After long time, we are reviewing a Lumia device in the form of Microsoft Lumia 540. Thanks to Microsoft for arranging a review device this time after much escalation. Here are our impressions and review on this latest device from Microsoft.
To start with check out the specifications of the device which it comes with.
To start with check out the specifications of the device which it comes with.
Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim
5” HD (1280 x 720) screen
2200 mAh battery
Quad-core 200 series Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
8.0 MP, Lumia Camera with LED Flash
Front facing camera
5MP wide angle
8GB + up to 30 GB free OneDrive, micro SD up to 128GB + 1GB RAM
1 GB RAM
Design: The device which I got is with black back cover with matte finish and it looks solid. The back panel comes with rounded design and it looks premium. Its good to have a Microsoft Logo on your device's back and that itself gives this device a premium look and makes it an eye turner when you are in public speaking on this phone. The device doesn't come with the capacitive touch navigation buttons and it has only onscreen software buttons which occupies some more real estate on the device, thanks to 5" screen which helps carrying more tiles on the home page and also good to watch the movies and play games on slightly big screen when compared to 4.5" smartphones from Nokia / Microsoft. On the right side of the device, there are volume rocker buttons along with the power/unlock button. The tactile feedback of those buttons are good and responsive. On the left, there is nothing. At the bottom of the device, there is a Micro-usb charging/data transfer port. On the top, there is a 3.5 mm audio jack. At the front, there is a 5 MP camera for taking selfies and for video chat. There is a small grill on the backside of the device for the audio output. Very simplistic device for the price which it it offered. The device comes with 4 colors which is Black, Cyan, Bright Orange and white. You can change the back panel as per your favorite color once Microsoft releases the back panels exclusively. Out of all the colors, I really liked the Cyan colored device. I could briefly play around with it during the launch event in Bangalore and it really looked premium. The colored back panels, comes with glossy finish and its kinda slippery in had, but they look awesome. Colors are really bright and attractive. Well the weight of this device is bit heavy inside your pocket with 152g, but as usual, Microsoft (erstwhile Nokia) devices are known for sturdy hardware even with bit heavy weight, we can use it roughly without worrying much about accidental fall or something. During the event, we literally tried to drop the device from shoulder height and the device could stay strong as usual. No wear and tear or breakage.
Display: The Lumia 540 comes with a 5" IPS LCD display with Clearblack technology. The display comes with a HD720 resolution with 294ppi pixel density. The display is crisp and clear and the colors are vibrant when you view the photos and watch movies on this device. Only drawback which I feel with the display is gorilla glass protection. For the price which we are paying and when there are plethora of Android devices from different manufacturers offering a very good protective glasses, Microsoft also could have considered adding up the extra layer protection on Lumia 540. But nevertheless, display looks cool and its easy to clean. Its better if a user add up a good quality screen protector or put tampered glass to keep this display scratch proof.
Hardware & Performance: The Lumia 540 is operated by Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 with quad core processors clocked at 1200 MHz backed with 1 GB of RAM. The device comes with only 8 GB internal storage which is expandable with the help of external MicroSD card which supports upto 128 GB. If that's not enough, there is a free cloud storage of 30 GB (15 GB + you'll get 15 GB when you enable 'upload photos' automatically option) on Microsoft One Drive This device comes with dual-sim capability and one can use the sim cards with either 2G or 3G capability. Also, the device has Bluetooth 4.0 support which is good add-on. Even with all these, we think a 16 GB inbuilt storage and 2 GB RAM would have made this device a drool worthy one. Right now, the transitions between the screens, multi-processing and all is fine, there is no lag or slowness, but when we tried to play a HD video, the device failed miserably and could observe lot of jerk movements during the video playback. Not cool at all. It could play the videos with low resolution smoothly and the videos shot on the device itself. Apart from that, browsing on this device is good, no issues observed. One can watch Youtube videos using the browser and it plays hassle-free. We can't say this is a great multimedia device. A sample screen snap while playing a video.
Camera: The Lumia 540 comes with a 8.0 MP main camera with LED Flash and auto focus. Also, comes with a 5 MP Wide angle camera for selfies and video chats. The pictures are great when taken in bright light and outdoors. Indoor pictures and low light pictures are not so great. Taking selfies in low-light conditions are next to impossible. It miserably failed to click selfies when we were partying at restaurants like Hardrock Cafe etc., We had to depend on the Main camera with Flash and ask other people to click pictures. Video recording supports upto 848 x 480 resolution at 30 fps which helps in shooting amateur videos with your family and friends. Some sample pictures shot using Lumia 540. Click on the pictures to check out full resolution image.
Battery: The Lumia 540 is powered by a 2200 mAH battery which makes it good enough to give a backup of upto 48 hours when fully charged and when you are on a 3G network. We tested and the device could easily stay on for around 36 hours without recharge again. Device doesn't get heated up upon heavy usage or multi-tasking and stays cool. We are very happy with the battery performance unlike the Android devices which we used run out of battery the end of the day after a overnight full charge.
Software and Features: Coming to the software on this device, Lumia 540 comes with Windows 8.1 out of the box with Lumia Denim firmware. And this phone will be up-gradable to Windows 10 when it will be releases later this year which is one of the plus point for the people thinking to buy a windows based smartphone. The OS is very user friendly, and there is not much hassles to operate this device even for novice users. One can easily align and alter the tiles on the homescreen as per their wish and anything and every setting can be moved to the home screen as a tile for quick access. Users can sort and put the apps in groups as per their functionalities and requirements. This feature is pretty good and one can easily and quickly access their favorite apps just with one click on the group tile instead of scrolling through the complete apps. The home screen is completely customizable and user can use their own imagination to set up application access as per their requirement. Device comes with lot of important applications pre-loaded, but one can download many more apps for free from the 'Store' and start using the device to the fullest. Settings of the device is quickly accessible from the notification menu itself. And of-course, device comes with infamous navigation apps like Here Maps, Here Drive+ which helps you in move. There are some apps which you can try is Lumia creative studio, Lumia Storyteller which are pretty good for creating some amazing pictures, videos and slideshows. There are some more features like Storage Sense, Data Sense using which you can keep track of your data usage, storage usage respectfully and put a curb on the unnecessary usage and save on your bills and same some disk space on the device. There is a Kid's corner using which you can restrict your kid to access most of the applications and provide access only to the apps which are essential for them. In the same way, you can provide limited access to your apps when handing over the device to someone else who may unnecessarily fiddle around with the device settings , access personal files etc., You can create a separate 'apps corner' for others and you can password protect access to main apps list and content which is a must for any smartphone user.
Price: The device is priced at Rs. 9999/- on Amazon and its available in all standard offline stores too.
Verdict: The Lumia 540 is a solid device and sturdy one for the rough users and for smart users too. The camera capability should have been much better. And the processor, memory should have been bit high for this device which could have made this device irresistible with the competition offered by the different android devices which comes in the same price range with much better hardware capability and features. If you are a die hard fan of Windows OS and can compromise on bit performance and quality of pictures, this device is a good buy for you.
Pros: Sturdy hardware, awesome colors, Latest Windows OS, Compatibility for Windows 10 upgrade.
Cons: Bulky, Missing Gorilla Glass protection, Less inbuilt storage capacity, sluggish video playback, camera performance and price.
Please leave your thoughts , questions in comments section.