Review: Microsoft Lumia 640XL
4.4Overall Score

Price (RRP): $399
Manufacturer: Microsoft

Big phones are a big deal, but they also come with big price tags. Not necessarily so, as Microsoft finds a way to cut under $500 with a 5.7 inch Windows-powered phablet.

Features

The latest Lumia to join the growing Windows lineup is a big one, as Microsoft embraces big displays for people not on big budgets.

This handset is the Lumia 640XL, the slightly bigger version of Lumia 640, because while that handset (which we’ll review shortly) boasts a 5 inch display with some similar innards for a $299 price point, the 640XL caters for people who like a little more in terms of features and phone size.

For starters, there’s a 5.7 inch display found on the Lumia 640XL running the high resolution 1280×720 display and protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3, a difference of 0.7 inches compared to its 640 sibling.

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Under this, the Lumia 640XL shares very similar components to its sibling, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB RAM, and 8GB storage. MicroSD support can be found here, meaning you can upgrade how much space you have available with a small memory card.

Connections are pretty much par for the course these days, at least for a mid-range phone, with 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, GPS with A-GPS, and Near-Field Communication (NFC) along for the ride.

Also found here is 4G LTE, providing high-speed connectivity across each of the major Australian mobile networks.

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Cameras are also here, as they tend to be with a modern smartphone, providing a 13 megapixel rear camera with flash and autofocus, as well as a front-facing 5 megapixel camera, and these two features are one of the primary differences between the 640XL and the regular 640, with the smaller phone relying on an 8 megapixel rear camera and 1 megapixel front-facing camera.

Windows Phone 8.1 runs on the handset out of the box, and for a change in phones with this operating system, you’ll actually find less buttons than normal, with only a volume rocker and a power button on the right edge.

The remaining regular Windows buttons for back, home (Start menu), and search are now part of the software and appear only when the phone is loaded and at the bottom.

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Ports, however, are pretty much identical to what Windows Phones have supported for years, with a 3.5mm headset jack up top and a microUSB charge and data transfer port at the bottom.

Both the microSD and microSIM slots are located on the under-side of the phone, once you remove the back and take out the battery, which is removable and is rated for 3000mAh.