Tech: Microsoft launches Lumia 950 and 950 XL with Windows 10

Designed for working professionals, Microsoft brings the best of Windows 10 and biometric technology to the just-launched Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL

Microsoft on Monday unveiled its first two Lumia devices — Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL — with Windows 10 OS. Targetted mostly at working professionals, both devices come with Iris recognition technology, and are priced at Rs 43,699 and Rs 49,399, respectively.

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What we like

Hardware and specs: Both devices impress, and from our first-hand preview, we found that they pose a challenge for its competitors. The Lumia 950 runs on 64-bit Qualcomm 808 SoC with hexagcore CPUs, features a 5-inch quadHD AMOLED display (2560x1440 with a pixel density of 564ppi), and is powered by a replaceable 3,000mAH battery (another plus), which Microsoft claims should give 10 hours of 1080p video playback.

The 950 XL on the other hand sports a larger 5.7-inch quad HD AMOLED display (pixel density of 518ppi) and a faster 64-bit Qualcomm 810 SoC with octa-core CPUS. The device gets a slightly powerful replaceable 3340 mAH battery, which should give 11 hours of 1080p video playback.

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The rest of the specs are similar in both devices. They get 3GB RAM and 32GB built-in storage – which is expandable up to 200GB (theoretical). As for connectivity, both are dual-SIM phones and support 2G, 3G as well as 4G LTE, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac bands and Bluetooth 4.1. For USB, it uses a type-C port.

Cameras: The cameras are same, at 5MP (front) and 20MP (rear), and our first-hand experience showed both to be of good quality. Users would love the experience. The rear camera can record 4K videos.

Wireless and fast charging: Both devices also come with wireless as well as fast charging (can power to 50% in 30 minutes). Though both use polycarbonate casing, they look premium, and feel more natural in your hands.

Biometric-based security: But the major attraction is its biometric iris recognition feature, which built-in to the devices. Though, we have some security concerns, Microsoft stated that all the data is stored locally on the phone, thus preventing any chances of compromising the biometric data.

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Support for accessories: Microsoft informed us that both devices can connect with up to three Bluetooth devices simultaneously such as mouse and keyboard, something we would love to explore. The devices can also double as a PC with help from Windows Dock Display, which is currently offered for free with all pre-orders of the device.

The Windows Dock Display is a small device, which allows you to use the phones as a PC (in tablet mode) on a separate display (via two HDMI ports) along with adding three new USB ports to the system. The dock allows you to run different apps (only Universal apps are supported on the dock) simultaneously in both screen (the phone as well as the second display).

What we didn't like
Over-reliance on the dock: Microsoft's strategy of offering a PC like experience via the Lumia 950 and 950 XL relies totally on the Windows Dock Display, which means more expenses for consumers — both in terms of hardware as well as software. Firstly because, for those who want to wait and watch, they may be required to pay extra for the dock at a later stage, and secondly because the dock can be used only with Universal apps, which one may have to pay for separately (Microsoft Office for Windows 10 costs R5,999). We would have rather preferred a mini/Micro HDMI port, built right into the phones with/without the option to run Windows 10 PC apps in the phone. Without which, the dock seems like a compulsory gadget to carry around to make the most of the device. Also, there seems to be very less information on mobile-based antivirus and anti-malware security available for both phones.

Our Overall verdict:
At present, the specs are impressive, and make both the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL attractive buys. But we will have to see how they perform in real-life situations, test the ease of using accessories like the Windows display dock, and the type of apps available for a PC-on-a-mobile experience. However, if you already have a system of Windows 10 devices, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL will add up to the experience.

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