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Microsoft unveils flagship Lumia 950/XL phones with Windows 10

by Mark Tyson on 6 October 2015, 19:57

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Windows 10

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacu7p

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Today has been a very big day for Microsoft hardware. Earlier we wrote about the highly anticipated Surface Pro 4 and surprise Surface Book 2-in-1 laptop, which offer the latest Intel processors in premium, desirable and highly portable forms. Meanwhile Microsoft mobile device fans waiting impatiently for new high end mobiles from the firm, and today it didn't disappoint, as it showed off the first flagship Lumia smartphones designed under its own name.

So at last Microsoft has released some top-end Windows phones. It sensibly waited until the mobile OS was ready enough to release the new hardware to spearhead its marketing thrust with these devices. In essence the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL "combine Windows 10 innovation with our most powerful hardware and top-of-the-line imaging to help you be more productive", said the firm. It also revealed a new affordable handset called the Lumia 550. This is the cheapest 4G LTE smartphone from Microsoft and comes with Windows 10 installed.

Of course the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL are pretty similar, with the obvious exception of the screen size, but how else to they differ? It's best to look at a comparison table to see:

Lumia 950 ($549)

Lumia 950 XL ($649)

  • 5.2 inch WQHD (1440x2560) AMOLED display (564 ppi)
  • Snapdragon 808, 64-bit Hexa core at 1800MHz
  • Iris scanner (infrared) for Windows Hello
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot
  • 20MP PureView rear camera with triple LED 'natural' flash, OIS
  • 5MP Wide-angle front facing camera
  • 3000mAh removable battery
  • Qi wireless charging with flip cover
  • USB Type-C fast charging
  • Matte white or black polycarbonate body


  • 5.7 inch WQHD (1440x2560) AMOLED display (518ppi)
  • Snapdragon 810, 64-bit Octa core at 2000MHz
  • Iris scanner (infrared) for Windows Hello
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot
  • 20MP PureView rear camera with triple LED 'natural' flash, OIS
  • 5MP Wide-angle front facing camera
  • 3300mAh removable battery
  • Qi wireless charging integrated
  • USB Type-C fast charging
  • Matte white or black polycarbonate body


As well as the above listed specs Microsoft has implemented additional technologies to help raise its flagships above its rivals. For better reception these phones use 'adaptive antenna technology', and to stay cool in the hand use 'tablet class' liquid cooling technology based upon developments by the Surface team.

Thanks to the AMOLED screens Microsoft has been able to implement the popular Glance screen tech that previous top-end Lumias used. Triple LED flash helps images where flash is required look more natural. They support biometric authentication such as an iris scanner and support Qualcomm Quick Charge to top up your battery by 50 per cent in 30 minutes.

Last but by no means least these smartphones support large screen productivity via Microsoft's Continuum technology. Microsoft claims this provides a "PC-like experience that’s powered by your phone". To use Continuum you will need the Microsoft Display Dock and, of course, a handy monitor and mouse/keyboard combo.

Other hardware

Microsoft went beyond the computers and smartphone announcements with the announcement of the Microsoft Band 2 and news about the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition, shipping in Q1 2016, priced at $3000.

It also shared news about the Xbox platform, which will get Xbox 360 games compatibility in November and Windows 10, plus a raft of new games in time for Xmas. We also learnt that there are now 110 million devices running Windows 10.

HEXUS Forums :: 25 Comments

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Gah, so close, yet so big..
I think this sounds like a good phone. I'm glad to see the glance screen return (it is not available on the current Lumia flagship phone). I'm also interested in the so called ‘liquid cooling’ tech and whether this can counter the problems of GPS heat.

I've already got the 930, so I won't be upgrading for a few years at least, but I do hope that Microsoft sticks with this, even if it is catering more to a niche market. I would like to see them really focus on the business aspect of the Windows Phone - which I think makes sense if the majority of (non-artsy) businesses are using Windows and Office products such as Outlook. I can see Windows Phone becoming the flashy professional work phone. But Microsoft really needs to focus on software development for its own phones and not Android and IOS. Plenty of Windows Phone users are feeling shafted when apps are updated and released first on non-Windows OSs.
exciting times for MS. Shame they can't see the perks of a smaller phone, particularly given that you could plug it into a box for a monitor to scale things up if necessary. I can't wait for a small yet powerful phone resurgence
After disappointing nexus 5x I like these phones maybe when the price drops a bit and fingers crossed for snapchat app otherwise both solid phone now if they only did a 4.7 inch screen
Pricing (on MS store) is up as £499.99 for the 950 and £549.99 for the 950XL.
Thats around a £125 more for the XL over the USA pricing.