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Microsoft Lumia 640 hands-on review at MWC 2015

We check out Microsoft’s latest affordable Lumia, the 5-inch 640, packing some funky camera tech and full 4G.

Microsoft has gone big for its latest Lumia, the 5-inch 640, although even that isn’t as hulking as its bigger brother the Lumia 640 XL (a massive 5.7-incher).

If you want to use your phone one-handed, you’re best off sticking with the Lumia 640. It fits snugly in the hand and I found my thumb could just about stretch to the far corners – just. 

The body comes in a few different forms – there’s a brushed plastic model and also a glossy, colourful version. The glossy model feels a little cheaper than the matt version, but the colours are bright and bold as usual so it’s a good one for kids and anyone who wants to stand out a bit. 

Windows Phone 8.1 is of course on board, running smoothly thanks to the 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor backed up by 1GB of RAM. We had a quick bash on Candy Crush too, which ran like a dream as you’d expect (although it wasn’t the quickest at loading up). And you’ll have full Windows 10 when that rolls out.

The Lumia 640’s 5-inch 720p screen is colourful and sharp enough to make movies look crisp, and the Live Tiles interface really pops off the display. 

However, we did notice a strange rippling effect when tilting the screen back and forth, as the light caught some lines in the panel (check out the photo below). This was a little distracting, and a problem that also plagued the Lumia 640 XL.

One of the most interesting features of the Lumia 640 is the 8-megapixel camera. Under the harsh lights of Microsoft’s demo booth, the shutter seemed to cope admirably. Shots took reasonably quickly when I tapped the on-screen shutter button, and you can change up the focus with a quick tap of the screen. However, the most intriguing bit is the ‘Rich Capture’ feature.

Turn this on and you can alter the lighting of your shots after you’ve already taken them. So for instance, if you’ve shot a pic of your bff using the flash and he/she has come out a little pale and overexposed, just go into the editing tool and you can bring down the light levels to make them look more normal.

A 2,500mAh battery is stuffed inside and the Microsoft helpers reckon it’ll give you two days of life between charges. We reckon a day and a half is much more likely, but we’ll report back when we do our full review. 

Expect the Lumia 640 to hit Europe this month for €139 for the 3G model and €159 if you want 4G support. We’re hoping that translates into around £119 and £139 max in the UK.

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