Microsoft Lumia 640 XL review
A lot of phablet for not much at all
- Competitively priced
- Great camera
- Outstanding battery life
- Cumbersome body
- Windows 8 operating system trails in apps
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
The Lumia 640 XL stems from the same DNA pool as the Lumia 640. It has the same understated front, the same polycarbonate casing and a penchant for vibrant colours.
Think of the XL variant as the bigger brother benefitting from a little more maturity, namely with its screen, camera and battery. Otherwise, the two smartphones are identical.
Both smartphones operate on Windows Phone 8.1 and have been promised an upgrade to Windows 10 when it launches. Both smartphones are powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. And both can accommodate microSD memory cards up to 128GBs in size.
An increase in screen size inches the 640 XL towards tablet territory. The larger 5.7-inch display has the same 1280x720 resolution of the smaller 640. The result is a lesser 259 pixel-per-inch density. What the screen lacks in sharpness, however, is made up for in strong colours and the depth of its blacks.
Larger screens typically come at the expense of battery life. Underneath this Lumia’s removable case is a 3000 milliamp-hour battery. This is a larger capacity than the batteries in the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One (M9) and Apple iPhone 6.
Bundling an economical CPU with a low resolution screen and a flagship-grade battery reaps strong battery results. A mix of heavy multimedia and Internet use, along with everyday phone calls, texts and emails, led to the battery lasting 46 hours before needing a charge. Only a handful of smartphones rival this result.
The final changes to 640 XL pertains to its cameras, which are higher in resolution than those found on the ordinary 640. The front camera takes photos at a competitive 5-megapixels and the rear will capture them at 13-megapixels. Video recording for both cameras maxes out at Full HD.
There’s more to the cameras than the high resolution. Microsoft uses the ‘Lumia Camera’ interface popularised by Nokia smartphones, which offers manual controls in an easy-to-use layout. Then there’s the quality of photos.
Most of the photos captured will look great on the screen of this smartphone, particularly if they have been taken under natural lighting. Blue skies were characterised by different hues subtly blending into one another. Clouds had body and texture as they stemmed into the background, while the subjects in the foreground retained plenty of detail. These photos look good even on the larger screen of a television.
Taking photos at night or under the dim, fluorescent lighting of a carpark caused photos to look grainy and soft on details. A photo taken during sunset of a bike locker exaggerated the dark colours in the foreground and blew out the twilight tones in the sky.
Few phablets can compete with the Lumia 640 XL when it comes to value for money. It bundles capable software with competent computing hardware, and then throws in solid cameras with outstanding battery life. Heavy multimedia users will naturally gravitate towards its vibrant personality, in whatever bright colours are available.
We’re not convinced Microsoft has made the phablet convenient enough to carry around everyday. The 640 XL is larger, thicker and wider than Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, with ample bezel on every side of its screen, which makes it difficult to pocket. This is a price to be paid daily for a feature rich phablet that retails for a low $399.
Join the newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Apple iMac Pro
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Ballistix Sport AT
Toys for Boys
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
ESET Smart Security Premium
Tivoli PAL BT
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Internet Security
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- Alcatel renew Rabbitohs partnership and talk up 2018 growth
- Vivo Nex Dual Display Release Date, Price, Specs and More
- Samsung Galaxy A8s Release Date, Price, Specs and More
- Wizards of the Coast invest $10 million into MTG: Arena esports
- Sony Xperia XZ4 Release Date, Price, Specs and More
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Ghost in the machine
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies