Microsoft’s latest Lumia 640 model was announced at Mobile World Congress 2015, along with a number of other smartphones that will soon be available in different markets throughout the world. Introducing this new smartphone, the Lumia 640 is available with the same affordability as the other Lumia devices before it. Powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, the Lumia 640 has 1GB of RAM and 8GB native storage capacity. Thanks to a built-in microSD card slot, the memory can be expanded by up to 128GB. Currently, the phone runs on Windows Phone 8.1 OS but will soon receive an upgrade to Windows 10. It also comes with an 8MP rear-facing camera complete with dynamic flash and HD video recording capability. A secondary camera is available in front of the device with a 0.9MP sensor. Just like other Lumia models available in the market, the Lumia 640 comes in a wide variety of color options: Matte Black, Glossy Cyan, White, and Orange. Apart from choosing between the colors available, users will have to decide whether they want a single or dual SIM device or a 3G or 4G LTE model. With its 2500 mAh battery, the phone can last up to 26 hours of talk time and 36 days in standby mode.
After making its debut at the 2015 Mobile World Congress, the Microsoft Lumia 640 is set to take over as the new standard in Windows phones. It’s bigger and brighter than its predecessor, and while it sports a variety of improvements in virtually every respect, its core functioning will feel instantly familiar to consumers upgrading from a Lumia 635.
At 8.8mm thick, the 640 is a bit thinner than the 9.2mm 635. Additional rounding in its corners also contributes to the handset’s sleeker look. This can make it feel a bit slippery at times, but overall its design is intuitive and comfortable.
The screen size has increased from 4.5 to 5 inches, but the buttons and other features haven’t been moved around much. The power button sits perfectly below your thumb, with the volume rocker within easy reach above it.
Owners will be able to add a bit of extra energy to the look of their handset with vibrant orange or cyan options, both of which make the classic black or white color options look rather drab.
Charging and data management are still handled by the microUSB slot in its standard position at the bottom of the handset, and the 3.5mm headphone jack remains at the top edge. The SIM card and MicroSD slot are both hidden behind the removable back panel, which might prove slightly annoying if you tend to add or remove either one with any regularity.
The larger touchscreen boasts a superb HD 720p display with improved pixel density and sunlight readability enhancements. Put simply, it’s one of the brightest screens of any windows phone currently available, and this fact becomes obvious from the moment you pick it up.
The Lumia 640’s main camera has improved to 8 megapixels, and it also features an HD 0.9 megapixel wide angle front-facing camera. Image quality improves even further on the 640 XL, which is equipped with a mighty 13 megapixel main camera. Video recording quality has been upped from 720p to 1080p of full HD on both devices.
Interface and Memory
Under the hood, the 640 and 640 XL run on a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, just like the 635 does, but RAM has doubled from 512 MB to 1 GB. The power supply has been improved as well, and the 640’s 2500 mAh battery offers up to 17.5 hours of talk time and 37 days of standby time. The 640 XL’s larger, 3000 mAh battery provides up to 24 hours of talk time and 37 days of standby time.
Four versions of each device are set to be produced – a single-SIM 3G, a single-SIM LTE, a dual-SIM 3G and a dual-SIM LTE. It should be noted, however, that availability depends upon both regions and carriers.
Both models come with 8 GB of memory that’s expandable to a huge 128 GB, and they also come with 30 GB of free OneDrive cloud storage. If you’ve been paying attention to the Facebook ads, you’ll have seen that Microsoft is currently offering 100 GB of free OneDrive storage for one year to members of its Bing Rewards program.
The Bing Rewards program is only available to U.S. residents, but there is a way for people outside the U.S. to take advantage of the offer. In an effort to lure customers from DropBox, Microsoft is offering the same promotion to all current Dropbox customers, wherever they happen to live.
The Lumia 640 and 640 XL both run Windows Phones 8.1, so owners can take advantage of all the services and features that Microsoft have to offer. Better still, they’ll be updating the new Windows 10 when it comes out this summer.
If you’re in a rush to check out Windows 10, you may not have to wait until its release date to do so. Microsoft recently made the Windows 10 Technical Preview available to a long list of phones, including many in the Lumia series. The 635 is included on the preliminary list of phones that will be supported by the next build, but the 640 is not.
Remember, this is a preliminary list. If the 640 is truly absent from this offering, it’s a safe bet to be in on the next one.
One way or another, Lumia 640 and 640 XL owners will be running Windows 10 sooner rather than later, and they have quite a bit to look forward to when they do. Windows 10 has been designed with unity in mind, so if you run a Windows desktop, you’ll enjoy more than just universal apps and a familiar OS – your phone and your desktop will actually work together.
That being the case, synchronization will be a breeze. With Office files synced in the cloud, a recent docs list that’s shared between devices and, of course, the accessibility of OneDrive, Microsoft’s goal of unity seems to be an upcoming reality.
Of the other features included with both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, Cortane – the Siri-like personal assistant that debuted with Windows 8.1 – is among the most exciting. Named after a character in Microsoft’s extremely popular Halo video game series, Cortana has emerged as a worthy competitor to both Apple’s Siri and Google Now.
Cortana keeps track of important dates and appointments using your Outlook calendar, and can even provide reminders based on context. For example, Cortana can remind you to ask your spouse about plans for the weekend when they call, or remind you to pick up milk when you enter the grocery store.
While Cortana doesn’t offer hands-free activation just yet, it’s a feature that’s sure to be in the pipeline. Once activated by touch, though, you can verbally dictate and send text messages, get directions and step-by-step navigation, and answer virtually any question you could want to ask.
Cortana even acts as a virtual operator for Skype calls. Skype Technologies has been a division of Microsoft since 2011, and Skype integration – along with 60 minutes of free international calling each month – is another convenient aspect of the Lumia series. Skype voice calls can be upgraded to video chats with a single click, allowing owners to make the most of the Lumia 640’s enhanced video features and updated HD screen.
The Lumia 640’s seamless integration with Microsoft Office is yet another appealing aspect of owning a Windows phone. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and OneNote are all accessible on the go, so you can edit your documents anywhere. This feature is likely to be one of the main reasons for people to go with the Lumia 640 XL – editing a PowerPoint on your handset is exponentially easier on a larger screen.
The estimated price of the Lumia 640 is $159 for the 3G model and $175 for the LTE model. U.S. customers will likely see the LTE version available free with a contract, though. The Lumia 640 XL is estimated to run from $210 and $245 for the 3G and the LTE models, respectively.
In all, the Microsoft Lumia 640 is a predictable update to the Lumia’s midrange line of mobiles. It’s made for budget buyers in search of a solid Windows phone, and it definitely delivers in terms of both features and pricing.
Those looking for a new flagship will have to keep waiting, but perhaps not for long. Microsoft’s CEO Stephen Elop has set the debut of the new Lumia flagship for later this year, coinciding with the launch of Windows 10. Keep your eyes glued for new announcements about this soon, as the company will no doubt want to ramp up the interest as the launch date draws nearer.
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