Microsoft Lumia 540: Vivid Midranger | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 22, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:41 AM, June 22, 2015

Hands on Review

Microsoft Lumia 540: Vivid Midranger

Just 2 months after the launch of Lumia 640XL, Microsoft is back with another midrange phone for the Bangladeshi market: Lumia 540. This phone comes with a price-tag of Tk 13,999 and is the successor to the market winner Lumia 535. Does this phone live up to its predecessor? Let's find out.

Starting with the display: the phone comes with a 5-inch720x1280-pixel IPS LCD HD screen. The text looks sharp and the colours appear vibrant. It also has excellent viewing angles. The screen has ClearBlack technology, meaning the black pixel looks great on the screen. Hence it is easier to read in different lighting conditions and extreme angles. However, the brightness levels of the phone are a bit off. There are three different levels: Low, Medium and High. But strangely even at the lowest brightness, it's quite bright.

The phone's design isn't groundbreaking. Rather it's the usual package that Lumia comes in: polycarbonate rear panel with a unibody look. Unlike the Lumia 640XL, the back-cover is glossy, not matte. Since it is glossy, be prepared to see fingerprints, smudges and scratches on the phone if you often wear jeans. Both the volume rockers and power buttons are on the right, the 3.5mm headset socket is on top and the Power USB socket is on the bottom. The camera, unlike the Samsungs and Oppos, has no bumpy bezel.  The logo of Microsoft is printed on the back; just above the speaker. The colour of the unit that we reviewed was 'Cyan.' But it also comes on orange, white, black & gray.

The phone weighs around 152gm which doesn't make the phone bulky but certainly makes it a bit heavier compared to phones with similar dimensions. The round edges, durable plastic and thick bezel makes the phone great to hold.

The processor powering the device is a Snapdragon 200 Quadcore 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7. Paired with Adreno 302 GPU, the phone smoothly runs most of the games and apps we generally use. There were some points when the phone felt a bit sluggish but the stuttering was short lived. Playing music, browsing the internet and video playback experience was pleasant. The 1GB RAM was good enough for day to day operation of the phone but we think an extra 512MB RAM would have been a nice addition. For example 'Asphalt 8' struggled a bit whereas 'Angry Birds' and 'Temple Run 2' ran without any hiccups. The Denim update of the Windows 8.1 doesn't hog the processor; rather it optimizes it to suit low-end devices. We weren't able to make the Cortana voice assistant work since it isn't supported in this region.

The primary camera in the phone is an 8 Megapixel shooter. The 1/4 inch sensor, f/2.2 aperture and 28mm focal length makes the camera great for still shots.In broad daylight the camera is bound to impress you. Colours were vivid and pixels were sharp & crispy. However the low-light snaps that we took weren't impressive despite the phone having a BSI sensor. The video quality was a bit disappointing since it can only shoot videos at 480p.The front facing camera was great for selfies and Skype video chats. Thanks to the wide angle lens in the front camera, taking group selfies is easy. The pre-loaded Lumia Selfie app enhances the photos and can employ Instagram-like filters.

The battery of Lumia 540 is bigger compared to its predecessor Lumia 535. On a single charge with moderate use the 2,200 mAh battery lasted an entire day. We had dual SIM but only one on 3G and the brightness was set to High. We made 10-12 calls with an average duration of 3minutes, browsed 3G for 2-3 hours and similar amount of time on WiFi. But if you want to conserve your battery, make sure the battery saver mode is ON. It will give you at least an additional 3-4 hours of talk-time.

Verdict
The Lumia 540 is an amazing budget smartphone running on Windows 8.1 OS. The phone sports an outstanding back camera, stunning HD display and a better-than-average battery life. The hardware performance is good. Touch screen is responsive. Sometimes it felt a bit sluggish, but that too only occasionally. The front facing camera is perfect for wide angle selfies.  The phone does have some downsides: no HD video recording, occasional stuttering and plastic body which is a fingerprint magnet. Plus the apps ecosystem isn't as rich as iOS or Android. But considering the specs you get for the money that you pay; this sub Tk. 15,000/- phone is indeed a great catch. 

SPECS
Display:
5.0 inches,  720 x 1280 pixels (~294 ppi pixel density)
Camera: 8MP Back Camera, 5 MP Front Camera
OS: Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim
CPU: Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
GPU: Adreno 302
Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, G-Sensor
Battery: 2200 mAh 

Price: Tk. 13,999/- 

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