The Good Both the screen and the camera are some of the best you will find at this price, you can swap the back panels for fresh colors, and Windows Phone software is easy to use.
The Bad The front camera has very low resolution, battery life is short, and the underfunded app store will not please those who want the latest apps and games.
The Bottom Line The gorgeous screen and camera make the Lumia 640 an ingenious phone for those who want Android alternatives – as long as you don’t care about apps.
The budget segment of the phone market is dominated by a number of Android phones, most of which have almost the same black or gray designs and the same outdated software that evens the basics.
However, the Microsoft Lumia 640 is slightly different. It works with Windows Phone software made up of large colorful tiles that will be a refreshing change for anyone who is a bit confused with Android. It has a gorgeous 5-inch display, 4G LTE connectivity, and an 8-megapixel camera. It’s all wrapped in plastic sheaths that can be swapped and offered in a variety of colors.
You can purchase a phone without a SIM card directly from Microsoft in the UK for £ 120 or get it for free on various contracts starting at just £ 13.50 per month. The phone will be coming to the US, although it is currently listed on the Microsoft site as “coming soon” and prices are not yet known. In Australia, it is available directly and will cost you $ 299.
Nokia’s name may have come from the phone, but its design is still unmistakably Lumia. It has the same solid back panel that can be seen on almost all the latest Lumia phones that bend around to meet the front screen. It has more angular edges than rounded edges Lumia 735 , but no less convenient to hold.
Hard plastic helps to make it durable and well-integrated, and interchangeable covers allow you to change colors according to your mood or outfit. It also allows you to appear in a fresh bar when an existing one looks a bit down and worn – something you can’t do with most phones. Bright colors and a plastic body give the phone a fun, childish look that helps it stand out from the mid-range Android Black and Gray phones.
It measures 141 mm in length, 72 mm in width and 8.8 mm in thickness (approximately 5.5 by 2.75 by 0.34 inches). It’s a fairly large phone, but you can only enter messages with one hand – though you may need two hands if you write more than a sentence. 3.5mm headphone the socket is at the top, the Micro-USB power port is at the bottom, and the micro-SIM and microSD card slots are located under the plastic back panel.
You’ll want to use this microSD card slot since the phone comes with only 8GB of internal storage. Using the Storage Sense app, you can choose an external SD card as the default storage location for apps, photos and videos, but make sure you pick up a 32GB card (they are extremely cheap these days) if you plan on taking a lot of photos or games.
The 5-inch display has a resolution of 1,280×720 pixels, resulting in a density of 294 pixels per inch. While this does not compare well with flagship phones with full HD (and above), it is quite sufficient for a phone of that price. It’s also more than enough to give the Windows Phone tile a crisp edge and make even small text on web pages perfectly readable.
The colors are also rich, and a decent level of contrast helps make dramatic movies on Netflix – such as the amazing film about the art of flying snowboarding – look particularly gorgeous. The sheer size of the display also provides a more immersive feel. It’s bright enough to withstand the lights at CNET’s UK office, though it may not perform well during the bright summer sun.
Windows Phone Software and Processor Performance
640 is the latest version Windows Phone 8.1 , codenamed Denim. It consists of the same scrollable list of multicolored tiles that display real information, and you can resize and resize to make the interface your own. The latest version of the OS provides some much-needed updates, such as a drop-down panel that displays incoming notifications and settings, such as screen brightness and Wi-Fi.
Windows Phone is easy to use and actually quite cheerful, which is a nice alternative to the often clumsy and bloated Android interfaces that can be found on budget mobile phones. The ability to make important tools like phone dialing and texting look like big tiles right on the front of your phone also means it’s a good option for those who are nervous about taking their first steps into the smartphone world.
The App Download Store has always been a drawback of Lumia phones, and it goes on with 640. Although you can get most of the big names now, including WhatsApp, Netflix, Spotify and Instagram, Windows Phone almost always gets new apps much later than iOS or Android, if they generally receive them. Moreover, such popular applications love Facebook For example, developed by third parties with a level of quality that is not quite comparable to other mobile operating systems. If you love to watch new upcoming apps on your iPhone and always try to try the latest indie games when your friends do it, Windows Phone will not work.
It runs on a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, supported by 1GB of RAM. It may not sound impressive on paper, but it is more than enough to make the swatches around these colorful tiles quickly and without delay. The menu was opened without delay, the photo editing in Adobe PhotoShop Express was resolved without incident, and even such demanding games as Asphalt 8 played quite smoothly.
If you want the phone to be needed only for everyday things like Facebook and Instagram, the Lumia 640 has more than enough power and has a little more to do.
The 8-megapixel camera, which is capable of taking some decent shots, is located on the back of the phone.
This shot of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge comes out very well, with rich colors, great detail, and a good balance between bright skies and shady areas.
This second shot also has great overall exposure and a beautifully saturated blue sky.
The dynamic range of these colors is again quite good, and there is a decent amount of detail here, even on full screen.
The camera here is fairly locked, overstretching the white, resulting in a rather poor image.
The 640 also makes great efforts indoors. The light window was barely exposed, but it kept a lot of details in the shadows inside. There is also a general lack of image noise in dark areas, which often annoys cameras on budget phones. There is a certain lack of clarity in the tips of the pool behind. It’s something I wouldn’t expect to see on top-end cameras, but it’s a great job considering the price.
Similarly, in this shot of kiwi in the dimly lit part of CNET’s UK office, there is not too much image noise, and the camera has a sharp focus on the fruit.
Overall, the Lumia 640 is great for the small amount of money it costs. Of course, it does not have the clear quality of phones such as Galaxy S6 , but it costs a fraction of the price. The camera is definitely one of the best on the budget market.
The same cannot be said for the front camera, which comes with a very disappointing 0.9 megapixel resolution that I would have expected to see on multifunction phones a few years ago. It’s not really a phone for taking dazzling selfies, but it will at least allow you to make video calls via Skype, which is pre-installed.
Powering your phone is a 2500mAh battery that is a decent cell size, especially if you remember that it works with a low-resolution screen and dual-core processor – none of which has much power. Even so, after just over two and a half hours of video broadcasting, 640’s capacity dropped from full to 56 percent, which remains only an average.
However, this is a very demanding test that will not necessarily reflect how you used your phone, so you can expect your own times to change. If you keep the brightness off, you can expect to get much more time from it. Avoiding complex tasks such as streaming video will also help massively, and if you’re struggling for power, turn off Wi-Fi and GPS. If you are careful about the 640, it will not be difficult to use the whole day, but as with all smartphones, charging every night will be extremely important.
With its large, bright screen; The Microsoft Lumia 640, colored, interchangeable back panels and a great camera, delivers everything you expect from a budget phone – and it makes for a little fun. Whether you’re using a budget phone and just not fond of Android, or you’re taking the first steps into the world of smartphones and need something easy to use, the Lumia 640 is a great choice. Just don’t buy it if you always want the latest software.