MICROSOFT LUMIA 640 XL: THE DE FACTO PHABLET FOR BUSINESS AND BUDGETS REVIEW

Microsoft Lumia 640 XL LTE offers 4G speeds, a 5.7-inch screen & a great rear camera at a surprisingly low cost.




Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the australia office. His passions include bourbon, clip games & boring strangers with photos of his cat.

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If you"re after a budget smartphone, then the biggest compromise you"ll probably have to make is on the camera -- it"s just not cost-effective lớn get the required lens in a cheaper phone. Luckily, Microsoft has found a way khổng lồ put a chất lượng camera in its newest big-screen phone without sticking on a big price mark-up.



The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL LTE has a bright 5.7-inch screen, works on LTE networks, & has an impressive rear camera và long-lasting battery life.
The 720p resolution makes for a lower pixel density than you may want. The processor is a little under-specced for power-users, và the plastic casing can"t match the premium feel of some phones.
It"s no flagship, but the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL LTE offers a solid big-screen experience at a budget price point that"s hard to beat.
Microsoft Devices" Lumia 640 XL LTE is the souped-up version of the company"s 5-inch Lumia 640. The XL ups the screen form size to 5.7-inches & adds 4G connectivity, while popping a significantly bigger 13-megapixel camera on the rear, a 5-megapixel one on the front & a 3,000m
Ah battery inside. Even better, it does all this while maintaining a respectably low price: just $240, £219 in the UK and AU$399 in Australia.


My colleague Andrew Hoyle was quite effusive about the smaller Lumia 640 , calling it "everything you"d hope for from a budget phone." But, bearing in mind the XL has the exact same processor, storage & RAM as the smaller model, are these additions worth the extra cost?


A quick note: there are a couple of different variants of the Lumia 640 XL available, including a dual-SIM model and one without the LTE offering. The model reviewed here is a version with a single SIM slot and an LTE 4G modem.



Nic Healey/CNET

Design

157.9 x 81.5 x 9mm (6.22 x 3.21 x 0.35 inches) 171g (6.3 oz.) In an ocean of đen handsets, the Lumia 640 XL stands out like some sort of exotic fish. Yes, you can still get it in đen or white, but the blue -- wait, make that "cyan" -- review unit that I had in the office was actually quite refreshing.

Even better, the casing on the 640 XL is a matte finish, unlike the gloss on its smaller sibling. I"ve never been a fan hâm mộ of a piano-finish as they seem designed purely khổng lồ collect fingerprints, so the XL gets extra points just for that.


The case, like much of the Lumia range, simply pops off khổng lồ allow access khổng lồ the SIM và Micro
SD slots, so it can be replaced or even swapped back & forth as your mood takes you.

Compared to lớn all-metal designs lượt thích the điện thoại htc One M9 or the glass backs of the Xperia Z3 & Galaxy S6, the Lumia does feel a little plastic và toylike, but it"s actually a solidly made device. It feels good khổng lồ use, và the matte casing adds a small amount of texture for less chance of slippage.



Dave Cheng/CNET The 640 XL measures 157.9 x 81.5 x 9mm (6.22 x 3.21 x 0.35 inches) and tips the scales at 171g (6.3 oz.). That makes it about 5g lighter và slightly larger than the Samsung Galaxy note 4, which has the same screen size.


So while it doesn"t match the premium feel of those flagships, it"s not really trying lớn -- và it also isn"t matching their premium prices either. For the cost of one 32GB Galaxy S6 Edge, you can get nearly three Lumia 640 XLs.

The XL also features something that some phones are lacking these days: a micro
SD slot. Like the 5-inch 640, you"ll be needing khổng lồ make use of it. The XL has the same rather basic 8GB of internal storage.

Display

5.7-inch IPS screen 1,280 x 720 pixels 259 pixels per square inch

The 5.7-inch IPS screen on the XL might be bigger than the base 640, but it has the exact same resolution of 1,280x720 pixels. This means the XL actually has a lower px density than its smaller cousin -- 259ppi versus 294ppi. (For some more context, the 1,440x2,560-pixel Galaxy S6 has around 577 ppi.)


Depending on how good your eyesight is, this might be a sticking point. As a nearsighted glasses-wearer, I didn"t see any problem with the XL. Yes, it"s noticeably not as crisp as some of the super-high-res displays out there, but I was very nội dung watching streaming clip from the Windows Phone Netflix app and had no issue with web browsing or viewing photos.


The Lumia 640 XL LTE vs. The 5-inch 640. Dave Cheng/CNET The colours are rich và bright, & the phone has good contrast, which is arguably a little more important in a smartphone display. According to lớn Microsoft, the 640 XL also has "sunlight readability enhancements," và they"re certainly working. On a glare-heavy Sydney autumn day, the XL was easy to lớn read while trooping around outdoors.

Software and performance

Windows Phone using the Denim Update 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor 1GB of RAM & 8GB of storage Micro
SD slot supports up to 128GB

The 640 XL is running the same version of Windows Phone 8.1 as the 5-inch 640, with all the same benefits và disadvantages. It"s also packing the exact same processor & memory, a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 and 1GB of RAM. You can read the performance section of the Lumia 640 đánh giá for a full rundown.


Essentially, the XL offers a smooth experience when it comes to basic use and, while that processor isn"t going to set any speed records, the only time it"s noticeably slow is when the phone is a booting up. It takes around 25 seconds from pressing the power button lớn when you can start using your Lumia.

As someone who"s been reviewing Windows-based phones for a few years now, I will say that the Windows app Store has vastly improved from its days of resembling a Wild West town, with searches for apps either offering tumbleweeds blowing in the wind or an assortment of unsavoury options that didn"t quite look right. In fact, as soon as Jawbone gets the tiện ích for its Up fitness band over, I could be sold on making a full switch from Android.


Diagnostic LTE tests in San Francisco using Speedtest.net. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET Over on the LTE side of things, the XL definitely delivers. It"s a category 4 device -- that"s a theoretical top tải về speed of 150Mbps. You don"t get those speeds, of course, but testing around the Sydney central business district và Inner West suburbs, I saw a top speed of 56Mbps down & an average of between 25 and 30Mbps. Upload was, as usual, lower, but averaged out khổng lồ a respectable 12Mbps. Yes, the Category 6 phones that offer carrier aggregation will leave the XL in the dust, but it"s not too long ago that the idea of 4G phone at this price point would have been a pipe dream.

In San Francisco on AT&T"s network, tải về speeds typically ranged from 8Mbps down lớn 17Mbps down, but spiked at 33Mbps down, as tested on the Speedtest.net diagnostic app. Uplink speeds spanned 4.5 to 10.3 Mbps. These are respectable, but not quite as fast as we"ve seen on other high-end phones. That said, LTE speeds vary dramatically by time of day và exact location, so your speed situation could be very different depending on where you live.

Camera

13-megapixel rear camera Zeiss optics 5-megapixel front camera

The XL improves on the 640 in both rear and front cameras. The front jumps from an underwhelming 0.9-megapixel lớn 5, which is going to lớn keep you happy for both selfies and Skype calls.

But it"s the 13-megapixel snapper on the rear -- complete with German-made Zeiss optics -- that"s the most marked improvement. That"s letting you take 4,128x3,096 resolution photos (far, far better than the screen can display) & 1080p Full-HD đoạn clip -- also at a higher res than the screen can display.

It"s all done with the Lumia Camera software, which has great autofocus features for anyone who just likes khổng lồ take a happy snap every now & then but also lets you manually adjust ISO, white balance, shutter speed, brightness và focus if you"re photographically minded & feel like playing around.

Taking the XL out for a spin, even an inexperienced photographer like me was able to lớn get some pleasing shots.

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Fans of large screen Windows Phones haven"t exactly been spoiled in the past. There was the Lumia 1320 và Lumia 1520, launched in October 2013 khổng lồ the world at the final nokia World event in Abu Dhabi. But that was a long time ago và there hasn"t been a lot lớn speak of since.


*

The Lumia 1320 was always a more budget targeted, large screen phone. & those who bought it largely adored it. Fast forward to điện thoại World Congress 2015. Now with Microsoft doing its thing, there"s a successor lớn the Lumia 1320. A new, affordable, large screen Windows Phone.


And with the new phone comes a new moniker: XL. & that stands for exactly what you think it does. The Lumia 640 XL is in many ways similar to lớn the Lumia 640, only bigger. & in some cases, better.

What you"ll like:

Great value for money.A miễn phí year of Office 365Good unique cameras
Large display complete with Glance screen
Good battery life

What you won"t like:

Internal storage is pretty low
No wireless charging as standard though there are contacts underneath
Some weirdness with on-screen buttons interfering with apps

About this review

This nhận xét has been written based on time spent with an Italian CV device in the UK. It"s the single-sim, non LTE version. The UK CV will be the single-SIM, LTE version.


Video hands-on


Under the hood


The specs



Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 with Lumia Denim
Windows 10 Ready
Colors: Matte cyan, orange và black, as well as both matte & glossy white
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8226), 1.2 GHz quad-core processor5.7" HD (1280x720, 16:9) IPS LCD, 259 PPI, Glance screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, Sunlight readability enhancements1GB RAM8 GB internal mass memory + up to lớn 128 GB Micro SD và 30GB không lấy phí One
Drive cloud storage
Rear camera: 13 MP AF, 1080p
30 fps đoạn clip (continuous autofocus), Flash: LED, Lumia Camera 5.0 (with Dynamic Flash, HDR)Front camera: HD 5 MP wide angle, 1080p video
Connectivity: BT 4.0, micro
USB2.0, Micro SIM, A-GPS+GLONASS, Bei
Dou, DLNA, Screen cloning with Miracast, WLAN 802.11 b/g/n/Sensors: Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Proximity, Ambient Light Sensor, Sensor
Core
Battery: 3000 m
Ah (BV-T4B) removable battery
Weight: 171 g
Size: 157.9 x 81.5 x 9.0 mm

The hardware


Image 1 of 2


Update 2!

The software - Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 on board

Despite the recent "rollout" as part of the Windows 10 preview for phones, the Lumia 640 XL is one of the first phones lớn officially have Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 loaded up. While a lot of what"s important in Update 2 is under the hood, there are also a few forward facing features we can see.

One of the more lauded features included is the "remote kill switch" as it"s so often called, now required by law in the U.S. It"s no doubt played a big part in Update 2 even existing. But elsewhere the Settings app has had an organizational refresh, there are some mild visual tweaks và a few handy little features that are going to lớn be useful khổng lồ some.


All about Update 2

Update 2 is the very latest version of Windows Phone 8.1. While it"s a minor nâng cấp overall, it does bring some important features with it, including the so-called "remote kill switch." Find out everything right here.

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 - Everything you need to know

The software - everything else

Aside from Update 2, it"s pretty much business as usual on the Lumia 640. It comes with the latest Lumia Denim firmware & all the goodness that brings. Which, lượt thích the Lumia 640, also includes the Lumia Camera 5 application.


Before the launch of the Lumia 640 và 640 XL, Lumia Camera 5 had been exclusive lớn Microsoft"s higher end, Pureview camera phones. The camera on the Lumia 640 XL isn"t Pureview, but it"s still pretty good. Và it benefits greatly from the additional features provided by Lumia Camera 5.

Otherwise, there are a couple of pre-loaded items, one of which is the Fitbit app. Microsoft & Fitbit have a pretty good relationship these days, but the Lumia 640 XL isn"t one of the phones offered with a không tính phí Fitbit Flex. But you can delete it if you don"t want it, at least.

One issue that I have seen during testing this phone is some conflict between the on-screen buttons & in-app content. It"s tough khổng lồ describe exactly, and it doesn"t happen all the time, but I"ll describe an easily imaginable situation. In the Windows Central app, the very last comment sometimes won"t be fully visible because of the on-screen buttons. It never happened on the Lumia 640, so I"m almost inclined to believe it"s something that"s happening with apps scaling up khổng lồ the larger display.

Productivity

Office 365


Worth highlighting on its own, the Lumia 640 XL along with the 640 marks the first time Microsoft has given away a không tính phí one-year subscription khổng lồ Office 365 with one of its smartphones.

Such an offer has been commonplace on small Windows 8.1 tablets for some time now. It"s perhaps less useful on a phone, especially given the current state of Office on Windows Phone. But since you get bundled Skype calls, 1TB of One
Drive storage and access lớn the Office desktop apps as part of it, it"s nothing to turn your nose up at.

The link below will guide you through what it is you"re getting, & how you go about getting it.

How lớn get your không lấy phí Office 365 subscription on the Lumia 640

A model for everyone

Connectivity - Dual SIM, LTE or not


One of the most amazing, yet easily forgotten features of the Lumia 640 XL is its connectivity. There are single & dual-SIM versions for different parts of the world, that"s nothing new. What is new is the availability of a dual-SIM LTE model. Remember, the Lumia 640 XL is a mid-range device with an affordable price. And yet in some locations it"ll take two LTE SIM cards. That"s still a rarity in smartphones in general. At this price point, unheard of right now.

But not everyone wants that. Và not everyone wants or can get LTE support. As such the Lumia 640 comes in variants with or without both of these options. We"ve got the Italian CV here with single-SIM và no LTE.

Aside from the choice, performance is as good as you get on any Lumia smartphone. We"ve had no issues locking onto & maintaining a 3G connection, though bear in mind this reviews unit isn"t matched lớn the market we"re testing it in.

Hopefully we"ll get to lớn spend some time with an LTE version at some point in the future và update on performance & battery life.

Shutterbug

The rear camera


The rear camera is one of the stand out features of the Lumia 640 XL. It"s a 13MP, Zeiss lens unit, and even on a phone of this form size we get a noticeable hump on the rear. Smartphone cameras are ever improving, but considering the price point that this phone hits, its camera is even more amazing.

As with the Lumia 640, the 640 XL is living proof that having a good điện thoại cảm ứng thông minh camera doesn"t have khổng lồ cost the earth.

Until now, Microsoft has reserved Lumia Camera 5 for its very best camera phones. The likes of the Lumia 930, Lumia 1520 and Lumia 830 (in certain regions) all have it, but those are all Pureview. The Lumia Camera tiện ích has always been more capable than many equivalent stock apps on competing platforms, offering a cấp độ of manual control not found everywhere. Lumia Camera 5 adds the much-praised, Rich Capture, feature, lớn help you take more exciting photos. And the Lumia 640 XL makes the most of that.

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