After one too many drops, my Galaxy S5 finally broke1. With just a month before I could upgrade, I rushed to the nearest Best Buy to pick up a temporary phone– a Microsoft Lumia 640 and for $30, it was an amazing phone. Here’s what I liked:
- It had a decent camera.
- The battery latest for days under heavy use.
- It was neither too big nor too small.
- The screen was decent.
- Despite the mediocre processor and 512GB of RAM, it ran smoothly thanks to Windows Mobile.
- It could be unlocked2. Combined with the cheap price, I could buy dozens of these and sell them back home for a big profit.
- Cortana is kinda cool although it really likes Microsoft stuff.
- It’s $30! One time, I even got it for $12! $12!
Given all it had, this is probably the best value smartphone out there. It had issues, however:
- It’s a Windows Phone. While it had great performance, the apps were terrible. That’s because it never caught on because nobody wrote apps for it before nobody caught on and the cycle never ends. Google didn’t even try to port their apps on it
- Remember the mediocre processor and low RAM I mentioned? Well, even with its amazing memory management, it didn’t help with apps that needed lots of it. Even though Spotify had a port by some miracle, it took me days to download my library since the app would constantly quit after a few minutes.
- The maps were terrible. It wasn’t as current as Google Maps. Once, I had a job interview and it took me to the other side of town far from the interview location. I made right on time thankfully. Oh, and it would shout at you if you went over the speed limit.
So even as great as it was, no wonder it cost $30. It didn’t help that Microsoft was pulling out of the mobile business due to poor sales. It’s a shame they left. The mobile ecosystem needs more diversity. Then again, Microsoft made bank from royalties on Android3so I guess they didn’t lose much in the end4.
- Well, just the screen. It still powers on, I’m just too lazy to fix it. ↩
- Past tense. AT&T changed the eligibility requirements to unlock prepaid phones. It used to have no eligibility requirements and it now it requires users to use AT&T prepaid for at least 6 months. ↩
- More past tense. They open sourced their patents. ↩
- Just $7 billion and the jobs of 12,000 people. ↩