For Windows Phone fans, it has been a very interesting week in terms of spoiling Microsoft's October surprise. A new photo of one of the two new flagships leaked out on Wednesday night and quickly followed by some renders via Evleaks of both Windows 10 phones.

This morning, a third render showing Talkman (aka the 5.2-inch version) in matte white was posted on Nokibar's Weibo account giving a slightly new perspective (along with confirmation of 4 likely HAAC microphones).

Recap of the specs

Talkman (Lumia 950)

  • Matte White or black polycarbonate body
  • 5.2 inch WQHD (1440x2560) OLED display
  • Snapdragon 808, 64-bit Hexa core
  • Iris scanner (infrared) for Windows Hello
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot
  • 20MP PureView rear camera
  • 5MP Wide-angle front facing camera
  • 3000 mAh removable battery
  • Qi wireless charging with flip cover
  • USB Type-C

Cityman (Lumia 950 XL)

  • Matte White or black polycarbonate body
  • 5.7 inch WQHD (1440x2560) OLED display
  • Snapdragon 810, 64-bit Octa core
  • Iris scanner (infrared) for Windows Hello
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot
  • 20MP PureView rear camera with triple LED flash
  • 1mm silver ring inside the circumference of the black camera pod
  • Aluminum side buttons
  • 5MP Wide-angle front facing camera
  • 3300 mAh removable battery
  • Qi wireless charging integrated
  • USB Type-C

The problem with leaks

Perhaps surprisingly, the reaction of some of the die-hard fans has been less than enthusiastic. Although the specs for both of these phones are on the high end for 2015, the design for some is not as 'sexy' as some would have desired.

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The problem here is an old one. Everyone builds up in their head what the phone looks like embellishing it with their deepest desires. Then the "real" thing comes out, and it does not match their expectations.

I should caution that these renders do not show these phones in the best of light. There is a reason companies hate leaks, and that is you often see the phones as low resolution, blocky photos or renders as opposed to slick "sizzler" footage. Then again, there are cases where a phone is legitimately not good looking and is truly hideous.

Microsoft's Cityman and Talkman flagship Lumia phones and what you need to know

Personally, I do not feel that this applies to Cityman or Talkman. While I would not call the design the most stunning ala Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge they do continue a lot of the Nokia momentum for design. Microsoft is borrowing a lot from the current Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL aesthetics. As a reminder, both of those phones were not only reviewed very highly they seem to be selling well too.

I will say I do find the designs very conservative. No bold colors (the blue color is only for prototypes and won't be for retail), no eccentric materials or variances from engineering standards. While the 5.7-inch Cityman is slightly thinner than the Lumia 640 XL it does not scream radical innovation. From that perspective, I do find it rather anti-climatic.

Like many others, I would prefer a larger, updated Lumia 925 design. Samsung, HTC, and Apple have all gone towards metal. Microsoft (carrying over from Nokia) is going all polycarbonate. While the phones should be lighter, have swappable batteries and be much more resilient I fear that it is the wrong choice for going into 2016.

Microsoft is going towards metal with the alleged 'Surface phone' in what will be the first Microsoft-designed device. However, I do not expect that phone until May 2016. Not much is known about that device, including if it is a "flagship" with all super high-end specs. Once again, caution is needed.

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However, toning it down may be the best way to reach out to new customers so long as the design flows and feels good. Apple's iPhone design is far from radical or wild. They are, however, very well built with exceptional levels of detail.

Consumers do not tolerate gimmicky designs for phones. The one recent exception is Samsung's curved Edge displays, which are resonating with buyers these days.

The important aspects I see of Cityman and Talkman include:

  • Relatively thin: 9mm for Talkman; 8.6mm for Cityman; iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6, however, are nearly 3mm thinner albeit with non-removable batteries
  • Light weight: From our first-hand reports and due to the use of polycarbonate these are likely to be very light, like the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL
  • High-end specs: Sure, some Android handsets may sport some crazier specs for Windows 10 Mobile these should do very well. Toss in 3000+ mAh batteries and Windows Phone users should still get a lot of usages. Let's also not forget about the iris scanner for Windows Hello.

Poll time

Ironically, in reading non-enthusiast sites, comments from readers have been very positive with the usual oohs and ahhs signaling that Windows Phone fans may be jumping the gun. From my experience in covering leaks, especially Nokia ones, this is not uncommon. We see leaks, people hate them and then change their minds when the see real photos and the phones in real life (or at least in hands-on videos).

Will that be the case here? Time will tell. For now, we will let you take a vote on what you think (so far) of both phones. Are these phones going to be enough for Microsoft and Windows 10? Sound off in comments.

Note: if you are using our app, simply navigate to and take the poll in Internet Explorer.