New Lumia 650 looks nice but misses Windows 10 Mobiles best feature

Microsoft logoMicrosoft has announced a new phone running Windows: the Lumia 650. As its name numerically implies, this phone sits closer to the low-end $139 (£100) Lumia 550 than the high-end Lumia 950 and 950XL. On the outside, it has a 5-inch 1280×720 OLED screen and an 8MP camera; the inside features a quad core Snapdragon 212 at 1.3GHz, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage, and LTE support.

The device will cost around $199 in the US and around £150-160 in the UK. It's available in black and white, and both options are attractive. With a metal band around the edge, the 650 looks more like the Lumia 830 and 930/Icon than it does the Lumia 950, and it's better for itit looks smarter and more high-end than the flagship phones.

But those looks are deceiving. The specs and pricing are on the low end. Microsoft is marketing the phone as a strong choice for business users, but the device's low specs seem to undermine that positioning. In particular, the phone lacks biometric authentication and doesn't support Windows 10 Mobile's Continuum feature that lets you hook up the phone to a mouse, keyboard, and screen to use it in a desktop-like way. These are the features we'd expect low-end phones to omit, but they're also features that ought to have particular appeal to business users.

New Lumia 650 looks nice but misses Windows 10 Mobiles best feature

The problem is that these features have specific hardware requirementsbiometric sensors and a processor that supports dual displayswhich drive up the hardware cost. This creates an awkward contradiction. On the one hand, Windows on phones has been at its most successful with a range of attractive and capable budget handsets. On the other, the major unique features of Windows 10 Mobile will both be exclusive to high-end handsets for now.

Of course, the 650 does sport all of Windows 10 Mobile's other business-oriented features such as Office and remote management because they don't have the same hardware dependence.

Similarly peculiar is the phone's carrier support. Verizon is estimated at having around half of the business market, but like the Lumia 950 and 950XL before it, the 650 does not have the right CDMA support for use on Verizon's legacy 2G and 3G networks. Microsoft's documentation suggests that the phone will be offered through CricketWireless, AT&T's low-cost prepaid subsidiary. The device makes sense as a low-cost option for the budget-conscious, but business-oriented users will probably find it lacking.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Microsoft, smartphones, Windows 10 Mobile

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