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The Microsoft Lumia 950 review

Microsoft has finally delivered a high-end Lumia. While it will satisfy Windows fans, there is room for improvement.

Windows Central Recommended Award

The quick take

The AT&T and unlocked Lumia 950 from Microsoft is the best Lumia in the last two years. With the best PureView camera yet, solid battery life and a great display, the Lumia 950 has a lot going for it. However, its ho-hum design and meager app selection will keep switchers at bay leaving just enough to satisfy the die-hard Microsoft fans.

The Good

  • Fantastic display
  • Amazing camera
  • Relatively light and thin
  • Smooth, responsive performance
  • Solid battery life, with removable option
  • Continuum support to use the phone as a PC

The Bad

  • Paltry app selection
  • Uninspiring design
  • Non-premium plastic body
  • A new operating system with some holes

Microsoft Lumia 950 Specifications

CategoryLumia 950
OSWindows 10 Mobile
Screen Size5.2 inches
Screen Resolution1440x2560 (564ppi)
Screen TypeAMOLED
Processor1.8GHz Snapdragon 808 64-bit hexa-core
RAM3GB
Internal Storage32GB
External StoragemicroSD
SecurityWindows Hello iris scanner
Rear Camera20MP ƒ/1.9 PureView camera, triple-LED flash
Front Camera5MP, wide-angle lens
Battery3000mAh removable
ChargingQi wireless
PMA
USB Type-C
USB-C fast charging
Height145mm
Width73.2mm
Thickness8.2mm
Weight150g

Microsoft Lumia 950 Full Review

The last high-end Lumia was introduced in April 2014 with the Lumia 930, itself a carryover from the Verizon Lumia Icon earlier that year. And the pivotal Lumia 1520 was announced two years ago in November 2013. Needless to say, it has been a very long wait for windows phone fans for something new.

Much has changed in the last few years for Windows Phone. Today, we have Windows 10 Mobile, which is yet another rewrite of Microsoft's mobile ambitions. Market share has also retreated due to the lack of new high-end phones and the widening app-gap problem.

Now, Microsoft and AT&T are getting behind the Lumia 950. Was it worth the wait and will it save Windows Phone or just prolong its slow demise?

About this review

I used the Microsoft Lumia 950 for AT&T for the last week as my primary phone. The device was provided with Windows 10 Mobile build 10586.0 and the optional Continuum Display Dock. The differences between the AT&T branded version of the Lumia 950 and the unlocked variant are minimal, but include a small AT&T logo on the back cover, some pre-installed AT&T software (which is removable) and support for PMA (Powermat) wireless charging in addition to support for Qi wireless charging.

Microsoft Lumia 950 Video Review

What's new

The Lumia 950 brings a lot to the table regarding raw specs. Sure, it may not look the part with its matte coat and distinctive lack of metal, but underneath the removable battery cover sits a powerful mobile device by any standards.

First up is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexacore processor timed at 1.8GHz. This engine results in a large jump in performance from the old quad-core Snapdragon 800 found in the Lumia 930. Next is the ample 5.2-inch 2560 x 1440 OLED ClearBlack display, with Gorilla Glass 3, and an impressive 564 ppi for outstanding color and clarity.

Microsoft Lumia 950 display

The Lumia 950 also packs all the bells and whistles that Windows Phone fans have been clamoring for all in one device.

Lumia 950 highlights

  • 32 GB of internal storage
  • Micro SD with support for 200GB expandable storage
  • High resolution display with Glance
  • USB-C fast charging and wireless Qi charging
  • Large capacity removable battery
  • Arguably the best mobile camera to date
  • You want thin and light? They did that too as the Lumia 950 weighs only 150 grams, making it one of the lightest Lumias to date and at 8.2mm for thickness, you'd be hard pressed to call this phone big

As a bonus, Microsoft will even sell you this phone direct and unlocked for a reasonable $550. There is even the ability to use the phone as a computer through Continuum, a new feature that no one was exactly asking for but makes a lot of sense when you consider the future of mobile computing.

Did I also mention it has an iris scanner to unlock your phone just by looking at it? All of this makes the Lumia 950 not only impressive to Windows Phone fans, but anyone who is considering a high-end device.

There is also the new USB Type-C connector to offer some future proofing. The benefits of Type C include greater bandwidth for data transfers and the ability to handle more power for charging. Also, the Type C connector that is finally reversible. That means there is no more fidgeting when trying to insert the connector as there is no 'up' or 'down' side anymore. The other benefit is support for USB-C fast charging, Microsoft claims that this ability can charge your phone from just 10 percent to 50 percent in thirty minutes. Indeed, from my testing this is attainable and it is a breath of fresh air to be able to charge the phone that quickly.

Oh, and yes folks, the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL both support USB OTG. This means when you use a third-party adapter you can connect up USB peripherals including a USB drive that the OS mounts. By using the built-in File Explorer, you can then browse the drive and access files. We'll have a follow-up video demonstrating this ability soon.

The one downside of the Lumia 950 hardware is cosmetic. The phone is rather bland looking. As Apple and Samsung have moved to lots of metal and glass for an elegant, premium design, the Lumia 950 balks at that with matte polycarbonate plastic. Microsoft will have to learn – like Samsung – that to some people plastic "feels cheap" even if it packs the right specs and is more durable. I fully expect some people to admire the poly carb design while others will be less impressed.

Microsoft Lumia 950 phone

Of course, it's not all bad. The Lumia 950 is lighter because of the plastic, and it doesn't feel like it'll shatter into a million pieces if you drop it. In fact, it feels pretty great to hold and use. This is a phone that you can grab and go with confidence and not coddle it, or even have to bulk it up with a protective case. Having said that, the Lumia 950 is not winning any awards for design.

Let's take a closer look at three banner features of the Lumia 950: Camera, Windows Hello, and Continuum.

Camera – Setting new standards

Lumia fans have become so used to having some of the best cameras around that it is just expected the Lumia 950, and its 20 MP camera would continue that trend. Microsoft's bag of photographic technology is referred to as PureView, and it includes Zeiss lenses, optical image stabilization (OIS) and a high-end flash. The bigger story, however, is how Samsung and even LG have caught up to and even surpassed PureView. The bar has been set, and Microsoft needs to beat it.

I can confidently say that the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL do have the best cameras you'll find on a phone, or at the very least rank in the top echelons. Images are crazy sharp, colors are vivid, and the new triple-LED flash offers bright natural-looking light where none can be found. The updated auto Rich Capture only kicks in when it is needed, and it even lets you adjust the brightness of the flash after you've taken a photo, which is always a fascinating feature.

Microsoft Lumia 950 camera

Like a lot of prosumer photographers, I loathe using the flash as I prefer ambient light, but between the triple LED 'natural' flash and the ability to control its intensity in post-processing using the flash is now preferred. The same applies for HDR, which lets you customize the look.

The Lumia 950 also incorporates a 5th generation optical image stabilization (OIS) housing to ensure jittery free images and assist with video.

More importantly the new Microsoft Camera app and Snapdragon processor finally give fast results both for launching the camera and taking photos rapidly. Even post-processing Rich Capture images are significantly faster due to those extra cores.

The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL have the best cameras you'll find on a phone.

I did find focusing a bit nuanced with some shots coming out with a slight blur. I think this is partially due to the large f/1.9 aperture but also due to the lack of newer IR laser-assisted autofocus technology found in phones like the LG G4 and Nexus 5X, which can make a big difference.

Likewise, there are some early bugs with Windows Hello beta when reviewing an image after launching the camera from its locked mode. There is also the lack of such basic features as built-in panorama, which is borderline egregious in 2015. And while Facebook has announced that a Windows 10 Instagram app is on the way until it is here users have to use the excellent – but still third-party – 6tag app for Instagram.

When it comes to video, the Lumia 950 can handle 60 FPS for 1080P video, and I have heard through my sources that Microsoft is working on 120FPS for early next year. Additionally, you can shoot 25 or 30 FPS at 4K, which is more common these days but still impressive.

And while Apple acts like they invented Living Images, we know that it was the Lumia team who originally brought moving photos to the table. The new version works in the universal Photos app for Windows 10 including on PC, and it seems smarter. Interestingly, Living Images are now only invoked when movement is detected in the photo instead of being applied across the board for every photo taken. This feature both saves storage space, and it just makes sense—after all, there is no need for a Living Image if there is nothing moving in the photo.

We'll be doing in-depth comparison articles with the leading competitors in the Android and iPhone space (see how they fared against each other last time around). For now, you can rest assured that the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL do have outstanding cameras.

But here is the thing: How much does it matter in 2015?

If you're a mobile camera enthusiast, then you should consider the Lumia 950.

If you are a mobile camera enthusiast, then the Lumia 950 should be on your list of phones for consideration. However, since the early days of PureView it is hard to ignore the fact that Samsung and LG have caught up regarding image quality. Even the new iPhones I only consider to be decent for image quality, but they no longer get top awards either.

Sure, I can say the Lumia 950 takes better images most of the time, but the differences between it and the competition is a lot less pronounced than it was two or three years ago. In other words, when posting to Instagram or Facebook, both of which downsize and downsample images, I am not sure the Lumia 950 will be noticeably better than other high-end phones. I do think the dedicated camera button is a huge advantage, and I still get frustrated with the iPhone and Android devices that make you use a swipe-gesture option, but these are also preferences and for a lot of people, minor advantages.

Even the front-facing 5MP camera stands out with support for Living Images as well as being super sharp for those super important selfies. It gets decent low-light support too. Unfortunately, the corresponding Skype app gets mixed results for video streaming quality from the camera, something we hope to see optimized in an update.

Microsoft Lumia 950 camera

In the end, the camera on the Lumia 950 is quite phenomenal, and the new algorithms reveal and preserve subject detail better than ever. I'm just not sure it is that big of a deal in 2015 as it was in 2013 when the Lumia 1020 hit the scene.

Iris scanning and Windows Hello - Awesome, but necessary?

Biometrics for modern computing is the ability to use your unique physical characteristics for security purposes. It's a big trend in mobile and is featured prominently in Microsoft's own Windows 10 ads. Microsoft puts this tech under the marketing name Windows Hello and it includes facial recognition, fingerprint reading, or an iris scanner.

Fingerprint scanners have become the most popular technology for biometric phone security, and can be found in the latest iPhones, Samsung's Galaxy S6 series and Galaxy Note 5, the new HTC One A9, the Nexus 5X and 6P, the LG V10, the... you get the idea — the list is extensive. While fingerprint scanners were decent in 2014, the latest generations are very fast and reliable to the point of feeling seamless.

Microsoft Lumia 950 and Windows Hello Iris scanner

For some reason, Microsoft went down the road of an iris scanner for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. Using a near-infrared camera along with the standard 5MP front-facing camera, you can unlock the Lumia 950 just by gazing deeply at the display for a second or two. Once recognized Windows Hello can dismiss the lock screen automatically. You can, however, set it so that it just unlocks the phone leaving you to dismiss the lockscreen manually. This is ideal if you like to read the lockscreen for notifications. Luckily, with Glance enabled, you do not need to do even that.

You can unlock the Lumia 950 just by gazing deeply at the display for a second or two.

Regarding privacy, Windows Hello does not take a picture of your eyes or irises, nor does it send any information to the cloud. Instead, scanning creates an encrypted hash that is stored on the phone.

Is it better than a fingerprint reader? In some ways, yes, but not enough to make it a clear winner either. Besides not having to take your gloves off in the winter, iris scanning can be a little finicky. For instance, you do need the phone about a foot away from your face. You won't look weird using it in public, but you do need to look right at it to unlock. Sometimes it's hit and miss for recognition too, requiring you to use the PIN or cycle the display off and on again. (Using the improve-feature can help here).

From my experience, the Lumia 950's iris scanner is similar to what the first fingerprint scanner on the iPhone. Sure, it works, but there are some errors and misreading about 30-40% of the time. It helps to use the 'improve recognition' feature, but it is still lacking. Newer generation fingerprint scanners are so fast and accurate that they're seamless to use. I can't say the same about the iris scanner.

But there are some cool things about iris scanners that you may not know. For instance:

  • It works in low light and even the dark
  • You can wear eye glasses or even sunglasses when using it
  • Twins reportedly cannot fool it
  • A photo of your eyes cannot trick it
  • Besides unlocking your phone, you can authorize store purchases with it

At the time of this review, Windows Hello is still in beta for the Lumia 950, but it is pretty solid. There are a few quirks here and there as we have had it stop working on a rare occasion, but nothing catastrophic. Also, there are oddities when reviewing a photo after using the camera from a locked state. Luckily, battery impact seems negligible. The great thing about Windows Hello and biometrics is that you can now set the phone to auto-lock every time ensuring greater security.

There is also an odd experience where you set the PIN to lock only after 5 or 15 minutes of non-usage. Turning the phone on earlier still enables Windows Hello, which seems odd as you can just swipe away the lock screen without it recognizing your eyes. The presumed behavior would be Windows Hello only kicks in when the PIN lock is set to be enabled not every time your turn it on.

Microsoft Lumia 950

The iris scanner is not 100 percent yet on the Lumia 950, but it is certainly good enough for everyday use, and I strongly recommend enabling it. Still, it is peculiar holding the phone to look right at it. It's not bad, it's not a deal breaker, it is just different.

Putting aside any kinks and iris scanning is pretty awesome. It makes the Lumia 950 feel different and even futuristic. It will certainly be a talking point when you are out with others. I just wish I could tell you why it is a better choice than a fingerprint scanner. For now, I can't, and I leave it to Microsoft to justify the choice of technology.

Continuum – Your phone is now a computer?

Microsoft Lumia 950 Display Dock

Microsoft's Continuum for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile is both a fascinating yet odd feature. Microsoft's idea here is that users can connect their phone up to a larger display and use it as a PC. Universal Windows 10 apps can auto-scale to the large display, and you can even connect a mouse and keyboard up to complete the experience. While the phone powers the display, you can continue to use the phone separately including making calls and getting charged through the USB-C Quick Charge system.

There are a few ways to use Continuum, including wired through the $99 Display Dock and wireless using Miracast. In both scenarios, you can use a mouse and keyboard as well. Microsoft is recommending the third-party Actiontec ScreenBeam Mini2 - Continuum Edition adapter for displays without Miracast support. The $67 dongle does not have anything special about it, but Microsoft insists it gets the best user experience. This makes sense as not every Miracast device performs the same, unfortunately.

I have to admit that Continuum works very well. I connected the Lumia 950 to a 4k display (output, however, is limited to just Full HD) and used Microsoft's wireless ergonomic keyboard for a test. It was all hands-off as everything just functioned. You can even use the phone's display as a mousepad, which works very well over wired connections.

Windows 10 Mobile's universal apps that work with Continuum include:

  • Office (Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Excel)
  • Outlook Mail and Calendar
  • Microsoft Edge browser
  • MSN News, Weather, Sports, Money
  • Photos, Groove Music, Movies & TV, Store, Messaging, Skype Video, People

But there is one thing bugging me about Continuum: Who is going to use this?

Additionally, any third-party apps that use the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) can also be Continuum-ready. Our new Windows Central app, which is in private beta, works very well as do other apps like Tweetium, Homeboy, Baconit, and Trakter to name a few. Of course, you can't yet run classic Win32 apps although who knows what will happen next year.

Using Miracast to a TV is pretty decent although if you toss in a Bluetooth keyboard you may experience some slight lag when typing. You could just use the keyboard on the phone to the TV, which is easier. Depending on the setup it could be a great experience or a kludge.

Microsoft Lumia 950 Display Dock + Miracast

Of course, it's easy to sit back and criticize the experience until you take it all in: you're running a PC's OS from your phone to your TV and using a Bluetooth keyboard and the phone as a mouse pad. At the very least on a technical level that is crazy impressive.

So kudos to Microsoft for not only making this feature but having it work well.

But there is one thing bugging me: Who is going to use this?

I can certainly envision unique situations where Continuum would be useful. Office presentations, hotel rooms, students who need to save space and money, people who come home from work and want to keep all their apps and data on a device, and maybe someday even internet cafes. Perhaps even you can think of a way how Continuum would make your life better, in which case go for it, it works very well.

Microsoft Lumia 950 back

However, I cannot see Continuum being a selling point for your average consumer. This isn't a killer feature for most people; it's a powerful but niche tool. It's also weird since for years all data was to go to the cloud so that you can work from any computer. Continuum seems to buck that by saying 'take the device and the cloud with you'.

Can I recommend the Lumia 950 to my friends for Continuum? It seems like a stretch. The thing is I see the Continuum model being the future. I could imagine a world where our phones are our main computers and everything is just a display. But that world isn't here yet. For now, Continuum is potentially trailblazing, but only in theory and only for some.

Windows 10 and the app gap

Microsoft Lumia 950 and Windows 10

Before we get to my final thoughts we need to talk about the elephant in the room: Windows 10 and the app-gap on Windows Phone. Unfortunately, in late 2015 the app-gap situation has in some way become worse for Windows 10 Mobile. Big banks and popular services are seemingly abandoning the platform. Meanwhile, others like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, FitBit, and Ring are jumping on board.

Windows 10 and its Universal Windows Platform (UWP) should fix — in theory — as developers can write once and distribute their app to PC, tablet, phone, and even Xbox One (later in 2016). Even HoloLens can now run the popular Reddit Windows app Baconit.

The app-gap is not about numbers; it is about one thing: Can Windows 10 Mobile deliver the apps you need?

The problem is, the Universal Windows Platform has not delivered. Not yet, at least. We're still in the very early days of this universal platform, so that is to be expected.

Remember, the app-gap is not about numbers; it is about one thing: Can Windows 10 Mobile deliver the apps you need. Everyone has that one app that they desperately like to use. For me, as an MMA fan I want a universal UFC app. For others, it is Snapchat. It is a tough problem and makes recommending the Lumia 950 very difficult for most users especially, if you're already on Android or iOS.

Windows 10 Mobile as an operating system is pretty great, but there is still a lot that is missing. Panorama for the camera, no native payment system akin to Apple Pay, and some UI inconsistencies make Windows 10 Mobile feel, well, incomplete. Even Microsoft Edge is only about 75% there regarding feature completeness to compete with Safari or Chrome.

The good news is we don't have to wait six months or a year for a new OS update. "Windows as a Service" means the OS is constantly being evolved and receiving frequent updates. Windows 10 for desktop just received a major update three months after its release and it is rather impressive. Windows 10 Mobile will likely follow the same trajectory. It remains to be seen, however, just how fast Microsoft can push out updates and just what kind of interference – if any – carriers will impose.

I like Windows 10 Mobile, and I feel it is the right evolution of the Microsoft Design Language (MDL). The OS is minimal, and it still puts heavy emphasis on information and content. However, like all design languages some people will love it, and others will find it off-putting. I'm not sure how the general public will view Windows 10 Mobile.

You have to decide: are you willing to get on board now, or will you wait to see how it pans out?

This is the conundrum with Windows 10 Mobile. It is an amazing vision from Microsoft one that is truly different from the competition. One OS and one app platform are a bold vision for the future and technically speaking it is now in my hands. Not only does it work, but you can see it is like a solid foundation to build on. But most of Windows 10's benefits are still down the road.

Folks, this is just the beginning, but you have to decide if you are willing to get on board now, or wait to see how it pans out over the next six months. Unfortunately, iOS and Android are like unstoppable freight trains that are innovating and perfecting their ecosystems, and it makes recommending the Lumia 950 for switchers very difficult at this time.

Odds and Ends

Microsoft Lumia 950

For those who are fixated on many of the Lumia features, past and present, here are a few things you will want to know about the Microsoft Lumia 950:

  • It ships with Windows 10 Mobile build 10586
  • Visual voicemail is finicky requiring a few attempts to get it to display
  • USB OTG is supported when using a Type-C adapter
  • No double-tap to wake, but there is double-tap to turn off
  • Glance is supported with Glance backgrounds; Peek is gone, and only intervals can be set
  • There are 4 HAAC microphones for Rich Recording when shooting video
  • Qi wireless charging is supported (the AT&T version supports both Qi and PMA)
  • Hey Cortana is enabled and works with the display off
  • You can record phone calls
  • The display is covered with Gorilla Glass 3 (the Lumia 950 XL is getting Gorilla Glass 4)
  • There is about 29.5 GB of usable storage out of the box
  • There are about nine pre-installed AT&T apps that can all be removed
  • You will have around 38 app updates out of the box
  • It works well with the Microsoft Band 2 including support for Cortana
  • The Lumia 950 does not have liquid cooling
  • The Lumia 950 does not get hot, but it can get acceptably warm under heavy use; heat is distributed very evenly
  • The matte cover, especially white, can pick up dirt but is easily cleanable
  • There are third-party back covers from Mozo
  • The rear speaker is decent, but far from the best I have used
  • Phone calls are of acceptable quality
  • AT&T HD Voice is supported
  • USB audio did not work in my 2013 Honda Accord; Bluetooth obviously works
  • I only saw a 'Resume' screen with the Skype Video app
  • Everyday performance is similar to the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 930 with Windows 10 Mobile; heavier loads like Rich Capture processing favors the Lumia 950

Should you buy?

To answer the question of should you buy the Lumia 950, I have to break it down into two user groups:

  1. Fans of Windows Phone and Windows 10 who are committed to Microsoft's vision
  2. Everyone else in the world

Windows Phone fans

If you are already a Lumia user who likes Windows Phone, then the Lumia 950 is your dream device.

If you already like Windows Phone, then the Lumia 950 is your dream device.

Concerning specs and features, it has everything but the kitchen sink. Expandable memory, wireless charging, a fast processor, large battery, excellent display and arguably the best mobile camera yet. And yes, I can report that both the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL each have four dedicated Rich Recording microphones for outstanding audio recording.

Speaking of, you can even record your phone calls now in Windows 10 Mobile.

There are some rough edges, of course. As of now, there is no double-tap to wake although I expect that to be enabled at some point. Windows Hello works most of the time, but it still has some quirks, hence the beta tag. I also cannot say iris scanners are definitively better than a fingerprint reader. The rear speaker leaves a lot to be desired regarding quality.

Microsoft Lumia 950

And let's be honest, the overall design of the phone is bland and generic. It is by no means bad, just not inspiring. The Lumia 950's design is very pragmatic. It's not svelte or awe-inspiring, but it's functional and versatile. Like cargo pants.

Battery life, I am happy to report, is very good with the Lumia 950. Compared to Android, standby times are excellent — if you forget to charge it overnight, you won't wake up to a dead phone. My BlackBerry Priv and Samsung Galaxy are very different. My Priv was at 95% at 8 pm without even a SIM card, and it was just 7% the next morning.

If you are on the fence and waiting for something better than the Lumia 950 I can say with confidence now that there won't be another high-end Windows phone until late next year. Unless another OEM steps in with an equally spec'd phone, the Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL will be it.

As a Windows Phone user and admirer of Windows 10 Mobile I have no problem telling people to grab this phone if you like Microsoft. It is a powerhouse, and it should be a fun ride as Windows 10 Mobile continues to evolve. I have been using it as my main phone for the last week, and I will continue to do so with confidence.

Everyone else

But if you are on Android or iOS should you consider the Lumia 950?

It all depends on your thoughts about apps and services. Obviously if you live to get the best app support or the latest and greatest in mobile, you will have a lot of pain points switching to Windows 10 Mobile. Banking apps are hard to come by, and there is no Snapchat.

Microsoft Lumia 950 and Nexus 5X

Maybe that will all change. But maybe not.

Of course, what everyone considers important is relative, but I'll miss my apps for UFC and Five Guys restaurants. Even Skype is still not a great experience on Windows 10 Mobile, which is shameful.

  • If you are switching phones for the camera, you will be thrilled with the results, but I know very few people who will do so for that reason alone, not when the competition is good enough these days.
  • Continuum is very specific and while it works well I do not see many consumers jumping ship for that either.
  • Windows Hello and the iris scanner is pretty cool, but not any better than newer fingerprint scanners on the iPhone 6s or Nexus devices.
  • And the Lumia 950 design is practical, but not beautiful.

I do encourage you to see a Lumia 950 in person. Sample the photos that people will inevitably share from its outstanding camera. Watch how Continuum can be useful for some. But in the end, the Lumia 950 is still a tough sell for non-Microsoft fans.

Final thoughts

The Microsoft Lumia 950 represents the best of Windows 10 Mobile and is 100 percent built for the fans, which is exactly what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella promised back in July.

Oddly enough, the Lumia 950 is a really good smartphone. It is just the lack of apps (and some services like payments) that are holding it back. It can get a lot done with a gorgeous display, excellent camera, and very good battery life, all of which used to be the criteria for a good review. But in 2015, you cannot discount the importance of the full ecosystem and what you are buying into when you commit.

Microsoft Lumia 950

The Lumia 950 is a first-rate phone, but it is not the best, which is what is needed in 2015 to beat the competition. Microsoft fans will love it, but the rest of the world will likely look on with curiosity and nothing more. I still think Microsoft's vision of mobile is unique and evolving, but they are still kicking the can down the road as we all wait for the next big thing.

Alternatively, if Microsoft's aim is just to keep its enthusiasts happy well from that perspective, the Lumia 950 should succeed. I'll be using the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL as I'm all in on Windows 10, but I recognize that I'm part of an increasing minority of users. Microsoft has some brilliant ideas here, but they can still do better.

Where to buy

Microsoft Lumia 950

You can now pick up the Microsoft Lumia 950 from AT&T both online and in stores. The AT&T Next 12 plan will have you paying $29.95 a month for 20 months for the Lumia 950, while the Next 18 plan will cost $24.96 a month for 24 months. Finally, the Next 24 plan will cost $19.97 a month for 30 months. The off-contract, non-commitment price is $599. The Lumia 950 is listed in both black and white.

AT&T has stated that people who purchase the Lumia 950 on an AT&T Next plan will be eligible to purchase a Surface 3 tablet for just $399.99.

Buy the Microsoft Lumia 950 from AT&T (opens in new tab)

You can also buy direct from Microsoft including the unlocked version for $550.

Buy the Microsoft Lumia 950 Unlocked for $550 (opens in new tab)

Continuum Gear

You can now purchase the $99 Continuum Display Dock right from Microsoft or grab the Actiontec wireless Miracast dongle for around $70 from http://http://Amazon.com?tag=wpcentralb-20?tag=wpcentralb-20

More resources

If you need more on the Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL make sure to hit these resources and guides to get you started!

Gear

Want to know which Type-C cable to get? How about a micro SD card? Read these guides for the best tips.

News

Want all the latest news on these phones? Hit these topic pages for all that we got.

Support and help forums

Want to chat about the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL? Jump into our forums and ask others what they think or get help and advice for your new phone!

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

762 Comments
  • Too expensive in new zealand
  • I'm agree with you, too expensiveeeeeeeeeeeee in Indonesia!!!!
  • This is a Flagship phn, that is 100000000000000000000000000x more superior than overrated iJUNK phns that is 4 years behind Lumia 950 and 950XL, and those iSHEEP pay whatever CrApple is asking for it, with no question asked. Ok let me tall you how much iJUNK 6S is missing compare to this phn, with a ridicules price CrApple is charging all around the world. In some countries iJUNK 6/6S were selling for $4000+ and iSHEEP gladly paid for it. Ok here is the list: Overrated IJUNK 6S 1. NO Quad HD screen(still at 720 res that most phns used 4+ years ago) 2. NO MicroSD slot 3. NO 20 Pix Unbelievable Camera 4. NO removable Battery 5. NO rapid Charger 6. NO high Capacity Battery 7. NO wireless charging 8. NO continuum 9. NO gorilla Glass 4 (iJUNK 6/6S' Plus screen breaks very very easily) 10. NO liquid Coolling CPU 950XL( as matter of fact, iJUNK6S/6S+ having major overheating issues and making people made check #Chipgate) 11. NO USB Type-C 12. NO interchangeable Back Cover(already there are perineum back covers are for sell for 950/950XL with great choices that will make these phns stand out from the rest, if you don't like white or black plastic battery covers that comes with these phns) 13. Easily gets dings and bent, unless iSHEEP uses a PLASTIC Case protector  14. NO dedicated Camera Button 15. NO glance and many many more features iJUNK phns don't have, but yet people all around the world pay top money for it, like they are getting gold or something, when they are getting Gold painted iPOOP instead. If this phns is too expensive, you guys can always buy the 640 or 640XL with a great price. If you guys want MS to keep making more flagship phns and grow in the world market, we ALL have to support it, like those brainwashed iSHEEP. We are much smarter then them. everyone of us needs to show MS, we will do whatever to support them. Just saying.  I belive these phns worth what MS is asking for them. Just look at other flagship phns SPECS, and see for yourselves(NO iJUNK toys please) 
  • Lumia 950 DOES NOT have Gorilla Glass 4 ! It has Gorilla Glass 3. (the information from MS coming along the review L950 is wrong.) Lumia 950XL, on the other hand, DOES have Gorilla Glass 4.  
  • The point he is making is true though, there are a whole host of reasons why the 950/XL wipe the floor with the iPhone 6 yet reviewers who are having ******* over the iPhone are slating these JUST because they don't have a metal casing. The number of reviews I have read from people who decide they don't like the phone early on into the review simply because they don't like the design is bordering absurd.  What I don't understand is how supposedly serious and professional reviewers don't get that it means you can have a swappable battery and hide the sim card/memory card slots away without worrying about damaging the back cover (does anything have a removable metal back cover?). It also means you're not likely to get those antenna/reception issues that you get with metalclad devices - the wi-fi signal on my 930 for example is better than anything else I have ever used. not forgetting of course, it makes wireless charging a lot easier. It's nondescript design means it's also less likely to get stolen if left on a table, and less likely to break if it is dropped as the polycarbonate is much better at absorbing the shock. It will also be easier to obtain and replace the back cover if it does get broken, and most people will use a case anyway. You can keep your blingy 6s and S6's - I know what I would rather have, even though I admit I am slightly disappointed that the design isn't a little more adventurous. I understand the general public not getting the somewhat plain design but not experienced reviewers. Besides, hasn't it been stated that Microsoft are now going after the business community rather than general sales? They are also perhaps aware that a lot of those who slate Windows phones also slate the "kiddie" design with the bright colours and if that's the case you can't blame them from moving away from that. I suspect the 550 is aimed more at the younger market who are likely to accept the colours more anyway.    
  • Regardless which Gorilla Glass it is, it is still far superior than the junk glass that Apple uses.  And yet not a word about Apple’s iPhones cheap glass.  What good is buying a phone that has extremely fragile glass?  Thank God Microsoft is not using Apple's cheap Glass because, in my opinion, this "mac wag" reviewer would be stating that a million times against Microsoft.  Why do you people bother listening to these bogus sites, in my opinion, that are useless and worthless and all they want to do is to ensure that Apple stays on top AT YOUR EXPENSE!!!!!  Apple can even build a phone with a defective antenna and they remain so quiet about it.  FIX THEIR ASS GOOD AND SHOW YOUR FRIENDS YOUR MICROSOFT 950XL PHONE AND WHAT IT DOES AND HOW WELL IT DOES IT AND SALES FOR MICROSOFT WILL PICK UP QUICKLY AND SITES LIKE THIS WILL BE IGNORED, IN MY OPINION.  Or even better, Microsoft relocates their head office to California and then Microsoft can build crap and so many reviewers now will find gold in every Microsoft product.  I have seen this sickening bias too many times, in my opinion.
  • Everyone misses it. The biggest elephant in the room, Apple totally screwed America and the entire World by not paying US Tax and becoming a corp of Ireland. Do you think Ireland is going to fight ISIL? Are you all willing to pay for our crumbling bridges and infrastructure, because Apple doesn't? And to give them Apple Pay and control of our finances makes us complete a__holes. Talk about letting a CEO screw you where the sun don't. People have no idea what Apple has done and we need to tell them and beat the hell out of their crappy devices. Why Satya Nadella and and Microsoft doesn't do this I have no effing idea! Incompetence, unless he plans to do the same thing and if that's the case, throw him the hell out. It's time we show these CEOs and whorish politicians what we want. If the 950 and 950XL were only just as good as the iphones, HELLO! Anericans and everyone else, but the Irish and the Chinese, should buy the 950 line and the apps would gush in like a tidal wave. You need to talk about this because people think Apple is an American Company. Samsung is more American than Apple because of Google. Get the word out. Even Toyota and Nissan and Honda make cars here. Apple makes nothing here and then gets taxed in Ireland. It's time to get angry and expose this company. It's more important than megapixels!
  • The apps I use every single day are not available on Windows Phones - Chase, Starbucks, etc.  That's a problem.  Phones are all about the apps and WP doesn't have them and everyone knows that.  No one cares about removeable batteries anymore.  Type C USB? Again, no one cares.  Wireless charging? No biggie. Take cable, stick in phone. Done. Continuum? Just rolls off the tongue... So now I have to buy a $100 adapter and a bunch of cables to use my phone as a PC? No thanks. Back cover? Why do I need to take off the cover? To put in a microSD card? My iPhone has 128GB of storage built in. I got it handled. Plus this is one cheap looking back cover for a "flagship device" - plastic? Really? Redmond, we got a problem. Glance? All of my messages come up on the iPhone screen including text messages, alerts, emails and much much more. When I need the time, I check my Rolex.  I have a leather case for my iPhone 6 because it's a bit slippery; I bought a rubber one for $5 on Amazon for my Lumia 830 for the same reason. Phones are slick and people tend to drop them. That's why most people buy cases (even Lumia owners) for their phones.  I'll take Apple TouchID technology over Windows Hello (still in Beta) any day... because it just works.  As for camera, I have a Lumia 1020 which certainly was a solid performer but now that Microsoft has essentially shut down all of the Nokia camera apps that were fun and useful it's made the Microsoft camera less impressive. Most high-end phones have pretty good cameras now and even though it's a 20MP camera, I find 8MP is beyond sufficient for most images.  As for the price, I'd go for an unlocked iPhone or a new Nexis because of their significantly better eco-systems before dropping the same money on a flagship Lumia - and I know of what I speak, I've got 7 Lumias.     
  • I don't want to start a war, and I am not saying that windows phone is perfect, much less the Lumia 950. BUT: Glance is cool and practical, gives you notifications without even touching it, and makes a good night clock with its lowlight red mode. The 128 GB phone is mad expensive. Iphone prices are comparable only when they are the 16 GB model. I would much rather spend $30 dollars on an SD card then hundreds of dollars more for a biggger Iphone capacity Removable covers are a nice touch for adding custom casing without adding thickness, and removable battery might be useful. I had to replace my battery by myself on an Iphone 4s. It was not something I want to do again. Don't dismiss things with nobody cares. Many do care, you just end up sounding ignorant        
  • I agree with Alberto on this..  Because of the app gap and some applications I need are not in Windows Phone (some were even removed recently like Mint) and some others that are pure crap (like BBM), I switched back to Android. For a year I had a Samsung Galaxy Note 4.. That phone was terrible. Was very slow! I changed it for a LG V10 and boy is that phone better.. There is a neat feature on the V10 which I like, the SECONDARY SCREEN. This acts like the Windows Phone Glance. Instead of a led, I see what notifications I have, the time, etc, and barely takes any power. And this LG V10 also has a removable battery and microSD slot.. Which is very important to me. It is terrible that some companies would not give you the possibility to change your battery.. What happens if your battery cannot hold the charge anymore and you need to change it but you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 for example??? Well guess what, either you pay big $$ to get it replaced or you buy a new phone.. What if you shoot a lot of videos ?? That MicroSD can be very important.
  • The only argument you had is saying iOS has more "apps" and "No one cares". Continuum? No one cares.. I care. Who is with me? Windows Hello vs. Apple TouchID better, because it all works. I'm gonna throw up. Beta means it's going to be Better! I personally like both techs. Fast charging? No one cares.. Is bullshhh but you didn't care to respond to that one. Removable storage? No one cares.. Paying a few hundred dollars extra for more internal storage and saying that no one cares is pretty stupid to me. Glance? No one cares.. Because it comes up on your iPhone screen? That's not the point pal. Camera? All the fun apps are essentially shut down. Please name a few. iPhone's camera is meh. Well how about USB OTG? No one cares? Man you wish you had that on the iPhone and I'm glad W10M supports it now! Bye now!
  • I care too. I use my phone and headphones a lot as a music player and I find it hugely frustrating that I can't listen to some of my music at times because I can't get a Wi-Fi connection. Give me a memory card anyday. I can still transfer my music OTA so it's not as if we need to keep removing it. I also care about wireless charging. I think it's fantastic that I can slip into bed late at night in the dark without disturbing my husband fiddling around for a cable I can't see. It's so much more convenient just popping the phone on a charging plate that I now have several around the house. But mostly I just charge it overnight as my 930 lasts the day most of the time. How I managed without wireless charging I will never know. I care about Continuum too. Like many people I now only use my slow, ageing desktop to browse the internet and do a little office work. I can replace that with a Display Dock and a decent monitor for under £200 instead of having to buy a whole new computer. I think that's a more powerful feature than most people have yet realised, and given a chance it will only get better over time.   I don't care much about the glance screen if I'm honest because if I'm looking at the phone I'm probably about to unlock and use it anyway, but it's good that it's there. All this in a silky smooth handset which does everything I want it to and a lot more besides. As for the apps, sure there are going to be some here and there that people will miss but in days when it's as easy, if not better, to use the website equivalent which wasn't possible a few short years ago because phones were not powerful enough and screens were not big enough to use effectively as a browser, it's no big deal overall and I haven't missed anything in the past 18 months.  Too many reviewers still slate this phone too much because of the lack of apps. But while most people might miss one or two, it's hugely overstated.    
  • Hear that? Your mom is calling you, time for bed!
  • How much did your 128Gb iPhone cost? That's right, case closed.
  • @AndreasKj: Lol literally case closed since the iPhone doesn't let you remove the back case. *ba-dum pssh!*
  • You want a Starbucks app? Does that let you sign up for an outlet to charge your phone, as Apple users are always scurrying around looking for places to charge their phones, which could be WASTING an hour each time plus you have to overpay for coffee. I was trying to respond to Andrea ' 3 pistons that were emailed about how WPM gets credit for nothing. I love the 950xl and plan to get it when AT&T gets it because I'm a Microsoft user and I want to stay that way. I think MS CEOs have been dreadfully at evolving their products. Apple has blown them away in that area. I met someone the other day and told them about my views on Apple expatriating to Ireland. She, like almost everyone, had no idea Apple screwed us and that this one time American company pays no tax here on its 178 Billion of Worldwide sales. Last quarter Apple's profits were $11 Billion for 3 months and birthing comes back to the USA. She said that she just received a $300 gift certificate from Apple and she's going to use it to buy a new iPad. She seemed troubled about the fact that Apple left but she said, she's totally invested in Apple. She also said that each device talks to each other. I cannot tell you how disturbed it makes me feel that people won't even give a Microsoft phone a chance because they blindly buy iPhones. These are people who use their phones for very little and everything that they could do on their iPhone they can do but a Windows Phone. Given the fact that Apple pays for nothing in the United States anymore, no schools that our heavily invested in apples, no infrastructure which delivers Apple devices all over the country, no military that is fighting against Isis, etc, one would think another look would be patriotic. So it doesn't bother these people one bit about what Apple is doing and they will not take 15 minutes to see how the programs they use work on Windows Phone. However, as I have said many many many times before, they all have and use bank apps. They are not going to switch all their bank accounts to Wells Fargo because Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America don't have Windows Phone apps. For that reason alone they will not look at Windows Phone. So, what do you do about that problem? You try to make your overall system better which Windows 10 is trying to do but if nobody but Kool-Aid drinkers like us try it, then what good will it do? So then what do you do next to get more banks, or at least the three big banks, to let you write and support Windows Phone apps for their banks. You take it to the American people can tell them that Apple is gone and every dollar they pay Apple never will come back to this country and instead it will go to Ireland and Asia. You tell them that Samsung, LG and HTC aren't sending their profits back to the United States either. Finally you tell them that Microsoft is an American company, when it sells its devices they pay tax in the United States on it. They might not make all their devices here but at least profits from sales of all those devices paid to the United States Treasury and that actually reduces the price of their cell phone to almost nothing because they don't have to pay for all the expenses that Apple, Cisco, Coke, and now Pfizer are not paying. There are lots of apps that Windows Phone doesn't have but if they get the bank apps all the rest will come as it came for Android. What bothers me so much is the squandering of the huge advantage of having almost every business computer as Windows devices. Right now I blame Satya Nadella for it but Microsoft has no history of innovative CEOs as we can see from absolute non evolutionary updates of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. By now they could be doing lots more that would make people absolutely love them. We use them because that's all there is and they are tied to our business computers. Again, that's a huge advantage that Microsoft does not take advantage of in the cell phone and tablet arena. . Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm not going to lie and say I read all of your comments - but calling other phones "iJunk" and the other little gems you used makes you look uneducated and immature. Get a clue.
  • thanks Dan for the much needed review. it was very objective. i think the L950 is a very good phone. finally the slim light phone we've been asking for with removable back. it's really responsive and that's saying alot coming from a L930... And as for windows hello (iris scanner), I ran the setup several times and it improved recognition each time.
  • Will the tech media finally come clean and state the obvious--Satya Nadella wants Lumia/Windows Phone to fail.  I don't care what he says... this "revised strategy" is not a strategy.  It's surrender.  Nadella has killed Windows Phone through neglect. If someone truly loves Windows Phone (like most of us here do... or did), you don't release your first flagship in two years like this... with a product like this.  You just don't.  Sorry. I guess the question is... if Satya doesn't want Windows Phone to succeed, then what chance does it have?  And why is he stringing us along? Ballmer made plenty of mistakes when it came to Windows Phone, but at least he genuinely believed in it and wanted it to succeed.  Satya does not.  I'm not even convinced he loves Windows, to be perfectly honest. Will we even see a Surface Phone?  And can it even make a difference after Nadella has devastated the platform the way he has? It's sad.  Windows Phone made Microsoft interesting again.  How interesting will Windows 10 be without mobile?  What point is there in universal apps without mobile?  How many of us will keep coming to this site without mobile?
  • I totally agree. It's almost as if he's being paid by Apple not to do well. Who knows how many people Apple pays. Al Gore is on the Apple board, pretty nasty place for him to be if you ask me since Apple is totally screwing America. I never hear Robert Reich say a word about Apple and they're turning their back on America, especially considering this is allegedly America's largest corporation. However it's not an American corporation anymore and even though Apple appears in the Dow, its success have nothing to do with a financial health and economic health of the United States, quite the contrary by charging so much for their crappy phones they're actually hurting the United States. But using our roads are bridges to deliver the devices and and not paying a penny to build them or fix them, they're hurting the United States. I never hear Bernie Sanders saying a word about Apple and he named the 18 worst corporations in the United States. Yes Apple is not a US Corp anymore, but Bernie Sanders could have mentioned that they don't pay taxes here, they don't make anything here, they don't assemble anything here and they probably buy goods and services in Ireland with it would have been buying them here. This is a very very big problem, more so then which phone to buy. It's the big elephant in the room that nobody ever talks about. Never never never. In the meantime they're, in everyone's pockets, in our schools, in a government offices, in our polling places, on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon being their spokesperson, and somebody some place needs to expose this. You would think Satya Nadella might say something in a commercial. I think he is wrong for the United States and I think he is wrong for Microsoft. We need somebody who's a little bit more patriotic & will do things to help our country. Maybe years ago they were a step ahead of everybody but that's long over and their devices are no better than anybody else's devices and in many ways worse. And once again Microsoft says nothing. It's like the Democrats who never criticize the Republicans and expect things to change out of osmosis. Microsoft needs some hard hitting commercials and spokespeople tearing down what Apple has done.
  • I agree with you on CrApple. But i can promise you, they do NOT own or pay MS for them to do anything. Lumia 950 and 950XL is 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000X better than ALL iJUNK phns combined. just LOOK at the """""""SPECS"""""". I LOVE the 950XL and can't wait to get my phn on the 26th. while i enjoy my  OLED QUAD HD SCREEN, 20 PIX UNBELIEVABLE CAMERA WITH RGB FLASH, MICROSD SLOT, WIRELESS CHARGING, REMOVABLE BATTER, SO I CAN HAVE 1 EXTRA IN MY POCKET, RAPID TURBO CHARGING, 3400 MAH BATTERY, LIQUID COOLING, GLANCE, CONTINUUM,................and so much more that no IJUNK phns offers to this date. These phns are GREAT, and you guys should just STOP whining and boooHoooing about these GREAT phns. Last, if you guys don't support MS, like iSHEEP blindly supports CrApple,and gladly pays whatever CrApple is asking for their garbage toys, MS will not continue making flagship phns. WE ALL MUST support MS, to see some killers phns in 2016.
  • I totally agree with you ''if we don't support MS, like iSHEEP blindly supports CrApple, and gladly pays whatever CrApple is asking for their garbage toys, MS will not continue making flagship phns. WE ALL MUST support MS, to see some killers phns in 2016". I already own the L950 and i REALLY love it. no complains at all. that screen is just incredible. Weird, most pple reported not having visual voicemail, but i do. My only problem is that i don't wanna cover up my phone in any phone cover but i must if i wanna have the phone looking good for a while.
  • ...and Steve Jobs killed off the Newton for the same reasons.  When a product isn't succeeding, you either change it or kill it and start over.  I'm sure Microsoft will be a player in mobile - they've got to be. But it probably won't be with their own proprietary apps and OS. 
  • Well, thank God I live in America! Great review. I enjoyed it. However, I scanned through the written review and watched the video intently. I have to say, if Mark is producing this, you have to stop posting them or you will lose him soon!  Like your Ask Daniel videos, there are little things you pick up that are very impressive. Like when he zooms in at the right time for emphasis. You need to have an eye and ear to get that just right. 
  • Thanks! And Mark is a huge asset who has a lot of patience :P
  • Do u think att will enable visual voicemail soon?
  • Actually, it is there, but it is not consistent to enable/attain. I have yet to get it on my phone, but others in our forums do have it working.
  • But that's an ATT issue. Why is that even a part of this review? Does VVM work with T-Mo? Mention that as well, maybe?
  • Ok, this has been your best article yet imo. Just wow! Congrats, Dan! Can't wait to put my hands on mine!  
  • Are you saying VVM is an L950 problem or Windows 10 Mobile problem?  It's working fine on my L640 running 10586.11.
  • Glad that its still there since this is considered as a basic feature to phones these days. Though its maybe the carrier issue but maybe its also an unreported bug? I don't have Visual Voicemail either but I found out that my carrier doesn't actually support it yet.
  • I recently watched my first Ask Dan video and it was outstanding. The video work was indeed super, but I was really struck by the content's signal-to-noise ratio. You're really setting a bar there.
  • I was just wondering, has anyone thought of this... Get the Lumia 950/xl, which has the build that all insiders currently have, and use recovery tool, and put windows 8.1. I mean, is it possible to do it? Wouldn't it be amazing to run 8.1 in such a hi spec. Device for now, as windows 10 develops?
    Just a thought.
  • No.  Really - NO. You wanna run 8.1 on a performance comparable device just get a 2 year old 1520.  As Daniel's review said, performance is the same even with the 950's hexacore which is worrying.  The HEx chips aren't actually 6 core chips.  They have 3 'main' processors and 3 teeny tiny, slow speed, low power ones to do regular stuff without killing the battery. The Lumia 1520 has 4 high speed 2.2 (or 2.4) Ghz cores, which even though 2 years old give the same performance baring any OS and APP optiomizations.
  • Not true, the 808 and 810 can use all of their cores at the same time to increase performance and GHz can be a lie if you know anything about a CPU. Even if you disabled all but 1 core of an i7 and put it up against a P4 of the same speed, the i7 would still be faster as it can do more work per clock cycle. This doesn't take into account new features the CPU may have over the old CPU. The truth of the matter about performance in Windows 10 Mobile is that it just performs well in the first place. You won't notice the gains of the new, faster CPU in most tasks. The big game changer is the Chipset supports multiple display output that the old Chipset couldn't do. Hence, why no Continuum for the new 550.
  • I doubt you could. When you connect to the Recovery tool, it checks for the OSs that can be installed based on the device model. 8.1 won't show up for the 950s.
  • Thanks, Daniel and Mark, for the great review.  I signed up just to post this!
  • Thanks for the kind words! Yup, I like to do those cut transitions.
  • The only problem with the video and the review is that you really can't post it any place or link it to anything or anyone who's not predisposed to Windows Phone. And that's unfortunate because there really is no difference anymore in devices. None whatsoever and there are great reasons to buy Microsoft and not by Apple and not by Samsung. The only area where Apple and Samsung have Windows Phone beaten are the apps. I don't care what you think about the design or whose camera is better and by how much, the apps are the problem. The only way that problem will be solved is by selling more units. And that will not happen until Microsoft starts putting out some real hard hitting commercials out there.
  • The problem is Microsoft are caught between a rock and a hard place. As long as reviews keep slating the phone because of the app gap, people will continue to think Windows phones are inferior. The trouble is most reviews are not objective - they all too often slate the phones from head to toe, often falsely implying that the rest of the phone is substandard to everything else there too. For the 950 and XL I have read numerous reviews that tell you how good the camera is, how good everything else is etc. then they contradict themselves by concluding by saying it's a load of rubbish and way inferior to everything else due to the overstated apps issue.  
  • Andrea, I totally agree with you, Microsoft is not getting a break. But have you noticed that nobody cares? That's the problem nobody knows, nobody cares, and they know that Windows Phone cannot do Bank apps other than Wells Fargo. I'm a CPA and i can tell you people don't change banks for phone apps. I may be stupid enough to do it but most people won't especially if they know the personnel at the bank, they've built up a line of credit or a line of respect at the bank, their family has accounts high balances there, the banks are local and convenient to them, etc etc etc. My question is why are the banks not doing this given that Microsoft says they will write the software and support it? I feel there is some kind of illegal involvement here and possible restraint of trade because they're blocking out Microsoft. They're not blocking out at a company that has no influence on anything. You need to do outstanding things to break through a vicious circle and I don't believe that Nadella is up for this. I can't believe the unique position that Microsoft was in it let Apple and Android take it away from them. Apple has the innovations, but Microsoft had the business base. What did Samsung have? Google has a search engine and maps but nobody had what Microsoft had. Except Microsoft CEOs have no vision and they don't know how to fight and arrogantly think they don't have to. Well another decade and Microsoft may be taken over by Apple. I think Satya Nadella got off to a miserable start with the American people and I have no confidence in him to market this wonderful product. Apple plays as hard as Putin plays in Russia. I don't think Nadella's up to this fight. I played with a 950 and loved it. The camera was great, the design was fine, especially since it takes interchangeable batteries and an SD card that can be removed to set up another phone and save everything, if the original phone becomes DOA, the user interface I loved and all that took me 15 minutes. I know when I get this phone I will have to carry around my Note 2 for bank and a few other apps that WPM will not have. Who else would do this but us? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I know people will die for Apple in the US, but my problem is that many reviews are not even true. How many time do you read that "this is Windows Phones' last chance" and so on. You NEVER hear a review plugging a Windows phone and telling everybody that Lumia's share of the market was UP in the US in 2014 and much more so in Europe. In fact in some European countries, including Russia and Italy, Lumia phones outsold iPhones! You would never imagine that to be the case readig through 99 out of 100 reviews, it's all doom and gloom. Hello, Continuum and many other features would have been raved about if they had been first introduced by Apple or Samsung. Yet reviews refer to them as gimmicks, or of little significance. Here is a phone that matches every other top end phone technically, and surpasses most in many cases - best screen, best camera and so on, but all we hear about is the apps gap. Exactly how many aps do people need? Take away the dross from Android, the 1000+ flashlights, calculators and all that and the gap will be hardly measurable. I'm lucky that my UK bank does have a Windows app and in fact it's far slicker than either iOS or Android versions, but the take-up by others must be a concern to Microsoft. People forget though that they still have hundreds of millions of computer users in place, and if Universal apps is allowed to grow it can only improve things for Windows phons going forward.  Remember, even 1% of all smartphones sold worldwide is still millions of sales. Many businesses would die for those kind of figures. All we need is reviewers to stop sounding like a broken record and give the platform and handsets a chance. It's not as if they are vastly inferior to the rest which is why it is so frustrating. I don't want Windows phones to disappear and I don't think MS would have spent so much time and effort developing Windows 10 to work across all devices if they thought it didn't have a future.
  • Well, there are a few important issues plus the bank apps, FaceTime need to be addressed too. People don't want to give that up so Microsoft needs to do commercials showing, no matter what phones or laptops one has how Skype lets you talk to everyone, across all platforms. The fact that all Apple devices talk to each other, that's a cloud thing and commercials can show how Windows can certainly do that and better than Apple. With the investment in iTunes for music, movies, photostreams, all phones can get iTune apps but that media cannot be taken off iTunes, I believe. Those things can be addressed. The other apps will come if people get bank apps and switch. Windows is big, MS needs to show some muscle. MS also has to get Apple out of American schools or at least get more participation there. If you're in England, that doesn't matter that much to you but in a way it does because if you are talking to people in the United States and they all have FaceTime, you need FaceTime unless they switch to Skype. What Apple did with Ireland makes me sick and the same thing can happen to England. We can't let CEOs destroy us all and they'll gladly do it for the billionaires. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • finally a review from WC that is honest and not like a fan site squable. great points noted all over. big thumbs up from me :D
  • Well it was still a lot more fannish than the reviews you'll see elsewhere.  But face it, after so long, only a true fan would even take more than the briefest look at the 950/950XL. MS has blown it and I doubt this and future WM devices will do anything to reverse the % marketshare swings or encourage developers to create anything but the most necessary WUAs.
  • i have never understood people who clearly dont a product .. sending time in that products forums its a sickness ....i guess
  • AGREED.  For me, it's not the reading that's the problem.  Even if you aren't a member of the 'camp', it's good to educate yourself and check out the other players in the field.  However, for my part, I never comment in that situation.  I figure, if you're already a fan of another ecosystem, and you haven't read anything to change your mind, what good does it do?  Just smile knowing you're still right, and move on.  :-)
     
  • 1000 euro for iphone 6s is cheap???
  • just wait 3 months, the price will drop fast its not worth the premium 1st day price
  • You won't get the free dock and office 365 if you wait
  • The free dock is only from the Microsoft Store? If you buy an unlocked device from the Microsoft Store and you want to use it on AT&T, if you switch carriers to Verizon will your 950xl work with all the Verizon frequencies such as their 4G LTE because I hear that there's is different from what att has?
  • No, but lots of people won't use it so you can probably pick them up cheap on ebay. I've already seen a few go for around £50 ($75) which are obviously brand new. Expect some cheaper used bargains later on.
  • Agreed and so are iPhones except more so and I don't see any carriers in New Zealand providing a deal. Part of the problem is our $. The SP4 is more expensive that the SP3 which came out when our dollar was 80 cents US now its 65 :-(. But, even with this exchange rate the straight conversion from US price the XL which I am intending on getting when I am in the US later this year is $400 NZD more here. Really don't understand why New Zealnad gets screwed by the big companies.
  • Its because NZ (and like australia is becoming) is basically an importer.  There are very few industries that make stuff to export and so the exchange rate sucks.  Like Oz too, NZ is seen as having a great quality of life and lots of disposable income (even though we don't) and so prices are immediately set higher anyway. Combine that with the woeful exchange rates and you and me are both screwed, especially on tech and entertainment products where even when we remove the exchange rate differences we end up paying 20-30% more than our US and European friends.
  • Everyone thinks they are paying over the odds. (Except maybe the yanks) Even people in the UK think they pay more than the  rest of the Eurozone for tech and cars. Besides, no one thinks the Ozzies have high disposable income, but they do have a great way of life. You dont need as high income as the house prices are much lower. Friend of mine is looking at 300k UK pounds for poxy 2 bed apartment in Epsom. Thats 630k Australian dollars, for which in somewhere like Southport (much nicer than urban Epsom) you can get a 3 bed detached house, with double garage and swimming pool. So, with glorious sunshine, cheap housing, no one is gonna feel sorry for an Aussie having to pay a bit extra for stinkin' mobile phone :)
  • Always good to see a fellow QLD'er on the Win forums :-)
  • People in the UK DO pay more than the rest of the Eurozone for most things. Our tax rates are amongst the highest in the world, and London is the most expensive city in the world to live in. The Lumia 950 XL costs about £50 ($75) more in the UK than in the US for example, same with most things. But at the end of the day when it comes to something like phones, you pay what you can afford depending on how much you want it. Nobody is forcing anybody to spend £500 or so on a phone.  
  • Yes, our dollar is really bad against the US dollar at present :-(
  • 15/10 wpcentral
  • Sounds like a decent replacement for 1520?
  • Yes in terms of raw function, but I have to admit it is no match for the 1520's giant display, it is a step down. However, this Lumia now works with pants, so there's that :P
  • Haha good to know, "maybe" the 950xl should suffice in terms of display.
  • Yeah it looks lush, but I'm not sure there's enough going on to replace my 1520. I'd go for the XL for a bit more real estate and power. But it feels a bit like an iPhone S as opposed to a new design. I think I'll wait a bit til the price comes down (though it's reasonable atm) and stick with my 1520 a bit longer. Imaging is what I want from my phone and this looks great, but not substantially better than my 1520. Think i'd rather invest in a proper dSLR at this point. And by Daniel's "If you are on the fence and waiting for something better than the Lumia 950 I can say with confidence now that there won't be another high-end Windows phone until late next year." there's no Surface Phone coming for at least a year, so I guess that's the "new model" timescale as opposed to this S.
  • I'm with you. My 1520 is good enough, foe now. I just ordered one for my son, but I will be holding out for a while. Maybe I will discover something about it that might make me change my mind, when I set his up and play with the device before fiving it to him. I am curious, but that's about it at this point.
  • I'm in the same boat, my wife has the 1520 and my 920 is falling apart. She wants to go to an iphone because of the app situation so we're going to ugprade her to an iphone 6s plus and I'm going to take her 1520 and then I'll upgrade to the 950xl sometime early next year.
  • You ordered this for you son, sir? Please adopt me. :P
  • LOL. Yes, he turned 16 today and I told him that I would get him this phone, if he gets and maintains at least a "B" average in school. He has to maintain the "B" to keep the phone. He's been without a phone since his old WP stopped working all together.
  • Way to aim for the middle.
  • The review does sound as if you are hesitating to praise the phone fully and do not recommend it to the general public. Prove me wrong, but these reviews will down the peoples impression of Lumias.
  • Just approaching it as a customer who has the choice to buy an iPhone 6s, high-end Android, and this phone. The Lumia 950 has some strengths and even a few wins over the competition, but it has chinks in the armor too.
  • True. Then again, the OS and UI are unique and IMHO absolutely superior to what iOS (granted, have not tried the "3D" version of iOS) or Android can offer. And felt that you could have expanded a bit more on this aspect, or cover the W10M improvements a bit more - most readers here know them of course, but there may be some who just come to see the review. :) Great review overall.
  • Fully appreciate your honest review. Its stuff like this that keeps me coming back to Windows Central.
  • oh Boy, Just looked up on the verges review, The author kinda like gave the most pessimistic, crude, rather sad review of the 950.http://www.theverge.com/2015/11/20/9767266/microsoft-lumia-950-review-windows-10-continuum  
  • I watched it earlier! It was just shockingly & blatantly biased. I wouldn't even call it a review. He was so disinterested & the only some what positive comment I can remember is "the camera is 20mp and it's fine but slow" . . .  
  • While I agree with some of the points made on that review (like the annoying lack of apps!!!), frankly, they seem biased against the phone and only hammer on the bad stuff while barely mentioning the good things this phone has.  How can they give just an 8 to the camera (they gave a 10 to the inferior iPhone 6 camera for example), and not mention it even once during the review, when it's one of the strong points of Lumia phones.   The iPhone 6 got 10s on camera and display from them, when frankly even my Icon is better.  I've taken lots of pictures with both the iPhone 6 and my Lumia Icon, and the Icon is just better at those two specific points.     
  • The Verge is a pro apple shop.  Anything that doesn't have a stupid fruit logo on it is immediately rated worse, and don't EVER mention any apple flaws in their forums, unless you like your comments removed.
  • That's true sadly. And coupled with ms's shitty advertising people would never see what 950 offers, almost every hour i see iphone and s6 adds in my tv but none fir a lumia :(
  • This is one of the best reviews I have read so far. Honest and straight to the point. I got on board Windows Phone with the lunch of Lumia 920 (WP8) and dragged my entire family and a few good friends into the ecosystem. I think, I will keep my Lumia 930 for now as I just can't live with a phone not so beautiful, not so ugly! Thanks for this honest review Daniel. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • But... this is a Windows site? Who cares what anyone else thinks? Not saying to slather people over with candy coated bullshit, but that much FUD? 
  • Definitely a fair review. I wish MS was willing to sell these at cost or even at a loss to increase the number of users, thereby increasing developer involvement. They made the same mistake of pricing too high with the 'affortable flagship' L830.
  • Though I understand that this is intended as a broad as possible review I do expect some other angle from a site that is aimed at fans of Windows. I felt the review as apologetic, and as Pallav says, if us fans don't appreciate and cheer for WP, who will? I feel there's an implicit responsibilty being overshadowed by the moral need to write a "hard" review. And I know this phone isn't perfect, and W10M either, or the ecosystem, but neither are those of the competitors and their fans don't go looking at the half empty glass. Remember that the perceived opinion around a device is also a strong tool for its success, as with iPhone fans, we should learn how they are proud of their devices, as there is a lot to be proud about these two phones in particular and Windows in general.
  • True.
  • I think it is a good and honest review. Unfortunately Microsoft have made numerous BIG mistakes with WP, the latest one is to give the impression that WP is on life support with patient just pushing out one last brown dollie in the form of the 950 before expiring, sometime soon.
  • Daniel, I really like to review because it was honest end he tells us what direction Microsoft is going and that it needs to move ahead quickly to be competitive. I think it's more of a slap at Microsoft Management then the phone itself. I didn't like Steve Ballmer and I don't like Satya Nadella. Steve Ballmer was nuts and Satya Nadella doesn't seem to have a clue how to market devices to an American public that is inundated with Windows computers. I think if its done right, the American people will follow and when the American people follow the rest of the world will follow. Your biggest player in the field walked out on this country and you don't have one commercial about what they did? Is that competence? I don't think so. Is that telling prospective Windows Phone buyers about how much easier it is to use files created in Microsoft Office on a Windows Phone rather than have to make conversions with secondary programs on an Apple or an Android? I don't think Satya Nadella has a clue about the American buyer and he had no clue about American women. Windows Mobile 6 should have been the building block but those idiots at Microsoft totally walked away from a monstrous customer base and now they can't seem to find a way to get it back. I think that's what Daniel is trying to tell them. You know what the other side has, for god sakes, make it better and sell your good points through commercials and get people to look at you. I believe if they can't sell that phone here they will sell it no place.
  • I apologize for the dictation corrections. This Note 2 is on its last legs. It will not light up EDIT and the mistakes are numerous and scrolling back and making corrections is very difficult because it jumps lines on the backspacing.
  • Try the 950 instead ;)
  • Haha, I know. I went to the Microsoft Store yesterday in Boca Raton its actually a kiosk next to Bloomingdale's. I played with the 950. I think what people need to know is that it is very user friendly and within a few minutes I was able to do everything I've done on my galaxy note 2. People need to get rid of that fear of a new system because everything basically runs the same across all product lines. I love the feel of the 950 and it was quick and no delays like on my note 2 but of course this was an empty phone would gobs of memory and storage, so it should run smoothly. But the fact is that it did and it was fine. I played with the camera and took some pictures and they came out really nice, nothing like my Nikon d700 but certainly better then what I took from the Apple 6s further down the mall, with its 8 megapixel camera. I was able to create a contact in no time and as I imagined the fields were much more similar to Outlook's then what I had in my Android and the notes field was unlimited. For me that's an important feature. I opened up Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel and other than the opening screens being so tiny as I couldn't see what I was typing, it works very well without conversion. I use a swype keyboard on the Note and that worked fine too on the 950. I opened my Facebook account and I really didn't get into all the features but it seemed to work similaly to Android's. I didn't see Skype but there were people waiting so I couldn't monopolize the phone. For the things I need, the 950 and I plan to buy the 950 XL, is great and it's not Apple, Microsoft is an American company at least for the time being, and there's no conversion from other programs with respect to Excel and Microsoft Word. However both of those programs work identically on the galaxy note 2, so that advantage is less then in the days when you have to use Documents To Go to convert back and forth. I didn't really do anything with Cortana or any other programs but I was able to feel very comfortable with this phone immediately and for me that's important and more important for all the idiots who without thinking buy iPhones and hurt our economy. I believe with all the future plans of incorporating the phone with the rest of the Microsoft devices, since so many people use Microsoft for work, Windows Phone is very good place to be. I really wonder if Microsoft management is up to this marketing task. It's really there and because of the huge prominence of Windows things should be happening a lot faster. Again I wonder if Satya Nadella is the person who should be heading Microsoft. As far as the design, I think it was frat and felt good. It's a tool not the objective. It's sort of like listening to sports commentators who shove their personalties on us. I'd rather just hear the news and relevant technical issues than "My Dallas Cowboys" or "My New England Patriots." Same for the phone. I need it to do WHAT I need, there's no love affair there. The 950 feels good and works well and Microsoft is an American company and its a Windows product. That is all I care about, that and having all the apps I need. I don't need every app but certainly apps for banking and even those social apps I and many people use. For me a decent Match.com app is important and other dating apps. I use Bloomberg apps, LinkedIn, Movie Apps, MLB baseball, gas buddy and other things that are really web pages that I've added to my home screen. Give the people what they really need and make them feel patriotic about dumping a traitor and parasite like Apple. Then, if MS stock starts going up they'll switch Apple for MS in their 401Ks and lose that dependence and then we have to get Apple out of the schools and government offices by labeling then as an inverson traitor. This is doable but can Satya Nadella do it? Where is his head at?
  • Damn fine review. I tried the 950 and XL at a recent MS open house here in Denmark, also with Continuum. But totally agree with you on the Continuum assessment. Seems greatly to contradict a cloud-based approach and I honestly cannot image many scenarios where there is a screen and pherhaps mouse/keyboard but no actual PC. Still, uniqe and techy it certainly is and probably pratical in some cases maybe in a work environment. Plan on getting my hands on the XL when available here Dec 3rd, to replace my sturdy 925. Eager to start on some UWP apps after I'm done with my current universal travel app. Here's one dev that looks forward to getting into the new platform and hoping the whole ecosystem picks up. Microsoft has a history of getting onto things late but trying and trying again until finally getting there. So here's hoping.  
  • There are plenty of chinks in Samsung's armor, especially now with a lousy contacts system, lousy email and no changeable battery, a stupid move. Apple has plenty of chinks AND they totally screwed America hard, very hard. So, why the hell should Americans buy Apple or Samsung? You can't think the Apple design, which is bland on bland makes a difference? The apps quantity is the only difference but that would change in a NY minute if Satya Nadella exposes Apple and people start buying MS. I loved the 950 and had no trouble figuring out how everything works, many more things than most idiots who by Apple use.
  • He simply gave his review of the phone. Looks like you are looking for a cheerleader. 
  • I call it a balanced review. If we had perfect 10/10 reviews, then the platform would be plagued with cognitive dissonance among users, thus creating a mind control sheep think with fanboys. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I saw it as a realistic and honest approach.  If only the rest of the blogsphere/review sites would follow suit
  • Indeed! The review is well balanced and so far it really points all the pros and cons, and give a objective judgment based on that. This is what I call a tech review. This is site mainly talks about Microsoft products sure but that doesn't mean its always a cheerlead and a sheep site. If we want for Microsoft to succeed, we should be point out all the good things and bad things for them, then let Microsoft improve their offerings based on that. Lumia 950 is still a great product, its just happens that there are number of weak point that we hope they will nail it next time.
  • He should be honest - that's why we're here reading and comparing. Thumbs up Daniel and don't mind ppl as per above
  • Also they are trying to improve the OS,  The here maps doesn't work with insider preview does it work now ? Sent this to Gable yesterday   1. Support for Nolia maps., it works fine after factory reset but it performs some upgrades and then it dies 2.       Video recording with surround sound is missing in 1520, was available with 8.1 they keep adding this and bringing it back really annoys 3.       Setting for name to be called out during incoming calls. 4.       How to disable vibration for keys. found this later its hidden all the way in settings 5.       Lumia story teller doesn’t recognise all fotos in folder. it works for only some photos not for all 6.       Enable video playlist in movies and Tv app. Similar to what tubepro has 7.       In groove based on listening history create playlists of recently added songs, frequently heard, last heard 20 songs , never played songs etc . This was available in Nokia Symbian phones. 8.       Enable camera launch with locked screen. restart of the phone fixed it for me 9.       Enable change setting during video recording. should be able to tweak brightness , whitebalance , contrast 10.   Enable Rich capture editor like. Win phone 8.1. after the upgrade to latest insider preview the Lumia camera 1520 it shows 16MP but as per spec its a 20 MP http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/mobile/phone/lumia1520/specifications/    
  • To the last one, it's a 20MP sensor. In the default 16:9 aspect ratio, the resolution drops down to about 16MP. In the 4:3 aspect ratio, the resolution is about 18MP. This is the case with all phones and cameras, and was the case even in 8.1
  • Yes, Bring back surround. Lumia 930
  • I agree. The thing with Windows phone is people seem to be reluctant to praise the firsts, like Continuum for example - "who is going to use this?" - whereas if it had appeared first on iOS or Android every reviewer out there would be raving about it. It's a fantastic feature which means you don't have to spend a fortune replacing an ageing desktop for example, whem all most people really do is surf the net on it. What's the point? Well do you really want to watch those videos and surf those websites on a 5 inch screen when you can do it on a much larger one? Other comments point out that we perhaps shouldn't laud the camera so much as the rest are catching up - so it's one o the best out there, possibly THE best, but that's no big deal? If the next iPhone came out with the best camera it would be written about with a totally different attitude. This review isn't so bad overall. There are some truly absurd ones out there, such as the one on Digital Spy which absolutely slates it, with comments like: "Windows 10 for mobile is still slower, buggier and less intuitive than iOS"; "Camera enhancing apps like VSCO are nowhere to be seen";  (never heard of it, but NO mention of the long list of superb apps that ARE available), and slating the overall design like everybody else does he goes on to say, "The phone's minimalist 150g body further accentuates it's eeble, flimsy design". Total drivel, and totally unfounded - it's a few grams MORE than the S6 and 6s, and the Z5, HTC M9 and larger LG G4 are only fractianally heavier, between 4 and 7g. My point is the sad situation everywhere you look Windows phones are slated to some degree and not just for the apps. While we as fans expected better reviews of this excellent phone, the design alone has ensured that it probably has more bad reviews than any Windows phone before it - that's certainly the impression I get, as will millions of potential buyers. That's a shame because the truth is it's one of the best you can buy. My only other gripe with reviewers everywhere is berating a feature that is in beta and listing it as a downside. You KNOW that means it's a work in progress that will soon get better, and it's like saying don't cheer for a marathon runner until he's finished the course. This isn't just about me as a converted fan of Windows phones having a gripe at poor reviews, it's unfair on everybody who are missing on the chance to buy a great phone because of all the off-putting press.  
  • I love the display... Its probably why I'm just gonna put 10 on the 1520 and skip the XL all together
  • I was hoping for a significantly better device in the XL than my current 5120.  Its screen it a teeny bit too large and the XL's 5.7" would be perfect for me, but if the performance on the 950 is the same as my 2 year old 1520 then the XL isn't gonna change that anywhere near enough for me to spend over australian $1200 to upgrade.
  • Yeah, I've grown accustomed to the 1520's display. When I handled the 950XL in the MS store (before they pulled them) even that size, though larger than 950 but smaller than 1520, was a bit of a disappointment.
    Still, I'm hoping to get the XL. :-)
  • There shouldn't be any disappointment.  IMO.  I held one yesterday and I was hoping it wasn't as big as the 1520 or the 640XL.  Every new phone doesn't have to be the size of a cruise ship.  :)  If its big you want, then yes, you'll have to wait on the 950XL.  Let those who prefer a moderately sized phone be happy too.  :) BTW, great write-up yesterday on the "potential" of a Surface phone.  I was going to hold off buying the 950 for hopes of a Surface phone, but if you're thinking is accurate and you think it's going to be a large phone, then I'll have to breakdown and get the 950 now.  I really don't care too much for those undersized tablets.  :)  But that's the beauty of choice. 
  • I could fit the 1520 in my tight jeans pocket, so the pants factor isn't an issue, unless in America you have shithouse pockets in your pants.
  • Front pocket? Careful, when you least expect it, you will flex that screen beyond its limits and give your 1520 the "jitters".
  • After 1520 its hard to go back to small screen....waiting for 950Xl.
  • Yes, I am very much looking forward to the "pants" feature! Tired of l lugging this 1520 around...
  • There are a lot of.complaints I see on twitter about the plastic frame.
  • I like the plastic frame because it is lighter. If it gets damaged it can be removed and replaced.
  • Please Daniel, don't spoil Microsoft with your large phone fantasies. They are going absolutely fine, especially, Lumia 550 is a dream phone for me(in size segment). Only if the specs were a bit higher. Posted via my Samsung Galaxy S3 Neo which isn't as much abandoned as any Windows Phone on the Windows Central App for Android
  • The giant display on my 1520 just phantom touched all the time, I was over the moon to return it & get a 930.  I cant wait to get my 950 XL. My wife has a 640 XL & the display is a far better compromise size wise.  1520 is too big for dinner suit trouser and jeans pockets.
  • Lumia 950 XL is the 1520 replacement (unless you really prefer the bigger screen). 950 is more like a 930 replacement.
  • Reason why i changed to Android was the lack of good apps and that is the only reason why you should move out from Windows phone
     
  • Pocket Computer with lack of apps
  • But it is more powerful than Intel Compute Stick.
  • actually the Atom CPU in the compute stick is quite more powereful and runs x86 aplications and real windows 10 ... so no the Lumia doesn't even compare.
  • This is much better than a compute stick. Hows the camera on a compute stick? Hows the RAM? What's the resolution? Answer is 0x0.
  • 2GB RAM and the same resolution as this device when running Continuum (aka 1080p)
  • Should be a phone 1st...
  • Windows mobile is in a sad state. It makes feel like the old webOS days. An awesome OS with hardcore enthusiasts, but doomed to fail. I really hope the universal app things pans out, but how long can we keep saying "things will get better soon". It's been years!
  • Not quite that bad. WebOS literally had nothing else besides that OS. Windows 10 is so much more with Windows 10 desktop, Xbox, HoloLens, Surface, and more. The UWP has potential and all of the UWP apps I have used are not only much more powerfuly than 8.1 apps, but they also run really well. There is some hope there.
  • There is hope, yes, but that's becoming a major problem. How much longer can mobile survive on just hope, potential, and coming soon promises. I guess the positive is Microsoft seems to be in this for the long haul.
  • We need MS to say "we've been working with company X, company Y and company Z to get the apps we know you want". UWP has so much potential, but will it happen, MS know apps are the problem with Windows, so that's where they need to concentrate more than new devices.
  • Honestly ms has been working with major companies to test the new development tools for ios porting, etc. This is the big attack plan for apps. Wish it was mentioned in article because it's not uwp that will bring apps but making the developers lives easier. This is a big undertaking. Ms is collaborating with facebook and others to improve tools and even the open source community. Uwp is simply the feature that will bring more customers to ms products. But the actual apps are all in the development process. Companies would not need to hire additional resources to focus on just windows. They can simply take code already there and tweak saving them money and allowing another potential source of revenue. It's about how much you put in and how much you get back.
  • "It's about how much you put in and how much you get back​" ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yup, it's about working SMARTER, not harder.  MS will succeed sooner rather than later.
  • I agree, Microsoft should be making press releases saying that they are working with company a, b, and c to bring app x, y, and z that everyone has been hoping to get. Not, we have a new Facebook and Netflix app (which to me is more like saying "Hey, these guys are still on board")
  • Daniel agree.  The app question could make or break the phone.  I have all I need with the execption of banking apps.  I agree with UWP this should change the game as the same app could be on your phone and desktop, that alone is powerful.  I already like geeting phone and text notifications on my Surface 3 Pro, very cool.  I've been in since WP7 have tried Andriod and iOS each has strenghts and weaknesses, with WP it's the app gap.  I have yet to get Visual VM to pop up....  Nice article.
  • All banks have Web online banking. Mobile designed sites.
  • For basic banking yes but not for some features that only native apps can do. Also even Mobile sites is still clunky to use.
  • I honestly would like someone to tell me what their need is for a banmking app. I've never used one and can't see any reason to. What are you using it for?
  • You can deposit checks with many banking apps by taking a pic. Not possible through web. There you go.
  • Lots of reasons. I was out the other day and saw something I wanted to buy but didn't have enough money in my account. A few seconds later and a quick transfer from my savings account, and I did. You can also look in seconds what your balance is and what has gone in and out, essential if like myself you run a small business and need to know exactly what you have at any given time. Would you like to know a payment has bounced now or in a letter you get a week after you sent the goods? It's also by far the quickest and easiest way to make payments you have set up, or transfer funds.
  • It feels like we're going to be in a holding pattern in terms of the ecosystem for about a year or so... To my knowledge there are about 150-160 universal apps and games and while the number is going up, it's not going up at a super fast rate.  It really feels like Microsoft is banking on 3-6 months down the road when devs can really get the tooling and support they need to create UWP apps. DevCenter is down till 2016, VS2015 Update 1 doesn't come out till the end of the month and with it all the plugins to create truly universal apps.
  • Are you also able to maybe add some pictures of the phones with mozo and mention accessory providers can help make these phones look more distinct and better than the original.  And possibly talk about the app model attack plan coming from the developer tools not just the UWP system.
  • Yeah, it would be interesting to show the phone with new Mozo replacable shells on the video. Since the design of new Lumia are indeed bland, these 3rd-party options are the only savior at the moment.
  • Daniel, nice review! Regarding UWP apps, will they all work in Continuum mode though?  My understanding is that they still need to be coded to take advantage of larger displays...  Take a favourite app of mine Nextgen Reader.  Is it UWP?  And if so will it work in Continuum mode or will the devs need to update it? In general - as a developer myself - I love and appreciate the whole UWP app methodology.  The problem is I think people are getting ahead of themselves saying this is going to solve the app gap etc...  Sure it might help, but I don't see for example, Postbank (here in Germany) suddenly releasing a WP banking app simply because they can target desktop users too.  Most people on the desktop simply use the website, I don't see the benefit of an app there.  Looking at it the other way, who is going to want say a Snapchat app on their laptop?  So I don't think UWP (alone) will solve the problem.  I would love to be proven wrong though as I like WP (and the hardware) very much. Cheers!
  • I think UWP is the future. This is the way i see it, you wake up at home and you are able to turn your dumb tv into a smart tv in a bigger without buying another tv, then you are on the go with your chatting with friends on whatsapp with your phone and then you get to the office with your surface book, and still connected to your friends on whatsapp, and then you get home, get your Xbox one and when you score that spectacular goal, you just send it to your friends on whatsapp, and still receive whatsapp notifications while you're still on your Xbox. My point is though on different platforms, yet still connected. To me that's the future. I don't see why any developer wouldn't want that.
  • It is called the cloud and you have been able to do this for years now! There is nothing special about it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yeah Windows 10 apps are much better than 8 in look and functionality.
  • Microsoft has money to advertise these phones. Palm had no money, and the commercials that came out advertising those devices were poorly executed.
  • Advertising isn't exactly Microsoft's strong suit either. Remember those beta test ads lol. I would be shocked if we see commercials on TV for these phones .
  • Remember the Surface Book ads? They're good.
  • With UWP and Project Islandwood, I wouldn't completely give up hope until next Fall. If the app situation isn't loads better by then the platform has no future.
  • Design is about taste.
    ​"Non-premium plastic body" is an uninformed opinion unless the plastic used is non premium (but I do not think this is the case) The rest fo the review is nice. But the part about materials is just non professional, common people thinks plastic is non-premium, but premium plastic is far better than metal or glass, a reviewer should know it... The only real point that remains in the right column is the app selection, and that's a big point none the less.
  • Look, Samsung learned a hard lesson about plastic. I agree that it technically doesn't matter, but consumers do notice the difference in quality. Read our own forums and people's responses to it, at the very least you can say it is a mixed response. I stand by my opinion on the matter.
  • But I love the polycarbonate on my 920 a lot... Much more durable than metals, and feels right in hand except the weight.
  • The 950 defintitely feels different. I loved the polycarbonate build of the 900 and it was super durable. The 950 just has a plastic back and it is pretty flimsy when you take it off.
  • There's a difference in the polycarbonate feel of the 920 vs the polycarbonate feel of the 950. The 950 does NOT have the same quality feel of the 920. In fact it feels like the cheap hyperglaze (without the glaze) polycarbonate used in earlier Samsung phones. You'd be amazed on how much of a difference it feels between both phones. The 950 feels definitely "non-premium/cheaper" than my 920. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Agreed, I've loved all my Lumias and the polycarbonate but I also understand what Daniel means. People do think that metal and glass is more premium. Which is funny because most of those people then cover it with rubber and plastic cases to protect the fragile bodies... I'm about ready to give up on Windows Phone, I'm still on a 1020 and I've never owned a smartphone this long. The 950 is the first phone I'd consider a viable replacement but I'm not going to pay full price for it at $550+. My issue isn't the polycarbonite but the fact that it is not uni-body. So if it drops does the back of the phone ever come off? That would be a problem, before my Lumias I had an android that luckily survived drops but the phone would fall apart when I dropped it, with the back and battery going flying seperate from the phone. I do love my 1020's durability. It has made it without a case for over 2 years, no scratches and a small dent on the corner that people can't even notice thanks to the color going all the way through the plastic, and that was with falls on linoleum and cement.
  • I was just thinking the same thing. The plastic on my Galaxy S4 looks and feels cheap, but the plastic on the 920 looks and feels glamorous. So although I believe Samsung needed to fix it's plastic game, Nokia's plastic approach seemed better.
  • I was just saying that you think that plastic is non premium and put in the BAD list. Then when reading the review you explain how actually the design of the phone is much better since it makes the phone lighter and more resistant. So while I agree that the phone might not appeal