Review: Microsoft Lumia 950
Microsoft Lumia 950 gets sold in a surprisingly big box with lot of unused space. Microsoft needed to differentiate itself from Samsung or iPhone who both sell in small and handy boxes, so why not like this. Inside, you immediately find the phone and necessary USB-C charger, USB-C cable and the manual.
Getting a new smartphone on the already saturated smartphones market is not an easy task. However, Microsoft did a pretty good job delivering a solid smartphone that feels good in your hand and also in the pocket. The 8 mm depth and weight of 150 grams surely help.
The tested version had a white back cover and its contrast with the a black front were visually pleasing. Good thing is that Microsoft didn’t use any gilding on the sides which would mean that it comes off under stress (use or fall) sooner or later and will look aesthetically bad. Buttons to control basic functions and the camera are easily accessible with your thumb on the right side of the phone.
The 5.2’’ AMOLED display makes it easy to look at with always sharp text and images which is important because the display is big enough to fit lot of content. After you turn on the phone, you get positively surprised by the smooth Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels which goes very well with the display size. What is more, if you are in the sun, the ClearBlack polarizations filter ensures good visibility.
The phone is well rounded with a top of the market 20 MPx camera with optical stabilization and 3-diodes LED flashlight. The pictures are top quality and the phone makes them really fast even in darker or night environment, which is not so common with other producers. You can make 4K videos, however the recording isn’t always stable and app hangs or restarts on its own.
Opening the back cover to access the battery and entering the nano-SIM card or the microSD card is not that intuitive, but after a bit of exploring you will get it. The exceptionally big capacity battery (3000 mAh) battery is exchangeable, which comes very handy after couple of years of use. The smartphone offers 32GB of storage with expansion of up to 200GB with the microSD cards. Lumia 950 uses the USB-C type of charger which charges this phone especially quickly – from 0 to 10% in about 5 minutes. The battery is completely restored in about 100 minutes. The only drawback is that while doing more processor demanding tasks or charging, the battery gets quite hot and it makes the phone difficult to hold.
Lumia 950 is the first Microsoft’s flagship model carrying the newest Windows 10 Mobile. It has its strong points, but quirks as well. Sometimes it feels like you are just using a beta version and it will be OK, because soon enough you finally get a properly working operating system for your top notch smartphone.
On the upside, Windows 10 Mobile brings revolutionary change in design, support of new hardware and some of really innovative functions, like passwordless unlocking with Windows Hello. The design of the home screen is made out of tiles with different sizes that you can adjust based on your preference – color, pictures, etc. Like with the other smartphones, the tiles are dedicated to the apps themselves or for widgets like weather, news or social. The drawback is that most of the settings got moved to the top edge of the display which is very hard to control with just one hand. Of course it is up to the user to adjust the preferences and move things around.
One thing that was hard to get used to was that some of the apps like Mailbox or Calendar have control bars both on the top and the bottom of the screen, some of them like Xbox or Windows Store have it on top and other like People or Sending messages on the bottom. This may take a little time to get used to, but habit is formed by repetition.
The settings allocation is a typical Windows, with logical categories and if you are not sure where to find what, just use the search bar. The search bar comes also handy if you are looking for specific apps, that are categorized by the first letter in their name.
The apps I used most were the camera, gallery, Edge, calendar and news. All the apps were fast to load and performed all the actions as expected. The upside is pre installed Microsoft Office suite including Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Edge browser provides quite good performance, with the only quirk being a disconnecting WiFi that takes a bit of getting used to.
All in all, Microsoft Lumia 950 is a very solid phone in regards to hardware with next generation Windows Mobile operating system that needs some more time to mature and get rid of all the quirks.
- Exceptional display
- Soft HD resolution
- Great hardware
- Quality camera with very fast reactions
- Windows Hello for passwordless unlocking
- Separate button for photo taking
- Operating system with UX quirks
- Disconnecting WiFi
- Warming up while charging or recording 4K video
- Limited number of apps in Windows Store
Disclaimer: This review was written by Marian Kret and the smartphone was given to GlobalTechBox.com by Microsoft Switzerland. If you are interested in reviewing this smartphone or future gadgets, please send an email to email@example.com.