Microsoft's New Lumia 950 and 950 XL are Windows 10-Chomping Smartphone Monsters

By Mario Aguilar on at

Today we’re getting our first look at Microsoft’s first Windows 10 Lumia smartphones. The first real attempt by Microsoft to build on the proud, if somewhat under-accomplished tradition of Nokia Windows Phones.

As with most companies these days, Microsoft is serving up two different versions of its new flagship phones. There are two different versions of the phone. Big and little. In the the US, the 950 starts at $550, the 950 XL starts at $650.

Here’s the rundown on the regular 950:

  • Display: 5.2-inch WQHD OLED (564 PPI)
  • Processor: Snapdragon 808, hexacore, 64-bit
  • Storage: 32GB internal, microSD card slot
  • Memory: 3GB of RAM
  • Cameras: 20MP PureView on the rear, with optical image stabilisation; 5MP wide angle (front)
  • Battery: 3000mAh (removable)
  • Extras: USB Type-C

Annnnnd, of course the 950 XL has XXL specs:

  • Display: 5.7-inch WQHD OLED (518 PPI)
  • Processor: Snapdragon 810, octacore, 64-bit
  • Storage: 32GB internal, microSD card slot
  • Memory: 3GB of RAM
  • Cameras: 20MP PureView on the rear, with optical image stabilisation; 5MP wide angle (front)
  • Battery: 3340mAh (removable)
  • Extras: USB Type-C

Microsoft's New Lumia 950 and 950 XL Are Windows 10-Chomping Smartphone Monsters

What can we conclude from this? Well from the looks at it, these are flagship phones on par with the most powerful handsets you’re going to see from the top phones from Samsung, and Google’s Nexus phones. The displays are the same and so are the chipsets. Like other leaders, Microsoft’s adopted the USB Type-C connector.

In Nokia phones, the PureView cameras were a real differentiation. The technology was so good that it made phones running the vastly inferior Windows Phone platform competitive. Microsoft is retaining its focus here with a dedicated camera button.

So in case it wasn’t obvious, the important question here is whether Windows 10 works as a smartphone platform. Microsoft has been the first to truly embrace the convergence mobile and desktop operating systems.

Microsoft's New Lumia 950 and 950 XL  Are Windows 10-Chomping Smartphone Monsters

During the demos today, Microsoft took pains to emphasise the strengths of its ecosystem, including universal Office apps. Do you want to use your phone to power a PowerPoint deck or a Word file on a huge Display? Don’t you?!?! Have you ever wanted anything more in your life? Well you can!

Additionally, the company pointed several times to Windows 10’s deep integration with services like the Outlook mail client, and OneDrive.

All of this is very impressive, but it’s important to note behind the whizzbang keynote is that with the exception of universal apps, a lot of this has been possible for sometime. Phones have been powerful for a long time! You can use them to power displays. This is not new. But Microsoft’s implementation—for all its clumsy wires—certainly looks exciting.