Microsoft Lumia 640

Excellent basic phone, but get a case!! | 6/4/2017 | Comments: 1
Image result for Lumia 640 Lumia 640 (AT&T Go Phone / Unlockable) ~ Spring 2015
Cost: $50 - $80 (Off Contract)

Specs:
OS: Windows Phone 8.1 (Upgradeable to Windows Phone 10)
Display: 5" IPS 1280x720 (Gorilla Glass 3)
Processor: Snapdragon 400 (4 x 1.2ghz)
Video: Adreno 305
Memory: 1GB Ram
Storage: 8GB (4.7GB free) w/ MicroSD slot also available
Camera: 8mpx (back + single flash) / 1mpx (front)
Radios: Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wifi b/g/n, FM Radio
MicroUSB 2.0 (no OTG functionality)
Battery: 2500mAh (Li-ion) ~ Rated for up to 76h Standby / Mixed
Build: Plastic Case Construction with removable back

The Good:

  • Bright display, easy to see in sunlight
  • Long battery life lasting 4 - 5 hours of screen on time or days on standby
  • Windows 10 Upgradable
  • Surprisingly good camera for such a cheap phone

The Bad:

  • The processor, graphics and memory are dated and you can sometimes feel their age. Slow memory and not a lot of it (really 1GB, ouch!)
  • 3D games, don't play well or at all
  • Phone can become laggy especially while browsing the web
  • Build quality is dirt cheap, the back cover of the phone crumbled in my pocket after a few months

I bought this phone at Walmart back in November of 2015 for a whopping $70. At the time, Windows Phone 10 was in it's infancy and I wanted to mess around with the Beta of 10 to get to know the OS... so for me, this was an easy buy.

Before loading 10 on it, I decided to test Windows 8.1's functionality and get a feel for the OS (especially since the last Windows Mobile device I had was back when Windows Mobile CE 6.0 was popular). I played around with it for about 2 weeks and found it ran fairly smooth and was responsive with no stuttering in the OS. Moving on to Windows Phone 10 Beta, the upgrade was fairly painless, but did require that I install an app from the Windows Store.

Apps

Coming from Android, I found Windows Phone in general was very limited in what you could do (especially with no Google apps!!). When you've invested most of your time in either Android or iOS, going to Windows Phone is almost a deal breaker since there are no native apps for either platform here. Office and Outlook on the phone are a nice touch and there was an "OK" selection of apps in the Windows Store. In the end though, I mainly wound up just using it for light web browsing and as a backup / standby phone for a few months (definitely not a daily driver). With no support for Google Hangouts even as a backup phone it didn't last long.

Gaming and Performance

After the initial two week period, it was time to try out Windows Phone 10 Beta... I was initially surprised how well 1GB of ram and the SD400 processor held up. Even after the full release of Windows Phone 10, the Moto G 1st gen (Android) with the same hardware feels a lot slower than this phone. The only sluggishness I found was with the browser when loading large websites and 3D intensive gaming. Trying to play Asphalt 8 wasn't too bad, but forget about CSR Racing. I also tried out Order and Chaos (a World of Warcraft clone) and it was fairly laggy, but semi-playable (although I wouldn't want to). Minecraft was "playable" but felt laggy as well. 

Screen

Both in doors and out, the screen is very bright and crisp easily viewable in direct sunlight. The colors were a little dull in some instances, but I'm not a very good judge on color reproduction. Anyway, it gets the job done and with a 720p resolution it's easy to use the display for media consumption or for remote desktop.

Camera

The 8mpx camera on this phone had me amazed. The picture quality blew my Moto G 1st gen and Moto X 1st gen out of the water. The colors were vibrant, pictures turned out natural looking and the software wasn't overly complicated to use. For the price of the phone, the camera by itself was worth it.

Sound

Not stereo, but very, very loud (like most phones lows were absent and mids barely hanging in there). Speaker phone was a good experience.

Build Quality

One word... Cheap!! This thing is all plastic, the back plates are swappable and the battery removable (which is a good thing) I wound up replacing the back plate twice ($9 a pop) due to it shattering while in my pocket. I am rough on my phones as I just throw them in a pocket with keys and other stuff, but I've never had a back casing shatter like this one. I also some how got a scratch on the screen (not a deep one) but enough of one to be annoying.

Network Compatibility

Being an AT&T Go phone I was able to pop my normal AT&T sim in it with no problem. I got 1 - 2 bars (LTE) where I live which is normal, at work  I got full bars and ran a few speed tests. AT&T LTE reached up to 32mbps down and 8.3mbps up (Not bad at all). (My Moto X 1st gen peeked out at 42mbps down and 12mbps down.) After unlocking the phone, I popped in a FreedomPop 4g sim and an LTE, they both worked well, however since there is no FreedomPop App for Windows Phones, only the internet was usable.

Conclusion

If you are heavily invested in iOS or Google Apps or are looking to use this phone with the FreedomPop network look else where. If your interested in a basic phone, to make calls, maybe check emails and play a few rounds of solitaire or check Facebook this phone would work good for you even with it being a phone from 2015 (and it being 2017).

A word of advice though... Stay away from it's younger brother the Lumia 650 (the older 640 is actually a little faster).

 

Categories Cell Phones

Microsoft Surface Pro 3rd Gen

7/5/2016

HP Elite X2 1012 G1

Almost perfect 2 in 1 | 7/5/2016

Specs:

- CPU: 1.1GHz Intel Core m5-6Y57 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.8GHz with Turbo Boost)

- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515

- RAM: 8GB LPDDR3-1866 SDRAM

- Screen: 12-inch, 1,920 x 1,280 FHD UWVA eDP ultra-slim LED-backlit touch screen

- Storage: 256GB M.2 SATA TLC SSD (Upgraded to a 512GB M.2 SSD)

- Ports: USB Type-C with Thunderbolt support, USB 3.0, headphone/mic combo jack

- Connectivity: 2 x 2 Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo

- Camera: 2MP FHD 1080p front-facing webcam, 5MP FHD 1080p rear-facing

- Weight: 1.8 pounds (tablet), 2.65 pounds (tablet with travel keyboard), 2.79 pounds (tablet with advanced keyboard)

- Size: 11.8 x 8.4 x 0.3 inches (tablet), 11.8 x 8.4 x 0.5 inches (tablet with travel keyboard), 11.8 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches (tablet with advanced keyboard) (W x D x H)


Price: $1,134 (Eliete x2 new on Amazon) + $235 (512GB M.2 SSD Amazon)
 

Coming from a MS Surface Pro 1st gen, this tablet is thinner, lighter and can be upgraded / repaired in comparison. I have the m5, 8gb, 256GB model and I use it as my daily driver for just about everything from Android development to network management and even some gaming (runs World of Warcraft on low settings and gets 20 - 50 fps in most areas). I haven't been a strong supporter of HP in the past, but this tablet has changed my mind for at least their business products (I'm actually a huge fan of 2 in 1's and I can't wait to try out the 2nd gen Elite x2 when it becomes available to see if some of the cons below get fixed).
 
What are the pros?
Top things:

- Repair-ability and upgradability, I've already upgraded the storage from 256GB to 512GB without any issues (try doing that to a Surface Pro!). Battery is replaceable and wireless card, but not the memory.

- The keyboard feels like typing on a laptop keyboard due to the metal surface, key spacing and travel.

- The amount of ports are just right and the inclusion of both USB3 and USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 compatibility is awesome.. (although I do wish there was a mini or micro HDMI out).

- I use the fingerprint sensor daily, I really like it's inclusion and the fact it's compatible with Windows Hello (makes logging in to the tablet that much quicker).

- The processor in this tablet is a m5-6Y57 that turbo boosts up to 2.8ghz, which is better than the surface pro 4 m3 version.


What are the cons?
Top things:

- The speakers / sound quality is very, very tiny, overall the audio / speakers are the worst I have ever heard from a tablet of this size.

- Have to use an external bluetooth speaker or headphones for decent quality.

- The screen brightness could be better, hard to see outside on a clear day.

- Didn't care for the stylus that came with the Elite X2, purchased a Bamboo as a replacement which was a huge improvement with handwriting accuracy. The original stylus had problems with skipping while writing and didn't have as much pressure sensitivity.

- For serious work, the processor in this tablet is just ok ( it's good enough to run WoW and a couple VMs), but you can really feel it struggling and apps / keyboard / mouse input start to stutter at random when you have too many processor intensive tasks running. For example, running a vm while zipping a large file, and youtube is playing a music video = typing in word taking a few seconds to show up. Or while all of that's going on trying to close out an application takes a few seconds longer than normal.

- Besides the audio quality and track pad registering a right click quite often while trying to scroll... the #1 most annoying thing about this tablet... The keyboard backlight! It doesn't stay set to whatever you set it as. For example, if you turn it off completely or have it on a dim setting and close up the keyboard, the backlight comes back on full blast when you open it next time. Didn't have this issue with my Surface Pro and don't know if I'm the only one with this issue or if this is as designed, but it's quite annoying for me.

Overall, I think this 2 in 1 would be great for a student entering college, someone that wants to reduce their load while traveling or perhaps a writer or blogger. I can't recommend it for those wanting to use it for serious photoshop work, but maybe some light editing or note taking in One Note. Battery lasts for 4 - 5 hours, but you can get it to last an hour or two longer if you reduce the display brightness, use battery saver and change the processor speed to 75% max.
 
Categories Tablets

Microsoft Surface Pro 1st Gen

7/5/2016

Asus Memo Pad 7 LTE

7/5/2016
Memo Pad review will go here once it's done.