Review of Lumia 640 XL – A Good “TravelPhone”

Ever since the renewal of leadership, Microsoft has adopted a different approach in capturing the smartphone market which are pretty much dominated by Android and iOS. In doing so, it is logical for Microsoft to focus more on the developing market. In November 2014, Microsoft announced the first Microsoft (non-Nokia) branded Lumia device, the Microsoft Lumia 535. The device was first released in India and soon followed by other countries in late 2014 and early 2015

 

The Lumia 640 series is the first Microsoft-branded LTE smartphones ever since the acquisition of Nokia Mobile. By the look of its price and hardware specification, the Lumia 640 series exhibits almost identical performance to MotoG. Now, let’s take a closer look at the Lumia 640 XL, the phalet version of the Lumia 640.

 

(Picture above) Front of Lumia 640 XL  
(Picture above) Front of Lumia 640 XL

 

Design and Build

The Lumia 640 XL measured 157.9 X 81.5 X 9.0MM and weighs 171g. It is bigger and heavier but slightly thinner than its predecessor Lumia 630 and Lumia 635.

The volume control and power button are all at the right side of the phone and are distinctively placed apart with the power button at the lower but there is no shutter button for the camera.

At the back , there is a camera hump. The bright plastic back cover case (mine was white) is pleasing to the touch, and the workmanship is solid, but it does not give a premium feel.

Bend any corner of the plastic cover to open so you can replace the battery, add the SIM and slot in a microSD if you want to. The plastic cover and there is no need to buy a cover to protect the phone.

 

(Picture above) Internal, removable battery and back cover  
(Picture above) Internal, removable battery and back cover

 

 

 

Performance 

The Lumia 640 XL does not offer top notch hardware performance as what you have seen with other Android or iOS devices. Powered only by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2 GHz quad-core processor with 1GB RAM, the device packs a pathetic 8GB internal storage (but expandable up to 128 GB via a micro SD card). However, the Windows experience, is surprisingly smooth and pleasing. Switching between apps, multi-tasking and web browsing do not exhibit any lag or memory overload on the device.

 

The 5.7-inch HD display has the 1280 X 720 resolution. However due to the larger size, the PPI count is at 259 PPI lower than Lumia 640’s i.e a Lumia 640 definitely looks sharper than Lumia 640 XL. Despite the fact, the colors on Lumia 640 XL are bright and sharp, and the viewing angles are pretty good. The Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen is also equipped with Microsoft’s sunlight readability enhancements.

 

Unlike other of the Android phones I used before, I don’t frequently check on the battery status on this phone simply because there is no need to! Packed with removable 3000 mAh battery, A fully-charged Lumia 640 XL survives through 2 days of heavy web browsing, conference call and “youtubing” before putting it back on charge.

 

 

(Picture above) Power button and volume control at the right side of the phone  
(Picture above) Power button and volume control at the right side of the phone

 

Camera

A 13 megapixel rear snapper rounds off a strong set of specs and I’m seriously impressed by the quality of the Lumia 640XL’s optics.

On auto mode, the phone captures sharp and natural shots that easily rival against other similar-range phone, including  OPPO Find 7. Up-close shots are particularly impressive, with the lens picking up almost every last shred of detail especially under outdoor conditions. The camera also produces reasonable-good quality night shot.

 

Picture shot with Lumia 640 XL 

Other Plus Point – Office 365

The Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL will also come with a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, which includes the latest Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote) on the Lumia as well as on one PC or Mac and one tablet.

 

With the Office 365 Personal installed, users will receive an additional 1TB of OneDrive storage, and 60 Skype world minutes

 

Keeping all your works in the cloud, Office 365 helps in your productivity by offering the ability to work on-the-go. Once you are connected into the internet, all you need is a browser to view and edit your documents. Currently, it supports all commonly-used browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome and of course Window’s IE.

 

Limited App in Microsoft’s Ecosystem

App is a main hurdle for mobile phone users to switch from Android or iOS to Windows. For the past 3 weeks, I hardly find any app or game in the app store that interests me. The ecosystem is still pretty limited even the popular instagram app is still running Beta on Windows.

Fortunately, popular apps such as Facebook and Whatsapp are available.

 

 

Verdicts

The Lumia 640 XL is not positioned as a high-end phalet but offers an value-for-money alternative in the competitive smartphone market. The good-enough hardware performance and decent good quality back-facing camera makes the Windows Phone experience on Lumia 640 XL an excellent one.

 

Judging from a price-wise, the performance of Lumia 640 XL has exceeded my expectation. Without a doubt,  this is a phone that worth considering if you are looking for not-so-expensive phone that can help you get your work done well at the same time keeps you entertained.

 

Now, should you ditch your Android or iPhone for this? I would not recommend to. Android and iOS still give a more comprehensive app ecosystem where it gets updated frequently with latest apps and games. Furthermore, there is still a certain degree of learning hurdles to overcome before you could get used to the Windows Phone interface.

 

Frequent travelers who do not want to run the risk of losing their expensive iPhone may consider getting the Lumia 640 XL as their “TravelPhone”. After all, it is still a smartphone that can deliver pretty much what an iPhone could but costs so much lesser.

 

 

Availability and Price in Singapore

Both the Lumia 640 (SGD 299) and 640 XL (SGD429) will be available in Singapore at Microsoft Authorized Mobile Reseller in Funan DigitaLife Mall and GadgetWorld, 3Mobile and Handphoneshop outlets.

 

All 3 local operators and A-Mobile will also be retailing the device with bundled data plans.

 

 

**Thanks to tech4tea.com for loaning the review unit!

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