Microsoft have recently launched the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL in the UK which are priced at £169 and 219 respectively on the Microsoft Store, though you can actually get the 640 for £120 on Amazon. As you can imagine they are essentially the same phone but different sizes. The standard Lumia 640 uses a 5″ HD 1280 x 720 resolution screen while the XL uses a 5.7″ HD 1280 x 720 resolution. The other main difference is the main camera, the standard 640 has an 8MP while the XL has a 13MP.
Today we will be reviewing the standard 5″ Microsoft Lumia 640. The rest of the specification of this new Windows phone Windows Phone 8.1 as the platform, running on a Quad-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1GB RAM, up to 8GB onboard storage that is expandable via microSD, plus 30GB free on OneDrive. It is 4G enabled and has a 2500 mAh battery with clams of 17.5 hours 3G talk time.
If you are familiar with Lumias you will be used to the design, while it is quite basic we find the design attractive and the build quality good for a phone in this price range. The back is removable giving you access to the battery, sim card, and microSD. We found it quite tricky to get the back off so it is not something you would want to be doing often, though you shouldn't need to.
The phone is a good size and fits into our hands quite comfortably, the rear of the phone has a matte texture which stops it being too slippy. The screen is only 1280 x 720 but at this size and this price we don't think it matters in the slightest. In fact the lower resolution will cause less strain on the processor and battery. Also taking the price into account, not many phones actually are 720p the current Motorola Moto G has one but this is £30 more. Using the phone we found the screen to be excellent and during day to day use we probably wouldn't notice any difference in quality compared to much more expensive phones.
In terms of performance we had some problems on the initial set up, for some reason the phone randomly restarted several times while installing new software. We can only explain this being down to the 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 chip and 1GB ram not keeping up with the multi-tasking. We did get a little carried away with installing lots of apps quite quickly so this could be to blame. Once everything was set up the phone stayed stable for days and performance was smooth and generally a pleasure to use.
While the camera is only 8 megapixels we found it performed more than acceptably for a phone in this price range.
The memory on the phone is pretty poor at 8GB, but again, this is comparable to the more expensive Moto 4. Microsoft seem to handle microSDs better than android too, when setting up we were given the option to use the card for both apps and data, so the internal storage should provide no problems at all.
One of the main considerations when choosing this phone is do you want to commit to the Windows Phone eco system? Our experience with Windows Phone has been limited in the past but after using this phone for a week we were very happy with it, it is far more attractive than both iOS and Android and it is very smooth and usable. The biggest downfall is the app directory, but, again we did not find this to be too much of a hurdle. At this price range you are not likely to be a hardcore mobile gamer so that rules many apps. In general most of the apps we use on a day to day basis were in the store which included Endomondo, Myfitness pal, a Reddit reader etc. There is no native Gmail app but the inbuilt email app works perfectly with Gmail. The main omission is Google apps in general, but there are nearly always 3rd party versions of these, it is not ideal but at least it is an option.
Overall this is a fantastic phone, for most, if not all people looking at phones in this price range it will handle all your needs and then some. Build quality is excellent, as is the platform Windows 8. The only comparable phone we would consider instead of this is the Motorola Moto G but it is £30 more expensive, and while this may not seem like a huge amount it represents a 25% price increase. If you are deeply committed to the Google ecosystem it may be worth considering spending the extra for the Moto G but in general the Lumia 640 provides the same functionality for less money with a nicer interface.
It is also worth noting that this phone should get an update to Windows 10 before the end of the year which should hopefully make it even better.
You can buy the Lumia 640 today from Amazon for £120