Yesterday at the Mobile World Conference, Microsoft announced the Lumia 640 and 640XL Windows Phones. To me the more interesting model is the 640XL.
Even though the 640XL is positioned as a lower mid-range phone and will be priced in that bracket—which should make it about $350 outright in Australia—it has some impressive specifications for such a phone.
It has the Snapdragon quad-core 400 1.2GHz CPU, which is more than capable enough for the light-weight (compared to iOS or Android) Windows Phone operating system.
For a lower mid-range phone the screen is more what you would expect to find on an upper mid-range class: 5.7" 259 ppi ClearBlack IPS LCD Gorilla Glass 3 with low power modes and sunlight readability enhancements.
The battery is 3000 mAh which should give the phone very good battery life. The Windows Phone operating system is typically lower drain than Android or iOS. Microsoft's specification sheet indicates 24 hours talk time or 14 hours Wi-Fi network browsing. But we will have to wait and see that the reviewers actually find out when they test this unit.
Thankfully Microsoft have included a micro-SD slot that can handle cards up to 128GB. They have also included an FM tuner which other phone manufacturers rarely do these days. I often use the FM tuner on my Samsung S3 and would miss it. When we are out in the pergola I connect my phone to my Bose portable speaker and listen to 94.5.
The main (rear facing) camera in the 640XL is much better than would normally be expected in a lower mid-range smartphone. Microsoft have put in a 13MP PureView class camera with ZIESS optics using a 1/3 size 'backside illuminated' sensor. This camera can focus as close as 10 cm.
The main camera takes video in full 1920 x 1080 at 30 frames per second and the camera will continuously auto-focus while filming.
The 640XL will come with OneNote, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook, and OneDrive pre-installed.
Also, Microsoft have brought back the colour cyan.
Depending on the price when this is released in Australia I might be tempted to upgrade from my Galaxy S3 and go back to a Windows Phone because I really liked my Lumia 720 when I was using that.