Microsoft Lumia 640 XL review
When big screen meets big camera
The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL pairs a big screen with a big camera to deliver a big visual experience backed up by a wide range of Microsoft based features.
The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL is the big brother of the Lumia 640 with almost an inch more screen. The 5.7 inch HD display is just about as big as they come and has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. ClearBlack technology is built in to ensure perfect readability under sunlight and the IPS LCD display can be viewed from even the widest of angles.
Sensibly, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 has been used to create a scratch resistant and almost unbreakable surface for the front face of this smartphone. The coloured casing places a slim band of colour around the edge of the front surface and this colour continues onto the sides and back.
For me the white version of the Lumia 640 XL has the best looks but younger users will appreciate that the covers are exchangeable. At 9mm thick there is plenty to get hold of and the overall over-sized concept of this smartphone delivers a weighting of 171 grams, so it isn’t the lightest phone on the market!
Inside the build includes a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor with 1GB RAM and 8GB of memory. Only a portion of this, like with all other phones, is user accessible so it seems sensible that the Lumia 640 XL has a memory card slot for cards up to the value of 128GB.
Phone Set Up
Whilst we are still thinking about storage I will point out that your setup will include activating the 15GB of free OneDrive storage which will take care of backing up your files, photos and media. If you active the camera roll backup feature then you will be welcomed with another 15GB of free storage.
You will undoubtedly want to sign in to all of your internet based accounts such as Skype as well as your social apps including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp. Next on the list will most likely be rearranging the Live Tiles of Windows Phone 8.1 and you can tailor the view by using a photo as a background to these.
I recommend visiting the Windows Phone Store to peruse the available apps for download such as Flipboard and Instagram. If the screen timeouts on you while you are waiting for a download then just give it a quick double tap to wake it up.
The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL is jam packed with pre-loaded features that all come with the Windows Phone 8.1 OS. The most useful is the Cortana digital assistant that uses a proactive approach that includes location based reminders, real-time traffic alerts and even local restaurant information.
Wi-Fi or 4G gives access to the web via Internet Explorer 11 and the connection can be used to enjoy features such as Xbox Music and MixRadio. Xbox Music allows you to manage your music tracks and shop for more while MixRadio streams music mixes. The music mix feature learns what type of tracks you like as you give them a thumbs up or down so these become tailored to your likes and dislikes. You will also find a media player with graphical equaliser and virtual surround sound.
GPS is on hand with free offline maps and I personally love the fact that you can pin places pre-trip to start screen. This comprehensive feature gives you realtime traffic advice, speed limit warnings and includes venue maps, for example shopping centres, and this gives you a powerful on-foot navigation tool.
For professionals, Microsoft Office and OneNote are pre-installed and you get a 12 month subscription to Office 365 Personal. The new Word Flow Keyboard delivers an enhanced typing experience as you slide your finger from letter to letter. Support for multiple email accounts allows you to keep check of both personal and work messages and the text to speech message reader allows you to multitask with ease.
Camera & Video
The 13MP camera is a true gem and almost doubles the resolution of that seen on high-end phones like the Apple iPhone 6. There is a 4x digital zoom although we always recommend cropping an image in the photo editing screen post shot for the best results.
On the front we find a 5MP camera for wide-angle Skype calls or selfies. Video recording is also possible at 1080p quality with video zoom, continuous focus and a video light for low light conditions.
The two main camera tools include the Lumia Refocus app which moves items in the shot in or out of focus for professionally styled results. The second tool is the Lumia Selfie app and this automatically enhances self portraits and makes them easy to share across your social networks.
Having such a large screen the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL commands a high capacity battery and we find one rated at 3,000mAh. This will provide you with great sustainability when compared to other smartphones. You should be able to achieve up to 24 hours of talk time. 37 days of standby. 98 hours of music playback, 14.2 hours of Wi-Fi internet browsing or 10.7 hours of video playback.
In the box you will find an energy efficient charger and the phone has a battery saver feature for when you really need to extend your standby or usage times.
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL verdict: The large screen on this Microsoft phone makes it a great choice for gaming and watching video clips. The camera, feature set and battery all add to the appeal and while this isn’t a metallic flagship device it has plenty to offer to those who don’t have an unlimited budget.
Written by: Michael Brown