Microsoft devices are almost identical to their predecessors in build, design and specifications. And Android users; why would they go down the Windows route? Windows are criticised for lack of apps, but we see this situation improving with the Lumia 640 XL Dual SIM as a number of new apps are finally available in the Windows Store. The build quality, bright and colourful user interface and subscription to a number of Microsoft freebies make it quite an impressive phone. In fact, Microsoft should be applauded for releasing affordable smartphones that won't rip off your pocket.
With Windows 10 launch looming, every device released by Microsoft is of critical importance. For Windows 10 is not just an upgrade, it is a gradual transition to a new Windows experience between devices. As of now, the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Dual SIM will continue to run on Windows 8.1 with a promise that it will soon be updated to Windows 10.
Look, Design, Feel (/10)
Being a phablet, the Lumia 640 XL Dual SIM is a huge device, but it is not as colossal as the Lumia 1320 or Lumia 1520. The overall look is typical Lumia, with the removable polycarbonate colourful shell. There’s nothing to complain in the build department as the phone is both attractive and comfortable to hold, and available in more colourful glossy options for those who wish.
The shell of the phone encases a flawlessly flat piece of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the front whilst on the rear there is the 13 MP Carl Zeiss camera, the LED flash and a small round speaker. The edges of the devices are continuously flat, except for the small raised hump on the top edge, where the 3.5 mm jack is. At the top of the screen is the selfie camera, which is something entirely new. There still is no dedicated camera button and around the sides you have the volume and power buttons, headphone jack and a micro-USB charging port.
To save on the costs, Microsoft went with the 720 x 1080 Clear Black LCD panel, with a pixel density of just 259 pixels per inch. But instead of giving dreadful results, the LCD display has a lot of contrast, vivid colours and nice sharpness, which feels rather good when playing games or watching videos.
The Windows Phone UI led by its Live Tiles is quite unique and different. Once you have got accustomed to its layout, it's very effective and easy to use. Microsoft has added several of its own apps plus a year's free Office 365 subscription. One of the advantages of Office 365 subscription is that you get 1TB of free OneDrive storage, which is handy since the Lumia 640XL comes with only 8GB internal storage. Of course, you also have the option to expand the microSD card space upto 128GB.
Compared to the Lumia 630, the phone has doubled up on RAM to 1GB. It still uses the same 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 chip, so the performance is unmistakably mid-range. The upgrade in RAM means the camera loads much faster under Lumia Denim. Microsoft has spruced up the camera lens from 5MP to 8MP and adds an LED flash. It has also added a selfie camera, which lets you take advantage of Skype video calls. Microsoft has elevated the battery capacity from 1830mAh to 3000mAh as well as improved the screen in both size and resolution.
The Lumia 640 XL comes with GSM/GPRS/EDGE support and quad-band 3G with HSDPA. The Dual SIM model supports dual standby. You can also go for a LTE-enabled single SIM or dual SIM model. It packs in all the usual connectivity features such as dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n with DLNA and Wi-Fi Hotspot, NFC and stereo Bluetooth 4.0. NFC connectivity is very useful for file sharing and works well across all devices with NFC support.
Competing Android phones are stacking on the number of cores on processors and raising the clock speeds. But Microsoft is still adamant on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 for the Lumia 640XL. Due to this decision, the phone took time to load apps. When you click on the Live Tile to open an app, it will take a few seconds to open after you're in it. As a gamer, there aren't many options, but games like Asphalt 8 will run well enough. Plus, the Lumia 640 XL doesn't heat up very quickly either.
Value for Money (/10)
What makes Lumia 640 XL particularly attractable is the capable 13MP camera with a ZEISS lens, expandable storage, the big screen and the great battery life. Moreover you can get it in 3G, LTE, 3G Dual SIM or LTE Dual SIM version and by choosing the right one, you can save some bucks. The Lumia 640 XL isn't the fastest around but for light users who edit / view a lot of office documents on the go, this phone is a very good choice.
- Full day battery life
- 13 MP Carl Zeiss camera
- Available in 3G, LTE, 3G Dual SIM or LTE Dual SIM versions
- 1TB of free OneDrive storage with a year's free Office 365 subscription
- 3,000mAh Li-Ion battery
- Out-of-date chipset
- No secondary microphone
- Only 3GB of internal storage available to the user
- Performance not as good as competing Android phones