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Microsoft Debuts Lumia 640 And 640 XL Midrange Smartphones, Snappy Foldable Keyboard

Microsoft has a pair of new Lumia devices, the 640 and 640 XL, which are both midrange devices with an impressively low price point. At its press event and immediately thereafter, Microsoft was a bit lean on details, such as the exact SoC running inside the handsets, but over the course of the day that extra info has trickled out.

Lumia 640

The Lumia 640 runs on a quad-core Snapdragon 400 SoC (1.2 GHz) and has 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, and support for up to 128 GB of microSD storage. You also get 30 GB of free OneDrive storage.

The 5-inch HD (1280 x 720) IPS display is built from Gorilla Glass 3. An 8 MP and a 1 MP front camera flank the back and front of the Lumia 640, respectively, and connectivity includes micro USB, Bluetooth, DLNA, Miracast support, GPS + GLONASS and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.

Lumia 640 (LTE Dual Sim)
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 400 (1.2 GHz)
RAM1 GB
Storage-8 GB onboard-up to 128 GB microSD -30 GB free OneDrive
Display5-inch HD (1280 x 720)
CamerasBack: 8 MP AF, 1080p HD @ 30 fpsFront: 1 MP 720p HD wide angle, f/2.4
ConnectivityBT 4.0, microUSB 2.0, Micro SIM, A-GPS+GLONASS, BeiDou, NFC, DLNA, Screen cloning with Miracast, WLAN 802.11 b/g/n/
SensorsAccelerometer, Magnetometer, Proximity, Ambient Light Sensor
Battery2500 mAh (removable)
Networks-LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 20, 28 (2100, 1900, 1800, 1700/2100, 850, 2600, 900, 700, 800, 700) MHz-TD-LTE: 38, 40 (2570-2620, 2300-2400) MHz-GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, WCDMA: 850/900/1900/2100 and 1700/2100 MHz
OSWindows 8.1

There are actually three versions of the Lumia 640; there's a 3G dual SIM variant, a single-SIM LTE version, and a dual-SIM LTE model. Pricing starts at 139 euros, which translates to about $156 USD, and the LTE model (which variant is unclear) will be 159 euros, or about $178 USD.

Lumia 640 XL

The Lumia 640 has a bigger brother--you guessed, the "XL" refers to a larger size--called the Lumia 640 XL.

The internals are essentially the same as the Lumia 640, save for the cameras and battery (and obviously, the display.) The 640 XL sports a 5.7-inch HD (1280 x 720) IPS display, and the battery is 3000 mAh instead of the 640's 2500 mAh battery. The front camera is 5 MP, with a fixed-focus wide angle lens, and it can handle 1080p HD video. The rear 13 MP camera boasts a Zeiss lens, continuous autofocus, LED flash and Lumia Camera software, and it can shoot 1080p HD video at 30 fps.

Lumia 640 XL (LTE Dual SIM)
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 400 (1.2 GHz)
RAM1 GB
Storage-8 GB onboard-up to 128 GB microSD -30 GB free OneDrive
Display5.7-inch HD (1280 x 720)
CamerasBack: 13 MP AF, 1080p @ 30 fps video (continuous autofocus), Flash: LED, Lumia CameraFront: 5 MP wide angle, fixed focus, 1080p video
ConnectivityBT 4.0, microUSB 2.0, Micro SIM, A-GPS+GLONASS, BeiDou, DLNA, NFC, Screen cloning with Miracast, WLAN 802.11 b/g/n/
SensorsAccelerometer, Magnetometer, Proximity, Ambient Light Sensor, SensorCore
Battery3000 mAh
Networks-LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 20, 28 (2100, 1900, 1800, 1700/2100, 850, 2600, 900, 700, 800, 700) MHz-TD-LTE: 38, 40 (2570-2620, 2300-2400) MHz-GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, WCDMA: 850/900/1900/2100 and 1700/2100 MHz
OSWindows 8.1

Like the 640, the 640 XL will come in multiple variants: 3G single- and dual-SIM, and 4G single- and dual-SIM. Again, Microsoft wasn't entirely clear which variant the pricing applies to, but the "3G version" will cost 180 euros (approximately $212 USD), and the "4G version" will be 219 euros (about $245 USD).

Both devices will be available in white, black, matte cyan, and orange. (After seeing the phones in person, we can tell you that it's the brightest orange you can imagine.)

For additional value, you'll get a one year subscription to Office 365 Personal plus one for your PC or Mac, one for your tablet. You also get 1 TB of OneDrive storage (Microsoft didn't specify how long that 1 TB will be free) as well as 60 minutes of free Skype Unlimited Worldwide calling per month.

When the 640 and 640 XL ship, they'll run Windows 8.1, but the Windows 10 upgrade will be available before too long. The 640 XL is shipping globally later this month, while the 640 will come in April.

Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard

But wait, there's more. At its press event today, Microsoft also announced a nifty-looking peripheral called the "Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard," a title that is as informative as it is boring and downplays the allure of the device.

The UF Keyboard looks and feels like a Surface Touch keyboard, right down to the soft gray finish and the size, type and feel of the keys, and it's quite light in the hand. The two halves fold together with a snap and are held there by a magnet hidden under the fabric. Agile typers may find that the split between the two sections of the keyboard is frustrating, but average users will no doubt overlook the issue.

Microsoft did a fine job of providing nice, large keys that don't feel cramped at first touch. When it's folded in half, the keyboard is compact--it's a little larger than a man-sized palm, but it's so thin that it will easily slip into a large pocket in a coat or a purse.

The UF Keyboard is not tied to Windows devices; being a simple Bluetooth 4.0 device, it will work just as well with Android and iOS devices. Specifically, you'll need Windows 8/8.1, iOS 7, or Android 4.3 or later.

You can also pair it with two devices and simply switch between them "with a single touch." To turn it on, simply unfold the keyboard.

Microsoft also said that it has a spill-resistant keyset, so hopefully the first time you spill coffee on it, it will survive to type another day.

The only thing unattractive about the UF Keyboard is the price; it will cost $99.95 (cough, ouch) when it ships in July.

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