One of the long awaited additions to Windows Phone is ‘Cortana’, Microsoft’s equivalent to Siri and Google Voice Search and I’m pleased to say it doesn’t disappoint.
Cortana, with her lovely soothing tone works well for a first attempt. Speech recognition is fast and accurate and it is well integrated with the core functions – however, it is currently only available for the Lumia 630 in the US.
Purchase your Nokia Lumia 630 outside the States and you won’t initially benefit from this feature, but the UK release of Cortana is scheduled to arrive on the Lumia 630 by the end of the year, so it should be here any day now.
There are a number of built-in entertainment features to the Nokia Lumia 630 including Mix Radio which is a nice alternative to Last.fm or Spotify.
Available both online and offline, Mix Radio offers a number of playlists compiled by Microsoft’s music experts, or allows you to search and compile your own playlists.
As with Spotify, Mix Radio also offers radio stations based on your music tastes and you can also share your mixes with your friends via Facebook and Twitter.
Another nice addition is the introduction of the Wordflow Keyboard. The swipe typing works well but I found it doesn’t quite have the smart prediction and smoothness of other more established alternatives such as Swiftkey.
Windows Phone 8.1 also comes with Skype pre-installed and is set to automatically connect whenever and wherever possible allowing for greater connectivity with contacts.
All the features of Skype are available and you can switch from a regular call to a Skype call, great for when you lose signal but are on Wi-Fi. However, it does seem strange to have Skype pre-installed on a phone with no front-facing camera.
One surprising addition for a cheap phone is the ability to support motion data collection, meaning your phone will track and record your movement and location.
It’s a great feature for fitness fans and can be used in conjunction with a number of apps including the pre-installed Bing Health and Fitness app.
I had a go with the app and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The pedometer function was relatively accurate and it monitors various types of exercise. The app also recommends exercises and diets and keeps a track record of all your exercises so you can map your progress.
As with all other Nokia Lumia devices, the Lumia 630 comes with Microsoft Office and OneNote, great additions, especially with such a bargain phone.
Business is always at the front of Microsoft’s mind and as a result the Nokia Lumia 630 comes with dual-SIM capability, so now you can use just one device for two purposes. I can’t see the Nokia Lumia 630 being the business phone of choice for large corporations but it’s certainly an option for small-medium sized businesses.