Microsoft has a new mid-range smartphone, the Lumia 540 Dual SIM. The Lumia 540 Dual SIM comes in layered Cyan, Orange, White and Matte Black colours. The Windows Phone 8.1-based handset (with Lumia Denim update) will be upgraded to Windows 10 when it becomes available later this year. Microsoft continues the good work on the affordable smartphone space because that is where the big sales volumes are. The dual-SIM Lumia 540 is the latest phone in that category. Being a very spoilt android user, I decided to give the phone a whirl and I found it decently impressive
The Dual SIM devicecomes with a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS LCD display offering a pixel density of 294ppi. The smartphone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. It comes with 8GB of built-in storage expandable further via microSD card (up to 128GB).
In line with the family tradition, the Lumia 540 Dual SIM also comes with 30GB of free OneDrive cloud storage. It has an 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED flash and also comes with a 5-megapixel wide-angle front-facing camera. This should keep the selfie lovers happy! The Lumia 540’s connectivity features include USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi with hotspot, GPS, and 3G network support. Peer-to-Peer sharing and support for up to 8 Wi-Fi enabled devices for Wi-Fi hotspot are also included. The handset is backed by a 2200mAh replaceable battery, measures 144×73.69×9.37mm, and weighs 152 grams.
The Lumia 540 Dual SIM has a full load of Microsoft services and software including Microsoft’s Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote), Outlook, Skype, OneDrive etc.
Build and Feel
The Lumia 540 is a very good-looking device with a premium feeling plastic body. It looks a lot like the Lumia 640. It comes in very interesting and vivid color options—orange and blue—along with the more traditional black and white. The back panel of the Lumia 540, however, can be a bit of a slippery deal. The screen lock/unlock button is placed in the middle of the right side panel and is easily accessible with one hand. This is a phone that is thoughtfully designed, and I did not notice any sacrifices that have been made to the look and feel just to cut down on material quality to make it affordable.
The Lumia 540 has a 5-inch IPS LCD display with ClearBlack technology, which deepens the black colours on the screen, hence all other colours look better. Supposedly also to make the display less reflective in bright light, thus the text appears crisper. Colors look quite natural and clear, compared to some displays on rivals smartphones that boost color reproduction to make the screen look better than it actually is.There is also a setting that allows the user to adjust the screen’s color and saturation levels. The Lumia 540 is more user-friendly in bright light or outdoors during the day. The screen resolution is 1,280×720 pixels, which makes it a good option for watching movies and videos.
The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad-core processor. It is not a very outstandingly or blazing powerful processor, but the Windows Phone’s better optimization and hardware, it handles games such as GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience, with ease—though the load time is slow, the play and rendering is smooth. This phone can handle movies, social networking and Web browsing with ease and can open six-seven apps at the same time before the lag starts to show. Given the price, I am not complaining at all! In fact, I am impressed! Lag free is the operative word here and that is all that matters to the end user like me.
The internal memory is only 8 GB, there is a microSD slot that can take up to 128 GB memory cards. Microsoft is bundling 30 GB OneDrive cloud storage for backing up your photographs and documents on the cloud. So not a bad deal at all when it comes to total storage.
The Lumia 540 does a good showing in terms of performance, but the Lumia 640 is a better option—it has a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, which is better if you use the phone for more than a year or if you will be running a lot of apps at the same time, most of the time. In short if you are a person that uses your phone as a productivity and work enhancement tool, go for the Lumia 640, else the 540 is fine for an average user. Also worth noting is that the 640 costs a shade less too.
OS and User Experience
The Lumia 540 runs on Windows 8.1 with the now iconic tile interface. Known as Live Tile, this feature enables app updates on the app’s tile itself, such as the latest updates on the Facebook app and the newest updates in the news app. The levels of customization that users can perform are limited compared to Android. But if you are someone who wants a simple smartphone, Windows Phone is most definitely a better bet than Android. Microsoft has said that the Lumia 540 will get the Windows 10 update later this year.
Budget and Mid Range Lumia phones always have one big problem—the camera is a bit on the slow side in capturing a photo, processing it and then saving it to the photo gallery. Lumia 540 which has its 8-megapixel camera has the same problem. But if you are willing to be patient and wait just a bit, this camera can capture details, depth and colors very well. It is surprisingly very good in low light conditions. The 5-megapixel front camera has a wide-angle lens which can easily fit three-four people in a frame. It is not very outstanding but does a pretty decent job. And frankly, I believe that we take our mobile cameras far too seriously off late and the standards are getting ridiculously and exponentially higher, but then, who am I to complain?
The Lumia 540 comes with a 2,200 mAh battery, which gave more than a day’s backup with reading, social networking, Web-browsing and watching movies. When I started a bit heavier load with increase in the number of apps and a higher brightness setting with WiFi on, it was shortened by a few hours. But then I was testing the devices and you hardly expect an average end user to do this. So no complaints about the batter, but nothing to write home about it either.
If you want an affordable smartphone, the Windows Phone Lumia 540, at Rs.10,199, is one option that doesn’t really disappoint you anywhere, but at the same time, it is not a phone that will have me gushing everyday about it. But I believe in Microsoft’s ability to reclaim their spot and hence I think this phone is one step further in that direction. If your kids or parents want a smooth, stable and affordable phone that is easy to handle, go for this one!