If you’ve been hoping to see Microsoft’s Lumia 640 XL come to the United States as I have, your wait is almost over: Next week, AT&T will begin selling the phablet-class handset online and in its retail stores in matte black or matte white.
The big question, of course is price. As you may recall, the XL’s smaller brother, the Lumia 640, can be had off-contract for $130 from Cricket. And as I exclusively revealed last weekend, Verizon will soon sell the Lumia 735, another excellent mid-range choice, for $192. So it’s reasonable to expect that the 640 XL, which is a bigger device with what looks to be an excellent camera, would cost more.
And it does: AT&T will sell the device for a reasonable $250 off contract.
Of course, this is AT&T, so you have other payment options too. You could purchase the Lumia 640 XL for $0 down on an AT&T Next plan, paying $8.34 per month for 30 months, $10.42 per month for 24 months, or $12.50 per month for 20 months. Ugh. As with those other devices, I recommend just paying for it if you can.
Microsoft announced the Lumia 640 and 640 XL back in March at Mobile World Congress. At the time, I wasn’t too impressed with these mid-level offerings, but I’ve since come to peace with these devices. Part of the reason is that the Lumia 640—which I’m now evaluating—and the 640 XL, which I hope to review soon, are—like the Lumia 735 and 830 from last fall—excellent values and surprisingly good devices regardless of price point.
Put another way, we all moan a lot about the sub-$100 price buster Lumias, but these devices—which sit nicely in the $130-$250 mid-market range—are definitely a step up in quality and functionality, and they do really accomplish the goal of bringing some high-end phone features down to a more affordable price point. Many low-end Lumias are simply low-end phones. But these are all pretty great.
The specs bear this out. A quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage with up to 128 GB of microSD expansion, and a 5.7-inch 720p (1280 x 720) ClearBlack IPS LCD display. It also has what looks like a great camera—a 13 MP rear unit with ZEISS optics and LED flash—and a full bevy of sensors, including orientation, ambient light, accelerometer, proximity, and magnetometer, plus Microsoft’s SensorCore technology for motion tracking.
I have a good feeling about this one. I’m looking forward to checking out the Lumia 640 XL on AT&T.