Microsoft, ever since it acquired Nokia’s smartphone business, has doubled down on the low-end and budget phones. Initially, this move worked due to the inherent frugality of the Windows Phone OS and solid core experience of the platform.
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But since 2014 things changed. Android had evolved to a point that devices with low-end hardware provided a good enough user experience and this was coupled with a burgeoning e-retail phenomena.
Suddenly, the Indian market was flooded with Android smartphones from Chinese and local OEMs that provided potent specifications and features at price less than the cost of phones from the likes of Microsoft, Samsung and HTC.
While Microsoft’s products were arguably superior to their mainstream brethren hardware wise, they fell flat because of the inherent weakness of Windows Phone against Android. The Lumia 535, when it came late last year, was seen as a solution by many in Microsoft, but it featured some key hardware weaknesses.
With the new Lumia 540, Microsoft claims to have fixed most of the flaws. But of course, it needs to do more than just fix the flaws of an ill-fated smartphone. Has it managed to finally create a budget smartphone that can take on the likes of the best of Android at the price point.
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We find out in this review. For a phone with a 720p display and a frugal Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 CPU, the Lumia 540 packs a rather capacious 2,200mAh battery that will last you an entire day under medium to heavy usage. We are talking about 16-18 hours of usage here.
So if your day starts at 8AM, the phone will last you till the wee hours of the day. Our test cycle includes around 2 hours of phone calls, 2 social networks and email accounts, 15-20 photographs, 45 minutes of music streaming during commute, and a couple of hours of watching videos on YouTube and playing games.
Read More: Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Review
This is acceptable battery life and of course with some lighter usage it is totally possible to extend the battery life of the phone by a couple of hours. There’s no doubt the Lumia 540 dual-SIM is a massive improvement over the Lumia 535.
It has a good screen, good battery life and a decent camera. While its performance is not earth shattering, it is acceptable. However, the bigger problem is Windows Phone itself. If you like to download a lot of apps or use Google’s services then chances are you’ll have a rough time with a Windows Phone.
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If you can make do without these apps and services and use Microsoft’s alternatives, which admittedly are very good, then only a Window Phone makes sense. For everyone else, there are superior options like the Xiaomi Mi 4i, the Yu Yuphoria or Yureka amongst others.