Nokia Lumia 2520: Should businesses consider it?

Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet
Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet

Nokia's first tablet for nearly four years appears, on paper, to be a promising device. After all, it packs some cracking specifications and a surprisingly affordable price given that it is a 4G tablet. Should businesses therefore consider it or is it a no-go for them?

Since Microsoft is promoting Surface 2 as a tablet for businesses, having sold more than 11,000 to US airline Delta, I reckon that Nokia will be doing the same, following its parent company's lead.

Hardware bonanza

Like the Surface 2, the Lumia 2520 comes with a quad-core processor (Qualcomm rather than Nvidia) and the second iteration of Windows RT (oddly called Windows RT 8.1).

The combination is likely to procure a much, much better overall experience to the end user compared to the previous generation.

A triple whammy of generation change, increase in processor speed and core count could translate in a performance increase bigger than 100%.

Add in 4G, a full HD display, ample internal storage, a huge 8,000mAh battery, decent cameras and connectivity options and you have all the ingredients for a reasonably successful tablet.

Nokia also added a nifty keyboard accessory that includes a fully functional keypad and a gesture trackpad, both of which will be welcomed by touch-type users keen to replicate a laptop set-up.

The Power Keyboard has a 4,000mAh battery that Nokia claims can add five extra hours of battery life (extending it to 15 hours). Also worth mentioning are the two USB ports (presumably the 3.0 type) that can also charge tethered gadgets.

Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet

Nokia's first Windows tablet is here

It's all about the software

But things go pear shape when looking at the software; not that Office 2013 RT or Nokia Here Maps are to be blamed.

Both of them are superb applications on their own; Microsoft went the extra mile by bundling Outlook, essentially giving away the equivalent of its Office Home and Business, a product worth £220 on its own (it's worth noting that Microsoft quietly renamed Office Home & Student 2013 RT to Office 2013 RT).

You still can't use it for commercial purposes unless you have a commercial license for Office 2013 but enforcing that strategy will prove to be very convoluted and the rise of BYOD means that Microsoft could be missing out on a potentially lucrative market (and prospective business customers).

As for Nokia HERE Maps, it could soon turn out to be one of the most useful apps for the roving business person, keen to rush to the next meeting with or without 4G coverage.

Sadly though, if you want to add more applications, you're limited to the built-in App Store with significantly less business-oriented apps compared to iOS or Android. Interestingly enough, enterprise-focused Lync is there but no other heavyweights like Visio, Access, Project or Sharepoint.

Nokia Lumia 2520

Is Windows RT 8.1 up to the task?

Is Windows RT business-ready?

I started this article thinking that Windows RT didn't have a place in a business environment. In Microsoft's defence, the operating system was never meant to be used in a professional environment or pitched as a business-friendly platform. The fact that it sits somewhere between the regimented, tightly-controlled Windows Phone 8 and the more liberal Windows 8 doesn't help.

The tablet will cost $499 (around £308, or AU$513) in the US with the keyboard adding $149 (around £92, or AU$57) to that. So you're looking at a combined outlay of US$648 (AU$667), which should translate into a RRP of £500 in the UK (£400 for the tablet and £100 for the peripheral).

As for the recent crop of tablets that come with bundled Office 2013 (Dell Venue 8 Pro, Lenovo Miix 2), the Lumia 2520 doesn't come with a microHDMI port which makes it more difficult to connect to an external display.

Ultimately it depends on the expectations of the organisation and my hunch is that employees will probably get the most out of the Lumia 2520 tablet as it is a device that, in theory, combines good enough business tools and great consumer features with 4G being the killer app.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.