you'll have to sacrifice portability; the Lumia 1520 is a large, hefty device, tipping the scales at just less than a half a pound.
Samsung ATIV SE
Samsung's ATIV SE might be the best Windows Phone that's not made by Nokia. It features a sharp, roomy, 5-inch display; a fast processor; and long battery life. It's also the first Samsung smartphone to run Windows Phone 8.1. The ATIV SE features a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM, so you can expect snappy performance and smooth multitasking. In addition, its sharp, 5-inch, 1080p display is big enough for real productivity but doesn't sacrifice too much portability. The ATIV SE also packs a beefy battery, so you can expect above-average endurance from the device. That's important for business users who rely on their mobile device to help them stay connected and productive through the end of the workday.
Nokia Lumia 1320
Large 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. But for those on a tighter budget, the Nokia Lumia 1320 is a good pick. The 6-inch Lumia 1320 has a lot in common with the equally huge Lumia 1520, but it's half the price, making it an enticing choice for business users on a budget. But there are plenty of trade-offs: The Lumia 1320 has 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 and an eye-popping 12 hours of battery life. 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.
Nokia Lumia Icon
If you're looking for the total package in a Windows Phone device, the Lumia Icon might be the smartphone for you. It packs speedy performance and tons of features into a handset that's just the right size for business users. Its large 5-inch display allows for easier multitasking, and makes basic business tasks, such as checking and responding to email, more comfortable. At the same time, the Icon is much more portable than pocket-stretching phablets such as the Lumia 1520. But what makes the Icon a flagship phone are its top-tier internals. The Icon packs a 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM. For business users, that translates into speedy performance and snappy multitasking so you can stay productive on the go.
Nokia Lumia 925
The Nokia Lumia 925 is a Windows Phone that's easy to overlook. It has a relatively small 4.5-inch display, but it is thin, light and easy to grip. It's not as fast as phones such as the Lumia Icon, but its dual-core processor still provides speedy performance and responsive multitasking. Another perk is the phone's sleek aluminum sides, which help make it the most professional-looking Windows Phone yet. Meanwhile, its relatively low price tag makes it a great choice for small business owners. In other words, the Lumia 925 is a midrange smartphone that's a good compromise between top-tier phones and budget devices.