Our original hands-on Microsoft Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL review, by Chris Martin.
Although we didn't get a new flagship Lumia 940, Microsoft did announce two new Lumia Windows Phone smartphones at MWC 2015 which are Windows 10 ready. Here's our Microsoft Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL hands-on review from Barcelona. Also see: Best Windows Phones 2015 and Best smartphones 2015.
The new Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL will launch globally this month although a specific UK release date remains to be seen. Price wise they're going to be affordable starting at 139 Euros for the smaller model and 189 Euros for the XL – those prices exclude tax, though.
There's little to report on the design front with what is now a classic style for Lumia handsets. They both feel good in the hand even though they're not particularly thin at 8.8- and 9 mm respectively. They have interchangeable covers and will be available in cyan, orange, black and white. The XL model comes with a nice matte finish apart from the white model while the regular Lumia 640 is glossy apart from the black option.
Read: Acer Liquid M220 review.
Like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, many of the specifications are shared across the Lumia 640 and 640 XL. The main differences are the screen size, cameras and battery.
The core hardware no matter which model you buy consists of the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, a microSD card slot (up to 128 GB), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC. Each will be offered in single of dual-SIM variants and with either 3G or 4G LTE support. It's unclear which ones will come to the UK but we hope the 4G models will.
With a 5in screen and a 720p resolution, Microsoft is matching rivals such as the Motorola Moto G and newly announced Sony Xperia M2 Aqua. As with previous Lumias the screen looks decent with great contrast and colours.
We don't expect a higher resolution at this price point and it's not a big deal. The larger Lumia 640 XL is a large 5.7in though and remains at 720p meaning the pixel density drops from 294 ppi to 259 ppi and understandably looks less crisp. We prefer the smaller model which is an easier size to use and has the advantage of a better looking display.
As mentioned, you will get a bigger battery in the XL model at 3000 mAh compared to 2500 mAh and with the same resolution screen and core specs it will surely offer better battery life. This isn't something we can test at a tradeshow, though.
Photography is the other big difference between the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL with the smaller model offering an 8 Mp main camera and 1 Mp camera. A few test shots in difficult show conditions were fairly good but the XL has more promise with a 13 Mp rear camera and 5 Mp at the front. We'll test them out fully when we get review samples.
There's little to say on the software side with Windows Phone 8.1 pre-installed on both models and the inevitable promise of an upgrade to Windows 10 later this year. The experience is the same across Windows Phone handsets which is the opposite of Android where manufacturers use their own skins or overlays.
Microsoft Lumia 640: Specs
- Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim
- available in blue, orange, black or white
- 5in HD (1280x720, 294ppi) ClearBlack IPS display, Gorilla Glass 3
- quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
- Adreno 305 graphics
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB storage (plus up to 128GB via microSD and 30GB free OneDrive storage)
- 4G LTE (Micro SIM)
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Wi-Fi Hotspot
- Here Drive+, Here Maps
- FM Radio
- Internet Radio
- free one-year Office 365 subscription
- 8Mp rear camera with f/2.2 aperture, 28mm focal length and LED flash, video at full-HD 1080p
- 0.9Mp front camera with f/2.4 aperture, HD 720p video
- 2500mAh removable battery, claimed battery life up to 36 days (standby), 17.5 hours (3G talk time), 10.8 hours (Wi-Fi browsing)
- SunSpider: 1201ms (Internet Explorer)
- GFXBench: 7.5fps (T-Rex)
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