Clash of the titans: Lumia 950 XL versus Nexus 6P

If you're looking for a phone to go spec-for-spec with the Lumia 950 XL, you could do worse than Google's Huawei Nexus 6P. They're both at the top of their class, physically and internally, so much so you might be seeing déjà vu for a bit when you run down the spec sheets.

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CategoryLumia 950 XLNexus 6P
OSWindows 10 MobileAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Screen Size5.7 inches5.7 inches
Screen Resolution1440x2560 (564ppi)1440x2560 (564ppi)
ProcessorSnapdragon 810 64-bit octa-coreSnapdragon 810 64-bit octa-core
Internal Storage32GB32GB/64GB/128GB
External StoragemicroSD
SecurityWindows Hello iris scannerNexus Imprint fingerprint scanner
Rear Camera20MP ƒ/1.9 PureView camera, triple-LED flash12.3MP ƒ/2.0 camera, dual-LED flash
Front Camera5MP, wide-angle lens8MP ƒ/2.4
Battery3340mAh removable3450mAh non-removable
ChargingQi wireless, USB Type-C port, Quick ChargeUSB Type-C port, Quick Charge

While the comparisons with the iPhone 6s Plus might seem unfair (though that could be framed as a question of raw power versus efficiency), the Lumia 950 XL pitted against the Nexus 6P seems like as fair of a fight as there has ever been. They come to the table with screens of the same size, resolution, and type, the same processor and amount of RAM driving things behind the scenes. Heck, they even have the same base storage space, though if you want more on the Nexus you'll have to buy the higher-capacity version instead of just throwing in a microSD card.

That's where the comparisons start to diverge. Where the Nexus line has always been Google's definition of what an Android device ought be like, Microsoft's top-end Lumias are about more than just setting an example for their manufacturing partners and impressing the fanboys. Lumias have always had incredible cameras, and while we have little reason to doubt that the 20MP shooter on the 950 XL will impress, Nexus phones have consistently been a let down in the imagery department. Google says things will be different this time, but they said that last time and the time before that too.

On the software front there are obvious differences — Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Windows 10 Mobile are both the clearest visions yet of the future of mobile computing from their developers. On could argue that Microsoft's ahead of the curve here with features like support for Continuum docking. It's a thing that Android manufacturers have toyed with in the past, but it looks like hardware and software have finally caught up to the dream and it's up to Microsoft to execute on it all.

Nexus phones have never been huge sellers, at least in comparison to the rest of the expansive Android universe. But they typically help to set the trend for what to expect from Android for the coming year, as well as offering a look at the future of Android software. And in that we can look at the Nexus 6P as a bellweather for what Android competition the Lumia 950 XL will face in the months ahead, and things have never been as evenly-matched as they are now.

For the rest of our NYC #Windows10Devices coverage head here:

  • Lumia 950
  • Lumia 950 XL
  • Surface Pro 4
  • Surface Book
  • Microsoft Band 2
Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.