Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Review – Big Screen, Small Price

If there’s one thing Windows Phone devices are famous for, it’s their low cost. You can get a really good Lumia smartphone for well under $200. With the Lumia 640 XL, Microsoft wanted to create a big phone without a big price. Is it worth picking up? Let’s take a look.

Specs

  • 5.7″ 1280×720 IPS LCD Display
  • Snapdragon 400 Processor – 1.2GHz Quad-Core
  • 8GB Internal Storage (expandable via microSD)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 13MP Rear Camera
  • 5MP Front Camera
  • 3,000 mAh battery (removable)

Hardware & Design

The Lumia 640 XL is a pretty average phone in terms of it’s design. A black slab with a screen up front and a camera around back, that’s pretty much it. However the design isn’t ugly and the matte finish on the back cover both looks and feels pretty solid. That back panel is also removable revealing the removable 3,000 mAh battery, SIM card slot, and microSD slot. The hardware itself is also well built and feels nice.

Even though it's all plastic, the Lumia 640 XL has a solid feel in hand and is well constructed.

Even though it’s all plastic, the Lumia 640 XL has a solid feel in hand and is well constructed.

The phone is a bit on the thick side, but personally I don’t mind. The weight is well distributed and the phone makes it’s presence known when you’re holding it. It’s not a premium feel by any means, but there’s little to complain about.



Display

The 5.7″ 720p display on the front of the Lumia 640XL is an IPS panel which is, well, it’s good. It’s not the best out there by any means, but it gets the job done. Colors are good and viewing angles are decent, but you can definitely tell Microsoft skimped a bit on this display. There’s a lot of light bleed on the display and you can really feel the lower resolution when reading text on the display. Is it bad? Not at all, but it’s not a display I would describe as good either.

The display on the Lumia 640 XL is decent at best.

The display on the Lumia 640 XL is decent at best.

Software & Performance

Out of the box this phone comes with Windows Phone 8.1. An upgrade will be available soon to bring Windows 10, but for our testing we only used Windows Phone 8.1. Overall, the experience is good. The software is easy to navigate and performs well on the Lumia 640 XL. Thanks to the large screen you can see more Live Tiles at once as well. One of the features I particularly enjoyed on the phone was the “Glance” feature which shows a clock on screen all the time, somewhat like Moto Display on the Moto X.

Glance is a great Windows Phone 8.1 feature showcased on the Lumia 640 XL.

Glance is a great Windows Phone 8.1 feature showcased on the Lumia 640 XL.

Performance within apps is good, but you can certainly feel that this phone has only 1GB of RAM when surfing the web and multitasking. Games on the other hand seem to do just fine on the Snapdragon 400 processor. I spent several hours playing games like Twins Minigame (highly recommended, that game is addicting) and Bridge Constructor on this phone.

Battery Life

Easily one of the biggest highlights of this phone is the battery life. The 3,000 mAh battery provides power for days on this phone, and I mean that literally. Without even trying to conserve any power I could get through 2 days or even 3 if I used it a bit lighter. Even when playing games for hours on end and streaming Netflix, this phone almost certainly won’t die in a day of even heavy use.

Camera

One of the things I always look forward  to when checking out a Lumia smartphone is the camera. Most have outstanding cameras, even on the lower cost models. However I’m sad to report that the Lumia 640 XL doesn’t fit that description. Is it a bad camera? No, it’s not, but it’s not great either. Shots taken tend to pick up quite a bit of digital noise and appear fuzzy when you blur in. If you have enough light, this camera is perfectly fine, but it definitely struggles indoors.

Full size camera samples

Final Thoughts

At $249, the Lumia 640 XL is a solid choice for Windows Phone fans, but I hesitate to recommend it to everyone. There are many other choices at this price point such as the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3. However if you’re considering this as an AT&T user, the $8~ a month charge to get this phone is a pretty good deal and you’ll struggle to find another large phone at that monthly price.

– The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL was provided for review by AT&T