Android phones have been dominating the budget end of the smart phones market. Most of them have near identical black or grey designs and the same outdated software which carries through even the basics. The Microsoft Lumia 640 is quite different however. The device is running Windows phone software made up of big colorful tiles that is a refreshing change to Android. It has a great 5 inch display, 4G LTE connectivity and an 8 Megapixel camera. All of it is wrapped up in plastic shells that are swappable and come in a range of vibrant colors.
The Nokia name may be outdated but its design is still unmistakably a Lumia. It has the same one piece black panel seen on almost all the recent Lumia phones that bend round to meet the screen at the front. It has more angular edges than the rounded Lumia 735. The comfort level in holding the phone is very similar. The stiff plastic makes it feel sturdy and well built. Moreover, the interchangeable cover allows swapping of colors to match the mood or the outfit. It also allows a pop up on a fresh panel when the existing one starts to look a battered and worn. The bright colors and plastic body provides the phone a fun, child like appearance that helps it stand out from usually black and grey mid range Android phones.
The device measures 141 mm long, 72 mm wide and 8.8 mm thick. The phone is quite big. However, it is possible to type the message with just one hand. One would definitely need two hands for typing longer messages. The 3.5mm headphone jack is on the top, the micro USB power port on the bottom and the micro SIM and micro SD card slots are found beneath the plastic back panel. One can certainly make use of the micro SD card slot as the phone comes with 8GB of on board storage. Using storage sense app, one can select an external SD card as a default place to store photos, apps and videos.
The 5 Inch display has got a 1280*720 pixel resolution, resulting in a density of 294 pixels per inch. It does not compare very well to the full HD flagship phones. Nevertheless, it is perfectly adequate on a phone of this price. It is also more than enough to give the Windows phone tiles a crisp edge and make even small text on web pages look perfectly readable. Colors are quite rich as well and there is a decent level of contrast that makes dramatic movies looks particularly luscious. The sheer size of the display provides a more immersive feel too. It is bright enough to counter the overhead lights. Unfortunately, it may not fare well in the bright summer sunshine.
The 640 runs on the latest version of Windows phone 8.1 that is codenamed Denim. It is made up of the same scrolling list of colorful tiles which shows live information and can resize and rearrange to make the interface likeable. The latest version of OS brings much needed updates like a pull down panel showing incoming notifications and settings like the screen brightness and Wi-Fi. Windows phones are easy to use and as a matter of fact quite fun. It can be a nice alternative to clunky and bloated Android interfaces found on budget mobiles.