Microsoft seem to have their own plans on pricing the smartphones, and that is clear with the two new devices launched – the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL. While the Lumia 640 is priced at Rs. 11,999, the Lumia 640 XL gets a price tag of Rs. 15,799. Whether a good or a bad price, is really up to the users to choose because there are much better alternatives at a lower price, but when it comes to those who choose Windows Phone, the Lumia 640 XL seems like a better option. There are always some reasons why pricing is set over what someone expects, thus it is too early to comment on whether the Lumia 640 XL is worth the price or not.
On the first look, the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL is big, and actually quite big than any 5.5-inch device although being just 0.2-inch bigger with screen size. It is much thicker than the mass, but at the other side, makes the phone decently good in the hand. I was a bit disappointed at the sharp edge of the back cover running all around, but that is what keeps the device firm in the hand, as handling this big a phone is not easy.
The white unit has a non-smooth back, and that is the reason you won’t see any fingerprints. It is the opposite on the clearblack display on the front, which attracts all the marks and fingerprints. All the other things that matter, are appreciably well done, except for the volume rockers, which in this particular unit, seem to be not very tactile and you don’t notice you already pressed the button. The power button located just below it, is quite better in response with a tactile feel.
Microsoft could’ve taken out that branding from the front top, and made this more compact, and same with the wasted space below the screen. Still, not really an awkwardly big one when you talk of a phone with a large 5.7-inch display.
Clearblack display is reflective, so much that you could use this as a proper mirror on bright light. That said, it is bright enough to put out readable text and content under the same bright conditions. Viewing angles are good on the Lumia 640 XL, and the colors are vibrant with no over-saturation of any of them. There’s a difference again, when comparing to the Android devices, as Windows Phone keeps it limited with more black than anything else in the background. The navigation buttons in the bottom are almost always hidden in the apps, unless you swipe up from the bottom to access them. That is good, as you are taking a 5.7-inch device for a reason – large screen real estate, entertainment. Whatever space taken by the navigation keys and such, would have been pointless anyways.
Windows Phone is slowly, steadily evolving. But it still is far far low on features when compared to the two leaders, Android and iOS. Few customizations, and even the most frequently used social apps are not well developed, thus taking away all the good experience you expect from it. A regular user who doesn’t have to do much socially, will love this with a clutter-free UI, large tiles that gives an idea of what would open up, and then a vertical scroll list of apps sorted alphabetically. We’re looking at Windows Phone 8.1, Denim update 2, upgradeable to Windows 10 in the future. At least one of those phones that actually might be able to hold on to Windows 10 very well, given the specs packed in.
The entire list of Lumia apps, including Camera, Selfie, Storyteller, Beamer, Cinemagraph, Creative Studio and Moments come pre-installed, and there is quite a junk of bloatware seen. On the brighter side, you can simply delete them, unlike some of the Android phones where it isn’t easy to get rid of bloatware.
One big reason why I liked the Lumia 640 XL on the initial use, over the Lumia 640, is the camera. The 13MP shooter is quite a class, and better than the 13MP shooters on many other smartphones. Credits to both, the hardware and the post-capture processing done by the software. The low light captures looked not good in the preview, but the final captures had lesser noise and were bright enough to be appreciated. Those were some quick checks done, but the camera review will be up soon, giving you a better idea of what the 13MP/5MP cameras of the Lumia 640 XL could do.
All being said, I’m not a fan of Windows Phone OS, and expect to see a lot in the Windows 10 that is becoming a unified one between phones, computers and tablets. With the Lumia 640 XL being one of those getting the update in future, I will be excited on how different the experience might be. On the early usage, it still feels a bit higher on price, but again, compare with the Lumia 640, this is at least better.