Microsoft Unveils Lumia 640 and 640 XL Smartphones at MWC

The Lumia 640 and 640 XL smartphones will offer lots of features, including single- or dual-SIM capabilities and 3G or LTE connectivity, at prices ranging from about $154 to $242.

Microsoft Lumia 640, smartphones, Mobile World Congress 2015

Microsoft unveiled its latest Lumia 640 and 640 XL smartphones this week at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. The new devices offer 5-inch or 5.7-inch HD displays, respectively, and pricing that starts at $154 for a basic Lumia 640 model with 3G connectivity and rises to about $242 for a 640 XL with LTE capabilities.

Both new smartphones will be upgradeable to Windows 10 after its release later in 2015, and both will be available in single-SIM or dual-SIM versions, as well as versions incorporating 3G or Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity, according to Microsoft.

The latest Lumia handsets come in two sizes and models, just like Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models and Samsung's newest Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge devices. It appears to be an ongoing market trend to sell standard and phablet-sized versions of key handsets to offer more consumer choice while reusing many key components in both models.

The Lumia 640 and 640 XL both share some key basic features, including 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processors, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of on-board storage, which is expandable to 128GB with a micro SD card, and 30GB of free Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage. Both devices also run on the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, including the Lumia Denim update, which offers useful features, such as Live Folders, a one-swipe Action Center and fast texting with Word Flow.

Included with both devices is a one-year personal subscription to Office365, which also includes its use on one tablet and on one PC or Mac computer, as well as 1TB of storage on OneDrive.

The key differences in the Lumia 640 and 640 XL appear to center on screen sizes, built-in camera features, battery capacities and overall device sizes. The Lumia 640 includes a 5-inch HD display, while the Lumia 640 XL incorporates a 5.7-inch HD display. Both have 1,280 by 720 resolution and are covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

The Lumia 640 has an 8MP main rear camera, while the Lumia 640 XL includes a 13MP rear camera with Zeiss optics. Both include LED flash. The 640 also features a 1MP front-facing camera, while the 640 XL includes a 5MP wide-angle front camera.

There's a 2,500mAh battery in the Lumia 640 and a 3,000mAh battery in the Lumia 640 XL.

"Our newest Lumia devices build on our momentum in the affordable smartphones space," Jo Harlow, corporate vice president for phones at Microsoft, said in a statement. "With the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL, we continue to make innovation accessible to more people. We have packaged competitive hardware with innovative Windows software and Microsoft services to help you achieve more, wherever and whenever you want."

Both models will be available in various configurations for users around the world, including in 4G LTE or 3G versions as well as with single- or dual-SIM card slots to allow connectivity in almost any country.

The Lumia 640 XL will roll out globally in March and will be available in several colors, including matte cyan, orange, black, matte white and glossy white. Pricing for the 640 XL is expected to be about $209 for a 3G model and about $242 for an LTE model.

The Lumia 640 will be available starting in April in glossy cyan, orange, white and matte black colors. Pricing for the Lumia 640 is expected to start at $154 for the 3G model and $176 for the LTE model.

Earlier this week at Mobile World Congress, Microsoft unveiled a compact, foldable keyboard that works with the new Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL smartphones, as well as with smartphones and tablets from rival mobile device makers.