- Daniel Schmidt , Notebookcheck
The Lumia 950 XL is a smartphone with good specs and great features, which can be used as a PC replacement thanks to Continuum.
- Sharp display with accurate colors and excellent contrast
- Camera provides detailed images in bright and low light situations
- Smooth performance
- App gap between Android and iOS
- Mediocre sunlight legibility
- Boring and basic design
Windows continues to struggle in the smartphone market as Android and iOS gobble up the majority of their audience. Rather than focus on converting fans, the company now hopes to keep the remaining few they have with the release of the Lumia 950 XL.
As the name suggests, the XL sits firmly in the phablet territory, measuring in at 5.9 x 3 inches making it practically impossible for one-handed use. At 0.3 inches, it isn’t the thinnest smartphone on the market, but reviewers still found it quite comfortable to hold thanks to the rounded edges and light weight of 167 grams. This lightweight is due to the mainly plastic body, which critics found very flimsy. One of the best updates to the 950 XL, however, is the ability to switch out the case for something with a bit more flair. Users can choose from different designs and colors to suit their needs allowing for amazing personalization. Still despite this, many describe it as “bland” and “basic.”
For the most part, critics found the screen passable. The 5.7 inch AMOLED display has a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560, which translates to a pixel density of 518ppi. As expected, they didn’t have any issues with pixilation making for a very sharp display. Of course, sharpness isn’t everything, and luckily the 950 XL delivers. Almost everyone found the contrast perfect with excellent color accuracy all around. Unfortunately, it started to struggle once they got into bright light situations with text becoming almost illegible in sunlight.
Powering the phone is an octa-core 2.0GHz processor and 3GB of RAM. Microsoft has opted for liquid cooling to keep the processor from overheating, though reviewers still found it to get quite hot leading to worries about its longevity. In actual practice, the 950 XL performed well with no crashes or stutters occurring even when running multiple apps or gaming. And while it comes with 32GB of internal storage, it also has an expandable microSD slot. Like its predecessors, the biggest drawback is the lack of apps for Windows phones. The 3340mAh battery is also removable, which might come in handy as critics noticed battery life was fairly unpredictable. In general, they were able to get a full day’s worth of life with moderate usage.
Most Lumia owners don’t get the phone for its powerful specs. They get it for the camera and in this department the 950 XL excels. Armed with a 20MP rear camera, optical image stabilization and triple-LED RGB flash, experts consider this one of the strongest mobile cameras available. In good lighting, their pictures were detailed with accurate and vivid colors and excellent white balance. Even in low light situations, the pictures came out quite clear with very little noise. It also shoots 4K video, which they describe as “crisp and clear.”
Although the Lumia 950 is certainly a good phone, reviewers are hesitant to suggest it to those already in the Android or iOS market. For those already devoted to Windows phones, however, they highly recommend it. Tech Radar states, “As a device, the Lumia 950 XL...has been carved out as a tool for the purist...For the faithful, this will likely be enough to keep them going while rumours of the ‘Surface Phone’ fly around…” CNET adds, “...I’d have to say unless you’re a die-hard Windows fan then you’d have a better mobile experience from Android and iOS.
Reviews (6.9/10 Avg. rating)
Only for the fans
A pure Windows 10 Mobile phablet
Best Windows-based phone till date
Very hard phone to recommend, to anyone, ever
Powerful components, great features
Microsoft's first Windows 10 smartphone is difficult to recommend
Brilliant display, powerful processor, good cameras
Best camera, beautiful OS
Again Microsoft have proved with the 950 XL that they have a knack of going to the extremes when it comes to smartphones. There’s no subtle way of saying this: The 950 XL could have looked better. The design is heinous for a flagship smartphone that’s supposed to revitalise the Lumia brand. Software wise the Windows OS has both sad and elated. I’m sad that not many developers are giving it attention and making apps for it but I’m excited due to the cross platform ease of use and mobility. Plus, Windows Hello is just plain cool, fingerprint sensors are so 2015. The pe... Full review
Best Windows 10 Mobile available when it comes to specs, software display quality, and the camera
An uninspired look and feel that isn't fit for a high-end smartphone in this day and age
Unfortunately, the Lumia 950 XL fails to champion Windows 10 before the better, faster, stronger competition of Android and iOS phablets. The operating system is still in need of improvement and doesn't make for the kind of polished user experience that we're used to from competing devices. The phablet itself feels undercooked, as if it was quickly put together so that the new platform would have a launch device. We fear the 950 XL is destined to be forgotten quickly after a more elaborate handset claims its media and retail presence for itself in the first half of 2016. Hopefully, it will... Full review
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