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printed December 14, 2017
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Review: Microsoft Lumia 640 for Cricket Wireless

Form Performance Basics Extra Wrap-Up Comments  

Screen

There was a time that 5-inch 720p HD screens were a luxury available only on the priciest flagships. Now you can get one for $130. The Lumia 640's screen is great, especially at this price point. Microsoft's Clear Black LCD panels have always been good, and the 640's screen impressed. It's pixel-rich and everything looks sharp and clean. Colors are accurate and pleasing to the eye. Brightness is quite good, and I had no trouble using the phone indoors or out. Viewing angles are decent, but I've seen better. It's a good screen.

Signal

Cricket operates on AT&T's network around the U.S. That means it enjoys the same coverage and country-wide service. The 640 performed admirably on Cricket / AT&T's network in the greater New York City area. It hopped onto the LTE network whenever and wherever it was available and only dropped to HSPA a handful of times in areas known to have weak coverage. The 640 never lost touch with the network completely and was always able to make and connect calls. The phone didn't drop any calls, nor did it miss any due to signal issues. Data speeds are gimped by Cricket to 8 Mbps, but the 640 consistently matched that speed most of the time I tested it. In other words, it performs as quickly as Cricket allows it to. You won't have trouble checking your social networks, but uploading photos to Instagram sometimes takes a few extra seconds.

Sound

A scalpel and a saw are both cutting instruments. The Lumia 640 is a serious saw in terms of volume, but not quite a scalpel when it comes to call quality. It rips into your ear bluntly rather than slice with finesse. The earpiece produces so much volume I had to hold the phone away from my ear in order to save my poor eardrum. Conversations are certainly loud, but at the cost of clarity. You can improve clarity somewhat by keeping the volume set at 3 or 4 out of 10. The speakerphone, too, produces prodigious amounts of sound. You can hold a conversation via the speakerphone in all but the noisiest environments. People I spoke with via the 640 said I sounded amazing.

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Ringers and alerts are quite loud; you won't miss incoming calls or messages for not hearing them. I thought the vibrate alert was decent, but would have prefered a bit more strength.

Battery

The Lumia 640's 2,500 mAh battery supply is more than adequate to provide 1+ days of battery life. On most days, the phone still had a 40% charge left by the time I was ready to call it quits at night. I would still charge it every night, but if you forget, you should still have enough juice left over to get you through the first few hours of your day (or until you can plug the phone in.)

The phone includes Microsoft's usual battery saver tool. You can set the battery saver to engage when the battery reaches 20% or turn it on manually. Once on, the battery saver turns off most background processes and severely limits push notifications to conserve power.

Battery Saver  

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