It is clear that to let, nay, aggressively in the smartphone market top of the range the Lumia 950 XL, Microsoft had to bet much on its flagships, with software and hardware features that have always characterized Windows on one side and the other is from Office Lumia range and camera sharing, to try to establish itself in a market increasingly dominated by Android and iOS.
The aluminum seems not like at home: in fact, it has the same 950 Lumia XL reinforced plastic shell of its predecessors, with interchangeable cover, but nevertheless have a sophisticated and refined design.
The dimensions are contained at most for a phablet with 5.7-inch display “: 78.4 x 8.1 x 151.9 mm thick, in only 165 grams – which incidentally is well distributed over the entire surface.
The only hardware keys are placed on the right side and are four: volume rocker, camera and power on/off, and placed instead at about 3/5 of the display. The location is not optimal position: it happened more than once by accidentally pressing the volume rocker before we hand.
Complete the design an impressive circle at the back, where the camera with flash, a USB-C 3.5 mm jack at the bottom and at the top.
Quad HD display with Gorilla Glass 4
The display of Lumia 950 XL features a beautiful AMOLED Panel with 5.7-inch ClearBlack WQHD (2560 x 1400 pixels), TrueColor with depth to 24 bit and 518 ppi. The touchscreen is responsive to the use of nails and gloves.
ClearBlack technology, you can enable the ability to selectively turning on pixels, then some information like time and standby screen too notifications (glance).
The brightness is not the best: even at 100% is much less visible than other top of the line like iPhone 6S and LG G4. However, if you set the Auto mode, the actual brightness increases about twice and the contrast ratio offers a colour rendition and a definition that is unprecedented on Lumia.
Much quality hardware
Microsoft has exceeded: there is a very complete and powerful hardware on XL 950 Lumia. It starts with a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC MSM8994 810 with octa-core CPU: 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 four core and four-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57, assisted by a GPU Adreno 430, 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB storage expandable via microSD up to 200 GB and 15 GB Skydrive cloud offering for free.
The sensor compartment is complete: ambient lighting, accelerometer, proximity, barometer, gyroscope, magnetometer and SensorCore, the latter a hardware/software package developed by Nokia in cooperation with Qualcomm, which is to better convey the sensors with the APIs available to developers (already present on Lumia 635, 830 and 930 Lumia Lumia).
The hardware works perfectly: the phone is fluid when opening apps, while recording video, using Continuum and even in multitasking.
Triple room with LED flash and 4 k video
The real killer-feature of this phablet is the camera: the rear has a 20 Megapixel sensor great 1/2.4 “with autofocus and capture key 6 objective lenses, digital zoom, biphasic, OIS (optical image stabilization), oversampling of the image focal opening f/1.9 and 26 mm focal length.
Lumia 950 XL can take macro photos up to 10 cm away from the subject and the natural flash is awesome: it is a triple LED flash which provides adjustment of illumination in post production directly in the photos app. In this way, by setting the automatic flash, the camera takes with the flash in most situations and you can decide to rear a level subject focus: more is focused, the more evident the flash illumination.
The front camera features a 5 MP camera with Full HD wide angle sensor focal f/2.4 aperture, and offers very good shots, with low noise and excellent image contrast, even in low-light conditions.
The videos are shot in 4 k from the camera back and in Full HD from the front, both at 30 frames per second: with the first, the details have been determined and brilliant frames even in low-light conditions, the autofocus is continuous, but not imperceptible as on iPhone 6S, LG G4, Galaxy 5 Galaxy and S6 Edge (Plus).
In any case, the four microphones available to create room-filling sound even under high ambient noise, the merits of technology Lumia Rich Recording: it has the feel of a movie, with just a smartphone.
Lumia 950 XL is ready for 2016: USB-C 3.1, 4.1 Bluetooth, Wi-Fi ac (even Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output, to increase the parallelism of data transfer), NFC, calls over Wi-Fi and even support for wireless connection with external monitors – no, Continuum is something else. And then there’s peer-to-peer and its support to LTE networks by category 6, with download speed up to 300 Mbps and upload speed of up to 50 Mbps.
Lumia 950 and 950 XL are the first smartphone with Windows preinstalled 10, thus inaugurating the new season Microsoft operating system convergence: the same identical functions and interfaces on different devices.
It has long talked about Windows 10 and news that introduces are many, but it need not be repeated: the most important aspect to be analyzed, and what could really change the overall rating of this Lumia 950 XL, is the app ecosystem.
The Store has grown over time and now offers more categories, more choice and a view that is closest to that of the AppStore and Play Store. The point is that apps continue to not be or, worse still, are there but have half the features of counterparties on iOS and Android. A simple example is Instagram, which is still in BETA and doesn’t allow you to post photos with new formats, but only 1:1. Or Evernote, which still has the same interface as last year and does not support handwriting. Or even Facebook, which gives synchronization errors with the book and with notifications. Not to mention Waze, which remained two years ago when charts updates on iOS and Android was completely redesigned. Not to mention the myriad of unofficial apps that after a while, naturally, end their platform support to which you link.
There is so much to talk about, – unfortunately – to criticize, but it’s not the fault of Microsoft. Or rather, in Redmond are trying to produce a tool that automatically convert the source code to app for iOS and Android app for Windows Mobile 10. Will be released in the coming months. At that point the difference compared to the past should show up, also because the hardware of this top of the range is ready to run Instagram, Evernote and all those apps that now only work fairly smoothly and fast.