I first got my hands on both Lumia 640 versions at the #microsoftonaboat event. While I played around a lot with the Lumia 640 XL I couldn’t spend that much time with the smaller sibling. That’s why I was really looking forward to get a review unit, even more since the XL-version really satisfied me in almost every aspect. I was wondering if the 5 inch version also offers you so much for its price. After testing out the device for three weeks now (once again huge thank-you to Ramon for the patience 🙂 !), I want to share my thoughts about this topic and the device itself.
Design & Build Quality
As always, let’s begin with the design and the build quality. The Lumia 640 is available in many colors, which I categorize into two groups: Cyan, orange and white belong to the glossy category, black belongs to the matte category. I got to test out the glossy cyan version, which made me really happy. The color with its vague transparency looks very nice in my opinion. Furthermore the glossy plastic provides a very comfortable, although not so premium, feel in the hand. The front, the Microsoft logo and also the buttons all in black perfectly match with the cyan color. The glossy shell does attract fingerprints though. While I said the back provides a comfortable feeling, the device feels quite blocky overall – especially if you compare it directly with the Lumia 735. Still you can hold the device very nicely, it’s just something that has to be mentioned. With 8.8 mm the Lumia 640 also isn’t the thinnest device out there. Another factor for this bulkiness is the weight of 145 g. Nevertheless, this makes the Lumia 640 to a very sturdy device, which gives you a very secure feeling. Despite all that, the back cover is still easily removable to get access to the battery as well as the two Micro SIM card slots and the SD card slot. Both the power button and the volume rocker are solid but I still prefer the ones on the Lumia 735 and 830. In my opinion, the buttons on the devices of the Lumia 640 series aren’t as clickable as others. Since we’ve got the double tap gesture this isn’t that much of a problem though. All in all, the Lumia 640 follows the Lumia 640 XL and satisfies me regarding design and build quality, even though the device feels quite a bit blocky. The buttons could be better as well.
Pros and Cons – Design & Build Quality:
+ Great color combination (black & cyan)
+ Glossiness provides comfortable feel in the hand
+ Very sturdy
+ Back easily removable
– Quite blocky (thickness, heaviness)
– Buttons could be better
– Fingerprints on the back
Before I share my thoughts on the display, all the important information:
– 5” IPS LCD
– Resolution: 1280 x 720 (296 ppi)
– Double tap and Glance Screen are supported
I more and more get used to the 1280 by 720p resolution since all my recent test devices have had this resolution. For a 5” inch display a 720p screen is reasonable – especially when considering the low price point. Of course pixels are noticeable if you’re really looking for them, but I even was satisfied with the same resolution on the big screen of the Lumia 640 XL. So all in all the resolution is totally fine.
Whereas I was extremely satisfied with the brightness on the Lumia 640 XL, the Lumia 640’s brightness couldn’t satisfy me completely. While the darkest brightness mode is absolutely amazing – both the Lumia 735 and Lumia 830 can’t get as low – and also the highest brightness is more than satisfying, I’m not as happy with the auto brightness as on the Lumia 640 XL. When turning on auto brightness the display always seems to be slightly too dark. But this is complaining on a very high level since the auto brightness still is more than acceptable. It’s just something I’ve noticed in comparison with what I’ve experienced with the Lumia 640 XL. Nevertheless, brightness handling on the Lumia 640 is good.
Colors are very natural, in my opinion they could be slightly more vibrant. But since you’ve got color profiles you can easily adjust the display. Whites are slightly on the greyish side while blacks could be a little bit darker. But once again this is complaining on a very high level and considering the very low price point, the color reproduction of the Lumia 640’s display is more than just good. On the XL version though, colors look ever so slightly better.
I’m also happy with the viewing angels even though colors do get washed out a bit from a certain angle – once again you will find better displays out there in terms of viewing angles but considering the price the quality is absolutely fine.
As I’m using a Lumia 830 as my daily driver, I’m absolutely used to the 5” form factor. Even though I really got to love the massive screen of the Lumia 640 XL during the test period, I still believe that this screen size is the so-called sweet spot. The display is big enough to actually being able to enjoy browsing and watching videos while still being small enough to be able to use the phone with one hand – at least most of the time. In the end, this is a very subjective topic.
Double tap & Glance Screen
One of my favorite features of Windows Phone and Lumia phones in particular is Glance Screen, that’s why I’m really happy to see this feature also here on the Lumia 640. Albeit the device comes with a limited version of it, it still works as expected and probably the most important information is still displayed: the time. Once again I want to refer to the great article on allaboutwindowsphone about this topic.
Double tap works as expected and is a very handy feature. Since we’ve got an on-screen navigation bar, the device also supports double tap to turn off the display. I really praise Microsoft for bringing those two features – double tap and Glance Screen – even to those low-end devices. This makes them just much more feature-complete.
Pros and Cons – Display:
+ Viewing angles
+ Color reproduction overall
+ Brightness handling overall
+ Glance Screen and double tap are supported
– Blacks and whites could be slightly better (complaining on a high level)
– Not full-fledged Glance Screen (also complaining on a high level)
As I said, the Lumia 640 is pretty thick and heavy. This actually has a reason: The battery with a capacity of 2500 mAh is pretty huge for its size. Compared to the Lumia 830 it’s got 300 mAh more. But does this really translate into longer battery life? Once again I sadly can’t tell you this exactly because during my holiday my smartphone usage is a mess. But what I can tell you: You will definitely get through one day without any problems and if you’re not a heavy user you probably get through two days with one charge.
Nevertheless, I want to provide some values for the battery life:
|Battery stats (Left with/ at the end of the usage)||Display on-time|
|100 % / 67 %||1 h 21 min|
|100 % / 67 %||1 h 33 min|
|41 % / 26 %||35 min|
This is how long it takes to charge the device:
|0 min||0 %|
|1 h 20 min||50 %|
|Total: 3 h 05 min||100 %|
Pros and Cons – Battery Life:
+ Good battery life (one or two days)
+ Replaceable battery
Like the Lumia 735 and the Lumia 640 XL, the Lumia 640 has also a back-firing speaker. I already pointed out many times that I’m not the biggest fan of this placement – especially if the speaker is at the bottom. Not only doesn’t the sound face you directly, you also block the speaker very easily. As for the sound itself you don’t have to expect the best quality here: As I tell you pretty much always, the speaker is good enough. Furthermore the speaker is actually quite loud. I also have to say I don’t really like how the speaker is implemented into the device with this hole in the back (view image above), but that’s just an aesthetic stand point.
Pros and Cons – Speaker:
+ Quality good enough
– Placement on the back
Regarding the cameras, the smaller version of the Lumia 640 XL didn’t get the same hardware as the XL version. The back camera is a step down from 13 to 8 megapixel and the front camera a step down from 5 to 0.9 megapixel. While I know those are just numbers, you can definitely notice differences in terms of picture quality. Now this doesn’t mean the main camera of the device is particularly bad, but while the Lumia 640 XL’s camera is more in the range of the one found on the Lumia 830, the Lumia 640’s camera is more in the range of the Lumia 735. And I wasn’t disappointed by the camera of the Lumia 735 as you can read here. Before I talk about the actual quality I want you to look at these pictures:
As you can see, colors look very natural and the overall sharpness of the pictures is good. Still, I would wish them to be more detailed in some areas. Especially if you zoom in then you would wish for more details (e.g. flower). At the end of the day, this is a trade-off you have to make when buying a budget phone. Still, I would consider the Lumia 640’s main camera as very good (keeping the price point in mind)
While the back camera is good, you can’t expect to take great pictures with the 0.9 megapixel front camera. As you can probably imagine, pictures aren’t sharp and details are missing. If you’re really into selfies you probably should take a closer look at the XL Version of the Lumia 640 or the 735.
Nice to see: Even on the Lumia 640 you get the Lumia Camera 5 – a nice, fast and feature-rich app. If you want to set many things manually, then the 640 is a great budget camera phone for you.
Pros and Cons – Camera:
+ Acceptably good main camera
+ Lumia Camera 5
– Front facing camera
The Lumia 640 is one of the first devices, which came with Update 2 out of the box. Probably the most useful new feature, is the reordered settings app. Other than that you get the great Windows Phone experience you either love or not. You also get great Lumia apps, like Lumia Storyteller.
Pros and Cons – Software:
+ Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2
+ Useful pre-loaded apps
Like pretty much every Lumia device I’ve owned or tested so far, the Lumia 640 comes with the Snapdragon 400 processor and 1 Gb of ram. Those components allow a smooth and flaw-less daily usage. App loading times are quick while app switching sometimes can be annoying due to long resuming times. But this isn’t the case with every app so it isn’t a huge problem after all. You can also play some graphically intensive games like SBK 15 without any major problems.
Pros and Cons – Performance:
+ Smooth daily usage
– App switching
This brings us to the conclusion and as I noted in the title the Lumia 640 offers you “everything you need”. Of course this doesn’t have to be true for everyone, still for the price point and the targeted audience there’s basically nothing missing. With the Lumia 640 you’re getting…
– a nicely designed device with a comfortable feeling to it
– a device, which might be too blocky for some of you
– a good display which supports handy features like double tap and Glance Screen
– a phone wich will get you through one or more days with one charge
– an acceptably good speaker, although placement isn’t the best one
– overall a good main camera with the great camera app Lumia Camera 5
– a bad front facing camera
– the latest version of Windows Phone with 8.1 Update 2
– a fluid performance
At the end of the day, also the Lumia 640 impressed me – maybe not as much as the XL version – but still it’s a nice phone for its price. I absolutely recommend you to check out the device if you’re looking for a budget phone.