Microsoft Lumia 540 Review: Definitely better than 535

Back in November 2014, Microsoft launched the Lumia 535, the first Lumia phone to carry a Microsoft branding after buying handset division of Nokia. Since then, the Redmond giant churned out few low end budget Lumia phones. The new Microsoft Lumia 540 is an improvement over the Lumia 535 bringing a slew of improvements and enhancements. So it is a winner? Read on to find out.

Microsoft Lumia 540 review

Design

While many will say that the Lumia 540 looks very similar to the Lumia 535, I say it is more like a bigger Lumia 630 / 635 that was released in second quarter of 2014. Like the Lumia 635, the back cover has rounded corners and feels extremely solid. It does not squeak like the Lumia 535. I have the black one for review but if you get the coloured ones, you will love the layered design that we saw in the Nokia Asha and Microsoft Lumia 532.

Microsoft Lumia 540 review

Like the Lumia 640, there are no capacitive Windows navigational keys and it relies on the onscreen software buttons. On the right there are volume and power buttons. I really miss a dedicated camera button too since it packs a great camera (more on that later).

While there is nothing new about the Lumia 540’s design, it definitely feels much solid in hand compared to the Lumia 535.

Hardware

The Lumia 540 boasts a vibrant 5 inch HD display with clear black (!) technology packing 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. It is an IPS display. There is no gorilla glass protection here, so make sure to get a nice screen protector to prevent it from getting scratched. The display otherwise is really good. No matter how hard I tried, I could not see pixels. Crisp – very.

The innards are very similar to the Lumia 535 – you get a gig of RAM and Qualcomm snapdragon 200 processor. While you will find Android users complaining about their ‘X’ Android device with Snapdragon 200 being laggy, you won’t find many windows phone users complaining about 540’s performance. I have been using it from past one week and have not any lag – unless I am playing something like Modern Combat 4. Halo Spartan Assault is surprisingly playable on it. Perhaps I will make a video of it in coming days.

Microsoft Lumia 540 review

For storage, you get 8 gigabytes of flash expandable via micro SD card slot. I wish MS upped it to 16GB since with 8GB, you get meagre 3.55GB out of the box. You will really need a 16 / 32GB card to store heavy apps and games.

Software

Microsoft Lumia 540 review

The Lumia 540 comes with WP8.1 GDR2 loaded out of box which is the latest official version of Windows Phone OS with Lumia Denim firmware. This update brings redesigned Setting app; ability to connect Bluetooth keyboard and App Permission settings.

Camera

lumia 540 camera quality

While the Lumia 535 with 5MP camera on both front and back, MS retained the 5MP front facing camera and bumped the rear camera sensor to 8MP. It takes mcuh better pictures. However you will not be able to record HD, let alone FHD videos. The maximum video recording resolution is 848×480. Blame the Snapdragon 200 for that. Find unedited untouched pictures at this flickr page.

Battery Life

Battery life is amazing even though 540 hands higher resolution screen compared to 535. Even a power user will be able to get at least 1.5-2 days out of it. Snapdragon 200 is why it is so good. Battery life is great on my Lumia 535 (1905 mAh) too. Microsoft bumped the capacity to 2200 mAh which is why battery life is about the same.

Pros: Improved display; Better battery life; excellent design; decent performance
Cons: No gorilla glass; no 4G; Storage should have been bumped to 16GB as user gets mere 3.55GB out of box; dedicated camera button is absent; camera cannot record HD / FHD videos.

Microsoft Lumia 540 review

Verdict

The Microsoft Lumia 540 is a solid and well designed update to the Lumia 535 with key improvements in very important areas including the display’s touch sensitivity, resolution and rear camera.

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