Offering an above average camera, decent performance and a sizeable display, and confirmed to recieve an upgrade to Windows 10, the Lumia 640 XL is a solid, future-proof choice for any business buyer on a budget.
Cheap, above average camera, reasonable performance
Only 8GB of internal storage
Screen: 5.7in, 1280x720, 259ppi ClearBlack, IPS LCD
Processor: Quad-core, 1.2GHz, Cortex-A7, Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
Storage: 8GB, upgradable via microSD
Camera: 13MP, 4128x3096 pixel, with 1/3in, f/2.0 Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus and LED rear and 5MP wide angle front
Microsoft has been working hard to make it big in the enterprise smartphone market since it launched the Windows Phone operating system.
The Lumia 640 XL phablet looks to continue this push in a figurative and literal sense.
The Lumia 640 XL was unveiled at MWC in Barcelona alongside its smaller sibling, the Lumia 640, and is designed to offer businesses an affordable phablet option.
Design and build
Microsoft has followed the same colourful design philosophy as it did with past Lumia 600-range smartphones. The handset comes with a matte finish removable polycarbonate chassis that grants access to the battery, nano-SIM and microSD slots.
The white finish version we reviewed is prone to picking up dirt marks, like most of the Lumia smartphones we've tested, but the Lumia 640 XL is solidly built.
The Lumia 640 XL survived an accidental encounter with a hardwood floor during our tests without suffering any marks or cracks.
Like all phablets, the Lumia 640 XL is noticeably larger than an average smartphone, measuring 158x82x1.9mm and weighing a hefty 171g.
This means that people with regular or small hands will find the handset slightly cumbersome and won't be able to use it comfortably one handed.
That said, by phablet standards we found the Lumia 640 XL fairly comfortable to hold. The flat sides and slightly rounded back made it feel reasonably ergonomic.
Aiding this, the phone's power and volume button placement on the right hand side are positioned where our index and middle finger fell naturally when holding the Lumia 640 XL.
Our only design qualm is that, like most of Samsung's Galaxy Note range, the Lumia 640 XL doesn't come with a stylus.
We've found that styluses radically improve phablets' productivity offerings, making it easier to do things like scribble documents or edit spreadsheets, and would like to see more companies offering them with plus-sized handsets.
The Lumia 640 XL comes with a 5.7in, 1280x720, 259ppi ClearBlack IPS LCD display. By phablet standards this puts the Lumia 640 XL in the middle of the pack when it comes to screen size.
In terms of screen quality the Lumia does not compete with more established phablets, such as the Galaxy Note 4. However, when you consider that it's less than half the price, at £220 for the basic SIM-free version, the display is reasonably good.
This is largely due to the inclusion of ClearBlack. This is a custom technology designed to let screens display deeper blacks and feature better viewing angles.
It works by reducing the amount of ambient light the screen reflects using twin filters that polarize incoming light and stop it bouncing back into the user's field of vision. This stops the screen becoming reflective in direct light and lets it display deeper blacks.
This means that, despite being lower specced than many competing phablet displays, colours on the Lumia 640 XL are vibrant and it features reasonable viewing angles.
Text and icons are not as super sharp as on higher end phablets, but they're crisp enough to remain pleasant to read.
The screen's performance in adverse lighting conditions is further aided by the Lumia 640 XL's Sunlight readability enhancement technology.
This lets the Lumia 640 XL detect when it's in adverse lighting conditions, such as direct sunlight, and tweak the screen settings to keep the display readable.
It doesn't always work, but it does delay how quickly the Lumia 640 XL's display becomes difficult to use and makes it noticeably better in difficult lighting conditions than most sub-£300 handsets.
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