Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Outgrowing the mold

Outgrowing the mold

GSMArena team, 18 May 2015.

Tiled user interface

The Lumia 640 is running the latest available Windows Phone 8.1 (Update 2) out of box. The latest Lumia Denim software expansion package comes pre-installed, too. The Lumia 640 lineup was introduced together with the Windows 10, but the new OS isn't ready yet for commercial release. Microsoft promises the Lumia 640 smartphones to be the first to get the Windows 10 firmware update though.

The latest release of Windows Phone 8.1 (Update 2) offers better organized Settings menu, customizable snooze alarms, more powerful Cortana and expanded reach.

Glance Screen is available on the Lumia 640, featuring some cool features. In addition to showing just the clock, it also supports notifications - the same ones you've configured to show on your lockscreen. The Glance Screen is basically a monochrome representation of your lockscreen. You can opt for the Glance to be always on, timing out after predefined interval, or to light up when you pick up the phone.

Nokia Lumia 640

The lockscreen itself looks the same as the Glance screen, but with colors. Double tap to wake and additional security are available as options.

Nokia Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 640
The Lockscreen

The familiar interface with resizable live tiles is your Start page, you can group tiles into folders if you like. Almost every app within the Store comes with its own tile and you can see useful info live at your homescreen. Tile background is available and while it looks great, still not all live tiles are transparent, which can detract from the overall effect.

The Action Center is your place for four customizable toggles and all notifications in Windows. It works just like on Android OS - you access it by pulling down from the top of the screen, dismiss all notifications key is available.

Nokia Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 640
The Start background • Action Center

Microsoft likes Apple's way of handling apps running in background - most of the apps are suspended upon hitting the Windows key and will be resumed once you bring them back. There are others, of course, such as Navigation, Cortana and Battery apps, which will continue to run in background unless you specifically kill them.

Nokia Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 640
Multi-tasking • Quiet Hours

Quiet Hours mode is Windows Phone's take on the Do Not Disturb feature - it can be set to block calls and messages over pre-defined time interval, plus it can also go on automatically during events you have marked in your calendar. Naturally, exceptions are available.

Microsoft's Cortana is available and it does what Apple's Siri and Google Now do - recognizes your voice commands and questions in natural human language and provides voice feedback. Cortana can fully interact with your phone and carry out all kind or commands related to it. Cortana can also track various news topics, makes suggestions for cooking and dinner, plan trips, find places, make jokes, among other things.

Nokia Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 640 Nokia Lumia 640
Cortana in action

Performance

Microsoft Lumia 640 is powered by the widely used but also rather dated Snapdragon 400 chipset. It has four Cortex-A7 processor cores clocked at 1.2GHz, Adreno 305 graphics common for most of the Windows Phone gang and 1GB RAM. The chipset is a staple in low-end Android phones - we consider it the minimum for decent smartphone user experience. Under Windows Phone it's better, as the OS has been carefully optimized to run on that specific hardware. Still, it's not a powerhouse and you can clearly see a performance advantage in Windows Phone with better chipsets - of course, they do cost more.

The AnTuTu for Windows Phone puts the Lumia 640 LTE among the rest if its Snapdragon 400 siblings - the Lumia 640 XL, Lumia 830 and 735.

AnTuTu 4

Higher is better

  • Nokia Lumia 830
    12112
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    12095
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Dual SIM
    12009
  • Nokia Lumia 635
    11969
  • Microsoft Lumia 535 Dual SIM
    11761
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 LTE
    11666

We also ran the JavaScript-centric Kraken benchmark and the compound BrowserMark 2.1 on the Internet Explorer 11 browser. Unfortunately, the Internet Explorer browser isn't on par with today's mobile competition - it isn't even close to Chrome and Safari. The raw performance isn't bad, it's just unimpressive. Oddly enough, our real life impressions of the speed of the web browser are more than positive so don't let that low benchmark score put you off.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    13694
  • Sony Xperia E3
    16059
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    18323
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Dual SIM
    26368
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    26542
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 LTE
    26647
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    26913
  • Microsoft Lumia 535 Dual SIM
    26981

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia E3
    1044
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    625
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 LTE
    610
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    599
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    549
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Dual SIM
    502
  • Microsoft Lumia 535 Dual SIM
    480
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    465

The Lumia 640 LTE won't be topping any charts, but it isn't its purpose. Windows Phone devices were never meant to compete on a benchmark basis, instead they focus on smooth, hassle-free and rich Windows experience. It's the real-world performance that matters.

Indeed the Lumia 640 LTE offers a lag-free experience and didn't stutter in every day usage. Some of the more heavy apps opened with a slight delay, but that's about as slow as the phone goes. The Lumia 640 LTE offers pleasing performance that would be more than enough for non-power users.

Reader comments

  • Bharath Bhushan Hyd

Used Microsoft 640 LTE for many days almost 3yrs. I am happy with this phone. It is highly secured phone. No body can access your phone because they cant understand Miocrosoft Operating system so easily as android. Useless apps you will not get in st...

  • instig8

Thank you

  • AnonD-713480

Used this phone for a long time now , never had a problem performs really well, The only negative is that windows will soon no longer support what is in my opinion a very good phone, It is a pity because nokia who built the phone are known for qual...