Microsoft Lumia 950 XL: Test and Review

Microsoft launched the Lumia 950 XL and its little brother the Lumia 950 to embody the new era driven by Windows 10 Mobile. The 950 XL is the larger of the two with a 5.7 inch screen diagonal but ultimately offers little specific functions. Microsoft has nevertheless provided a high-end configuration with a high-definition display, an octuple-heart processor and a 20 megapixel sensor.

OS not yet up

Windows 10 Mobile has the merit of offering a different approach compared to Android and iOS. And it is easy to handle. He suffers from the same defect as its predecessor Windows Phone 8, namely the lack of applications. Its “app store” is much less crowded than those of Android and iOS, developers are reluctant to give priority to the Microsoft OS. Things could change with universal applications meant to run on both the mobile version of Windows Desktop version 10. This offers developers a potentially wider audience and should theoretically encourage them to bring their applications a little faster.

Apart from this lack of applications, the Lumia 950 XL is a phone quite correct. The Windows Phone users who want to spend on a new terminal without changing the Windows OS will find here the most powerful smartphone of the moment. But Windows 10 Mobile still has much progress to make to become a real alternative to Android and iOS. The Lumia 950 XL is sold at 699 euros naked.

Compared to the Lumia 950, the XL is a little larger: 152 x 78.4 x 73.2 mm against 145 mm. This size difference appears clearly when one tries to use the thumb as this smartphone is not made to be used with one hand. If you want a Windows Phone more compact, opt for the Lumia 950.

Both models are very similar in design, with a rear shell removable plastic. The main difference is strapping around the camera: silver and black for the 950 on the 950 XL. Overall, the aesthetic does not excite lovers of high-tech gadgets. For those who prefer the style, turn to a model like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge with its curved screen and metal finish.

Under the hull, we find a player that accepts micro SD cards up to a capacity of 200 GB. The battery is removable and recharges via USB Type-C.

The display

The Lumia 950 and XL 950 has a screen that offers the very definition of 2560 x 1440 pixels. That of the Lumia 950 XL is larger, its resolution (display density) is thereby logically lower: 513 pixels per inch against 564 pixels per inch for the Lumia 950. But this difference is not noticeable to not really naked eye.

Very bright, the Lumia 950 XL’s screen offers a beautiful view photos and high definition videos. The blacks are deep and provide good contrast. The diagonal of 5.7 inches helps to make more immersive viewing. Overall, the screens of both models are quite excellent for everyday use.

The camera

The image sensor is the same on the 950 and 950 XL: 20 megapixels with a 26mm lens with an f / 1.9. Photos are excellent with bright colors, a balanced exposure and little noise on pictures taken in low light. He filmed in Ultra HD videos and prove clear and precise reading. The front camera of 5 megapixels takes self portraits quite suitable for publications on social networks.

Windows 10 Mobile for everyone

The Lumia 950 Lumia 950 XL as both turn on Windows Mobile 10 and there is no difference between the two. The both of them have the Continuum function to connect to a monitor, keyboard and mouse for use as a PC. For this, one can use a wireless HDMI adapter (to connect to the monitor) to establish a wireless link or buy the docking station is available in option. Continuum enables the use of conventional applications such as Word, e-mail or a Web browser like on a real computer.

Theoretically, this system allows you to work with office tasks when you are at your desk and can continue to edit the same document when you are on the go. Continuum works very well with the Lumia 950 XL.

One of our confreres eLaptopComputer, Nic Healey has enjoyed: “I was very impressed with the combination of function with Continuum Home Display Dock The next step is to go more. away and completely replace my PC for a while to see how it goes in the long run.

However, our colleague Jessica Dolcourt which tested the Lumia 950 is the function Continuum knows some bugs including several restarts nuisance in use. Its installation has also proved more complicated and Jessica felt that the service needed to improve before becoming really useful.

The Lumia 950 XL has a Snapdragon processor 810 octuple-heart a little more efficient than the Snapdragon 808 Lumia 950. Both smartphones feature 3 GB of memory (RAM). Navigating the interface is fluid. We tried the game “Riptide GP 2” that turned smoothly.


Is the XL battery more powerful than the 950? Not really. It is hardly more powerful (3340 mAh against 3000 mAh) and this gap is absorbed by the consumption of the largest and therefore most energy screen. On our video playback test loop, the Lumia 950 XL takes 11 hours, which is about average. The 950 displays a similar autonomy. In the end, you should be able to hold a full day without too much difficulty, provided you do not abuse the video games and the maximum brightness.

Which one to choose?

Both models are so similar in their configuration that the choice is based primarily on the use you intend. If you enjoy playing, watching movies and photos, while the Lumia XL screen is designated. If instead you want a compact phone that fits in your pocket, go for the Lumia 950.

Must choose a Windows smartphone?

It’s finally “The” big question. Unless you’re a fan of Windows, the use of a mobile on Android and iOS is still for the moment, more satisfying. The lack of interest from developers for Windows penalizes the offer in terms of applications. Continuum is a great idea, but the concept needs to be improved.

What alternatives?

For the price of the Lumia 950 XL, there are excellent high-end Android smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge offers a much more attractive design, great picture and excellent performance device, all for a lower price. The LG G4 is equally luxurious with its back cover made of genuine leather, it also has an excellent camera and also costs less than the XL.