By Rich W Woods
My two weeks with the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL are coming to a close, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. After all, the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL is a fantastic phone, and I’m going to go so far as to say it’s the best Lumia on the market.
The battery life is the best I’ve ever seen from a Windows Phone. The camera rivals all Pureview cameras (except for the Lumia 1020, of course). The 5 MP front camera is stunning. All the things. But first, specs.
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL: Specs
|Processor||1.2 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 400|
|Display||5.7″, 720p, 259 ppi, IPS LCD|
|Body||157.9×81.5×9 mm, 171 g|
|Camera||13 MP, 4128×3096, 5 MP Front|
|Video||1080p – 30 fps, Front 1080p – 30 fps|
|Focal Length||28 mm|
|Storage||8 GB, Expandable to 128 GB|
You can tell a lot from the specs, but I’ll leave you to that. I hate talking about specs. People judge phones based on specs when they can’t get their hands on the actual device, and I have the actual device.
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL: Video Review
I also did a video review to supplement the written review, so you might want to check that out before you read this.
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL: Rear Camera
I started with the camera because this is my favorite part of the device. The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL uses a 13 MP rear camera, leaving the user plenty of room to crop without losing quality. But that’s not all.
The sensor size is 1/3″ and the aperture is f/2. Compare it to the Nokia Lumia 830’s Pureview camera, which uses a 1/3.4″ sensor and f/2.2 aperture. Pureview is defined as optical image stabilization, so as long as you can hold the camera still, the Lumia 640 XL actually has the better camera.
Then there’s software. The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL uses Lumia Camera 5, meaning that it has a number of features that other Lumias don’t have. The most notable feature of Lumia Camera 5 is Rich Capture, which actually allows the user to adjust the exposure of an image after it’s been taken.
Please note that in order to enlarge the images, click or tap on them. Don’t tap on them unless you have a touchscreen. If you don’t have a touchscreen, all you will accomplish is getting fingerprints on your screen. To view the full size image, there is a link in the gallery.
These were the favorite photos that I took with the Lumia 640 XL; however, for all of them, check out the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Photos Archives.
As we can see here, low light performance is awesome and color balance is almost perfect. In case you’re doubting, can you name another sub $300 device that can take night photos this well? I’ll wait…Didn’t think so.
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL: Front Camera
Another great feature of Lumia Camera 5 is that there is a toggle between the front and rear cameras. Of course, this is a feature that has been available on Android and iOS for about a hundred years, but it’s nice to finally have it on the Windows Phone side now.
The resolution is 5 MP. Normally, I do rants about how resolution doesn’t matter, but on Lumia front cameras, it does. That 5 MP is just short of 4K, so you’ll really see the difference between that and anything less. Note that the Lumia 1020, 1520, 930, and Lumia Icon use 1.2 MP front cameras and that the Lumia 640 and Lumia 830 use 0.9 MP front cameras. The only other Lumias that use 5 MP front cameras are the Lumia 535, Lumia 540 Dual SIM, and Lumia 730/735.
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL: Battery and Benchmarks
The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL uses a 3000 mAh battery and it gets the best battery benchmarks that I have ever seen from a Windows Phone. Let me show you the benchmarks.
The battery life is incredible though. Six hours of screen on time (SoT). Incredible.
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL: Display
The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL uses a 5.7″ 720p IPS LCD with ClearBlack technology. ClearBlack is a Nokia technology that basically tries to emulate an AMOLED display. With a normal LCD, you can see that the panel is backlit even when showing black colors.
The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL also has a Glance screen. This allows the user to view the time as well as notifications without the phone being awake. This is where ClearBlack is key. The Moto E has something like a Glance screen, but it lights up the room at night because the panel is backlit. The Moto X doesn’t have that problem because it’s AMOLED. Microsoft is able to do that with lower end phones that use LCDs with ClearBlack technology.
720p at 5.7″ works out to 259 ppi, which is not a very high pixel density. For me, the borderline between where I can’t see the difference between that and anything more is 326 ppi, which is Apple’s definition of Retina. I can’t see the difference between the iPhone 6 and anything more, but I can see the difference on a 720p 4.7″ display, which is 312 ppi.
For such a low pixel density, the display actually looks really good. Pixellation is very low. It certainly looks like a high end display. Of course, resolution is one of the least important things in a display. Just look at the Samsung Galaxy S6. That has one of the best displays on the market but it has nothing to do with the QHD display.
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL: Conclusion
When I say that the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL is the best Lumia on the market, I don’t say it lightly. Just look at the so-called afordable flagship Nokia Lumia 830. The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL has a better rear camera, better front camera, larger battery, same resolution display, same processor, and same RAM, but for half the price.
The Nokia Lumia Icon and Nokia Lumia 930 are better when it comes to performance but the camera on the Lumia 640 XL outperforms the Lumia Icon and 930. The camera on the Lumia 1020 is better but the Lumia 640 XL has better performance.
Aside from that, the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL has a really solid build. They went with the matte look on this one. I’m not sure why they went with glossy on the Lumia 640, probably to make it clear that the Lumia 640 was the lower end device. But I digress…
The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL is an awesome phone. I can easily recommend it to anyone looking to purchase a Windows Phone.