Microsoft Lumia 640/640 XL Australian Hands On

MSLM640XL_1
I’ve just had a brief play with Microsoft’s latest mid-range Lumia devices, the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640XL. Here’s some early impressions.
Microsoft this morning at Mobile World congress announced the latest two additions to its Lumia lineup of Windows Mobile devices, the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL. Both will be upgradeable to Windows 10 later in the year once that operating environment is available, but for now, they’re Windows 8.1 devices.

A simple plastic body that I think I can safely call "Lumia style". If you've held a previous Lumia, you've held the Lumia 640XL.
A simple plastic body that I think I can safely call “Lumia style”. If you’ve held a previous Lumia, you’ve held the Lumia 640XL.

Both the 640 and 640XL feature quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processors, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage, upgradeable via MicroSD when the rear of the phone is snapped off. They differ slightly in camera optics, with the 640XL sporting a 13MP camera and the 640 making do with an 8MP snapper.
The rear cover snaps off to show the removable battery and microSD card slot. With only 8GB on board, you're probably going to need it.
The rear cover snaps off to show the removable battery and microSD card slot. With only 8GB on board, you’re probably going to need it.

One of the more interesting aspects of both the Lumia 640 and 640XL is that they’re dual SIM LTE phones, or at least they will be for “some markets”, according to Microsoft. Both SIM slots can support 4G in compatible models, but not simultaneously, with one slot working in 2G mode when the other is in full 4G flow.
The 640XL is certainly a solid lump of a phone, but then that’s the way with larger screened devices. It’s a little less nice in the hand than the comparable size Lumia 1520, but then it’s going to be sold as much more of a mid-range device than the premium Lumias.
Windows Phone sits in this interesting space where the code is quite heavily optimised and it’s essentially — not quite actually, but extremely close — a one-man band when it comes to handsets, which means assessing performance, especially in a short timeframe is quite difficult, because even the low-range Lumias tend to perform quite well. From a brief hands-on I’ve got few complaints, although the real test will be to see how well the battery stands up to a dual SIM battering.
At first, my response was "GAAAH MY EYES". But the orange hue did actually grow on me quite quickly.
At first, my response was “GAAAH MY EYES”. But the orange hue did actually grow on me quite quickly.

The Lumia 640 is the smaller cousin of the 640XL. I managed some brief hands on with the extremely vibrant orange model, which has, as per Microsoft representatives, a slightly clear edge that accentuates the colour. It’s certainly the phone model for extroverts, although you can buy a more plain white or black variant if you prefer.
Added bonus: You will never, ever lose a phone this bright amongst clutter. It's designed to stand out.
Added bonus: You will never, ever lose a phone this bright amongst clutter. It’s designed to stand out.

Size and style comparison: Lumia 640 vs Lumia 1520. Microsoft's been doing this bright thing for a while now -- and it sure has a lot of Lumias to sell.
Size and style comparison: Lumia 640 vs Lumia 1520. Microsoft’s been doing this bright thing for a while now — and it sure has a lot of Lumias to sell.

They’re interesting additions to the Lumia range, although they’re again in the entry/mid category, where Microsoft already have a lot of phones. I get the sense in targeting emerging markets, but it does leave space for a genuine hero premium phone down the track.

Author: Alex

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

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