Microsoft’s Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL: what do the critics think?


At last, the highly-anticipated Lumia 640 has hit the high streets and online stores. Lumia’s latest addition to its portfolio will soon be joined by the Lumia 640 XL, due to be available by the end of April.

So how are the latest Lumia handsets bearing up to the scrutinising eye of the tech press?

Lumia 640

According to Wired, Microsoft is expecting ‘big things’ from the latest ‘hero’ in its budget stable phone. In a hands-on review, Wired – notoriously not easy to impress – seemed pretty bowled over by the 640.

Claiming the 640 to be a pretty decent mid-range phone with matching mid-range specification, for Wired, what lifts the 640 out of the conundrums of the ordinary, is the fact owners get a free year’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal. This means you can have Office apps on the phone as well as an additional PC or tablet.

So asides getting the main Office apps plus Publisher, Access and Outlook, you’ll get 1TB of online storage and 12 month’s free Skype calls, a package normally worth £60  year – a nice little extra for sure.

Okay, so we all love extras, but what about the real guts of the phone?

Wired are pleased to see that the new Lumia’s screen size has been increased from 4.5 inches to 5 inches, and with an HD 1,280×720 pixels, the resolution has improved too.

The Wired reviewer is also quick to point out that the 640 runs of Windows Phone 8.1, which is “slick and functional” and requires “less grunt from the processor to deliver a quick and smooth performance.”

The voice recognition is pretty good too. The ‘Cortana’ assistant genuinely helpful, says Wired.

On the downside, the processor could be a bit more powerful, concludes Wired, but for £120, it’s a general thumbs up from techies that are not easily awe-struck.

‘The world won’t change’

In a quick play around with the 640, Tech Radar admitted that with the same design language as its predecessor, the Lumia 635, the world won’t change with the 640.

Despite its predictable design, the new handset’s bonus is, according to Tech Radar, its removable back panel, which means the SIM card and microSD slots are hidden but could prove tiresome to remove if you’re using them regularly.

On the upside, during a play through of the apps, the 640 looked beautiful and was “one of the brightest Windows Phone handset” the reviewer had ever used.

For selfie-lovers, the device’s front facing camera should be able to cope.

In its review of the Lumia 640, PC Advisor concentrated on the camera and admitted that despite taking trial shots in difficult conditions, the camera did a pretty good job.

However, PC Advisor’s net verdict isn’t too inspiring as despite being nice looking and relatively cheap, there’s no need to get excited in terms of spec, as the 640 offers little more than what’s already on offer in a crowded Lumia market.

Lumia 640 XL

So what about the yet-to-be-released 640 XL, the 640’s bigger and beefier version, what’s the word on the street so far?

According to Recombu, despite the handset’s thickness, it doesn’t come across as bulky and is in fact quite the opposite. Its matte finish is accompanied with a pillowed back for extra grip and comfort.

With vivid colours, good visibility in bright sunlight and respectable viewing angles, the XL’s display “packs a wonderful punch”, claims Recombu.

Retailing from £219, the XL’s affordable price is one of its plus points according to the Tech Radar review. Other ‘pros’ include its large battery, bright screen and the fact it feels good to hold. On the downside, it’s only available on Windows Phone 8.1 – for now – and is 1080p on a 5.7 inch screen.

For more information visit Microsoft.