With the newly launched Lumia 540, Microsoft Devices has made many improvements including a 5-inch HD display in its entry-level phone segment. But does this result in a better show? Hassan M Kamal finds out
Microsoft Lumia 540
Design: Microsoft Devices has made many important improvements in the recently launched Lumia 540 including offering a sturdy back cover. It also offers a choice between glossy finish (in orange, blue and white colours), and matte (only in black). The Lumia 540 doesn't feel like a cheap budget phone. However, there's no significant change in design, as the model still ends up looking like other Lumia phones.
Display: The 540 gets a 5-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 1280x720 and pixel density of 294 ppi, making it the best among the Lumia 5xx series of devices, display-wise. Viewing angles are good, so is its adaptability to sunlight. A higher pixel density means it's more comfortable to read and browse. The screen, however, shows signs of stutter as we had seen in the 640XL. There is no Corning Gorilla Glass protection.
Connectivity: The 540 is a dual sim smartphone with support for 2G and 3G networks. It features dual sim stand-by, so you can use only one sim at a time (the second sim turns off, automatically during phone calls). But then it's the same case with most dual-sim phones in this range. Other features include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Hotspot and low-energy Bluetooth 4.0. However, it may not support any Bluetooth health devices.
Audio: Quality is decent, and the speaker phone is loud enough for most tasks. But nothing great.
Camera: The front camera is perhaps the second most exciting feature (after the display). Though the video resolution of the 5MP front camera is standard (848x480), it comes with f/2.4 aperture and 24mm focal length (wider than the Lumia 535 DS and the Lumia 640), making it ideal for selfies. The rear camera, in contrast, is an 8MP auto focus with LED flash, f/2.2 aperture and 28mm focal length. Both cameras do a good job to capture images and can easily beat any other smartphone in the same price range. We liked the quick focus and customisation options that the Lumia camera app offers, but found it a bit slow to load, hence it's unreliable for quick photography.
Battery: Despite a full-day usage which included games, reading, GPS and Wi-Fi usage, the Lumia 540 lasts longer than a full day. The 2,200mAH battery, though weaker than the Lumia 640, lasts long enough to meet most of demands.
User interface & OS: The 540 runs on Windows 8.1 with Lumia Denim update, which works well on the device. You can customise the homescreen by adding/ deleting tiles. We also like that the phone offers Microsoft services like Skype and Office available out-of-the-box.
Hardware & Performance: It relies on Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 system on a chip (SoC) with quad core processors clocked at 1.2GHz. It's the same CPU found in the Moto E (2nd generation), the Lumia 530 and the 535. The in-built RAM stands at 1GB while internal storage is 8GB. The device is configured to support external MicroSD cards up to 128 GB. Apart from during camera use, the performance was glitch-free. The device gives satisfactory results in most tasks including multi-tab browsing, reading, playing games and watching videos. The call quality is also very good, as we didn't face any problem.
DISPLAY: 5-inch IPS 1280x720, 294 ppi
PROCESSOR: 1.2 GHz octa core Qualcomm S200 Soc
MEMORY: 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM, expandable up to 128GB
CAMERA: 5MP (front), 8MP with flash (rear)
CONNECTIVITY: GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, 2G and 3G, DLNA
PRICE: Rs 10,199
7.2 / 10
The guide VERDICT Lumia 540 is a step-up from its earlier models in the 5xx series. Microsoft has improved on many counts: wider front camera, 5-inch HD screen, and a sturdy backcover. It was confusing to learn that it’s priced closer to the Lumia 640 that has a faster processor, a more powerful battery and costs less than the 540 on some e-commerce sites. the guide feels the 5MP front camera might do the trick for the 540.