Microsoft Lumia 640 XL review

The Lumia 640's big brother gives a whole lot of screen

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Our Verdict

Microsoft's mid-range phablet is certainly affordable, but lacks the improvements of Windows 10 for phone at the moment.


  • Affordable price
  • Solid construction
  • Big, bright screen
  • Long-lasting battery


  • Low internal storage
  • Windows Phone playing catch-up
  • Low performance rating

While we wait for Windows 10 Mobile to show up later this year here's another affordable, decent-looking, unfussy Windows Phone 8.1 model to tide us over.

Since Microsoft bought Nokia's phone division at the end of 2013, we've seen quite a few perfectly adequate handsets that aren't going to burn too big a hole in your pocket or get your pulse racing all that quickly.

And so to the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL, the bigger brother to the Lumia 640, which was also announced at MWC 2015. Overall, It gives the impression that Redmond is just killing time before Windows 10 Mobile, but it's still worth a look if you're in the market for a competent Microsoft-powered handset right now.

Nokia Lumia 640 XL review

A SIM-free Lumia 640 XL will set you back £219 in the UK and AU$399 in Australia, with US pricing to be confirmed (it's around US$324 with a straight currency conversion) direct from Microsoft's online shop.

As usual, you can shop around for different prices on and off contract, with some online stores selling the Lumia 640 XL for as little as £147 (around $228, AU$294). The phone is available in cyan, orange, black or white with a matte finish, or glossy white.

That affordable price and the 5.7-inch screen size (it's Microsoft's second-biggest handset after the 6-inch Lumia 1520) are the most notable features here.

As with every other Windows Phone 8.1 device out there, Microsoft is promising a free upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile when the time comes, so you're not limiting yourself to outdated software.

Nokia Lumia 640 XL review

Behind the scenes, there's a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage (expandable via memory card, as we've already said).

The Lumia 640 XL sports a very large 3000mAh battery and an Adreno 305 GPU powering its 720 x 1280 pixel screen. There's a rear-facing 13-megapixel camera and a 5-megapixel snapper on the front.


Pick up the Lumia 640 XL and it feels like the budget phone that it is: lightweight, plastic, nondescript. The bright plastic backing (mine was orange) is pleasing to the touch, and the workmanship is solid, but you won't mistake this for a premium device.

The back pops off, so you can replace the battery, add the SIM and slot in a microSD if you want to. It's a sign of the device's robustness – this is not a phone that's going to mind a scratch – though if you often swap cards out, it has the potential to become annoying.

Nokia Lumia 640 XL review

From the removable back to the volume and power buttons, the Lumia 640 XL has a feeling of cheapness, but it's not quite as negative as that sounds. It's solidly put together, despite the low-grade materials, and no doubt some users will enjoy having a phone that can get bashed about a bit.

It's also distinctly Lumia, with a raised camera lens module, edges that are curved and rounded, and a choice of colours for the back casing.

As usual, the 3.5mm headphone jack sits atop the device, while the microUSB connector port is positioned underneath. The power and volume buttons sit on the right, with the power button lowest, as is the norm for Lumias.

Nokia Lumia 640 XL review

Like the 5-inch Lumia 640, the 5.7-inch Lumia 640 XL has a screen resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. That takes the PPI sharpness down to 259, but it's not a bad screen to look at: like most Lumia displays I've seen, the colours are bright and engaging and everything on the interface looks sharp enough.

With that large screen and dimensions of 157.9mm x 81.5mm x 9mm (6.22 inches x 3.21 inches x 0.35 inches), you're going to need two hands to operate this properly (like the iPhone Plus 6 and Nexus 6). It weighs in at 171g, but feels pretty light in the hand.

Nokia Lumia 640 XL review

OneDrive is now firmly established as Microsoft's great hope for consumer cloud storage, and of course the app is built right into the software on the Lumia 640 XL.

Microsoft has confirmed that buyers will get a year's subscription to Office 365 with their purchase – that's a £59.99 (or US$79.99) saving straight away, and also includes a handy 1TB of OneDrive space.