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Home / Reviews / Smartphones / MWC 2015: Lumia 640 hands-on review

MWC 2015: Lumia 640 hands-on review

Don’t sweat its small size, the little Lumia 640 was designed to do bigger things

Size does matter. And when it comes to phones, sometimes smaller is better.

The Lumia 640 might have had some of its glory stolen by the announcement of its bigger brethren – the Lumia 640 XL. But considering its hardware is largely the same, there’s no reason to suppose that bigger is better.

Polycarbonated for success

Polycarbonated for success

The 640’s design is familiar. With a unibody polycarbonate back cover that we’ve all come to associate with the mid-range Lumia phones, there’s nothing to complain about here. The phone is light, slim and at 5 inches, fits perfectly into hands which have shunned the wave of phablets.

Though it’s definitely not metal, the polycarbonate on the Lumia 640 doesn’t look and feel quite plastic either, having a good solid weight. In fact the lack of metal elements only goes to highlight the difference in feel. We love the matte cyan version, a true representation of the Microsoft brand. Although by the time we were done getting our hands on the phone, it was covered with more than a few fingerprint smudges.

Spy with my little eye

On the camera front, there’s nothing to trade in your DSLR for. Well, on the hardware side at least. The front-facing camera on the Lumia 640 is a 1MP affair while the back is all of 8MP. There’s no Carl Zeiss lens on the Lumia 640, with that only being available on its bigger brother, the Lumia 640 XL.

But what it lacks in camera hardware, it makes up for in software. The Lumia 640 will ship with the latest Denim update, which means all those glorious Lumia Camera features such as Rich Capture and Dynamic Flash will be available for your photo-tweaking pleasure.

You’ll notice the lack of a dedicated camera button: only power and volume control buttons sit on its side. When asked, Microsoft executives have said that the button will be reserved for its higher-end Lumia models with PureView tech.

Still, the camera is still easily accessible by swiping down from the screen, and tapping and holding the camera icon.

The little engine that could

The little engine that could

Packing 2000mAh of battery power, the Lumia 640 will last through two full days of active usage – according to Microsoft executives at least. Given that the 5-inch screen is 720p HD, the claim could possibly hold true.

Although the resolution isn’t full HD, it is perfectly comfortable on the eyes on the smaller screen, holding up relatively well even under the bright stage lights here at MWC 2015.

It comes with with 8GB of storage, expandable up to 128GB via microSD, and is also running the same 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor as the Lumia 640 XL.

For the tech spec-unfamiliar, we didn’t experience any lag swiping or tapping except when it came to snapping photos, but in our experience that’s to be expected with Lumia phones.

Initial verdict

Initial verdict

Don’t let its small size fool you, the Lumia 640 is fully capable of bigger things to come given that it will be upgradeable to Windows 10 when the time comes.

Microsoft is kindly packaging the phone with a host of freebies: a year’s subscription to Office 365 Personal, on the Lumia as well as on one PC or Mac and one tablet, 1TB of OneDrive storage for all your memory-heavy needs, and 60 minutes of Skype Unlimited Worldwide calling every month. But of course, that last offer will be region-subjective. In any case, there’s plenty of bang for your buck here.

The Lumia 640 will be available come April in glossy white, orange, cyan, and matte for the black. It will be retailing for €139 (about £100) for the 3G version, and €159 (£115) for the LTE one. Perfectly affordable if you ask us. Could be a good time to jump on the Windows 10 bandwagon.

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