Almost six months after unveiling the first non-Nokia smartphone, Microsoft has introduced its upgraded version, Lumia 540, in the Indian market. The phone features a better display, improved camera and a bigger battery and is priced Rs 1,000 higher than its predecessor. Will the Lumia 540 turn out to be the perfect budget smartphone? We got a chance to spend some time with the phone at the launch and here are our first impressions…
The Microsoft Lumia 540 looks identical to Lumia 535, complete with rounded corners and a changeable coloured back cover that wraps around the phone. The white coloured demo unit sports a glossy finish. The right edge of the phone features the power and volume rocker keys, in black colour and offer above average tactile feedback. The top edge sports the 3.5mm headset jack while the bottom features the micro-USB port.
We found that our white coloured unit sports a glossy finish and is a bit susceptible to smudges. However, unlike the 535, the Lumia 540 features a frosty-looking, translucent plastic coating around the edges of the back cover that Microsoft likes to call semi-transparent layered design. We spotted the same design element in the Lumia 532 and some Asha series phones.
The removable shell hides the battery(also removable) which is branded Microsoft, two micro-sim card slots and a microSD card slot.
The phone doesn’t feature capacitive navigation keys and makes use of software keys. While the design is not very fresh, materials used in the phone are of good quality and feel durable.
The display of the phone is one area where the Lumia 540 has an edge over its predecessor (Lumia 535). The phone sports a 5-inch HD (720x1280p) IPS LCD display with ClearBlack technology. However, unlike the Lumia 535, the 540 doesn’t come with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. So the screen would be more susceptible to scratches.
The other improvement that Microsoft has made, is in the camera department. Lumia 540 sports an 8MP rear camera (1/4 inch sensor, f/2.2 aperture and 28mm focal length) with auto-focus and LED flash and a 5MP front-facing camera for selfie fans. It can shoot video at 848x480p resolution with both cameras. The phone comes pre-loaded with Bing vision, Creative Studio, Lumia Camera, Lumia Selfie camera apps. In our brief time with the phone, we found the camera app to be responsive and the quality of pictures, good.
The LED flash enables the phone to take pictures in the dark and front camera facilitates selfies and Skype chats (more critical as Skype is part of the Microsoft mobile experience). Look out for our full review for a verdict on the Lumia 540’s camera.
Lumia 540 runs Lumia Denim which is essentially Windows Phone 8.1 with Update 2 with some Nokia-exclusive features.
Update 2 brings an enhanced Settings app that breaks settings items into different sub-heads. It also makes the settings items search-able (through a search button) and brings the ability to pin individual settings items to the Start screen. The Windows Phone Settings app was a big mess and Microsoft has tried to fix it to a certain extent with the update. We like the changes but feel the Settings need an even bigger overhaul.
The update also brings the ability to connect to a Bluetooth keyboard in case you wish to hook up a physical keyboard with your phone.
Microsoft Lumia 540 is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad-core processor and 1GB RAM. It comes with 8GB internal storage and supports microSD card slots of up to 128GB for expansion. The phone has a 2200mAh battery which is bigger compared to the Lumia 535’s 1905Ah battery. In terms of connectivity, the phone offers 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and A-GPS. Microsoft is initially launching the dual-sim version of the smartphone in India. In our brief use, we did not experience any lag while launching and switching between apps.
We’ll need to spend more time with the phone to comment on its hardware performance.
At Rs 10,199, the Lumia 540 will compete with Android rivals like the Honor 4X, Micromax Canvas Hue and Motorola Moto G (second generation). We’ll soon have a detailed review to find out if it’s a good buy.
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