First off - it works great as a phone. Calls are clear in both directions and volume is good, even with traffic in the background. The included in-ear phones have a mic attached with a button for answering and hanging up calls which again provide clear audio.
Speech and Voice
You can also configure the handset to read out your texts and also give you the option to read a reply back. This option can be enabled for Bluetooth devices or all headsets. The quality of the text to speech varies - I have had it translate a full message on the first try and yet still refuse to recognise the word bro. The speech to text function does require a data connection - your speech is processed in the “cloud”. This does mean that the quality and speed of recognition is far better than you could expect from local processing. You can also use speech to control some functionality, such as making calls, sending a text or dictating an email (see http://www.windowsphone.com/en-nz/how-to/wp8/basics/use-speech-on-my-phone). Again quality varies depending on your accent and your choice of words.
Windows Phone 8 supports a number of email account types and you can have a combination of them:
- Outlook (Exchange ActiveSync, outlook.com, Office 365)
- Nokia Mail
- Yahoo Mail
The most common you will see deployed in corporate environments is Outlook - either with On-Premise Exchange, Hosted Exchange or Office 365. All of these support the deployment of ActiveSync policies - which allow the lockdown of certain device settings such as password policy, device encryption and remote wipe. The other account types provide calendaring, contacts and email, but no device management.
Inboxes can be linked or kept separate. I have a Personal Inbox which collects my GMail and outlook.com addresses into one inbox, while my work email is kept in a separate container. Contacts however are all combined by default, but you can exclude them from display on an account by account basis. Calendars from all accounts are visible in the Calendar app again, separated by colour (which you can choose). These can be turned off and on per calendar. You can for example have multiple Google Calendars and only choose to display some of them.
The 1020’s large screen is great for reading email. Size and the high resolution means text is sharp and Windows Phone 8’s particular text style means it is easy to read. The inbox and folder views are white/grey and blue text on a black background. Swiping cycles between all, unread, flagged and urgent emails.
Reading a message is black on white. I haven’t had any issues with content not rendering correctly. When a message is open you can tap respond - which gives you the option to reply, reply to all or forward. The other buttons are delete, previous message and next message. Nothing revolutionary there, but very usable and easy to read.
Again, nothing amazing about the on screen keyboard - it just works. My only issue is it takes up a lot of the screen. The line above the keyboard shows word suggestions based on what you are typing. Words can be added to the dictionary, otherwise it is fairly comprehensive. I find it the keyboard much easier to use than the iOS or stock Android equivalent - especially on the 1020’s larger screen.
Citrix and Remote Desktop
Windows Phone 7 suffered from a lack of remote desktop and citrix apps - luckily both are present on 8. Citrix Receiver is available from the Store and works as you expect, which in my experience means it is an entertaining novelty. While it is cool to launch Office and other business apps on my phone, their utility is severely limited by a too small screen. This is not the 1020’s fault - I don’t consider anything smaller than 10 inches to be actually useful for remote screen purposes. The issue is made worse when you have to use the keyboard, which takes up half your screen!
What it doesn’t do
So that’s all the good stuff, what isn’t great? No VPN support of any kind is available on Windows Phone 8, though it is promised for early 2014. S/MIME and Certificate management are also missing and again planned for early 2014 (apparently).
The device management functionality is also limited to that provided by ActiveSync - which is a long way from what is available in iOS. Yet again - updates are promised in 2014.
My Geekzone username is wasabi2. I am an IT consultant located in Auckland. I am currently working at SKYCITY. I have been interested in technology since I was a kid, where I got started breaking the family PC. These days I spend a lot of time keeping up to date with the latest tech. My house has all mobile ecosystems covered (Android, iOS, Windows Phone).
Other related posts:
Nokia Lumia 1020 Social Features
Nokia Lumia 1020: some photos
Nokia Lumia 1020: my usage
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