Microsoft Lumia 950 XL & Display Dock Review

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL & Display Dock Review

Another year, another shot at making Windows a name in the mobile industry, and Microsoft’s ideals have taken the form of the Lumia 950 XL. This year, however, the company is using a different approach. With the latest hardware on-board, will the software Windows 10 make any difference from Windows Phone?

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL (2)

Design & Construction

There are two ways to judge this phone’s design – and one way is to compare it to past Lumia designs. In that regard, even when comparing it to the lower tier colorful smartphones, this design doesn’t really stand out.

The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is just a rectangle with a plastic back and a few accents of shiny metal and glass – and that’s it. It’s not ugly, and it’s even premium to some extent with its size, but as a flagship Lumia phone, it’s plain and uninspiring.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL (10)

On the other hand, if you forget about all the colorful Lumia phones and you think about this device as Microsoft’s new-found direction, that I guess I can say it does just fine. This is, after all, a phone marketed as a productivity tool for getting work done. Despite its size, it’s fairly manageable in one hand; it’s not sharp and the buttons are very tactile. Also, despite being made out of plastic on the back, it’s not glossy and cheap feeling.


And speaking of the back, that’s entirely removable with the battery. This one has dual SIM slots, and a micro SD card slot, making the sides on the outside very seamless.

I had a slight problem, however; when I inserted a nano SIM into SIM 1, I wasn’t able to get it out with the use of a pin, a ballpoint pen and a nail-pusher, which almost damaged my SIM card. I tried looking for solutions and if this was normal on the internet, but no one had the same problem, so I thought it might be a problem with our unit, or faulty cutting on my SIM card.

The camera hump on the back wasn’t really problematic, the microphones and the speakers are well-placed and well-designed, and everything else looks just fine.

Display and Multimedia

The Lumia 950 XL is rocking a 5.7-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, and this thing is gorgeous the moment you light up the screen. It’s not oversaturated, yet things don’t look dull either. Everything is sharp and color-accurate, plus Windows’ black UI helps a lot in making the experience a lot better. Being an AMOLED panel, blacks are the deepest because they don’t really light up, making the contrast wonderful to look at. We guess that’s also why the battery life is amazing, but more on that later.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL (4)

With the wonderful display up front, movies are magnificent to watch. Viewing angles are amazing, and because of its huge size, it’s not a pain to look at. The speakers are found on the back, however, but gladly, they work more than just fine; they’re loud and clear – but the bass is nothing like HTC’s BoomSound, nor will it equal front-firing stereo speakers. Don’t let me end with a bad note though; the speakers on this thing are still solid enough for a good multimedia experience.

Continued in next page: Camera, OS, UI, and Apps, Display Dock

Pages: 1 2 3

Bob Freking occasionally contributes articles to the website. He is a UST Graduate of Commerce & Business Administration, Major in Marketing Management, and a full-time Sith Lord with three dragons.

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7 Responses

  1. Sean says:

    LOL no the red light isn’t a light and it doesn’t use the ffc to check your eyes. The red light is an iris scanner. Better fix that on the post.

  2. saint says:

    am I the only one here to miss to know what price this phone is?

    • Bob Freking says:

      Added the price: the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is priced at Php32,990, while the Display Dock is at Php3,390. Thanks!

  3. Easy E says:

    Sad to hear that a software company is so bad in updating its own mobile operating system software.

  4. wired_boy says:

    i’m waiting for their alleged “surface” phone coming maybe this year… then i might just buy a windows phone.

  5. jared says:

    nope. Review your review.

    That red LED is not the front facing camera scanning your face. It is an infrared light that scans your iris – a biometric advantage of Windows Hello.

    Continuum ALSO supports WIRELESS KEYBOARD AND MOUSE. The Lumia 950XL can also work over Miracast.

    Notifications on Windows 10 on desktops flow through the right side of the interface. Same as with the experience on Continuum. Do you really think you can swipe down from top to bottom on your display if Continuum is on?

    On Continuum, you can use your Lumia as a touchpad or keyboard. You can STILL use your Lumia AS A NORMAL PHONE while continuum is in the works.

    Universal Windows 10 apps works on your mobile phone and expands its UI if fired on a bigger display. Which means continuum is positioned to work this way should developers build Universal apps on Windows 10. Not much like Microsoft’s problem to me as they already set the playing field. Its just the developers that holds themselves back from the Windows ecosystem.

    No mention of OneDrive integration? How about Rich capture mode when you can select the amount of flash you have AFTER taking the photo? How about the USB-OTG functionality which finally arrived via USB-Type C?

    I can feel that this review lacks the basic expectations for Windows 10 Mobile under the Lumia 950 and 950XL.

    • Bob Freking says:

      Updated the review, thanks for spotting those.

      While it’s true that notifications in Windows 10 come from the side it’s still messy to have even on the desktop. Having a status bar on top with Continuum may still confuse some people that notifications are there. Not all, but it’s confusing design.

      And the universal Windows 10 apps are still partly a problem with Microsoft. They can’t sell me a Php3,390 Surface Dock without much Continuum apps; it’s unrealized potential.

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