The last phones from Microsoft that were powerful enough to give high-end Android and iOS devices came out about two years back. Until now they have been keeping a low profile whilst churning out devices aimed at the value end of the market.
Today, they lifted the curtains on their latest flagships and they come with some really incredible specs.
Microsoft has launched the new Lumia 950 and 950Xl, the first Windows 10 smartphones since the new operating system was launched earlier this year.
Microsoft Lumia 950
Borne out of Microsoft's intent to offer few but highly capable smartphones for premium and mid-range buyers, Lumia 950 is a 5.2 inch phone with a WQHD display, a 20MP primary camera, a 5MP front camera, 32GB of internal storage and a microSD slot that can accommodate up to 2TB worth additional storage.
The OLED display can light up the display to show notifications and instant updates without consuming any extra battery life. The phone also holds a dedicated camera button and the camera contains 5th generation optical stabilization and low light photo-capture capabilities.
The phone will be powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 808 processor which also powers LG's G4 flagship phone. It will also feature a 3GB RAM and a 3,000 mAh removable battery.
To enable longer usage, Microsoft has also included Qualcomm's QuickCharge and new wireless charging features in Lumia 950. This capability can charge the phone up to 50 per cent in less than thirty minutes. As part of the concept of Windows 10 Continuum, the phone can be connected to all other Windows devices through its USB Type-C slot.
Microsoft Lumia 950XL
The 950Xl, as the name suggests is bigger of the newly launched duo. However, it isnt quite the proportions of the Lumia 1520, a great device with a 6-inch screen. The 950XL has a 5.7-inch display and as an elder twin by a few minutes matches its specs to that of the 950 with just a couple of differences, like resolution, display size and battery.
There were also a few terms that were thrown out during the launch, like 'tablet-class liquid cooling', a very wise decision as the 950XL rocks a Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor which is known to over-heat.
While the 950 has a double LED RGB flash, the 950 XL has a 'Triple LED RGB natural flash' - so low-light pictures will be just the ticket.
There is also optical image stabilisation on the camera and as deminstrated on stage, the camera is ablle to shoot video in 4K too.
Exactly like on the Lumia 1020, there is a dedicated camera button on the side of the phone and pictures can be stored directly on the cloud, but if you dont want that, both phones have 32GB of internal storage plus expandable storage slots.
We have been seeing more and more devices cross over to USB Type-C and the 950XL can be fast-charged from 0-50 percent in 30 minutes.
Processor wise, the 950XL rocks an octa-core processor while the one on the 950 is hexa-core and with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor.
The 950 and 950XL come packed with a new feature that allowes users to unlock their phones with just their face. They will also be adding Continuum support to connect up a mouse, keyboard, and monitor and transform the Lumia 950XL into a PC using a bespoke dock. It's a feature that turns your phone UI into one that's very similar to the Start Menu and desktop found in a real Windows 10 PC.
However, there is a fly in the ointment, only Windows 10 apps built to take advantage of Continuum will be able to use this feature.
Lumia 950 contains an HDMI port and DisplayPort, a Microsoft Display Dock and three USB ports for accessories.
The phone also contains two antennas so that you can get the strongest signal at all times no matter how you place your phone.
Several Windows 10 features like Cortana, Edge, Skype and Office client make their way to the Lumia 950. The interface of all these features remains the same and they adjust to the smaller display of the Lumia 950.
Pricing and availability
Lumia 950 will be available starting December. However we will wait for further announcement from Microsoft for the exact pre-order and release dates in UK. You will be able to buy the Lumia 950 for £360 and Lumia 950XL for around £426, although we still await pricing details from networks.
O2 have announced they will be stocking the Lumia 950 in the coming months and offering it on their O2 Refresh tariffs.
USB Type-C port accommodating up to 2TB of storageRemovable battery for longer life cycleOneDrive storageContinuum for Lumia
Brilliant camera specs