A few months ago the guys at Microsoft Lumia Voices got in touch and asked if I’d like to trial one of their handsets for a few weeks. Hell yes I would! I’ve been using an outdated “spare” phone (the Orange Rio to be precise) since my HTC Sensation XE finally died a while back, so I welcomed the chance to break free from my app-less, WAP prison for a while.
It’s been a few years since I’ve used a Windows Phone. Back in 2010 I owned the Samsung Omnia 7 which ran on Windows 7. I had high hopes for the Omnia but it turned out we just didn’t get along, so after a few days I went back to my old mobile and the Omnia went to Ebay. It’s battery lasted just two hours if I was lucky and the screen would get uncomfortably hot against my face, A shame because I really enjoyed using Windows 7. So with fond memories of the OS I looked forward to getting stuck in to Windows 8.1 on the Microsoft Lumia 640 and seeing how the newer Microsoft branded phones performed.
It took me a while to warm up to the orange gloss plastic case after having a brushed metal backed phone for so long. I know, you shouldn’t judge a phone by it’s cover. After using it for a few weeks I’m assured that this handset is a solid, sturdy build. The lightweight design feels comfortable in your hand, the display looks sleek against the gloss plastic and all buttons and ports are tucked away nicely.
In short, this baby packs a punch! It processed everything I threw at it with ease and I only experienced lag was during its initial start up while the phone was busy running updates. The Lumia 640 didn’t once crash on me. Running on a Snapdragon Quad-core 1.2 GHz processor with Windows 8.1 (soon to be updated to windows 10) this phone is powerful enough to handle all of the apps currently available in Windows Store.
This was the real kicker for me. The Lumia 640 display produces clean images and rich colours with lines that never appear jagged or blurry. Something I didn’t expect from a handset in this price range. Any graininess you see in my images are all from the camera I used to photograph the phone, not the phone display itself.
The Lumia 640 comes with an 8mp rear camera and a 0.9mp front facing camera. I would of preferred a better “selfie” cam, especially being a social media addicted blogger, but the rear camera produced some nice shots. I took a few photos of the garden during sunrise when it was still quite dark and it picked up the dawn colours perfectly.
Apps and Games
A common complaint with Windows phones is there aren’t enough apps available compared to Android and iPhone. It’s true that some big names are still missing from the Store – Snapchat, Periscope and Google app’s like Gmail are nowhere to be seen – and hopefully in time this will change. I hate knowing I’m missing out, although not everyone cares about accessing every single social network. Most of the essential apps are there anyway. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, LinkedIn and tons more.
Cortana probably doesn’t belong under “apps” but let’s just go along with it for now… Cortana is Windows very own voice-controlled personal assistant. Similar to iPhone’s Siri, Cortana is on hand to find numbers, websites, locations and even dish out sassiness from time to time (ask her to make you laugh. She’s a real smart ass). Fans of the Halo game series will recognise her, and as a fan of the games I enjoyed having my own Cortana in my pocket, but she isn’t just for novelty. Cortana is actually pretty helpful and feels more personal that Google Now (Android’s personal assistant).
One of my favourite things about using a Microsoft phone as a PC and Xbox user is that once you are signed in to your Microsoft account it works seamlessly across all other Microsoft products. Using One Drive, Office and Xbox apps on a Windows phone is so convenient and I was able make important updates to my account, like trying new Xbox Avatar hairstyle’s on the go.
Gaming on the Lumia 640 is a lot of fun. I tried most of the popular titles – Sonic, Tetris Blitz, Cut the Rope, Angry Birds and so on – and it handled them with ease. No lagging whatsoever and the screen is responsive to all inputs.
I enjoyed my time with the Microsoft Lumia 640. Using Windows OS is a breeze and so user-friendly, It felt like an extension of my PC. My only issue with the phone is that it lacked a few app’s that might be essential to some. Otherwise, it’s safe to say that the Microsoft Lumia 640 is the best budget mobile I’ve ever used. My partner liked it so much he went out and bought the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL.
Windows has packed in everything they possibly could and the result is a budget smart phone that would work well for everyone – gamers, busy workers who need to view Microsoft Office documents on the fly and technophobe’s who require something a little easier to get to grips with. Of course, it’s missing some fancy features that you’d find on high end handsets, but if you are willing to forego the extra megapixels and the odd app here and there, the Lumia 640 offers excellent value for money and exceeds expectations as a budget mobile phone.
Would you try the Microsoft Lumia 640? Let me know your favourite budget handset below!