Monday, 2 March 2015

Microsoft Lumia 640 maintains midtier momentum with 8-megapixel camera, bright colors (hands-on)

BARCELONA -- Microsoft's two new smartphones for Mobile World Congress carry forward the Lumia momentum in competing in the midtier markets -- meet the Lumia 640 and the larger, better equipped 640 XL.
We're still expecting big flagship news from Microsoft when Windows 10 is ready for public consumption, but for now, we're looking at two large handsets with specs that match more humble price tags.
The Lumia 640,which refreshed the 635, starts off with a 5-inch, 1,280x720-pixel display (that's a pixel density of 294 ppi) and Windows Phone 8.1 OS.
There's an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash on the back, and a tiny 1-megapixel camera on the front to engage in 720p HD video calls or the occasional selfie; Skype is integrated into the OS. The phone shoots 1080p full HD video, but remember that the screen is only 720p when you play back video on this phone.

A 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor is the big internal spec you'll really want to know about. The phone also has 8GB internal storage and 1GB of RAM, with a microSD card that takes up to 128GB. If you're into cloud storage, you'll be happy to see you get 30GB for free on Microsoft's OneDrive, with the camera roll backup turned on. There's a removable 2,500mAh battery beneath the back cover.
The Lumia 640 has rounded corners and straight sides show off subdued white and black shades, though it also comes in bright orange (I mean, really bright) and the signature Lumia cyan blue (which in the UK will be exclusive to the EE network). This phone will come out globally in single-SIM and dual-SIM options, and with either 3G or LTE network support.

The smaller of Microsoft's two new phones. Sarah Tew/CNET
Pricing will come in at about $180 (about £117 or AU$230) for the LTE version and $160 (roughly £101 or AU$204) for the 3G model. Look for the phone to land around March or April.