As an avid Android user, I was hesitant in trying out the relatively new Microsoft Lumia 640 smartphone. However, I think this device has changed my views into better views on Windows Phones, not to mention the upcoming Windows 10 release, which, on paper, seems to bring out a lot of good stuff for the future of Microsoft devices!
First off, the specs of the Lumia 640 don’t blow your mind out of the water, especially with 1GB RAM, an 8 megapixel camera and a 720p screen, hence why it is considered a mid-end device. But with a RRP of $299, it is actually a pretty decent phone for the average user. Here’s why:
Performance and Display
With a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor clocking in at 1.2GHz, the apps run fine on the Lumia 640. I did not notice any lag on this phone at all despite its 1GB of RAM. In fact, during my month long use with it, I did not have any lag at all while running my apps. These apps included the usual social media apps, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. and a lot of games downloaded from the app store as well.
The Adreno 305 GPU was also impressive on this device. While there was no lag in the games I tried playing, including Asphalt, the screen resolution is only 1280 x 720 pixels meaning you won’t have the brightest, clearest screen in the Windows Phone market. However, this is only a mid-end phone, and while it was only a 720p screen, I found it to have quite the level of detail displayed on the screen. Because of its highly reflective display, intense sunlight shone upon the phone resulted in disastrous viewing.
Viewing angles for the Lumia 640 were very good, again, except in sunlight. The colour management app the phone lets you customise the saturation, tint and colour temperature to your needs and satisfaction.
The Lumia 640 also has something called Glance Screen. This feature shows time and basic notification on the screen, when you have switched the screen to sleep. This feature uses very low power and can be switched off completely it in the settings if you don’t wish to use it at all. It also enabled me to switch the font of the Glance Screen to a completely different colour, so at night time, the room had a very dim blue tint for easy resting. Well, that was in my case.
This was a feature I really liked as if I had the Lumia 640 sitting at my desk, I could look to see if I had any notifications without having to wake the screen up. Speaking of waking the screen up, I thought it would be a good time to point out that it has Double tap to wake feature as well.
However, the touchscreen I found a bit of an issue to use. A lot of the time, my taps weren’t recognised, so if I was typing on the keyboard, my words would get messed up completely because it wasn’t recognising touches on the screen. This was even with predictive text on! This also happened when on apps as well, so a lot of the times I had to press multiple times for it to recognise my touch.
Some of these performance and display features are normally seen in high-end phones, e.g no lag when using apps, and Glance Screen was first only on high-end Windows Phones, so to see these come up on a mid-end phone at this price point are pretty neat!
The Lumia 640 has an 8 megapixel camera. Unlike higher-end Windows Phones, it doesn’t have the more quality ZEISS camera lens. It also doesn’t have Optical Image Stabilization which in my opinion should be a basic requirement in new phones today. However, that didn’t put me off to liking the pictures I took with the Lumia 640.
Unfortunately I didn’t get many chances to take decent pictures to put up in this review.
Apps in the App Store
Now as you all probably know, the Windows Phone app store isn’t really up there with apps. Most of the major usage apps are there with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and hasn’t been updated in over a year, Instagram beta. Now I was lucky that most of my apps were there (yes, ASB mobile banking app was there too), however the smaller, less-downloaded apps you may have been using on Android or iOS might not be on the Windows Phone store. Alas, Google Maps wasn’t even on the Windows Phone store! (But HERE Maps was actually pretty helpful and accurate, so I can live with that! Not to mention the offline navigation function that HERE maps has as well! I hear Google Maps may be unveiling this shortly!)
All this aside, with Windows 10 being released very shortly, Microsoft claims it will be a lot easier for developers to port those Android and iOS apps over to the Windows Phone store. We might start seeing a little bit more apps on there…. or not!
The Lumia 640 comes pre-installed with the usual Bing apps (previously MSN apps): News, Sport, Money, Weather, Food & Drink plus more. There are some more apps on the Windows Phone store which you can download that are previously inherited from Nokia, like the Lumia Selfie app. Because, who wouldn’t want to make themselves look that much better in a selfie?
On the subject of apps, Lumia 640 owners are given a free year of Office 365 personal subscription for your account. This can be redeemed by downloading the Office 365 Gift app from the Windows Phone store.
Now this is one constant “issue” I have to battle it out with my smartphones: the lack of battery juice to power my entire day, without sacrificing performance e.g dimming brightness, or going on power-saving mode. Until now. The Lumia 640 has been my primary phone for the duration of the testing. I managed almost two days of usage until it needed charging. Now that is a plus! It has 2500mAh of juice in it.
Final notes of the Lumia 640 include me being grateful to Microsoft for including a removable battery and a microSD card slot, although the removable battery option is a minor one because of its near two-day battery life!
So the decent performance and screen (minus the touchscreen capabilities), external microSD card slot and exceptional battery for the Lumia 640 have definitely made me think twice about using Windows Phones in the future. The price point of $299 also make the Lumia 640 a very good phone for the mid-end user.
The Microsoft Lumia 640 smartphone is available to purchase from leading retailers around NZ with a RRP of $299.