Microsoft lumia 950 xl review: bigger, faster, smarter

Author Michael Allison // in Device, Long Form, Microsoft, News, Pinned, Read the latest news about Windows 10, Slider, Windows Phone

On October 2013 two years ago, hãng nokia announced the first two Windows Phone phablets – The Lumia 1520 & 1320. These devices came out sporting powerful processors, large beautiful screens but were crippled by Windows Phone 8. As anyone who has followed the progress of Windows Phones through the ages would know, Microsoft’s di động phone OS started out optimized for small 4-4.5 inch devices. Once you increased the form size and resolution of the OS, seams began khổng lồ show through. Apps would be stretched out, there would be a lot of wasted space. Aside from that, there were a few issues with the hardware as well. While big and bold, a 6-inch screen was- và still remains – too massive for a phone that can be used at a comfortable size. The Lumia 1320 has since received a more capable successor, but the Lumia 1520 had never been updated, until now.

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Microsoft’s Lumia 950 XL is the company’s latest flagship phablet and the first flagship handset developed by the Microsoft smartphone Devices Group. It is a powerful device that comes with vị trí cao nhất of the line specs, a decent design, and other niceties like Iris Scanner and Continuum.

In terms of the greater smartphone market, the Lumia 950 XL – as well as the Lumia 950 – are devices that are meant to lớn showcase the full power nguồn of Windows 10 on sản phẩm điện thoại as well as the evolution of smartphones. Your điện thoại cảm ứng has evolved from a relatively small 3.5-inch device aimed at replacing your traditional feature phone, mp3 player and navigation system among others, khổng lồ one which is now intent on replacing every single accessory in your life, including your PC.

What’s in the box


The Lumia 950 XL ships in the same box style as Microsoft’s previous Lumia devices with a superimposition of the device in question in the front, và a showcase of the colours at the back. The box itself is a bit larger than the box the 640 XL comes in, clearly due to lớn their respective importance. The box itself contains a Lumia 950 XL (duh), Microsoft’s USB type-c fast charger, & a USB C lớn USB Type A connector – for use with legacy USB ports. If your Lumia 950 XL came with a Display Dock (either via Insider event or Lumia Offers app), you would also have another USB Type C charger, a USB C to lớn USB C cable & the dock itself.



The Lumia 950 XL makes use of the Lumia thiết kế language Microsoft introduced during the last year. It is not metal rimmed lượt thích previous Lumias, nor is it unibody metal or glass lượt thích typical smartphones in 2015, and that might be a slight problem for Microsoft. The thiết kế of the Lumia 950 or 950 XL is nice, it is perfectly solid and it is great in the hand. But, it does not lend itself very well to lớn store displays, in the same way, the 1020, 920 and other polycarbonate flagship Lumias did. It does not immediately communicate that it is a flagship, at first, blush.

The Lumia 950 XL isn’t a piece of jewellery

The 950 XL isn’t a piece of jewellery or whatever lifestyle tech blogs use lớn describe their smartphones nowadays, it is a minimal utilitarian kiến thiết that gets out of the way và doesn’t draw too much attention lớn itself.

If you would like to jazz up your Lumia 950 XL, Microsoft has worked with Mozo lớn provide replacement cases for the Lumia 950, 950 XL và 550. Unlike previous flagships where you were stuck with the design và colour you purchased unless you decided khổng lồ bring out the screws, you can get a different colours và material types for your Lumia easily.


Interestingly enough, one bit of the phone that is metal is the Microsoft logo sản phẩm on the back. Previously Microsoft’s Lumia biệu tượng công ty was the Microsoft biệu tượng công ty printed out alongside the full name on the back of the previous Microsoft Lumias. In Windows 10 Lumias, Microsoft is now opting khổng lồ use the same metallic biểu tượng logo as it does for its Surface devices on the back of Lumias. As a minor note, the “Microsoft” on the faceplate of the 950 series is also shinier than the lower-priced devices. It’s slightly reminiscent of Apple’s glowing táo khuyết in terms of standing out on the toàn thân of the devices. While Panos Panay may not have been able to create the devices he wanted yet, Microsoft has clearly put his stamp on the devices.

The Lumia 950 XL feels really small, despite having a 5.7-inch screen

One other thing I would lượt thích to draw attention to is how small the Lumia 950 XL is. While it has a 5.7-inch screen like Microsoft’s Lumia 640 XL, it is much smaller than its lower-priced sibling, which is itself smaller than Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus.

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It also feels light at 165g và it is quite thin, all of which combine khổng lồ make a svelte feeling device. If you think the Lumia 950 XL may be too big for you, you should go khổng lồ a store và try it put first, it is much smaller than the name implies.


One of the talking points of Microsoft’s flagship devices from Surface, khổng lồ Lumia, to lớn Band is the beautiful display. The Lumia 950 XL, like the Lumia 950 and the Surface devices, has a fantastic display. It may not have fancy brandings lượt thích PixelSense or Retina, but it is just very nice lớn look at. As is the trend with modern flagships, the Lumia 950 XL sports a 1440P AMOLED display which, paired with its 5.7-inch screen has an overall PPI ratio 518. The thing to take away from that jumble of buzzwords is that you will not see a px on this display unless you whip out the magnifying glass. Text và images are crisp và clear, & Windows 10’s MDL2 just shines on this display. Microsoft’s live tiles pop & flip around, and everything is gorgeous.


The Lumia 950 XL’s display is simply beautiful

Unlike the 950, the 950 XL comes with Gorilla Glass 4, which means it will be even more resistant khổng lồ accidental scratches in the pocket from keys and coins. Just don’t expect that protection khổng lồ extend khổng lồ dropping your device khổng lồ the ground, that’s not what GG4 is for. Aside from the sheer “wow” of the display, it is also pretty accurate in depicting colours. Blues are blue and blacks are very black. If you fancy your screen being slightly tinted warmer or cooler, Microsoft allows you to vì chưng that in display settings as well.

Performance & Battery life


In the Window Phone arena, Microsoft has this weird habit of using processors in its flagship devices that are below the standard of other flagships. The Windows Phone 8 family launches with Snapdragon S4 Pro series when other devices had Snapdragon 600s, the Lumia 930 launched with a Snapdragon 800 when the htc One had launched with 801 & the Lumia 830 insulted the world by sporting a Snapdragon 400. Fortunately, Microsoft’s new Lumia devices have the latest & greatest tech specs as well. They are equipped with a Snapdragon 810, Qualcomm’s most powerful processor on the market, và 3 GB of RAM. With that much muscle behind it, the Lumia 950 XL runs as expected. Everything is smooth, everything flies, everything runs as expected. Even comparing the Windows Phone 8 native applications on a Lumia 1520 to the universal apps on Windows 10 showed that the Microsoft’s under the hood improvements had borne fruit.

Everything flies on the Lumia 950 XL, but the benchmark is a bit puzzling

The puzzling side of this performance shows itself in the benchmark. The Lumia 950 XL does not showcase this blazing tốc độ in benchmarks, however. What it does vị is consistently fall behind all other devices where it should be excelling. We could argue that perhaps benchmarks are not optimized for Windows 10, but that falls back on the phầm mềm gap argument & I’m not sure how good it is to use the tiện ích gap as a defence.

The Lumia 950 XL’s battery is OK

The battery life of the Lumia 950 XL has been a mixed bag for me. While the Lumia 950 XL packs a massive battery which should – in theory – give it similar battery life to lớn the Lumia 1520 và 640 XL, it doesn’t come close to matching these devices in practice, often wanting to lớn be on the charger before the day is through. I understand that my use of these devices is probably more extreme than the regular user, but I also used the Lumia 1520 ad 640 XL & got perhaps an hour or two more of battery life off them/ I’d attribute this to lớn both Windows 10 điện thoại being less battery efficient than 8.1 and the toll of the 1440p screen on the battery.

I once charged my 950 XL up lớn 95% & went out to lớn a nearby town to shoot photos for this review. As I normally do, I listened lớn music while walking, relied on the maps app to guide my way và sometimes stopped to check my twitter. 4 hours later, my phone was at 29%. Using the third các buổi party battery sense app, I noticed that my battery had been dropping sometimes by 25% an hour. That’s not what I’d expect from a phone with a battery of this size. Especially as the phone had been in my pocket with the screen off doing nothing but playing music và navigating via voice.It seems, as lượt thích in performance, the Lumia 950 XL has a gap between how it should be performing, và how it actually is performing in real life. The battery life is good, but it should be excellent, & once more, that is an issue.

It seems, as like in performance, the Lumia 950 XL has a gap between how it should be performing, & how it actually is performing in real life. The battery life is good, but it should be excellent, & once more, that is an issue.

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The Lumia 950 XL offers a nice photo taking experience

The Lumia 950 camera is one of the best điện thoại cameras in năm ngoái – if not the best. It doesn’t have the outlandish 41 MP camera of the Lumia 1020 (though it does retain a camera hump). It has a 20-megapixel camera with Microsoft’s traditional PureView imaging technology và triple LED flash. Lượt thích Jace with the 950, I have really been impressed with the 950 XL’s camera with one caveat- and we’ll talk about that in a minute. But first of all, let’s discuss the camera. Since Lumia Denim, Microsoft introduced a new camera tiện ích for their Windows Phone devices, one which was capable of taking near instantaneous photos with the flexibility of nokia Pro Camera và the added benefit of HDR in the size of rich capture. This camera phầm mềm has come to lớn Windows 10 sản phẩm điện thoại in the size of Windows Camera, and it is actually very nice lớn use.

Here are camera samples (note that the following images have been resized, you can find the full-res ones here):