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Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 05/03/2015

The mid-range giant. Microsoft's Lumia 640 XL with dual-SIM support is aimed at Windows Phones buyers looking for a low-priced phablet. To see if it stands any chance of success, read this report.

For the original German review, see here.

Microsoft revamped its affordable Lumia 640 mid-range phone - and we quite liked it. However, that was not enough for the Redmond manufacturer, and it created the Lumia 640 XL for everyone who thinks smartphones just can't be big enough. The XL model is available in a version with either two SIM slots or an LTE model that only supports one SIM card. The family relationship is also seen in other details, such as the removable back cover, tight storage and screen resolution.

However, modifications have also been made in the configuration. After all, the Lumia 640 XL faces an increasing number of low-priced phablets. For example, Asus' Zenfone 6OnePlus' One and Xiaomi's Redmi Note 4G are rivals. In addition, how does our review sample score in a comparison with the still available Nokia Lumia 1320 phablet?

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Microsoft Lumia 640 XL (Lumia Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
1024 MB 
Display
5.7 inch 16:9, 1280 x 720 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
8 GB eMMC Flash, 8 GB 
, , 4 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo audio jack, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 128 GB, Sensors: motion sensor, light sensor, proximity sensor, compass, dual-SIM, FM radio, NFC, DLNA
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.0, GSM quad-band (850/900/1800/1900), UMTS quad-band (850/900/1900/2100), bandwidth (download/upload): 42MBps/5.76MBps (UMTS), SAR-rates: 0.73W/kg (head), 0.45W/kg (body)
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9 x 157.9 x 81.5 ( = 0.35 x 6.22 x 3.21 in)
Battery
11 Wh Lithium-Ion, 3000 mAh, 3.8 V, removable, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 31.3 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1
Camera
Webcam: 5.0MP, videos @1080p (front), 13.0MP, AF, LED flash, videos @1080p/30fps (rear)
Additional features
Speakers: rear-sided speaker, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, power supply, Here Maps, Here Drive+, MixRadio, Storyteller, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
171 g ( = 6.03 oz / 0.38 pounds), Power Supply: 47 g ( = 1.66 oz / 0.1 pounds)
Price
219 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The family relationship with the Lumia 640 also becomes obvious in the casing. The casing features the same design, and is available in the same colors: orange, cyan, black and white. The back cover can be removed, which enables accessing both SIM slots and the removable battery. But then there are minor differences: The two vaguely different colors of the edge that creates the cover of the Lumia 640 around the front are only single-colored on the Lumia 640 XL. Furthermore, the camera of our review sample clearly protrudes, and the speaker is located beside it and not in the lower area like in the smaller Lumia 640.

The Lumia 640 XL is also slightly thicker than its smaller sibling: It expands the pocket by 9 millimeters (~0.35 in). However, it is still considerably slimmer than the Lumia 1320. The Lumia 640 is fairly stiff: strong pressure on the screen and from the back become visible in the liquid crystals. On the other hand, the unit can be easily twisted, which sometimes causes the cover to pop out. Despite that, it still conveys an overall good quality and solid feel.

166.9 mm / 6.57 inch 84.3 mm / 3.32 inch 9.9 mm / 0.3898 inch 200 g0.4409 lbs164.2 mm / 6.46 inch 85.9 mm / 3.38 inch 9.8 mm / 0.3858 inch 220 g0.485 lbs157.9 mm / 6.22 inch 81.5 mm / 3.21 inch 9 mm / 0.3543 inch 171 g0.377 lbs154 mm / 6.06 inch 78.7 mm / 3.1 inch 9.45 mm / 0.372 inch 199 g0.4387 lbs152.9 mm / 6.02 inch 75.9 mm / 2.99 inch 8.9 mm / 0.3504 inch 164 g0.3616 lbs

Connectivity

The connectivity corresponds with that of the smaller Lumia 640. The storage capacity of 8 GB is still a bit tight, but it can be expanded by up to 128 GB with a micro-SD card. All apps are available via the 1 GB RAM. Dual-SIM and FM radio are also assets of the Lumia 640 that its bigger brother has inherited.

Software

The Lumia 640 XL is also shipped with Windows Phone 8.1 GDR2 right away. This minor update is only available for selected phones and includes a better list of settings and the option to pin settings on the screen. Beyond that, there are small improvements like .mkv video support.

Apart from that, the Lumia 640 XL has the usual Windows Phone interface that can be customized extensively and looks clearly arranged. The three small adjacent tiles on the large screen did not annoy us as much as on the smaller Lumia 640. However, the home screen is still too busy, but that can be changed quickly.

Like in other Lumia smartphones, there is a lot of software preloaded, and they are mostly very useful. Besides that, an Office 365 one-year trial version is again included alongside a "BILD digital" subscription for 3 months. We add one point for this extensive software bundle.

GPS inndoors
GPS inndoors
GPS outdoors
GPS outdoors

Communication & GPS 

The Lumia 640 XL has NFC and Wi-Fi in the 802.11 b/g/n standard. Consequently, the user can only browse on the 2.4 GHz band. It is, however, relatively reliable even at a fair distance from the router. We still had half the signal through three walls and a distance of ten meters (~33 feet); the speed with which websites loaded was barely restricted.

The smartphone communicates with networks up to the UMTS standard in cellular networks. Four frequencies are available both here and in the GSN network. The maximum download speed is 42 MB per second. We were pleased about the reception quality: The full signal was the rule even indoors in an urban area.

The GPS module also supports GLONASS and BeiDou, and should thus find a signal almost everywhere in the world. It did not function indoors, but we were soon located with an accuracy of 9 meters (~30 feet) outdoors.

Telephone & Voice Quality

Our review sample of the Lumia 640 XL supports two micro-SIM cards. We extensively described how managing the dual-SIM feature functions in the review of the Lumia 640. The phone app has not been modified. The call list is displayed directly after opening, and the quick-dial contacts can be accessed swiftly. Buttons for the keypad, phone book, search and voicemail round off the app.

The called contact is clearly audible and relatively loud over the speaker. The caller's voice is also very loud and rich at the other end. As with the Lumia 640, we are very satisfied with the voice quality.

Cameras & Multimedia

The cameras in the Lumia 640 XL likely distinguish it most from its smaller Lumia 640 sibling. A relatively high-resolution, 13 megapixel camera with a lens from Zeiss, auto-focus and LED flash is installed on the rear. It is a bit disappointing that videos are only recorded with a maximum of 1080p and at most 30 frames per second.

Like the Lumia 640, the picture quality is not perfect. Colors look far too oversaturated and thus unnatural. Outlines are frayed and details are blurry. However, the low-light quality is good.

The selfies shot with the front-facing camera's lush 5 megapixels are decent even in low-light conditions. In any event, the quality is considerably higher than from the "alibi" 0.9 megapixel, front-facing camera in the Lumia 640.

The front-facing camera's color reproduction is more natural.
The front-facing camera's color reproduction is more natural.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Input Devices & Handling

There are not many keyboards to choose from in Windows Phone because the user is limited to Microsoft's stock model. However, it is very reliable and nicely designed so we were very satisfied with it. Furthermore, the keys are quite large on the big screen of the Lumia 640 XL making it easy to hit them. Consequently, it is possible to type swiftly and without typos. It also features word suggestion, voice inputting and swipe inputting. The personal voice assistant app, Cortana, is also preloaded in case the user wants to make voice inputs.

The touchscreen is sensitive up to its edges, and it detected our inputs accurately. However, we noticed minor lags during use. We sometimes had the feeling that our inputs were simply not implemented and had to tap a second time. Actual second taps were rarely required though.

Keyboard: portrait mode
Keyboard: portrait mode
Keyboard: landscape mode
Keyboard: landscape mode

Display

The Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL have an identical resolution of 1280x720 pixels, although their screen size differs by 0.7 inches. Although the image does not look blurry on the 640 XL, it is not quite as crisp as on the smaller screen. Most of the other phablets in the comparison also use this resolution; only OnePlus's One stands out with a Full HD resolution.

On the other hand, the brightness of the Lumia 640 XL is unbeatable. An average of 492 cd/m² is impressive. The illumination of 86% is also quite homogeneous although minor brightness differences can be seen on large white surfaces.

473
cd/m²
488
cd/m²
487
cd/m²
495
cd/m²
501
cd/m²
480
cd/m²
511
cd/m²
534
cd/m²
459
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 534 cd/m² Average: 492 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 501 cd/m²
Contrast: 1139:1 (Black: 0.44 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.89 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 3.97 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
Gamma: 2.34
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Nokia Lumia 1320
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
Asus Zenfone 6
SGX544MP2, Z2580, 16 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus One
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
-29%
-25%
-32%
-18%
Brightness middle
501
459
-8%
372
-26%
423
-16%
446
-11%
Brightness
492
450
-9%
360
-27%
408
-17%
418
-15%
Brightness Distribution
86
92
7%
86
0%
83
-3%
87
1%
Black Level *
0.44
0.89
-102%
0.44
-0%
0.54
-23%
0.47
-7%
Contrast
1139
516
-55%
845
-26%
783
-31%
949
-17%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.89
4.37
-12%
5.7
-47%
5.56
-43%
5.1
-31%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3.97
4.99
-26%
5.97
-50%
7.55
-90%
5.93
-49%
Gamma
2.34 94%
2.27 97%
2.94 75%
2.33 94%
3.46 64%
CCT
6657 98%
7201 90%
7286 89%
7624 85%
7350 88%

* ... smaller is better

The Lumia 640 XL's black level and contrast also put it at the top of our comparison field. Although a black level of 0.44 cd/m² still lets dark areas look a bit brighter than the display's black bezel it is very good anyway. The high contrast ratio of 1139:1 is beneficial for brilliant colors.

We analyzed the screen's color reproduction with the CalMAN software and spectrophotometer and were very satisfied with it. There is no evident bluish cast, and none of the color rates is shifted too far from the sRGB reference color space. The saturation has also been set appropriately.

CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Color Management
CalMAN Color Management
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps

The high brightness and high contrast allow using the Lumia 640 XL in bright surroundings. Microsoft also provides special algorithms that are to improve legibility in bright sunlight. We are generally satisfied even if the glossy screen is distracting in direct sunlight.

As expected from the screen's IPS technology, the viewing angles are impeccable in all directions.

Outdoors
Outdoors
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 400 MSM8226 powers the Lumia 640 XL, which is the same SoC as in the Lumia 640. It has four cores and clocks at 1.2 GHz. It is a rather slow SoC, but Windows 8.1 is not particularly demanding and it ran absolutely lag-free on our review sample. The user still gets more power than from the Lumina 1320 although the Android devices defeat the Lumia 640 XL in both processor performance and browsing speed in the comparison. The Adreno 305 in our review sample cannot compete with the graphics performance of the Android devices, either.

Linpack Android / IOS
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
211 MFLOPS ∼7%
Asus Zenfone 6
301.19 MFLOPS ∼10% +43%
OnePlus One
694.102 MFLOPS ∼23% +229%
Single Thread (sort by value)
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
52.7 MFLOPS ∼5%
Asus Zenfone 6
142.09 MFLOPS ∼14% +170%
OnePlus One
366.084 MFLOPS ∼36% +595%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
26376 ms * ∼44%
Nokia Lumia 1320
34416.1 ms * ∼58% -30%
Asus Zenfone 6
11767.4 ms * ∼20% +55%
OnePlus One
7883 ms * ∼13% +70%
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G
12714 ms * ∼21% +52%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
1235 Points ∼2%
Nokia Lumia 1320
0 Points ∼0% -100%
Asus Zenfone 6
2822 Points ∼5% +129%
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G
2428 Points ∼5% +97%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
1067 Points ∼5%
Nokia Lumia 1320
1027 Points ∼5% -4%
Asus Zenfone 6
2904 Points ∼15% +172%
OnePlus One
4681 Points ∼24% +339%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
1235 ms * ∼14%
Nokia Lumia 1320
700.8 ms * ∼8% +43%
Asus Zenfone 6
836.8 ms * ∼9% +32%
OnePlus One
2180.1 ms * ∼24% -77%
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G
1207 ms * ∼13% +2%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
4.1 fps ∼0%
Nokia Lumia 1320
3.6 fps ∼0% -12%
Asus Zenfone 6
9.2 fps ∼0% +124%
OnePlus One
28 fps ∼0% +583%
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G
5.9 fps ∼0% +44%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
7.3 fps ∼0%
Nokia Lumia 1320
7 fps ∼0% -4%
Asus Zenfone 6
15.9 fps ∼0% +118%
OnePlus One
29 fps ∼1% +297%
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G
11 fps ∼0% +51%

Legend

 
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8226, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Nokia Lumia 1320 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 8930AB, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
Asus Zenfone 6 Intel Atom Z2580, PowerVR SGX544MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
OnePlus One Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8928, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB eMMC Flash

* ... smaller is better

Games

It soon became obvious that demanding 3D games like "Asphalt 8" overburdened the graphics card a bit. On the other hand, more basic games like "Candy Crush" or "Angry Birds" were no problem.

Emissions

Temperature

The Lumia 640 XL's temperature difference between full load and idle is roughly 10 degrees Celsius (18 Fahrenheit). That is a maximum temperature of 35.7 degrees Celsius (96.26 Fahrenheit), and the Lumia 640 XL is noticeably warmer but never unpleasant. The maximum idle temperature is 25.8 degrees (78.44 Fahrenheit), which is barely palpable.

Max. Load
 35.7 °C
96 F
34.1 °C
93 F
33.4 °C
92 F
 
 34.7 °C
94 F
33.2 °C
92 F
32.9 °C
91 F
 
 32.5 °C
91 F
32.7 °C
91 F
32 °C
90 F
 
Maximum: 35.7 °C = 96 F
Average: 33.5 °C = 92 F
32.8 °C
91 F
33.3 °C
92 F
33.3 °C
92 F
32.3 °C
90 F
33 °C
91 F
33.2 °C
92 F
31.9 °C
89 F
32.1 °C
90 F
31.6 °C
89 F
Maximum: 33.3 °C = 92 F
Average: 32.6 °C = 91 F
Power Supply (max.)  34.7 °C = 94 F | Room Temperature 21.9 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 33.5 °C / 92 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 35.7 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 35.5 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 33.3 °C / 92 F, compared to the average of 34 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 24.4 °C / 76 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.

Speaker

A rear-sided speaker generates audio output in the Lumia 640 XL. Since the camera juts out, there is always some space between it and the surface, and thus the sound is not subdued. The output is quite good; songs are powerful, clear and balanced, and even have a little bass. Our review sample cannot compete with the sound of HTC's One M9, but it provides a decent sound that certainly allows listening to a song now and again.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Unfortunately, historically, devices based on Windows Phone are not reputed for low power consumption. The Lumia 640 XL does nothing to debunk this reputation either. For example, the average idle consumption is the highest in the comparison field, with exception of the Lumia 1320. Then again, the load consumption is acceptable when compared with the other devices.

The standby power consumption is slightly increased, which is due to the "Glance Screen" feature that can, however, be disabled. Then the Lumia 640 XL consumes 0.1 watts, like all other comparison devices.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.5 / 2.2 / 2.5 Watt
Load midlight 4 / 5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 870

Battery Runtime

The battery runtimes also show that Microsoft still has to do some tweaking in energy management. Despite the capacity of 11.4 Wh, only 7:12 hours were achieved in the Wi-Fi test. However, when considering that the current version of our Wi-Fi test runs down the battery 10-20% faster than our last version, the Lumia 640 XL can keep up with Asus' Zenfone 6 and Xiaomi's Redmi.

It is overall quite possible to work decently with the Lumia 640 XL, and it will also last a day of mixed use.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
7h 12min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 39min
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8226, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Nokia Lumia 1320
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
Asus Zenfone 6
SGX544MP2, Z2580, 16 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus One
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
36%
23%
62%
-4%
WiFi v1.3
432
963
123%
Load
159
216
36%
196
23%
160
1%
152
-4%
WiFi
518
1126
662

Pros

+ Removable battery
+ Exchangeable back cover
+ Bright screen
+ High contrast
+ Good viewing angle stability
+ Accurate color reproduction
+ Extensive software
+ High-resolution cameras
+ Dual-SIM support
+ Decent price/performance ratio
+ Good reception
+ Clear voice quality
+ Reasonable speaker sound

Cons

- Colors in pictures sometimes oversaturated
- Pressure on the screen becomes visible
- Occasional lags during use

Verdict

In review: Microsoft Lumia 640 XL. Review sample courtesy of Microsoft Mobile Germany.
In review: Microsoft Lumia 640 XL. Review sample courtesy of Microsoft Mobile Germany.

The Lumia 640 XL is definitely a decent Windows Phone 8.1 phablet. Microsoft installs a very bright, viewing-angle-stable screen with good color reproduction. Acceptable performance rates and high-resolution cameras complement that.

The battery life is satisfactory, the speaker sounds good, the casing looks classy, and the battery can be removed. It is also possible to swap the back cover to give the smartphone a personal touch. The great software bundle even obtained an additional point in the total rating.

The only things left to be desired are perhaps a Full HD screen, an even stiffer casing, a better color reproduction from the cameras, longer battery runtimes, and a bit more power. However, that is complaining on a high level, especially when looking for a Windows Phone phablet. The Nokia Lumia 640 XL is currently among the leaders here.

A decent total package in XL size that convinces with a great screen, good cameras and a removable battery.

Microsoft Lumia 640 XL - 04/29/2015 v4(old)
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
81%
Keyboard
68 / 75 → 91%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
52 / 60 → 87%
Weight
90%
Battery
88%
Display
86%
Games Performance
52 / 63 → 83%
Application Performance
27 / 70 → 39%
Temperature
93%
Noise
100%
Audio
80 / 91 → 88%
Camera
76%
Add Points
+1%
Average
70%
83%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2015-05- 3 (Update: 2018-05-15)