Microsoft Lumia 640 XL review

With excellent battery life, a great camera and gorgeous screen, the Lumia 640 XL brings Windows Phone phablets back from the dead

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Lumia 640 XL front
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
186
inc VAT SIM-free
Buy it now for 

Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Screen Size: 5.7in, Screen resolution: 1,280x720, Rear camera: 13-megapixel, Storage: 8GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 158x81x9.0mm, Weight: 171g, Operating system: Windows Phone 8.1

It's been almost 18 months since we last saw a Lumia phablet, but Microsoft's Lumia 640 XL brings back big-screen Windows phones with a bang. The 5.7in display is a lot more manageable than the 6in Lumia 1320 and 1520, and it's a lot cheaper too, with SIM-free prices starting at just £186.

What's more, it shares the same excellent build quality as the smaller 5in Lumia 640. It's a fraction fatter, measuring 158x81x9.0mm and weighing 171g, but it's just as easy to hold thanks to its rounded corners and angular sides. Reaching across the other side of the screen is a bit of a stretch when using the phone single-handed, but its flat matt rear provides plenty of purchase.

Microsoft Lumia 640 XL rear face on

We're particularly glad the orange and new cyan shades have the matt rear in this case, as these were glossy on the Lumia 640 and didn't provide as much grip as we would have liked. Instead, it's the white and black models which get the glossy finish on the Lumia 640 XL, which were matt on the Lumia 640. The Lumia 640 XL isn't merely a carbon copy of its petite sibling, though, as it's received a number of upgrades to justify its higher price.

DISPLAY

The most obvious is the larger 5.7in display, which is great for web browsing and composing Office documents - particularly handy considering Microsoft is throwing in a year's free subscription to Office 365 with 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage with every handset. You can also use it on your PC and Windows tablets as well.

Microsoft Lumia 640 XL 3/4s

It still has a 1,280x720 resolution, so it understandably won't be as sharp as the Lumia 640, but from a normal viewing distance we couldn't really tell the difference. Peering in close reveals marginally more jagged letters and Live Tile icons, but everything was still perfectly legible and it didn't cause any problems during everyday use.

Image quality outstrips the 640, as the 640 XL is both significantly brighter at 581.79cd/m2 on its highest setting and produces more accurate colours. Our colour calibrator showed it was displaying 93.2% of the sRGB colour gamut as opposed to just 90.7%, and its overall coverage was much more evenly spread across the gamut as well, resulting in richer, more natural looking images.

The display also had much better contrast levels, measuring 1,102:1, which provided more detail in our test images. Viewing angles were also much wider, allowing us to see the screen clearly from multiple viewpoints. The only downside was slightly elevated black levels, which measured 0.52cd/m2. However, thanks to Microsoft's ClearBlack IPS technology, blacks actually looked just as deep, if not deeper, than those on the Lumia 640. This really helped colours stand out on the Start screen, and it also made text that bit easier to see and read at higher brightness levels.

Microsoft Lumia 640 XL side on

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