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Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Hands-on review at MWC 2015

The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL is the first Windows Phone phablet we’ve seen in some time and it’s already looking like a seriously solid machine despite the affordable price tag.

If you’ve got dinky mitts then look away now, because Microsoft’s Lumia 640 XL is blooming huge. This 5.7-inch beastie is the bigger sibling of the also-freshly-launched Lumia 640, which packs a tiny-by-comparison 5-inch screen.

And unless you have graspers like Andre the Giant, there’s no way you can operate the Lumia 640 XL without both hands.

For an affordable device, the Lumia 640 XL packs a lot of decent specs and features. For a start there’s the HD screen, which is bright and colourful and well built for watching video, helped considerably by the spacious real estate. That’s good news if you want to carry movies around, or stream them using super-nippy LTE if you opt for the 4G model.

However, as with the Lumia 640, I did notice the same shimmering lines in the background when you tilt the screen back and forth. It’s quite an obvious effect and a mite distracting, although hopefully you’ll get used to it after using the 640 XL for a while.

You get the same Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor as the Lumia 640, an old chip now that the Snapdragon 615 is out, but once again performance is perfectly fine. I didn’t notice any stuttering or other issues when skimming through the menus or messing around with apps, which generally loaded quickly and ran well. Hopefully WIndows 10 will also run smoothly when the Lumia 640 XL gets updated later this year.

Flip the XL over and you’ll spot the 13-megapixel camera peeking out of the back. I had a brief play with the camera and it seems to produce sharp snaps, even in difficult conditions (like the neon-lit Microsoft demo booth). Lumia Camera is on-board and operates the same as ever. Just tap the screen where you want the lens to focus, then tap the shutter button to take a shot.

There’s a brief delay before the photo is taken, but otherwise I’m impressed by the overall experience. And like the Lumia 640, you have the Rich Capture feature which allows you to adjust a photo’s lighting after you’ve already taken it. You also get a sharp 5-megapixel front-facing camera, for the selfie lovers amongst you.

The Lumia 640 XL will be hitting Europe later this month, costing €189 for the 3G model and €219 for the 4G model. We’re hoping that translates to around £159 and £189 here in the UK.

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