Hands-on with the new Microsoft Lumia 640 smartphone
The Lumia 640 is the successor to the Lumia 630, a Windows Phone that’s good but could have been so much better. Microsoft has decided to make some wholesale changes to the affordable handset and now the 5-inch phone has the specs to match the likes of the Moto G 2 and the Honor Holly.
It’s available in 3G (139 Euros) and 4G LTE (159 Euros) Dual-Sim options through UK retailers like Dixons Carphone Warehouse, and will start shipping in April. Compared to the 630, the 640 makes massive improvements in almost every place, especially in the screen and camera departments making it a far more desirable budget phone.
Watch our Windows Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL hands-on video
Unfortunately, it’s only running on Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim, but it will receive the Windows 10 update when it officially lands. Microsoft also confirmed the 640 will be added to the list of supported handsets that can download and install the Windows 10 Technical Preview.
Compared to its nearest Android rivals, the 640 is definitely the loudest-looking of the bunch. It’s available in cyan, orange, black or white options. People are going to be able to spot you from a mile when you take it out of your pocket, that’s for sure. Unlike the more expensive Lumia 640 XL, announced alongside the 5-inch 640, it has a tackier looking glossy finish on the back, which is a good indication of its more budget feel. For build quality, though, it’s a nice phone to grip and weighing in at just 145g, doesn’t feel heavy for single handed use.
There’s some decent specs lurking behind that bright removable back. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 400 CPU with 1GB of RAM, which isn’t out of the ordinary for a phone at this price. It packs a 2,500mAh battery and a microSD card slot, which supports 128GB cards to expand beyond the 8GB of internal storage.
The 5-inch IPS LCD screen has a durable layer of Gorilla Glass 3 on top of the sharp, vibrant 720p HD display. There’s also an 8-megapixel main camera with an LED flash and a wide-angle lens to make sure everyone gets in shot. New Lumia-centric apps, like Lumia Selfie, are also on board to make the most of the not so great 1-megapixel front-facing camera. That’s not a lot of pixels for video calling, but at least it has a front-facing shooter this time.
On the software front, Microsoft is making a big push with its Enterprise features offering 1TB of cloud storage and the ability to create shared OneDrive accounts for business. It’s also offering Office 365 Personal free for a year, which will also be available for free on one more device whether that’s a tablet or a laptop. In addition to that, users will also get 60 free Skype minutes to make calls to landlines.
While the Lumia 630 was a solid Windows Phone handset, it lacked in comparison to is nearest Android competitors. The Lumia 640 is a major improvement and while it doesn’t have Windows 10 yet, it will eventually and that’s good news. The most important part is the price point. Microsoft is sticking to what it roughly went with the Lumia 630. For that money, it’s got the makings of a solid, affordable 5-inch Android alternative.