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Best bang for your buck with Microsoft's Lumia 640 and 640 XL

Microsoft has unveiled the latest offerings in its budget Lumia smartphone range, complete with promises of an upgrade to Windows 10 later this year – and a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal.

The 5-inch Lumia 640 and 5.7-inch Lumia 640 XL phablet, were introduced at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, with Microsoft pushing the Windows 10 aspect.

Lumia 640 and 640 XL customers will be able to access new Windows 10 features and innovation through the Windows Insider Programme, as well as upgrade to Windows 10 later this year, the company says.

Key features and improvements of Windows 10 include new universal apps, such as Office, Mail and Calendar, and Photos; internet protocol based messaging from Skype and others integrated directly into the messaging experience; a new browsing experience with the Project Spartan browser, and extended integration of the Cortana personal assistant.

Both handsets will also come with a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal.

The phones themselves will come in a range of colours and feature quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processes with 1GB of memory, HD screens, and an 8MP camera on the 640 and 13MP Zeiss optics on the XL.

The phones offer LTE support on dual-SIM models for the first time and all dual-SIM models will feature Smart Dual SIM to help ensure users never miss a call.

Jo Harlow, Microsoft corporate vice president for phones says the company has packaged competitive hardware with innovative Windows software and Microsoft services to help users ‘achieve more, wherever and whenever [they] want’.

The XL will begin rolling out internationally in March, followed by the 640 in April. Microsoft was unable to provide any details on local availability of the devices.

“What we can tell you is that we are actively working with our local operators and retailers to bring these devices to the local market,” a spokesperson says.

Initial estimated pricing internationally for the Lumia 640 was EUR139 for the 3G model and EUR159 for the LTE model, before taxes and subsidiaries, while the XL was estimated at EUR189 for 3G and EUR219 for LTE.