New Microsoft Lumias look like budget-busting winners

03 March 2015

Microsoft’s Lumia 640 and 640XL might not wow in the way Samsung and Apple aim to impress, but they look like great, capable smartphones all the same.

Microsoft unveiled the new low-to-mid range handsets during a press conference at MWC in Barcelona today, claiming the phones are ‘best bang for you buck’ on its Lumia Conversations blog. While we are often quite skeptical about all marketing statements, this one seems to be one we can get behind.

The new Lumia’s will be hard to misplace with glossy covers in a familiar palette of eye-rubbingly bright colours, including the cyan blue we’ve come to associate with Lumia. Regardless of whether you choose the smaller 5-inch screen on the 640 or the larger 5.7-inch screen on the 640XL, both phones ship with a 720p resolution (or 1280 x 720 pixels).

Both phones run on quad-core Qualcomm processors and have 1GB RAM. and both have large batteries — 2500mAh in the 640 and a whopping 3000mAh in the 640XL.

This combination of specs is unlikely to rattle Samsung’s cage, after it announced the Galaxy S6 earlier in the week, but when you consider that the 640 and 640 XL will sell for one-third the cost of an S6, you start to see what Microsoft is aiming for. The RRP of the 640 is 159 Euro or about US$180, while the larger 640XL comes in at a little under US$260. Pricing will vary based on region and telco negotiations, but this is a great price any way you cut it.

Also, anyone buying either Lumia also gets a 12-month subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal, valued at about $70 per year. This gives you access to Microsoft’s best software on your phone and PC, all bundled into the price of the handset.

Software is a big focus for Microsoft, and you can understand why. With huge software assets like Office and Skype to lean on, Microsoft is in a unique position to pack its budget-priced phones with the same great software it ships with higher end devices.

Following Microsoft’s recent Windows 10 showcase, the computer software giant has also confirmed that these new Lumia phones will be updated to Windows 10 later in the year.

All in all, these look like great near-future options for anyone who is looking to dodge the standard telco game of contract lock-ins and wants to save some money by buying a new phone outright and choosing a low-cost telco provider for their monthly bill.



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