Hands-On review: Microsoft Windows Phone

Review by Ian Cooper

We hear a lot about mobile phones and Windows PC’, but a couple of years ago Microsoft acquired Nokia and their Lumia phones, rebranded them and sent them out to take on the mite of Apple and Google.
I’m going to look at one phone from the range of Windows phones out there. The Lumia 640 is the phone of choice, mainly because it is the phone that I use.
This is a large screen phone, the screen is approx. 6ins (15cms) and has very few buttons   on it, volume up and down and a screen lock button.
There is a screen magnification system on board, but some of the icons don’t get much larger so it can be difficult to locate and activate.
If, like me, you use the ‘Narrator’ function, unfortunately some of the buttons don’t get announced. Don’t worry as if you move your finger around the screen you will find them. This is something that Microsoft must improve in the future.
The apps that you get on the Windows phone are surprisingly similar to those in other app stores. There are subtle differences, but on the whole they work the same. Remember that in some apps you have to go hunting for some buttons that are not labelled, for ‘Narrator’.
The Cortana Personal assistant is wonderful. Ask her for the time in a certain city and she will also give you the local weather and possibly the local headlines from a newspaper. At present you have to find the ‘Microphone’ button, which is located on the bottom row of the phone screen, on the right hand side. If you use the Cortana system she will assist you in finding things on the phone, e.g. the calendar, the settings and lots more.
If you are a dedicated Windows person, then on these Windows phones you can link them up using the ‘One Touch’ system that brings a lot of your desktop to your phone and lets you work and save in a familiar way.
Is this a contender for the smartphone crown? Well maybe not at this exact moment in time, but with a tweak here and a tap there this phone package from Microsoft could be in the running. 
Score: 7/10
Reason for this is that it lacks the simple touch interface that you find on the Apple and Google devices and there is the little point of certain icons not becoming larger when using the Screen Magnifier package and the non-labelled buttons when using the Speech program.
All in though it is a very good phone for texting, either by standard typing in the message or even speaking it into the phone, calling, as the buttons on the screen are very easy to navigate and enter the desired number. The Cortana Personnel assistant is very good and actually does assist you in almost everything you want to do.

Depending on how you get your Windows phone, either as part of a contract, or buying it from a reputable seller, the price can be well within the budget of most people – £140 upwards, depending on the model.

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