Microsoft Lumia 950 XL first impressions and unboxing

It has been a whirlwind day here at Windows Central HQ as our dual-SIM, and unlocked Lumia 950 XL arrived this afternoon. Also, we also had a few Mozo leather backplates arrive as well for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL.

First things first so here is our video unboxing and hands-on of the Lumia 950 XL. Following in a little bit will be our first look at those Mozo cases, which we have in white, black and brown variants.

Lumia 950 XL Specs

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CategoryLumia 950 XL
Operating SystemWindows 10 Mobile build 10586
Display5.7 inches (1440x2560) OLED with ClearBlack
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 810 at 2.0 GHz
Rear Camera20MP F/1.9, OIS
Rear FlashTriple LED
Front Camera5MP
ConnectorUSB Type-C
BiometricsIris scanner
Internal Storage32GB (29GB available)
External Storagemicro SD
Battery3340mAh removable
ChargingQi wireless, USB Type-C, Quick Charge
Dimensions8.1 x 151.9 x 78.4 mm
Weight5.82 ounces (165 grams)

Thoughts of the XL

We'll do a more thorough mini-review of the XL early next week after we had some time to use it. For now, I'll share with you some quick observations.

  • While the XL is big, it is still significantly smaller than the Lumia 1520
  • It is dual nano SIM
  • In terms of speed, for everyday apps and the OS I can't say it feels dramatically different, but there is a tiny bump (1.8 Ghz vs. 2.0 GHz and two extra cores for the XL); We have not yet tried Continuum, yet, but that is one area we expect to see a performance difference
  • However, there is a significant improvement when processing Rich Capture and Dynamic Flash images. Sometimes our XL would beat the Lumia 950 by an extra 5 seconds or more. This is only for processing as both phones can launch and shoot rapidly, which is what matters
  • Windows Hello is a smidge faster, but still as quirky
  • The Lumia 950 XL is by default three columns and is at 350% for the display; You can toggle to 4 columns without knocking down the text display size (see our how-to guide for more)
  • Like the Lumia 950 the 950 XL is still not as oleophobic as I'd prefer (so, smudges)
  • Like the Lumia 950 under heavy load the XL can get warm; However, it feels distributed and not concentrated like on a Lumia 920 or Lumia 1520. I cannot say it ever felt hot.
  • There were 39 app updates needed through the Store
  • Build 10586.0
  • Verizon SIM did not work at all for anything
  • AT&T LTE works just fine; There does not appear to be support for HD Voice or Wi-Fi calling
  • There is 29.1GB of available storage after app updates
  • The new button arrangement is odd, but not terrible and feels like something that you can adjust to in a few minutes of usage

Other than the above the Lumia 950 XL is what you would expect: a slightly larger Lumia 950. That includes all the same pros and cons from our in-depth review of the Lumia 950.

One question some users have is Can you turn off SIM 2 from showing in the status bar? As of now, we have not found a way, which is a bit of an eye-sore. Hopefully, Microsoft will add an ability to make the phone feel like a single SIM for those who have no intention of using the second slot.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL forums at Windows Central

Want to talk more about the Lumia 950 XL? Jump into our forums where many people are sharing their experiences and findings. If you have a question, there is a good chance you can get it answered there.

Order page for the Lumia 950 XL from Microsoft

Did you get your Lumia 950 XL in today? Let us know in comments your experience so far!

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Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.