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Back in 2013, Nokia launched the first Windows Phone phablets – Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520, both with 6-inch displays. After almost a year and a half, Microsoft launched another phablet, the Lumia 640 XL. It’s basically a Lumia 1320 ver 2.0. For the price, the device includes decent hardware. Following are the main specifications:

  • 5.7 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels resolution and 259 ppi – protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz
  • 8 GB internal storage, 1 GB RAM
  • 13 MP rear camera with LED flash and a 5 MP front camera unit
  • 3000 mAh battery
  • Available for £185 in the UK

Design

Microsoft has always followed the simplistic Lumia design. Just like most of the other Lumia handsets, the Lumia 640 XL has a polycarbonate back cover which feels quite nice in the hands. As you may expect, the device doesn’t try to look premium. The device is available in three colours: Black, White and Orange. I got the boring, black device. Unlike its smaller brother, the Lumia 640, the Lumia 640 XL comes with a matte back cover – even the Orange edition has a matte back cover.

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I’m a big fan of Lumia handsets’ design – especially the matte ones and devices with square edges. Just like most of the other Lumia devices, the device’s squared sides – which make it easier to hold the device. One thing that disappointed me about the device is the small camera bump on the back – it’s not big, but I often found my fingers on the bump while holding the phone which caused me to reposition my hand pretty often.

Microsoft has done a great job on keeping the device light-weight. The device weights only 171 grams, despite the fact that it comes with a 5.7-inch display. The device is also pretty thin, only at 9 mm. Another thing that I really liked about the device’s design is the button placements on the side (although there’s no dedicated camera button here) – Microsoft designers have placed the volume rocker and power button perfectly on the Lumia 640 XL, ensuring enough space between them and making both easily reachable, and I never managed to accidentally hit the wrong button! (I usually mistakenly click on the power button while trying to hit the volume down button on other smartphones).

It’s worth mentioning that if you have small hands, you’ll probably struggle to use the device one-handedly. But, then again, you probably shouldn’t buy a 5.7-inch phablet if you’ve small hands or use both your hands if you like the screen real estate.

I’m quite satisfied with the Lumia 640 XL’s design – it is a really good device to do things such as sending emails, reading articles, playing games, watching videos and much more. The design of the device is perfect, and the matte back makes it even better.

Display

Microsoft mostly offers good – if not, decent displays on its low-end smartphones. Although the Lumia 640 XL isn’t a low-end smartphone, the device comes with a good display. For starters, the device sports a 5.7-inch display with 720 x 1280 pixels and 259 ppi (pixels per inch). The display of the device is vibrant and produces good colors. The device has an IPS display, however, I personally think an OLED panel would make the device even better.

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Viewing angles on the device are surprisingly very good, and multi-touch works perfectly, as you’d expect. Under sunlight, it is a bit hard to view the contents on the screen, but it does have the ClearBlack display technology which really enhance sunlight readability. Thankfully though, Microsoft has also included Windows Phone’s Glance Screen feature which is a definite plus for this mid-ranger. For protection, the display comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 which arguably offers the best-in-class protection. To test the durability of the device’s display, I scratched it a little with a key – and as expected, there weren’t any scratches.

I’d love to drop test the device – but as it’s a review unit, unfortunately, can’t do that.

Nonetheless, I personally think the Lumia 640 XL’s display is decent, but as I’ve said, an OLED panel would make the device even better and I wouldn’t mind paying a bit more for it.

Performance

Windows Phone is known as one of the most fluid smartphone operating systems, even on budget specs. Performance on mid-range Windows Phone hasn’t been disappointing in the recent months. And Microsoft has proved it yet again with the Lumia 640 XL. The device rocks a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8226) processor – clocked at 1.2GHz and 1GB of RAM. Navigating around the OS is fast, and you’ll hardly experience any lag.

For those who care about benchmarks, I tested the device on AnTuTu Benchmark – take a look at the result:

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Mutli-tasking on the Lumia 640 XL is also good – opening some emails and switching between apps doesn’t slow down multi-tasking on the device. Gaming on the Lumia 640 XL is also very good – I’ve tested Asphalt 8, as well as Tiny Troopers and the recently released game Crossy Roads on the device and they’re quite fast on the device.

Once again, the Lumia 640 XL’s performance is good. The OS runs smoothly and apps are also quite fast on the device. And if you’re a gamer, you’ll be happy to know that the device has the Adreno 305 GPU with the Snapdragon 400 processor which makes games run smoothly on the device.

Camera

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If there is something Lumia phones are always considered superior for, it’s their good cameras – Microsoft/Nokia has produced some great smartphones with amazing cameras. Following the tradition, the company made sure to pack a good camera on the Lumia 640 XL. The phone has a 13MP rear shooter and includes an LED flash. The Lumia 640 XL produces amazing pictures, and if you’re a PRO, the camera has a lot to offer.

The Lumia 640 XL’s camera produces images with good details and sharp results. The camera performs pretty good under low-light conditions while the flash is turned on – however, it doesn’t produce impressive pictures under low light without flash. Here are some pictures I captured with the device during the review process:


As I stated earlier, the Lumia 640 XL’s camera will offer much more imaging prowess if you use the PRO settings – such as custom ISO, shutter speed, etc. It’s worth mentioning that the image processing on the Lumia 640 XL is pretty slow – it takes an image instantly but takes a few seconds to process it which is a bit disappointing. Alongside taking good images, the Lumia 640 XL’s camera does a great job while recording video. The mid-ranger doesn’t come with Optical Image Stabilization – which isn’t surprising at all as some flagships (read: HTC One M9) of 2015 have left out OIS. I’ve tested the video recording of the device, and here’s a sample:

As you can see from the above video taken with the Lumia 640 XL, the video recording is indeed pretty good on the device. The device’s microphone also does a decent job while recording videos.

If you’re a fan of selfies, you’ll be more than happy with the Lumia 640 XL’s front shooter. The device boasts a 5 MP camera on the front, which takes great selfies. Microsoft has recently added support for selfie sticks to the Lumia Camera app which means that taking selfies on Lumia devices should get much easier.

I’m not disappointed by the Lumia 640 XL’s camera at all. The device takes amazing cameras under daylight, and it also takes good pictures under low light. The front camera of the device does good at taking selfies, and video recording on the device is good as well. So here’s the thing: the Lumia 640 XL has one of the best cameras for the price point, and it won’t disappoint you.

Software

The Lumia 640 XL is one of the two devices which comes with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 out-of-the-box. The device will be upgradable to Windows 10 Mobile once it’s available for the public. At the moment, the software does offer a really good experience. For those who don’t know, Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 brings a lot of goodies such as improved Settings app, Bluetooth keyboard/mouse support and much more. As you may expect, Windows Phone runs smoothly on the device. As I stated earlier, the device comes with glance support. The device comes with some pre-installed apps such as Flipboard, MixRadio and PicsArt.

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Microsoft has recently started offering some amazing deals with its new phones. If you buy a Lumia 640 XL, you’ll be able to get 1 year free of Office 365 – which is indeed a very nice deal. To be honest, there isn’t much to complain about the software of the device – Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 is very nice and runs fluidly on the device. However, I’ve to say that I personally don’t appreciate pre-installed apps that the Lumia 640 XL comes with; but the Windows Phone OS has a win over Android in this department and that is the user can easily uninstall all 3rd party apps and most first party apps.

Battery

One of the first things that anyone prospecting to buy a phablet generally asks is “how’s the battery life?”. I’ve got to say that even I was a bit concerned about the battery life of the device when Microsoft first announced the device’s display size. But when I saw the full specifications, I wasn’t concerned anymore. The Lumia 640 XL boasts a humongous 3000 mAh battery which compensates for the 5.7-inch display very well.

To test the battery, we did the WMPU Battery Test. For those who don’t know, the WMPU Battery Test includes playing music at 50% sound on speaker while reloading our website every 30 seconds with full-screen brightness. In the WMPU Battery Test, the device was able to survive roughly 7 hours and 4 minutes. To be fair, the device includes an impressive battery – which serves the hardware’s needs pretty well. If you’re an average user, the device will easily survive for a whole day. And if the device’s battery can’t keep up with your usage, you can always turn on Battery Saver which does indeed help the device survive for a lot more time.

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The device comes with a replaceable battery, which is pretty nice as well. However, if you’re a fan of wireless charging, you might be disappointed as the device doesn’t come with support for wireless charging. But, to be honest, for £185 – you probably shouldn’t expect support for wireless charging on the device.

Others

Alongside display, design and battery, there are some other little things that I’d like to talk about. First up, is the call quality – as usual, the call quality on Lumia devices are mostly good, and the call quality on Lumia 640 XL shouldn’t disappoint you. The device also packs good speakers, which perform pretty good while playing videos and musics.

The device’s physical buttons such as Volume up/down and Power button are clicky – which feels really nice. Another thing that disappointed me is that the device doesn’t come with earphones.

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The Good

  • Great camera
  • Good display
  • Super smooth performance
  • Huge battery

The Bad

  • No OIS (price won’t allow)
  • IPS display (half a bad only though!)
  • No dedicated camera button (this could’ve been easily added Microsoft)
  • Doesn’t come with any earphones (too much cost saving, eh?)
Well, that’s pretty much it for this great mid-range phablet. If you’re short on budget and want good performing phablet, look no further than the Lumia 640XL. Will you be picking up one?
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