Microsoft's Lumia 650

Microsoft Lumia 650: the business phone

Microsoft's Lumia 650 (Image: Microsoft)

10 March 2016

After the recent introduction of the flagship Lumia 950 and 950 XL models, Microsoft has addressed the other end of the spectrum with another business oriented, but decidedly lower spec Lumia 650.

This is still a capable platform, sporting as it does a Snapdragon 212, quad-core 1300 Mhz processor supported by 2GB of RAM, 16GB and upwards internal storage with SD card expansion up to 200GB, a 127mm (5”), 1280 x 720 (297 ppi), OLED screen protected by Gorilla Glass.

There is front facing 5MP and a rear facing 8MP camera, connectivity via Wi-Fi: IEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, and a 2000 mAh battery giving around 16 hours talk time, as well as the usual range of sensors from accelerometer and ambient light to proximity sensor, and a range of native apps, including: Creative Studio, Excel app, Gadgets, Lumia Help+Tips, Maps, OneDrive, OneNote, Photos Add-ins, PowerPoint app, Skype, Transfer my Data, Word app. Alas, Cortana, the intelligent virtual assistant is still not available in Ireland, with no word as to when it will be.

So all in all, this is a serious business phone in an aluminium body that is designed for productivity, easy management and best of all very affordable. But the only real criticism is that it lacks support for the Continuum mode as enabled by the new Windows Phone dock seen with its 9 series siblings.

With the 950 and 950XL, via their USB type C connectors and the Windows Phone Dock, those devices can output to a full 4K display where their apps automatically scale to provide a desktop experience from your phone.

This means for a rapid day trip to do a key presentation, no bulky device is need, just slip your phone in one pocket and dock in the other and away you go.

Not meant to be a replacement or even competitor to a tablet/laptop/desktop experience, this mode of operation is a stopgap option for when the others are not available or do not suit.

Having been more than once glad of being able to take a tablet instead of a desktop replacement laptop to a meeting or event, the value is clear. So there was some consternation when there was no mention of it in the release materials for the 650.

The intrepid news hounds at SlashGear were quickest off the mark and got a response from Redmond that said:

“We are aiming to deliver the most productive Windows 10 Mobile devices at all price points,” said an official Microsoft spokesperson. “With the Lumia 650, our goal was to create a beautiful device that’s affordable for businesses to buy and deploy.”

“In this price range we are giving customers smart business tools, including seamless Office and OneDrive integration and Cortana, so users can stay productive and synced across all Windows 10 devices. We encourage users looking for Continuum productivity features to explore the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL.”

So price then is the answer. To output to a large display takes a fair amount of horsepower and to meet the budget requirements of the brief and the needs of those aspects of Continuum seems to have been beyond current technology options.

Had the 650 been released in isolation, this would not have been a criticism, but as it is actually the stand-out feature of its stablemates, it was lamentable.

So that leaves a very capable, business-oriented device, with huge productivity and manageability aspects at a very competitive price. Not a bad set of attributes for smart phone.

The Lumia 650 will be available from free on bill pay and from around €200 contract free or pay as you go.


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