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Microsoft Lumia 950XL – First Hand Impressions

Microsoft has unveiled today its latest flagship smartphones – Microsoft Lumia 950 & 950XL. These two premium smartphones from the stable of Microsoft has come out after a gap of more than 18 months. The last flagship device of Microsoft was Lumia 930 in April 2014 and the followers of Windows phones were wondering about the reasons of Microsoft’s silence for so long a time when they see every other day, new Android devices being rolled-out by the leading brands such as Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG etc.

But whether the wait for these two devices was worth it? Yes to many extent as both the Lumia 950 & 950XL come with powerful processors and cameras; run on the latest Windows 10 mobile OS with Continuum feature.


Let us summarise in brief what we have observed during our short period of fiddling with Lumia 950XL. We could not have thef opportunity to lay our hands on Lumia 950 as this device was not available during the launch event.


Microsoft has not adopted metal and glass design, which have almost become a standard feature as far as new flagship Android devices are concerned. The Lumia 950XL is made of  matte polycarbonate plastic. Bu the plastic used on this phones is not cheap and is quite sturdy and the back of it is removable for changing the battery when required.


Despite the large display size of 950XL, this devices can be held comfortably and is not slippery the way metal and glass phones are prone to it. I have been using Galaxy S6 made of glass and metal and unfortuantely, it has slipped from my hands many times but thanks to its Gorilla glass 4 protection, I have been saved from the hassles of claiming the accidental insurance cover. There is also no issue of fingerprints on this device because of its matte finish.


The Lumia 950XL sports a QHD display of 5.7 inches with 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution and a pixel density of 564ppi. The screen of this device is bright, luminous and reproduces vibrant colors. We tried to test it under the sun also and one can read with ease in open also. The Windows 10 OS make its look more colorful and radiant.


The Lumia 950XL comes with powerful hardware features for trouble free performance. The Lumia 950XL is packed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. You can find similar chipsets being provided in high-end devices such as Moto X Style, LG G4 etc. The Windows 10 OS run on this device without any problem. It comes with  3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage extendable to 2TB, which is quite suffiecient even for high-end users. We observed that switching between the apps is very smooth and we did not encounter any lag. Since this device comes with very high quality chipset, we are quite confident that even highly resouceful gaming won’t be any issue whatsoever on this phone. We shall be able to comment about gaming aspect when we test this device in details.



The Lumia phones have already set the bar high for its camera features in Lumia 1020 and in the new devices, Microsoft has taken the step forward to provide best of imaging capabilities in Lumia 950 & 950XL.  Both the phones are equipped with a 20MP rear camera with Zeiss optics, OIS, triple LED flash, 4K video recording capability and 5th generation Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS). The camera of these devices is one of the best you can get on a recently launched smartphones. The rear camera of 950XL on the back is protruding and to some it may be an irritant. But it reproduces very sharp images and to be frank, you can call it absurd or crazy sharp images as it captures details of images very minutely.The colors are vivid courtesy the new triple-LED flash, which offers bright natural-looking light where there is dearth of light. Microsoft has not only provided high quality hardware in the camera but the magic is in its software which results in excellent picture quality. The same quality of images are expected in Lumia 950.

The Lumia 950 and 950XL also incorporate a 5th generation optical image stabilization (OIS) which is quite useful to click images without any blurs and in video-recording this feature is a slicing on the cake.

For selfie crazy audience, these two devices come with 5MP front shooters wih wide angle but without flash, which is a little bit disappointing, but still you will manage to get good selfies on these two devices.

Continuum Feature

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Both the devices also boasts of Continuum feature with which you can connect your phone to a larger display and turn your phone into a PC. With this feature, you can connect Lumia 950 and 950XL to a Microsoft Display Dock and use it with an external monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse, and you can start using Lumia 950 or 950XL as a PC. While controlling the display as a PC, you still have the liberty to operate your phones independently for making and receiving calls and charging it. Unfortunately, Display Dock is quite expensive as it has retail price tag of Rs. 5,999. However, Microsoft is offering this Dock for free for a limited period in India.



Of late, all the smartphone makers are giving lot of attention to the back-up features as the consumers use the devices for all day for various tasks. Microsoft has done its best to pack  3340 mAh battery for Lumia 950XL with Qi wireless charging and USB Type C with Quick Charge. The large batteries are quite plus point for this device and should be enough to last for full day.

Windows Hello Biometric System

For security purpose, both the new phones Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL have been provided with fingerprint reader, which Microsoft has given the name of Windows Hello, which has facial recognition capability and can unlock the devices just by looking at your face. This fingerprint is quite fast. The cool features of this reader is that it is capable of working even in low and dark light although we have not tested this.

This phone and Lumia 950 also has digital assistance feature called Cortana.

From the above features, it is quite obvious that Lumia 950XL and also Lumia 950 will certainly attract those Windows OS enthusiasts who want to switch to the latest Windows devices. But the question remains whether these two devices can convince Android and iOS users to switch from Android and Apple phones to these phones despite the fact that Windows 10 OS has dearth of apps? This is still very difficult proposition for Microsoft to win over the Android and iOS community, but this is positive move in the right direction. Only time will tell how Microsoft takes this journey of smartphones forward!


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