Reviewing The Microsoft Lumia 640 - A Good Windows Phone Experience At A Reasonable Price

Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

Microsoft Lumia 640 is the latest budget smartphone with Windows Phone that was released by Microsoft. Until Windows 10 Mobile is available, it will most probably be the last Windows Phone launched by Microsoft. A couple of weeks ago we received this phone for testing. We used it for all kinds of tasks from simple phone conversations to recording video and GPS navigation. Today we are ready to share our opinion about this smartphone, in this review:

Hardware Specifications & Packaging

Microsoft Lumia 640 comes in the now standard packaging used by Microsoft for its smartphones. The box is not very big and it showcases the smartphone in several of its covers.

Where To Buy

Inside the box you will find the smartphone itself, the battery, the charger, the manual and several leaflets in different languages, including the warranty.

There is no USB cable and no headphones are included. You will have to purchase them separately.

Microsoft Lumia 640 is available in two variants: 4G LTE and Dual Sim 3G. We received the 4G variant for testing.

This smartphone has a 5" display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 running at 1.2 GHz, 1 GB of RAM and 8GB of storage space that can be extended with the help of a MicroSD card. The IPS LCD display has a resolution of 1280x720 pixels, a pixel density of 294 ppi and it features the ClearBlack technology that gives you good black and white levels, like those found on premium smartphones. The battery of the Lumia 640 has a capacity of 2500mAh.

Lumia 640 has a front camera of only 0.9 Megapixels and a rear camera of 8 Megapixels. The rear camera has autofocus, 4x digital zoom and LED flash. It can record video at a resolution of 1080p and 30fps.

In terms of connectivity, you have support for USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0 and wireless networking using the 802.11 b/g/n standards. Unfortunately, Microsoft Lumia 640 is capable of detecting and using only 2.4 GHz wireless networks. It is not able to work with 5GHz wireless networks. Also, support for the modern 802.11 ac standard is missing.

When it comes to size, this smartphone is relatively large. It's a bit bigger than the Lumia 930 - the top smartphone in the Windows Phone ecosystem. It has a height of 5.56 inches (141.3 mm), a width of 2.84 inches (72.2 mm) and it is 0.34 inches (8.8 mm) thick. It weighs a total of 5.11 ounces (145 grams).

If you want to get a more detailed look at all its specifications, go to this page: Microsoft Lumia 640 - Detailed specifications.

The hardware configuration of the Microsoft Lumia 640 is quite good for its price range. We very much appreciated that the display features the ClearBlack technology, which offers a better user experience than that of more affordable Lumias which don't have ClearBlack.

Design & Build Quality

Microsoft Lumia 640 uses plastic back covers which can be removed and exchanged quite easily.

In terms of colors, the covers are available in white, blue, black and orange. As you can see, the colors are quite glossy and this might not be to everyone's liking.

We received the black version for testing and we must say that the black cover is the one we liked best.

Just like its bigger brother Lumia 640 XL - Lumia 640 doesn't have hardware buttons for the camera, for Back, Home and Search. We love having these hardware buttons available and we hope that Microsoft will bring them back in their line-up of Windows 10 smartphones.

The display on the Microsoft Lumia 640 is good. The ClearBlack technology will help you enjoy good black and white levels. It has good contrast and color reproduction, decent viewing angles and it benefits from the ambient light sensor that it is incorporated into this smartphone. You will have no troubles when using it outdoors. Unfortunately, the display doesn't have super sensitive touch and you can't use it while wearing gloves.

The buttons on the right side of this smartphone are easily accessible and easy to press. They don't feel rigid like on the Lumia 640 XL.

Overall, Lumia 640 feels good to hold in your hand and easy to carry. However, ladies with smaller hands might find it a bit heavy and they may prefer lighter smartphones.

The build quality on the Lumia 640 is what you would expect from a smartphone in its price range. It doesn't impress and it doesn't disappoint either. Overall, it's a well built smartphone that offers exactly what you expect from it.

The Smartphone Experience On Microsoft Lumia 640

The basic phone experience on the Lumia 640 is good: we have enjoyed good audio quality while calling others. The voice on the other end was loud, crisp and clear and the other party always heard us well. The speaker is loud on the Lumia 640 but not necessarily great. However, we did not expect any spectacular sound quality on a medium-priced smartphone.

When listening to music and watching video with a pair of headphones on, things change for the better. If you buy a good headset, you will enjoy good audio experiences on the Lumia 640. Especially if you use the equalizer and the audio enhancements that are available.

The operating system works very well on the Lumia 640. There were no hiccups in our testing and all the apps ran smoothly. Games will also run well on this smartphone as it offers the hardware you need to run anything that's available for Windows Phone. The 1GB of RAM memory comes in handy when playing more demanding games.

The display offers good visibility also when using it outdoors so you shouldn't have any issues using this smartphone on a sunny day.

Speaking of the display, the Glance screen feature is available on the Lumia 640 and many users will enjoy using it for getting quick status notifications without unlocking their smartphone.

The battery life on the Microsoft Lumia 640 is good and you shouldn't have any issues with using it for a day - a day and a half, without charging it.

The only important downside we could find is the lack of hardware buttons. The software buttons on the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system are still buggy and they don't make navigation as easy as it is when using hardware buttons. Also, starting up the camera is a slow and annoying process.

Overall, Microsoft Lumia 640 offers a very good smartphone experience for its price. You get a good quality screen, good audio (if you buy yourself some good headphones), a snappy operating system and very good battery life. The only important downside is the lack of hardware buttons.

The Camera Experience On The Microsoft Lumia 640

The camera experience on the Microsoft Lumia 640 is good for its price range. It focuses reasonably fast and can also focus on close subjects for macro-style photos. The camera is capable of capturing a fair amount of detail and dynamic range. Its biggest weakness is dealing with bright colours, as it has a tendency to oversaturate them. You can see several samples in the album below, to get a better understanding of how well it performs.

Recording videos leads to decent results. Below you can view a recording of a beautiful panoramic landscape:

And here see you can see a video of traffic in a busy city area:

Just like its bigger brother - Microsoft Lumia 640 XL - Lumia 640 features a good camera for its price range. If it only had a hardware button to start the camera, it would have been perfect.