Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: Phone that works like a PC

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Published: March 3, 2016 12:03:38 AM

Lumia 950 XL is a great phone for enterprise customers and diehard Windows Phone fans

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is undoubtedly the most important smartphone for the company. It is one of the first devices based on CEO Satya Nadella’s vision of offering only six devices catering to three different set of users. Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is the flagship that will either lead Windows 10 Mobile to new great or will kill its identity totally. It builds on the legacy left behind by Windows mobile but with the aesthetics from Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL shows that it wants to be in the big league. It clearly defines that even with significantly smaller market share, this phone is only meant for enterprise customers and diehard Windows Phone fans. Isn’t it meant for general consumer? Let’s figure that out in our review.

What is good?

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is a huge device with really small but wide footprint. It’s actually as wide and as tall as Sony’s Xperia Z5 flagship which has a smaller display. While many have criticised Lumia 950 XL’s plastic body, I did end up liking it. The reason being we don’t really see plastic molded flagship smartphones anymore. In fact, Lumia 950 XL has better build than Google’s Nexus 5X and those plastics don’t make any creaking noises.

I kept calling this device Nokia Lumia most of the time. Maybe I am habituated to Nokia branding but this
Microsoft branded Lumia 950 XL flagship builds on all the goodness of Nokia we have known for years. One such area is the camera, the Lumia 950 XL’s camera alone puts it in the league of Samsung’s Galaxy, Google’s impeccable Nexus 6P and dependable iPhones of this world. The 20 MP Pureview image sensor tends to behave like a digital camera than a smartphone camera which is pretty good.

I must admit that Lumia 950 XL’s camera is not as easy to use as an iPhone’s camera but if you have time to compose your image, the result would be well beyond imagination. Undoubtedly the USP of this camera has to be its manual mode. Sliding the shutter button from right reveals full manual controls with ability to set ISO, exposure time, white balance, brightness and even focus mode. If manual photography is your thing then this camera will comfort you more than anything else.

There is one thing to please any type of audience, that’s battery life. The Lumia 950 XL comes with relatively big 3340mAh battery that is user replaceable. On Lumia 950 XL, there is one neat trick called Continuum. Continuum is a way of beaming your smartphone contents to a large screen but here it goes well beyond traditional casting. With Continuum, Lumia 950 XL users can connect their phone to second display via wired Display Dock or wirelessly via dongle.

One more advantage for Lumia 950 XL would be its integration with enterprise services. It can connect to your workplace email out of the box and IT admins can configure the device for using first party apps. And then there is the brilliant Cortana. Now she can check for LinkedIn profiles of people you are meeting.

What’s not good?

Even after so many years, the disappointment with Lumia 950 XL remains the app gap. Some of the most used apps on Android and iOS are not there yet. It is not just those missing apps, even the available apps behave strange at times. Facebook is there but it’s nowhere close to its Android or iOS counterpart.

Should you buy?

This is a great phone if you work in the enterprise segment and if your company supports Microsoft services like Skype for Business, Dynamics CRM etc. If you are any other kind of a consumer, it is better to steer clear of this device.

* Display: 5.2-inch WQHD AMOLED display
* Processor: Snapdragon 810 processor
* Operating system: Windows 10 Mobile with Continuum support
* Memory & storage: 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage space (expandable to 64 GB)
* Camera: 20 MP (rear); 5 MP front camera
* Battery: 3340 mAh battery
** Estimated street price: Rs 49,399

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