Nokia's Lumia 930 might be the best Windows Phone for business yet. Actually, the 5-inch smartphone has a lot in common with the flagship Nokia Lumia Icon, a device that debuted in the United States earlier this year as a Verizon Wireless exclusive. But now business users in the United States can pick up the Lumia 930, a redesigned version of the Lumia Icon, without committing to a pricey two-year contract. You'll pay a bit more upfront — the Lumia 930 costs $599 — but by opting for a more affordable data plan through another carrier, you could save a bunch of money in the long run. So what will that money get you? Check out a full review of the Lumia 930 at our sister site Laptop Mag, or read on for five features that make it good for work.
Alongside the Lumia Icon and the Lumia 1520, the Lumia 930 is the most powerful Windows Phone to date. It packs a 2.2-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM, which translates into snappy performance and responsive multitasking. It's not as fast as other flagship phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the iPhone 5s, but it's more than speedy enough to help the average business user stay productive on the go.
The Lumia 930's sharp 5-inch display strikes a good balance between productivity and portability. That means it's large enough for screen-intensive tasks such as editing a spreadsheet on the go, and even everyday business tasks like browsing the Web or checking your email are more comfortable on a screen this size. Still, the Lumia 930 isn't as big as phablets like the enormous Lumia 1520, which packs a pocket-stretching 6-inch display. In other words, it's big enough to work on without sacrificing too much portability.
Windows Phone 8.1
The Lumia 930 runs on Windows Phone 8.1, the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system, which adds tons of productivity-boosting features. For starters, it introduces the Action Center, a central hub that pulls together all your alerts and notifications in one place. It works just like the notification hub in iOS and Android: swipe down from the top of the Lumia 930's display to access the Action Center. On older versions of Windows Phone, checking for new messages meant scanning for them on your home screen. Having your notifications in a single spot ensures you won't miss an important alert, and lets you dismiss alerts more easily so you can get back to work.
Other updates in Windows Phone 8.1 include a new keyboard that learns your habits as you use it. When you type in any app, the keyboard learns your style in order to provide suggestions and corrections. It can also suggest names, addresses and more, pulled right from your address book.
The calendar app also has an updated interface and a new navigation bar that lets you quickly switch between days, weeks and months by swiping right or left. And the integrated weather forecast can help you plan around upcoming storms.
Cortana is a new digital assistant app, added with Windows Phone 8.1, which can help you be more productive with context-sensitive alerts and voice commands. The app is Microsoft's answer to Siri on the iPhone and Google Now on Android phones, and brings much of the same functionality to the Lumia 930.
Just tap the Cortana app on your phone's home screen to launch the service. From there, you can state your question or command out loud, or tap it out on the touchscreen keyboard. You can use Cortana to variously set an alarm, retrieve the upcoming weather forecast, or simply to perform a Web search using voice commands.
Cortana can also monitor your email and calendar to push relevant alerts to you before you ask for them. For example, if you have a business trip planned, the service can alert you to flight delays. And if traffic is bad before your flight, Cortana can remind you to leave early for the airport. The service also introduces a new way to screen incoming phone calls. For example, if you have an appointment or meeting scheduled in your calendar, Cortana can automatically intercept it and respond with a prerecorded message. You can tweak how Cortana responds and white-list important contacts such as family members or employees so they can always get through.
Like other Windows Phone devices, the Lumia 930 has Microsoft Office built in. That's a big plus if you use Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint as part of your daily workflow. The integrated mobile apps sync with your primary Office account, so you always have access to the latest versions of all your documents. Likewise, you can view and edit documents on the Lumia 930, and any changes you make will be synchronized across all your computers and mobile devices.
If your business uses Microsoft Outlook for email, that app is also built into the Lumia 930, to ensure your employees can continue to send and receive email with their work accounts. Microsoft OneNote, a solid note-taking application, is also installed out of the box; new and edited notes will be synced automatically across your computers and devices. That includes typed notes, as well as notes taken using voice dictation and images you snap with the Lumia 930's camera.
Finally, Microsoft's Skype app on the Lumia 930 is a good way to meet remotely with employees and colleagues. And new Skype features make the service better, including the option to seamlessly "upgrade" a phone call to a video call with one tap, without interrupting the call.