Nokia's new Lumia 530 is a Windows 8.1 smartphone for budget-minded business users. It doesn't have a powerful processor or a large display, but it is set to become the most affordable device running Microsoft's new Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. That's a big perk for business users, since the OS update packs in tons of productivity-boosting features, including a new voice-activated digital assistant. You can't pick up the Lumia 530 just yet; it's set to hit store shelves sometime in August. While you wait, read on for three features that could make this budget-priced handset worth a look.
Not everyone needs a smartphone with flashy specs and a huge, sharp display. Business users with only basic computing needs can make do with a smartphone like the Lumia 530, which packs a modest quad-core processor with 512GB of RAM, a compact 4-inch display and just 4GB of internal storage. It's a budget phone for a budget price — just a little more than $100 off-contract, and likely much less when you commit to a two-year contract through a major carrier.
What helps this modest smartphone stand out is its support for Windows Phone 8.1, the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system. The platform packs in tons of new features that older versions of Windows Phone lacked, including the Action Center, a hub where you can see all of your notifications and alerts in a single spot — just swipe down from the top of the display to access it. Another noteworthy feature is the inclusion of actionable notifications — when a new message or email arrives, a notification will pop up, with options to respond or ignore, without the need to launch and navigate through your messaging app. Microsoft also improved the Calendar app, the keyboard and much more in this release.
One of the biggest additions to Windows Phone 8.1 is Cortana, a digital-assistant app that pushes alerts to you and responds to voice commands. When you launch Cortana on the Lumia 530, you can use verbal commands to perform a variety of actions, such as setting a reminder, retrieving the weather forecast or performing a quick Web search. Cortana can also monitor your email inbox and Calendar app to push useful alerts and notifications to you before you ask for them.