Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review
Is it time to drop Android?
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is the best smartphone that Microsoft has ever made and with Windows 10 on board it finally makes sense to strongly consider dropping Android in favour of a unified experience across all devices.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL looks absolutely stunning with an all-glass front and elegant white or black back that is accentuated by a distinctive camera module.
The front face is dominated by the large 5.7” Quad HD display, which boasts a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. This equates to 518 pixels per inch, providing all the detail needed for browsing the web or playing graphic intensive games. The display is protected by the highest level of Corning Gorilla Glass and is enhanced for sunlight readability.
There is no shortage of power for handling multi-tasking or anything else that you can throw at the Lumia 950 XL. The octa-core 2GHz processor is coupled with 3GB RAM, a 32GB internal memory and a memory card slot for microSD cards with a value of up to 200GB.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL doesn’t feel heavy in the hand at 165 grams and it is pretty slim too at 8.1mm thick.
Phone Set Up
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is the first smartphone designed to work with Windows 10. This means that the same experience as that on your Windows PC or laptop is offered, so it really does make perfect sense to switch to a phone from Microsoft.
Running perfectly in sync with other Windows powered devices, the Lumia 950 XL has access to the Windows Store, that has been completely redesigned to help owners find the best apps.
The set up will include setting up phone security and one option for this is to activate Windows Hello Beta. With this security feature, owners need only to pick up and look at the phone to unlock it, with infrared camera technology authenticating the owner.
The Lumia 950 XL has one of the largest smartphone displays on the market so owners may want to note that a long press on the space bar permits the moving of the keyboard to a place on screen that fits the owner’s hand perfectly.
The features of the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL and its Windows 10 OS make this smartphone one of the most desirable smartphones on the market. These features include:
- Microsoft Edge - The new web browser allows users to draw on and save web pages and switch to a special reading mode that removes other distractions from the page, such as adverts.
- Windows Continuum - Using the Microsoft Display Dock (sold separately), the Lumia 950 XL can connect to an external monitor, mouse and keyboard. This gives a PC like experience, without a PC, with Office apps (subscription required) and Outlook scaled up for the larger screen. A 60 frames per second refresh rate ensures the experience is flicker free with a 1080p HD resolution. As the phone is connected to the Microsoft Display Dock with the USB cable the Lumia 950 XL also charges the phone while the user works.
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- Cortana - The digital assistant now works across all Windows devices, keeping reminders in sync, no matter which device is currently being used.
- Maps - Free offline maps are provided for GPS navigation with street maps, public transport and real-time traffic updates. Places can be pined to the Start Screen for easy access.
- MixRadio & Groove Music - The essential apps for music lovers.
Camera & Video
Photography on the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is also an experience that is as good as, or better than, the experience offered by other premium smartphones. The 20MP camera uses ZEISS optics, Rich Capture auto mode and a triple LED natural flash for warm and balanced lighting with excellent results under low-light conditions.
4K video recording is possible and aided by image stabilisation, for removing the effects of shaky hands and four microphones, for capturing high-definition sound. It is also possible pull out high resolution images from captured footage, making video the default mode for capturing any event.
The 5MP selfie camera has a wide angle lens for group shots and the Creative Studio app gives all of the editing and enhancing tools that smartphone photographers demand.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL completes its impressive run down with a high capacity 3,340mAh battery. This smartphone is supplied with a USB-C cable for Fast Charging where 50% capacity can be achieved in only 30 minutes.
The performance of the battery delivers up to 19 hours talk time, 12 days standby, 11 hours of Wi-Fi usage or video playback or 75 hours of music playback.Wireless charging is also possible although the wireless charger isn’t included.
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL verdict: With Windows 10, the Lumia range of phones finally mature into a product that consumers will really want to own. In my opinion, anyone who has embraced Windows 10 on their PC or laptop is going to love the Lumia 950 XL.
Written by: Michael Brown