Microsoft has launched three new Lumia smartphones in the South African market and the cheapest among them, the dual-SIM Lumia 430 is priced at R999, making it the first sub-R1,000 Lumia handset. The other two newcomers, the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640XL, are also both available in dual-SIM variants which is pleasing giving the growing number of options — like me&you and FNB Connect — available to South African consumers.
The Lumia 640 and it’s bigger sibling the 640XL both support LTE/4G and come with a one-year subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365, which includes 1TB of OneDrive storage. Both devices will also support Windows 10 when it arrives later this year.
On the specifications front, the 640XL boasts a 13-megapixel camera while the 640 gets an 8-megapixel shooter and both include 1GB of RAM. Both handsets are powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor have 8GB of storage, expandable by up to 128GB via microSD.Both devices have a screen resolution of 1280×720 pixels, but the 640 has a 5-inch display while the 640XL has a larger 5.7-inch display.
The Lumia 640 in its single SIM iteration is priced at R2,799. Neither Microsoft nor its agency could confirm standalone pricing for the dual-SIM version or either of the 640XLs.
Arguably the bigger news is the diminutively priced Lumia 430. The dual-SIM entry-level handset runs Windows Phone 8.1 and is priced at R999. It offers a 4-inch WVGA screen and comes with the usual Microsoft software we’ve come to expect with a Lumia: Microsoft Office, Skype and OneDrive.
The 430 faces stiff competition in the sub-R1,000 segment with a range of Android devices for consumers to choose from, including MTN’s Steppa 2 and Vodacom’s Smart 6, both of which offer similar specifications but cost R200 less than Microsoft’s offering. Microsoft will be hoping the strength of its brand and added features like OneDrive are sufficiently compelling to attract the attention of the most price sensitive market segment.
Whether that works or not remains to be seen, but we’re always happy to welcome new budget handsets to the market nonetheless.