Lumia 640 Review: Microsoft Raises the Bar, Again

Lumia 640
The Lumia 640
The Lumia 640

Launched at MWC2015, the Lumia 640 and its bigger brother the Lumia 640XL, are the first 4th Generation of Lumia devices. Both devices were launched in Kenya in mid-May with the largest marketing campaign we have seen from Microsoft yet. This is a clear indication that there are high hopes for this device to do well in this market. After spending 3 weeks with the Lumia 640, I believe that the Lumia 640 offers the best value for any person who is focused on being productive.

Read our “Lumia 640: First Hands-On Impressions” article here.

Since the launch of Windows Phone 8, the “Lumia 6 Series” has been at the intersection of offering innovative hardware features (that are normally reserved for flagship phones) at affordable prices. Thus, it’s no surprise that the Lumia 620, Lumia 625, and Lumia 630/635 currently hold 25% of the Lumia market (data via AdDuplex). The Lumia 640 builds on this heritage and creates a devices that is arguably better than the Lumia flagship 2 generations ago, the Lumia 920.

Lumia 640
The Lumia 640 compared to the Lumia 830 and Lumia 920.

The Lumia 640 comes in two variations in Kenya. A Single SIM LTE version that is available in Safaricom shops, and a 3.5G Dual SIM version that is available in other authorized Microsoft dealer outlets.

Price KES 19,999 (for both LTE and 3.5G variants)
OS: Windows Phone 8.1 GDR2
Dimensions: 141.3 x 72.2 x 8.8 mm
Weight: 145 g
Keys: Right: Volume control, Lock/Unlock key
Colors: Black, Orange, Blue, White
Physical size: 5.0 inches
Resolution: 720 x 1280 pixels
Pixel density: 294 ppi
Technology: IPS LCD
Screen-to-body ratio: 67.65%
Colors: 16 777 216
Touchscreen: Capacitive, Multi-touch
Features: Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Scratch-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 3)
System chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Quad Core 1.2GHz
Graphics processor: Adreno 305
System memory: 1024 MB RAM
Built-in storage: 8 GB
Storage expansion: microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC up to 128 GB
Radio: FM
Sensors: Accelerometer, Compass
Speakers: Earpiece, Loudspeaker
GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
UMTS: 850, 900, 2100 MHz
FDD LTE: 800 (band 20), 900 (band 8), 1800 (band 3), 2100 (band 1), 2600 (band 7) MHz
Data: LTE Cat 4 (150/50 Mbit/s), HSDPA+ (4G) 42.2 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, EDGE, GPRS
Micro SIM: Yes
Dual SIM LTE Model is Single SIM, 3.5G Models is Dual SIM
Global Roaming: Yes
Positioning: GPS, A-GPS, Glonass, Cell ID, Wi-Fi positioning
Navigation: Turn-by-turn navigation, Voice navigation, Points of interest (POI)
Bluetooth: 4
Profiles/ Protocols: A2DP, AVRCP, GATT, HFP, HID, MAP, OPP, PAN, PBAP
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b, g, n
Mobile hotspot: Yes
USB: USB 2.0
Connector: microUSB
Features: Mass storage device, USB charging
Headphones connector: 3.5mm
Other: NFC, DLNA, Tethering, Computer sync, OTA sync
Rear Camera
Image Resolution 8MP
Flash: LED
Aperture size: F2.2
Focal length (35mm equivalent): 28 mm
Camera sensor size: 1/4″
Features: Face detection, Digital zoom, Back-illuminated sensor (BSI), Autofocus, Geo tagging
Shooting Modes: PopupHigh Dynamic Range mode (HDR)
Video capture: 1920×1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps)
Video Recording format: MPEG4, H.263, H.264
Features: Continuous autofocus, Video light, Video calling
Front-Facing Camera:
Image Resolution 0.9 megapixels
Video capture: 1280×720 (720p HD)
Capacity: 2500 mAh
Talk time: 26.50 hours
Stand-by time: 36.0 days (864 hours)
Talk time (3G): 17.50 hours
Music playback: 86.00 hours
Video playback: 8.60 hours
Wireless charging: NO

The Lumia 640 continues with the design language first introduced the Lumia 535. But unlike the 535, the poly-carbonate case of the 640 is noticeably stiffer and retains a high quality feel. It has the attractive dual shot treatment that provides a clear covering when viewed from some angles. The black and white colors will have a matte finish, while the blue and orange devices come with a glossy finish. The rather light weight of the Lumia 640 results in easy handling and portability.
The Lumia 640 has on screen menus that are easily swiped away when not in use to reveal more screen real estate. The 720p IPS, Gorilla Glass 3 screen of the Lumia 640 was was one of the highlights of using this device. It was a very close match to my daily driver, the Lumia 830 (which costs twice as much).

Battery Life
The Lumia 640 outshines in the battery capacity. The large 2500 mAh ensured that I easily got through a day on single charge. I always leave my Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Location, 4G data settings on, and don’t use any of the normal battery saving tips. Thus, if the Lumia 640 can get me through my day, then it will do more for you if you are a less demanding user.

Due to the 8GB internal memory of the Lumia 640 (which only leaves 5.5GB usable), it is recommended that a microSD card is purchased to supplement the on board storage. The advantage of the Windows Phone platform is that apps, multimedia and documents can be easily configured to automatically install to the microSD Card. This saves space on the internal storage, without impacting device performance. It is important to note that when purchasing a microSD, you should buy the highest rated card available.
The quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor ensured that, I was able to play games like Asphalt 8 smoothly and without any lag. NOTE: If you are gamer then its highly recommended that you buy a microSD card, as a graphics heavy game like Asphalt will fill up internal storage very quickly.

Imaging Performance

Lumia 640
The Lumia 640 comes with Lumia Camera app that allows manual adjustment of image parameters as well capture HDR.

The Lumia 640 sports a 8MP rear camera with a LED flash. It also comes with the latest version of Lumia Camera that has the Rich Capture mode. This allows users to capture HDR images, automatically adjust the strength of the flash (after taking the picture) and remove images from video capture. The front facing camera is 0.9MP which is sufficient for video conferencing and selfies.
See sample pictures below.


Lumia 640
The Lumia 640 comes with 1 year Office635 Personal.

The Lumia 640 comes with a free 1 year subscription to Office 635 Personal. This package provides Office 365 installations for 1 PC, 1 Tablet as well as the phone. Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook are included. You will also receive 1TB of online storage on OneDrive (which will be expanded later in the year to unlimited storage).

To redeem your 1 year subscription of Office 365 Personal, you will need to download the Office 365 Gift App. Once installed, the app will walk you through the process to redeem your subscription.

The Future with Windows 10 Mobile
The Lumia 640 comes with the latest version of Windows Phone 8.1 GDR2 which adds an improved settings menu. However, the future of Windows Phone will take a giant leap in October with the launch of Windows 10 mobile. This update will be available on the Lumia 640 for free. As the next iteration of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 10 will be the first operating system that runs across multiple devices and form factors (smartphones, laptops, servers and even IOT). This provides advantages in not only syncing personal account data between devices and PCS, but improved security management especially for enterprise customers.


At KES 19,999, the Lumia 640 will have stiff competition from the myriad of Chinese brands launched in Kenya over the past year. However where the Lumia stands out is that it offers a smooth user experience, an expansive local support system and most importantly guaranteed support from Microsoft when it comes to software updates and upgrades.