Smartphone displays have rapidly improved at every single price point. Inexpensive smartphones often compromised on display quality, which ended up hurting much of the overall experience. However, even inexpensive smartphones now ship with IPS displays and high enough resolutions to render text without overwhelming aliasing.

The Lumia 640 has a 5" 1280x720 IPS display. At 294 pixels per inch, it’s fairly sharp for a phone of this price. It’s obviously not some 2560x1440 flagship phone, but I never felt like text appeared fuzzy or highly aliased. To evaluated the aspects of display quality beyond what you’ll see on a spec sheet we turn to our standard smartphone display tests. As always, measurements are performed with X-Rite's i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer and SpectraCal's CalMAN 5 software, with the exception of contrast measurements which are done with an i1Display Pro colorimeter.

Display - Max Brightness

Display - Black Levels

Display - Contrast Ratio

437 nits is a fairly good result for peak brightness. It’s not quite as high as the 500 and 600nit displays that you’ll see on flagship phones, but it’s noticeably higher than many other devices at this price point. The contrast is also pretty good. While the black level isn’t even close to the lowest we’ve seen, when you consider that many devices use CABC to cheat on contrast it’s actually a relatively good result.

Display - White Point

Display - Grayscale Accuracy

The greyscale results on the Lumia 640 are exceptional. RGB balance is great at every shade of grey, with only a very slight shift toward blue. All of the errors will only be visible if you compare static images with a reference monitor. There’s not much more to be said, as the greyscale accuracy on this display is essentially perfect.

Display - Saturation Accuracy

The next test examines saturations of primary and secondary colors on the display in increments of 20%. In this test the Lumia 640 does very well. There are definitely some issues with blue and magenta, and the fact that cyan maxes out at 80% saturation, but the overall accuracy is very good.

Display - GMB Accuracy

The final display benchmark is the Gretag MacBeth ColorChecker test. This test examines colors that are commonly found in the real world, and it’s the best benchmark of display color rendition. A display can hit its saturation targets accurately but fail to reproduce these color mixtures properly.

Fortunately, the Lumia 640 suffers from no such issues. Most of the colors are reproduced with a high degree of accuracy, with the big errors being in shades of blue. Skin tones are very well reproduced, which is something I’ve seen other devices struggling with in recent reviews.

Overall, the Lumia 640’s display is very good, and I would go as far as to say that it’s one of the best displays on a phone at this price point. It performs well in every category, from brightness, to contrast, to color accuracy, and the resolution is high enough to keep everything looking fairly sharp. I think Lumia 640 users will be very happy with the display on their phone.

System Performance Camera Architecture and UX
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  • gwydionjhr - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    For the kind of user that is buying a $129 smartphone I think Microsoft has put it's priorities in the right place, a good camera and a screen that is readable in all conditions are things that any user will appreciate. I've helped dozens and dozens of normal users with all types of smartphones and I can only shake my head at the number of people paying $70mth to use a $700+ plus device that they only use for texting, email, FB and phone calls.
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    This is a cheap phone.

    It lasts most of a day between charges (not really good enough). It has a decent camera, decent display and presumably syncs really well with MS Outlook (if not what are MS doing!).

    Is it slow - yes

    Will it run the very latest apps - no.

    Is it good enough for 90% of market aged more than 25 - yes. Ultimately on a tech website we forget that most people do not need most of the features. Checking emails, using maps/navigation and the ability to check social media is good enough

    Very tempted - but for the battery life
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    And for all the bagging people are doing on MS for pushing out cheap phones, the strategy has really helped MS gain share outside of US/Europe. India, with its billions of people, might actually be a market to get into, no?

    Sure, we want premium phones here, but the 1520 and 930 are by no means junk, even this long past launch.

    That said, it's a shame WP coverage at Anandtech is so thin. Never reviewed the 1020. Never reviewed the 1520. But hey, let's review the cheap MS phones and then make conclusions about the ecosystem. It's been the problem MS has had all along--solid efforts and unique offerings are essentially shunned by the community. We need more than Apple and Google in this space.
  • AEGorenberg - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    I have this phone (changed from Note 2 on Sprint) and get an astonishing 2.5 to 3 days on a charge -- with light to moderate use. Also, no dropped calls in the 2 weeks I have owned it. For $129, it works great and I don't even worry about scratches on the case or having to protect it. The main drawback is that the Windows Phone iteration of popular apps are terrible (like Words with Friends).
  • tdrroc - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    I second this comment... I have a 635 - predecessor to this phone - and I can go multiple days without charging. I use GPS for directions and exercise, wifi and LTE antennae for streaming and web access. When I compare my battery life for WP with what I experienced with Android (on a Nexus 4 even)...it's no comparison. WP blows it out of the water. I have a charging cable I bought for my car...never use it.
  • leexgx - Friday, June 12, 2015 - link

    i do find windows and blackberry phones Very reliable for LTE and calls (GSM phone)

    blackberry Q10 i got here if it gets a wiff of 4G (real 4G>LTE for USA peeps) it will use it until it gets to low then drops to 3G (where as android phones just drop when signal is at 20-30% still)

    quite sure the windows phone does the same thing it fast changes to LTE if available (but on EE UK 4G is bit Iffy at work and makes phone calls bugger up when you answer the phone, this is network issue not the phone, so tend to leave that phone on 3G max speed)

    compared to the android phones i got its like i got New 4G masts installed in my area,, same network in an android phone i have to set it to 3g and back to 3g/4G or airplane mode or wait about 1-3 mines for it to maybe decide to use 4G (if i am on a motorway 4G is unlikely on android phone, but on windows phone or Blackberry very likely)
  • Arbie - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    "All the other specifications are fairly typical for a phone of this price. 8GB of NAND, 1GB of RAM, and 2.4GHz 802.11n WiFi are all you get at this price."

    NO! You are also getting microSD!! That means you can install huge amounts of storage and swap content in and out any time. With the good 5" display this thing has even movies will be quite watchable. I have the smaller Lumia 520 and love it for these reasons. And I won't buy a phone without microSD. So I really wonder why you don't even mention it. This is a lot more important than where the logo is printed, don'tcha think?
  • der - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    Hi im here
  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    I had a lumia 928 for almost two years that I honestly loved. I was never really wanting for anything. I had to get an iPhone 5 for about six months that I honestly wasn't very impressed with.

    I'm on a lollipop phone now though, and I can definitely tell the difference. Windows phone seems to go through booms and busts of parity. When 8.1 launched, it drew them nearly to feature parity with android or iOS of the day. Fast forward two years of mostly stagnant upgrades, and they're in a bad spot once again. Hopefully Microsoft will get it right some day, but until then I'll be happy to use their services on android
  • mercblue281 - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    In fairness to windows phone and the lumia 640 - it would be nice if the comparison charts listed the phone price. And more appropriate comparable phones.
    Owning a 928, 635 and 822 - they do everything newer phones can do. Yes my wife's Icon is a magnificent piece of speedy hardware - however the 640 and other phones shouldn't be frowned upon based on their chipsets and gpu. Windows phone really does perform great on low end hardware.
    I think a more intriguing comparison would be the 640 vs the 735 (yes its in MOST of the charts) but also the 920, 820, 635 and 520.
    people silly enough to pay $700 for an iPhone or $600 for a galaxy simply don't care that you can accomplish 95% of the same tasks with a $130 Lumia.

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