We’ve always been big fans of Nokia’s Lumia Windows phones, but Microsoft’s first offering, the Lumia 535, was something of a disappointment. Despite having the same excellent build quality as its Nokia predecessors, the Lumia 535’s sluggish operating system and unresponsive touchscreen made it very frustrating to use. Thankfully, Microsoft seems to have corrected this missteps with the latest addition to its range of Lumia phones, the 5inLumia 640.
As with all Lumia phones, the Lumia 640’s build quality is superb. Its sturdy unibody design is comfortable to hold and its angular edges give you plenty of grip. The new cyan shade is particularly gorgeous, but its glossy rear can be a little slippery at times. It’s also a magnet for fingerprints, as it wasn’t long before a Microsoft representative had to temporarily take away our demo unit and wipe it clean.
This is a shame, particularly when it’s only the orange and cyan versions (easily the most eye-catching colours available on the Lumia 640) which will be coming with this glossy finish. The white and black versions, on the other hand, will be matt, which in our opinion looks much smarter and makes it easier to hold securely.
Still, the Lumia 640’s 5in 1,280×720 screen looks stunning, with deep blacks levels and rich, punchy colours. We almost mistook it for the same OLED display you’ll find on theLumia 735, but Microsoft assured us it was still using a traditional LCD panel. This is outstanding for such a cheap Windows phone, as it’s easily a cut above any other budget smartphone panel we’ve seen in recent months.
The Lumia 640 will run Windows Phone 8.1 for the time being, but just like every other Windows Phone 8.1 device, it will receive a free upgrade to Windows 10 later this year. While Microsoft couldn’t confirm exactly model of Snapdragon processor the phone was using, its quad-core 1.2GHz chipset certainly felt very quick and snappy when we were scrolling through the phone’s Start screen and various menu settings. The Lumia 640 also has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2,500mAh battery.
Microsoft also announced that the Lumia 640 will come with a one-year subscription to Office 365 with 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage, adding even more value to the handset. The offer will be valid across your Windows tablets and PC as well, allowing to you seamlessly sync your Office docs on the move across all your various devices.
UK pricing has yet to be announced for the Lumia 640, but its European prices of 139 Euros (3G) and 159 Euros (4G) work out to roughly £100 and £115, so these are clearly budget devices that will sit toward the lower end of Microsoft’s eventual Windows 10 mobile offering. However, from what we’ve seen so far, the Lumia 640 is clearly punching above its weight, delivering a fantastic looking screen and quick internals for a rock bottom price. If it can match the Lumia 735 or Lumia 830 in terms of battery life, screen quality and processing power, we’ll be very impressed indeed.