What’s better than a new Windows 10 Lumia handset? Two new Windows 10 Lumia handsets, of course.
Yes, Microsoft has announced its first fully featured flagships to have dropped the Nokia branding and to be carrying Windows 10, in the shape of the 950 and 950XL.
But will they have what it takes to tear you away from your Apple iPhone 6s or Samsung Galaxy S6? And, apart from two letters and a bigger screen, what’s the difference between the two devices? Read on for all the details you need.
Let’s start with the big one: we might not have a Surface Phone (yet) but the 950XL is a corker of a carryaround all the same.
On specs alone, the XL has the smarts to do battle with the likes of the Nexus 6P. Running an octa-core Snapdragon 810 and 3GB of RAM inside its polycarbonate body, it should have no trouble zipping through Windows 10.
And, with a whopping 3340mAh battery inside, it should be able to do so for quite some time. The best news? That juice pack is removeable, meaning a discharged XL a few years down the line won't have to be a dead one.
What’s more, Microsoft’s new cross-platform UI should look pretty stunning on the 950XL’s 5.7in QuadHD OLED display - that’s 518ppi, pixel fans. Both 950s are pretty bezel-heavy, but the XL’s added screen real-estate makes it easier to forget.
On the rear, you’ll find a 6P-like bump to make space for the 950XL’s tantalising 20MP PureView-equipped camera - complete with optical image stabilisation and triple flash for fully-lit fun. Rather spend time looking at yourself than at the world around you? A 5MP front-facer makes the latest Lumia a bona-fide selfie supremo.
Even better, you shouldn’t need to worry about running out of space for your snaps: the XL comes with 32GB of internal storage, as well as microSD expandability for insatiable media hoarders.
And when the fun stops, you won’t need to pause for long: the XL’s USB type-C port means rapid charging, as well as making reversible connectors a reality. Find cables a bit boring? Us too, which is why we’re extra glad that the 950XL packs Qi wireless charging capabilities.
For those looking for superior security, the 950XL’s neatest trick is Iris recognition, making pin codes and passwords a thing of the past. Only time will tell whether this is as usable as the fingerprint scanners on the likes of the Galaxy S6, iPhone 6S and Nexus 6P, but it certainly sounds cool.
Finally, Microsoft has even spared a thought for fatter-fingered phone fans by making the XL compatible with the Surface Pen smart stylus that was previously the preserve of Surface tablets.
In a clear move away from the mid-range, the Microsoft Lumia 950XL is available to order for US$649 in black or white.
The 950XL’s little brother might be a display downsize, carrying a smaller 5.2in Quad HD screen to the XL’s 5.7in, but it’s no dozy device.
Packing a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 chip (just like the speedy LG G4) and the same 3GB of RAM as the XL, the 950 should find it just as easy to surf through the boxy interface of Windows 10.
And don’t go thinking the performance has taken a hit: the 950’s slightly smaller 3000mAh pack should still be sufficiently spacious to keep it snapping 20MP shots for hours.
Oh, we didn’t mention? Yep, the 950 and 950XL have identical camera kit, making the smaller sibling a more pocketable photography powerhouse, also complete with 32GB of internal storage and microSD memory capabilities.
Nor do the similarities stop there: the standard 950 carries wireless charging, iris recognition and USB type-C.
As for the polycarbonate shell of both phones, while it doesn’t immediately hint at premium phone PR, it might just mean the latest Lumias retain the rugged robustness for which Nokia devices were famed.
There isn’t, then, too much between the two new Lumias, besides half an inch on the screen and two cores on the chip. Both run Windows 10 (the first Microsoft mobile hardware to do so) and integrate impressive imaging abilities into their relatively portable bodies.
Tempted by the smaller 950? You can pick up a 32GB model for US$549.