Great hardware, limited software.
Microsoft continued Nokia’s legacy in making new Lumia smartphones and while they are generally excellent devices, it’s still the operating system that seems to be lacking. Despite that, the 950 XL still manages to wow us in various aspects – let’s have a look.
We’ve tested the Lumia 950 earlier, and design-wise, the 950 XL resembles the same design, only larger. But the massive device also comes with pretty powerful specifications to let Windows 10 run as smoothly as possible. At 151.9 x 78.4 x 8.1 mm, it’s definitely huge, but you can still comfortably use it on one hand.
Inside the 950 XL is a Snapdragon 810 processor along with 3 GB of RAM plus 32 GB of storage along with the option to add up to 200 GB of storage capacity using the microSD card slot.
The screen, coming in at 5.7-inches, supports a 1440 x 2560 pixel resolution – matching the ones found on current premium smartphones like the Nexus 6P and the Galaxy S7. I couldn’t find any faults on the screen, and it is easily one of the best-looking screens we’ve seen in a while.
These top of the line specifications allow it to run Windows 10 without any problems. Though most of the problems we’ve encountered are usually software-based – including some bugs present on Windows 10.
It may not be a problem for some, but it may irk users who are used to the functionality offered by Android and iOS. It still a step up from earlier Windows Phone versions, but comparing it to other platforms, we wish it can do more (or better).
Another thing to point out is that app selection is still very limited on Windows 10 and most of the time, its equivalent apps still run better on other platforms.
The 950 XL supports a 20-megapixel camera that can also take 4K video. With Carl Zeiss optics and support for OIS (optimal image stabilization), the 950 XL still excels in the camera category. Detail is sharp and colors are vividly striking, especially with images taken in low light conditions. The Lumia smartphones have always excelled in the camera department, and the 950 XL is no exception.
Just like previous smartphones, the 950 XL supports wireless charging or you can go the wired route using the new USB Type-C connector. Battery life is at par with current smartphones, usually lasting a day on a single charge on normal usage.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL gets high points for its design and camera, but limitations on Windows 10 apps make it a difficult smartphone to recommend.