Once upon a time back when dinosaurs were still extinct, I can remember owning a Nokia phone so small it fit, entirely hidden, in the palm of my hand. Do you remember the one I’m talking about? The buttons were minute and each had to pressed up to three times to select the correct letter. That seems like a decade ago and that’s because it was! Well we seem to have turned full circle now with phones so big they look like tablets and this one is no exception.
The Lumia 640 XL LTE, Windows 8 (10 on upgrade).
Released in April 2015 this phone isn’t yet a year old, so let’s see what we think of it.
Will it fit in my pocket?
The 640 is a whopping 15.7cm x 8 cm x .9cm wide. It’s quite big but not chunky. So, does it fit into my pocket? Well that depends on which pocket lol. It fits in my back pocket but with at least half still sticking out. It fits in my jacket, front pocket but let’s be honest; it isn’t a discreet phone.
It comes with a hard protective backing which you cannot remove without exposing the phone’s battery. Ours is bright orange because we have a tendency to lose phones easily.
Will my arm fall off using it?
Actually, no. It weighs 171g which is quite light. It certainly doesn’t feel heavy when you’re using it.
The screen is almost as big as the phone – a 69.1% screen to body ratio. It’s a nice sized screen for using as a GPS system or watching films on. The colour definition is relatively good too: 720 x 1280 pixels
The home page is entirely self-designed which gives you a lot of freedom. I like this much better than androids I’ve used before (Samsung). It means I can have all the essential apps to hand straight away. I can always cluster them or re-size them, so some are bigger than others.
Get yourself a super-charging cable because charging this beast up can take over 4 hours with a normal cable. It is slow to charge.
Battery life I have found to be quite good. Even when I’m using it as a GPS system, I have drive 150km before I need to charge it up.
Urgh. Terrible apps. What can I say but they are awful. This is where the phone is REALLY let down. In fact I’d go so far as to say, the apps are horrendous.
As a travel blogger, I want an office in the palm of my hand, so let’s see how the apps measure up professionally.
Instagram was a BETA version and was utterly unreliable. It is no longer showing in the store as a download but as I have previously downloaded it, I have access to it. It crashes a lot; the photos are a square size again (urgh I thought we’d got rid of that!?); the page doesn’t load properly so I can only see 10 posts and the notifications page never loads. The double tab is very responsive though and the typeset is nicely big and set out.
Pages manager works well in comparison to Instagram. I have all my pages well set out in rows. One click and I’m on the timeline. The colours are much more defined than Instagram and photos are the correct size. The downside is the advertising that runs along the bottom and the necessity to pay to get rid of this. Notifications are sometimes hit and miss.
Hootsuite – NONE. Yes, there’s no Hootsuite App.
What’sAPP is well laid out and easy to use. I use this app a lot and have positive reviews all round. I like the black background which makes the green and white typeset easily stand out.
Skype is skype is skype. It works well but despite the large screen size, I have never been able to centre my face properly lol.
The banking apps we use are: Natwest (UK); CommBank (Australia) and BNP (France). No problems. Easy set up and use.
It comes with Office which is useful although I haven’t really used it. I’ve opened the odd file in xl when it’s been sent through to me but I haven’t sat down and created something with it. I like the large font size and the typesets used.
You also have the option to use OneDrive which I don’t. I am not a fan of cloud storage.
There is no official wordpress app although there are a few third party apps. I haven’t tried these as I don’t trust third parties.
The camera is 8mp and produces photos of around 4-5mb in size. It has both a front camera and a rear camera but only a rear flash.
These two photos were taken at midday, the first shooting with the sun and the second shooting into it.
The highlights are quite blown out and in comparison to other phone cameras it isn’t as hot!
There are more videos on our Facebook page however here are two we took earlier.
The video is easy to use and the sound quality is great. It has a very good microphone which sadly seems to pick my kids up when I least want it to!
I am reluctant to use my DSLR as a camera due to file sizes but I would definitely use this to start vlogging. The camera struggled to automatic focus well during the fog but what camera doesn’t?
Connectivity seems to better than our other phones which range from Samsung to Iphone. It picks up signals very easily but doesn’t seem to remain connected if there’s much movement.
SAT NAV: Here Drive+. HERE maps
This is when the phone comes into its own. It works as a GPS system incredibly well and to be honest, this and the video is the only reason why we keep this phone.
All country’s maps can be downloaded for free, they take up little space and can be used offline. They’re super easy to follow as the screen is so big. The very large icons make it easy to change the settings and you can change the maps between 2d, 3d and north facing.
A minor problem is that when you’re in small cars, it’s difficult to find somewhere to suspend the phone from due to its length. At the moment ours is suspended from the passenger windscreen area. It doesn’t make much difference but I do prefer it a bit closer.
As travellers and bloggers on the road, I really wanted a mobile office that was reliable and effective to use in relation to social media and blogging. Sadly because of a lack of workable apps this phone doesn’t make that criteria.
The only reason I keep it is because I can download free maps and use them offline with incredible accuracy.