2. Design & Display
Lumia 640 is made of plastic. Yes, it is certainly not as premium as metal construction possessed by higher end phones. However, it does not mean that the Lumia 640 is not well built. Not all plastics are made equal, but the material used in Lumia 640 falls in the higher end spectrum. The plastic rear case is hard and solid. It really gives you the confidence that it will hold up well for a long period of use when you hold it in your hands. The gentle curve on the back allows the phone to rest comfortably in your hand while remaining steady when you place it on top of a table.
The plastic case also allows Microsoft to use more playful colours on the phone. The blue unit I received has a glossy finish and it looks awesome when it reflects the light. You also can notice that the sides of the phone have a thicker, semi-transparent finish. It gives a darker shade of blue to the side of the phone and the transparent material looks special when you place the phone between you and a light source.
Although it is glossy, it hides finger prints surprisingly well. The fingerprints are still there but it is not really visible unless you take a close look. You might want to clean the grease from time to time though. It does get a little slippery while your hands are wet but it is not as slippery as some other phones like the iPhone 6. However, I noticed that there the back did pick up some minor scratches. You might want to use a case to protect it. The size (141.3mm x 72.2mm x 8.8mm) and the weight (145g) of the phone is exactly what you expected from a phone with a 5” display, so there is nothing noteworthy here.
The ports and buttons are at their usual position. 3.5mm audio jack is on the top while the micro USB port is at the bottom. Both the volume rocker and the power button is on the right, leaving the left hand side empty. The position of the power button is a little low for me as I tend to hit the volume down button. However, the Lumia 640 supports double tap to wake and double tap on Navigation Bar to sleep. Since the feature works perfectly most of the time, the power button is rarely used.
The front of the phone houses the 5” display, the front camera, the earpiece for phone calls, the small microphone at the bottom and the almost invisible ambient and proximity sensors. There is no physical capacitive buttons, thus you have to get used to the on-screen button. The software buttons are quite reliable, so I didn’t miss the capacitive keys that much. The screen was covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to resist scratches. However, there were some tiny scratches on the glass like what’s on its back when I first received the phone. Even though it did not pick up new damage in the following 2 weeks under my possession, I did feel that I should report on that. A screen protector can be applied to protect the phone if you decided to buy it.
The camera, the LED flash and the speaker are located at the back of the phone, along with the Microsoft branding. Like most Lumia phones, the back is removable and you can swap between blue, orange, black and white cases later. With the back removed, you have access to the battery compartment, the dual micro SIM slots and the micro SD card slot.
The quality of the design does not reflect its low price and that is certainly a good thing for a budget friendly device.
In short, I am really satisfied with the design of the phone. It is well built and feels sturdy in hand. The look of the phone does stand out while being compared to the rest of the pack in the flooding low-end market. The quality of the design does not reflect its low price and that is certainly a good thing for a budget friendly device. Here are some photos of the phone:
Microsoft has opted a 5” 720p IPS LCD display for Lumia 640. The screen size is a good balance between one hand usability and viewing experience. I never felt that the phone is too big for me to handle and I never felt that the screen is too small. The resolution of 1280 x720 brings the pixel density to 294 ppi. I feel that the resolution is good enough for a budget device like this as it is not taxing for the processor and battery while promising adequate viewing experience. The display is not sharp but you will not be able to identify individual pixels at normal viewing distance.
Like most IPS displays, the display on Lumia 640 can be really bright if you max out the brightness. The viewing angle is great too. The auto brightness works well and never once did I have to adjust the brightness manually. This means that you can read in dark or bright places comfortably and conveniently.
Reading under sunlight is not an issue at all. The Lumia 640 has a Sunlight Readability function where it will increase the brightness and the colour saturation when it detected strong light. This will prevent the display to be washed out. Lumia 640 also has a polariser on their display to improve readability under sunlight. It is useful but if you are wearing a pair of sunglasses with polariser too, you will notice that the screen will appear totally black in either horizontal or vertical orientation. To solve this? What about taking off your sunglasses for a while?
I find the colour of the display to be quite accurate. It is not overly vivid nor plain. The white is clear and the black is really dark. Given that Windows Phone uses a lot of black backgrounds in the user interface (for dark theme), it looks really great when the background blends well with the bezels. Anyway, if you are not happy with the colour saturation, display temperature, default brightness level, you can make the adjustments manually.
The fact that I am satisfied with a display from a phone with this price really means a lot.
So the key takeaway for the display is that it just works well. There is nothing crazy over here like the 1080p display found on the similar priced Meizu M1 note but the display on Lumia 640 is not incompetent by any means. I have been looking at the display for 2 weeks and I didn’t wish for more. The fact that I am satisfied with a display from a phone with this price really means a lot.