Review: Why you should buy The Microsoft Lumia 640

Mariam Abdulahi Microsoft Mobile GM and King'ori Gitahi Product Manager displays the Lumia 640 and 640 XL when it was launched in Kenya in May 2015
Mariam Abdulahi Microsoft Mobile GM and King’ori Gitahi Product Manager displays the Lumia 640 and 640 XL when it was launched in Kenya in May 2015

When Microsoft unveiled the Lumia 640 together with a range of other Lumia devices into the Kenyan market in May this year, Microsoft General Manager for East Africa Mariam Abdulahi said Microsoft will continue to invest in this segment to ensure that as many consumers as possible can enjoy signature Microsoft experiences, regardless of budget. I decided to get this full experience with the Lumia 640.

It is the successor to the Lumia 630 and was announced alongside its larger brother, the 640 XL at MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Spain last month before reaching the Kenyan market. Both the handsets run Windows 8.1 out of the box.

Lumia 640 offers more personal computing and increased productivity through seamlessly integrated Microsoft Office experiences which comes with one year free subscription, OneDrive storage and fast 4G connectivity. Let’s dive into the review to see whether the handset is worth your pay.


Lumia-640-3g-DSIM-homescreen-jpgIt is not hard to identify a Lumia device and the first time you look at this phone you can easily tell it is Lumia device. The Microsoft branding at the back of the phone replaced the Nokia one but the design language still remain very much the same, from the rounded edges and the flashy colors etc. the first time I held if I found it to be quite lighter, weighing in at 145 grams. I feel Microsoft did a great job in terms of the evenly distributing the phone weight. In terms of physical dimensions the phone is also a bit big, measuring 141.3×72.2×8.8mm and it does feel a bit big.

The left side of the phone is empty while the right side is where you can find the volume up/down plus it is also where you will find the power/lock key button. The feeling I got while using them was great, the buttons were properly raised from the phone body and this made them very easy to locate and press.

The curved back does make the Lumia 640 a bit easier to handle and it is something I have noticed with the other two lumia devices I have reviewed. The Lumia 532 and the Lumia 535. You can check their reviews here and here. At the top you have the 3.5mm audio jack and at the bottom it’s where you you have the microUSB port.


The Lumia 640 has a Quad-core 1.2Ghz Snapdragon 400 SoC processor with an Adreno 305 GPU, 1Gb of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. About half of that is taken up by the operating system, bundled apps, and your synced email accounts data. That’s not a lot of room for very many 3rd party apps, music, pictures, and videos, so thankfully a Micro SD slot is under the battery cover. You can add up to 128 GB of storage that way and what’s excellent about Windows Phone 8.1 is that you can now move or install apps to the SD card.

The phone’s size is a respectable 141.3mm x 72.2mm x 8.8mm and the weight is 145g. The screen is a large 5 inch Gorilla Glass 3 ClearBlack IPS LCD panel with a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution which translates to a print quality 294 pixels per inch.

CaptureIt’s got an ambient light sensor, accelerometer, proximity sensor, magnetometer, and SensorCore for excersize tracking. The 8 megapixel backside illuminated camera on the back has auto-focus and an LED flash, while the front facing camera is only 0.9 megapixels. It’s all powered by a 2500 mAh battery. This particular version is the one made for Cricket Wireless, but there are also unlocked and dual-SIM versions.

Design and Security

As it is common with all the other Lumia devices I have interacted with, the ‘Microsoft’ name comes written on the front and on the back of the 640 replacing the Nokia brand we were used to.

3wayAt the back the word is also accompanied with a small MS logo. Security wise the device lock, PIN code, Device lock passcode, Regular signed firmware updates, Track and Protect via internet, Application certification, Application sandboxing, Backup and restore via Internet, Browser integrated anti-phishing, Remote device lock via Internet, Remote device wipe via Internet, Secure boot, Signed OS, Consumer VPN

Enterprise security features: Mobile VPN, Remote lock and wipe, Hardware accelerated device encryption, Mobile device management, Remote security policy enforcement.

Main Camera:

As stated above, the 8 megapixel backside illuminated camera on the back has auto-focus and an LED flash, Other Camera features include an auto and manual white balance plus an automatic photo upload to OneDrive. Below are some of the photos I took with the Camera during an event I was attending at Brookhouse School. The Camera is truly impressive for a smartphone in its price range.



Front-facing camera: The Lumia 640 has 0.9-megapixel Front Camera capable of 720p video calls.  The selfie camera on the other hand has a wide field of view and works well enough.

Video: The video quality is one amazing things about the Lumia 640 that would make anyone who loves taking videos wish to own the phone. Check out the two videos below, I took during a visit at Nairobi National Park where I managed to capture a lion and its cab feasting on a Zebra. The other video is of Platinum Dancers performing an elephant anthem during a visit at our offices. In Both videos, the clarity stands out.

Maps and navigation

The Microsoft Lumia 640 is GPS enabled. It comes pre-installed with HERE Drive, HERE Maps and BING maps.

With HERE Drive one can find favourite destinations through free global voice guided turn-by-turn drive navigation. HERE Drive also has the ability to offer live traffic information and offer speed limit warnings and also has free voice-guidance in 88 languages.

With HERE Maps one can download accurate, high-quality maps on the phone. It’s a complete mapping app, designed to work even without a data connection so you can rely on it when traveling or out of the home. Find the quickest way around a city with walking, driving, and public transit directions to the places you want to go. Discover what’s good in a new city and save places so you can find them easily with your phone when you’re out and about. HERE Maps is the perfect companion for your smartphone and the best way to plan ahead.

General Features in Summary
• Platform: Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Demin
• Processor: 1.2GHz quad-core Processor (Snapdragon 400)
• GPU: Adreno 305
• Memory: 1 GB RAM
• Colours: Glossy Cyan, Orange, White, Matte Black
• Dimension: 141.3 x 72.2 x 8.8 mm
• Weight: 145 g
• SIM Type: Micro-SIM
• SIM Count: Dual-SIM, Dual Standby (Single-SIM option)

• Display: 5.0-inch Touchscreen, 720 x 1280 pixels (294ppi), ClearBlack
• Display Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 3

• Rear Camera: 8 MP Camera, 1080p HD Video
• Rear Camera Features: autofocus, LED Flash, Geo-tagging
• Front Camera: 0.9 MP Camera, 720p HD Video

• Built-in Storage: 8GB Storage
• Memory Card Support: Up to 128GB
• Bundled Cloud Storage: 30GB free OneDrive


My overall impression of the Lumia 640’s build quality and design is definitely positive.  If you are a diehard Windows user looking for a budget but full-featured smartphone then you should look no further than the Lumia 640.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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