Why Does The Microsoft Lumia 650 Exist?

Microsoft quietly announced a new handset, the Lumia 650, and it’s not especially clear why it exists. As the name implies, it’s not much different than the 640 and 640 XL. It’s true that some key specs are not the same, but they won’t affect notable differences in performance.

The biggest hardware change is that the 650 runs a Snapdragon 212 SoC whereas the 640 and 640 XL have the Snapdragon 400. It has twice the storage, although it’s still not much at 16 GB. All three phones have the same RAM, and the 640 and 650 displays are both 5 inches and 1280x720 resolution. Oddly, the camera is worse, offering just 720p HD performance. The 650 also has a smaller battery than its older brothers.

Lumia 640Lumia 640 XLLumia 650
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 400 (quad core, 1.2 GHz)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (quad core, 1.2 GHz)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 (quad core, 1.3 GHz)
Adreno 305 GPUAdreno 305 GPUAdreno 304 GPU
Storage-8 GB onboard
-up to 128 GB microSD
-30 GB free OneDrive
-8 GB onboard
-up to 128 GB microSD
-30 GB free OneDrive
-16 GB onboard
-up to 200 GB microSD
Display5-inch HD (1280 x 720)5.7-inch HD (1280 x 720)5-inch HD (1280 x 720)
CamerasBack: 8 MP AF, 1080p HD @ 30 fps
Front: 1 MP 720p HD wide angle, f/2.4
Back: 13 MP AF, 1080p @ 30 fps video (continuous autofocus), Flash: LED, Lumia Camera
Front: 5 MP wide angle, fixed focus, 1080p video
Back: 8 MP AF, 720p @ 30 fps video, Flash: LED flash
Front: 5 MP wide angle, 720p video @ 30 fps
ConnectivityBT 4.0, microUSB 2.0, Micro SIM, A-GPS+GLONASS, BeiDou, NFC, DLNA, Screen cloning with Miracast, WLAN 802.11 b/g/nBT 4.0, microUSB 2.0, Micro SIM, A-GPS+GLONASS, BeiDou, DLNA, NFC, Screen cloning with Miracast, WLAN 802.11 b/g/nBT 4.1, microUSB, Nano SIM, A-GLONASS, A-GPS, A-BeiDou, NFC, WLAN 802.11 b/g/n
SensorsAccelerometer, Magnetometer, Proximity, Ambient Light SensorAccelerometer, Magnetometer, Proximity, Ambient Light Sensor, SensorCoreAccelerometer, Proximity, Ambient light sensor
Battery2500 mAh (removable)3000 mAh (removable)2000 mAh (removable)
OSWindows 8.1Windows 8.1Windows 10

The 650 also runs Windows 10, which is great, but it kind of feels like a slap in the face to 640/640 XL owners who are still waiting for Windows 10 to drop onto their handsets.

It also makes no sense. For now at least, the 650 is aimed solely at European markets (UK, France, Germany and Italy), where the 640 is already sold, and it has Windows 10 (for phones).

But you can forget about Continuum support. The 650 doesn't meet the minimum requirements -- not even close.

It’s also $200 USD, which is less expensive than the 640/640 XL, and it’s available now. In some European countries. 

Update, 2/16/16, 6:50am PT: The original version of this article misstated the number of cores on the Snapdragon 400. There were also a couple of typos. The copy has been adjusted accordingly.

Seth Colaner is the News Director for Tom's Hardware. Follow him on Twitter @SethColaner. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

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  • Marius_Bota
    Good question. The answer is: because Microsoft had not enough chances to sunk. now it has one more.
  • falchard
    They are probably targeting that crowd which doesn't care too much about the features as long as it gets Pandora, texting, a camera, internet browsing, and GPS. For $200 the price is OK. The antenna on the Lumia 635 was pretty good with decent battery life due to the no frills aspect of it. It should be a decent update if it comes with the same capability and more battery life for $200.
  • outlw6669
    I am sure the 5" OLED display for under 200$ has something to do with it...


    Personally, I wish the low-end Windows Mobile devices had a bit heftier SOC under the hood.
    That said, Windows Mobile is extremely efficient, even with such low specs.
    If you have never given the platform a try, I would defiantly recommend doing so.
    It is quite fluid, even with the most entry models.