If you're after a budget smartphone, then the biggest compromise you'll probably have to make is on the camera – it's just not cost-effective to get the required lens in a cheaper phone. Luckily, Microsoft has found a way to put a quality camera in its newest big-screen phone without sticking on a big price mark-up. Microsoft Devices' Lumia 640 XL LTE is the souped-up version of the company's 5-inch Lumia 640. The XL ups the screen size to 5.7-inches and adds 4G connectivity, while popping a significantly bigger 13-megapixel camera on the rear, a 5-megapixel one on the front and a 3,000mAh battery inside. Yes, you can still get it in black or white, but the blue – wait, make that "cyan" is actually quite refreshing. Even better, the casing on the 640 XL is a matte finish, unlike the gloss on its smaller sibling. Compared to all-metal designs like the HTC One M9 or the glass backs of the Xperia Z3 and Galaxy S6, the Lumia does feel a little plastic and toy-like, but it's actually a solidly made device.
The 5.7-inch IPS screen on the XL has the resolution of 1,280x720 pixels. The colours are rich and bright, and the phone has good contrast, which is arguably a little more important in a smartphone display. According to Microsoft, the 640 XL also has "sunlight readability enhancements" and they're certainly working. The 640 XL is running the same version of Windows Phone 8.1 as the 5-inch 640, with all the same benefits and disadvantages. It's also packing the exact same processor and memory, a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 and 1GB of RAM. Over on the LTE side of things, the XL definitely delivers. It's a category 4 device – that's a theoretical top download speed of 150Mbps. But it's the 13-megapixel snapper on the rear – complete with German-made Zeiss optics – that's the most marked improvement. That's letting you take 128x3,096 resolution photos and 1080p Full-HD video – also at a higher res than the screen can display. The battery managed a solid 11 hours and 56 minutes – that smaller processor and lower-res screen definitely help it last.