Microsoft Lumia 950 ReviewMicrosoft Lumia 950 7
Would you believe that it’s already been 5 long years since Windows Phone 7 launched? Back then, we saw several manufacturers jump on board in producing devices that showcased Microsoft’s mobile platform, but their impact on the market was marginal at best. Fast forward to the present day, and we only have a single entity leading the way – Microsoft itself.
With the launch of Windows 10, however, Microsoft has an ambitious undertaking – to reinvigorate the interest in its mobile platform. Could it be too late, though? Well, Microsoft begs to differ, as its Lumia 950 has launched to promote the full arsenal and capability of the company's most advanced mobile platform to date.
Entering the holiday season, we’re already seeing a handful of quality smartphones vying for supremacy, so there’s no denying that the Lumia 950 is attempting to penetrate a space that’s heavily saturated. Without question, Microsoft is a legitimate force to be reckoned with, but the Lumia 950 needs a solid, heavy hand to swing the tide in Microsoft’s favor.
The package contains:
- Wall Charger
- USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable
- Getting started guide
- Warranty Information
It looks more like a prototype than a finalized product.
We’re a bit perplexed with the final decision regarding the handset’s design, mainly because the handset lacks the style and premium workmanship that many other phones of this class exude. It looks more like a rough, first-round prototype than something that has been meticulously eyed over. Seriously, Microsoft could have opted for a more attention-grabbing look, considering that design is what helps in gravitating prospective buyers to a particular device. The choice of materials, in particular, is what gives the Lumia 950 the feel of a lower-grade Lumia model. With its matte plastic body, one that’s offered in white or black, the phone lacks the visual appeal and substance to attract people – it feels somewhat hollow. Unlike previous phones like the Lumia 1520 or 930, with their stylish and angular designs, the 950 simply comes off dull and boring. It is not all bad news, however: in the hand, the handset feels lightweight and comfortable to hold. But in all fairness, if we’re to peruse the phones on display in a store, we’d certainly overlook the Lumia 950 because of its subdued presence and underachieving design.
As many previous Lumia models, the 950 features a dedicated shutter key on its right edge, and we do appreciate having it at our disposal. It gives us quick access to the camera app and comes in handy when snapping photos. Other notable design choices include the new USB Type-C port. As the connector is reversible, the charging cable conveniently goes in either way. But the new USB standard can make for a tougher time charging when you’re away from home, as the still dominant Micro USB cables don't fit.
145 x 73.2 x 8.2 mm
5.29 oz (150 g)
147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm
4.80 oz (136 g)
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)
148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)
Finally, a Windows-powered phone enters Quad HD territory!
At long last, Windows on mobile has ushered into the Quad HD era, and we’re gladly accepting of this reality. Keep in mind, though, that there’s really nothing that warrants the Lumia 950 more adulation over its rivals because Quad HD resolution been in circulation for quite some time now. With the Lumia 950, we’re given a 5.2-inch, 1440 x 2560-pixel AMOLED display with the reflection-reducing ClearBlack technology. Certainly, there’s no shortage of details with the screen's pixel-crushing 564 ppi pixel density.
Being of the AMOLED variety, the display exhibits all of the staple qualities of the technology – pure, deep black, fantastic clarity at wide viewing angles, rich contrast, and that unmistakeable glow in the dark. While our eyes tell us that we have a pleasant display here in the Lumia 950, the benchmarks help to validate that. Its color reproduction manages to accurately hit all of the target values in the sRGB color gamut chart. For all of its top-notch qualities, however, its luminance tops out at a mere 349 nits. That’s just underpowered by today's standards, which is why the Lumia 950 might be trickier to use under the sun compared to other recent high-end phones.
Pure and simple, there’s very little to complain about the Lumia 950’s display besides its weak brightness output. It’s just that, you know, we’ve seen Quad HD screens time after time in many other contemporary handsets.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S6||563
|Google Nexus 5X||487
|Microsoft Lumia 950||349
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Microsoft Lumia 950||52.1%
|Samsung Galaxy S6||56.1%
|Google Nexus 5X||77.6%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
3. Dude2014 (Posts: 436; Member since: 12 Feb 2014)
These shots are sick. Definitely the best camera in the market. That alone makes me wanna buy this baby!!!!!
79. dimas (Posts: 1975; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)
Agree. My last lumia was 1020 and the camera never let me down so this is the perfect time to try wp again. As for the lack of apps, it's just a 2012 news, they improved a lot and essential apps are more important than flooding the microsoft store
150. mistercarter (Posts: 360; Member since: 01 Sep 2011)
i dont see anything special... just crank up the saturation level after taking the pic and you'll have the same result with any other phone
95. Spedez (Posts: 441; Member since: 29 Aug 2014)
I used to have two Lumias and I can tell you, no apps. For all the top tier apps and games back then, you had to wait for ages to get even the first ported version but those were buggy and lacked features. For instance Temple Run was cool game but the controls were so buggy that the game registered only maybe 3/4 of all the swipes so the game was pretty much unplayable.
9. jellmoo (Posts: 1525; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
Sure it does. It has something like 600,000 of them. More accurately, it has fewer games and apps, and the ones it does have are often either third party versions, or seldom see updates or real development time.
11. cornerofthemoon (Posts: 590; Member since: 20 Apr 2010)
Yet another half arsed mobile effort by Microsoft...Sad because I really like Windows Mobile/Phone/10 Mobile but they just can't seem to get it together. Why do they even bother anymore?
14. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS (Posts: 234; Member since: 29 Sep 2015)
Honestly as a windows fan and 930 owner the phone to me is a solid 9. That's because I don't care about having a luxury phone I'm afraid to drop. Also the potential behind this phone. People.have iPhone 6s or note 5 and don't even know what the phone looks like sice they have a ugly case on.
17. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS (Posts: 234; Member since: 29 Sep 2015)
Also one complaint idms this camera is far better than what he giving it credit for. He seems a bit biased. Cause I have yet to see better. Maybe equal but not better.
20. HTC_ONE_MAX (Posts: 150; Member since: 06 Feb 2015)
The back looks kinda Samsung A series and J series.
22. xq10xa (Posts: 669; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)
So this review confirms my thoughts.......I don't want the Lumia 950. I want the Lumia 950 XL.
27. Rydsmith (Posts: 525; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
Do you guys actually read the review or see the score then complain?
It is as though each phone should be reviewed in a vacuum but that is not the case and the 950 has some rather legitimate complaints against it.
If your top differentiator is the use of Continuum then the lack of apps supporting it is rather large. Apps constantly refreshing is unacceptable at this day and age with the specs that it has and this is a failing on the Windows 10 Mobile OS.
And as I previously mentioned this phone isn't reviewed in a vacuum by itself. For the cost it must compete with the Nexus 6P or the Galaxy S6, which it doesn't. It's a great Windows Phone, but Windows Phone is still very far behind in the apps category.
- Chase Bank
Just to name a few...
34. DoggyDangerous (Posts: 783; Member since: 28 Aug 2015)
You are perfectly right. Actually ppl make up their mind out of fan boyism and they don't accept if someone score their fav with lower rating. I have read many reviews and most reviews are saying same, more or less. Then why they are cursing John? They should curse Microsoft for failing to make a good phone. John is very generous with the score. It should be 6 in reality. I thought iPhone is the worst phone but Microsoft can easily take the title from apple.
44. elitewolverine (Posts: 5117; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Problem with looking at apps, is that you are no longer reviewing the phone, instead reviewing the ecosystem. You cannot give the 950 a 7 or complain about snap chat, when the dev is a complete asshat, when he had a person who literally was going to give snapchat the code from 6snap. Instead? close down 3rd party tools (because of androids security problem), even when they did, 6snap worked, it wasn't until I updated devices that I couldn't use it.
So no doing a device review and going well, the entire phone is excellent, but ecosystem still only, only has 600k apps, we give it a 7...
49. Rydsmith (Posts: 525; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
The phone is a part of the eco system. That would be akin to saying "you can't judge the phone by its OS those are separate." No, when I get the phone it includes the eco system, for better or worse
And yes 600k apps is great, when 599k of them are trash, broken, not updated, or ad spams the number means nothing.
63. jontaylor07 (Posts: 162; Member since: 12 Oct 2015)
How many crap Android apps are there? How many iOS apps are unneeded? The real question is this: Does it have the apps you need? If it does, then great. If snapchat is 100% of what you own a phone for, then this is 100% not the phone for you at this time.
The phone and the apps are obviously separate, for the same reason that the phone and OS are judged together. The phone comes with an OS, but you have to choose and download apps on your own. Knocking points off because one app is missing is like doing the same with Android, or going out and downloading a virus-ridden Android app then giving a low score on a Samsung review because you got viruses on it.
66. DoggyDangerous (Posts: 783; Member since: 28 Aug 2015)
Who waste his time on snapchat? There are many many many more useful apps which are missing on windows. Even if android has 1℅ good apps, windows has .0001℅ of those good apps. I am using windows 10 on my tablet and I don't see it from a fan boy's eye. It is clearly incomplete, Microsoft should wait 6 months more before launching it. I become against Microsoft bcoz of this reason only.
76. iusshpandeh (Posts: 250; Member since: 23 Jul 2014)
If Android gets Age Of Empires, Audiotica, Fanatasia Painter and Microsoft Games with XBOX Acheivements I'll switch to Android. For me, App Gap lies there in iOS and Android, because I cannot have apps there which I've in my Lumia 930 right now.
104. elitewolverine (Posts: 5117; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Your tablet is Incomplete? it is a full OS, if you cannot download the millions of apps available from windows xp on up, then there isn't much to say, not to mention android emulator.
65. elitewolverine (Posts: 5117; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
So that leaves android with 1% of good apps? if that?
While yes, absolutely the ecosystem matters, knocking the phone down for a PHONE review, not an ECOSYSTEM review is dumb.
You can certainly mention it, I never said not too, but to act like its a 7 because of devs, dose a great injustice to the actual phone itself. which should be a minimal of 8.
68. Cslfiero (Posts: 68; Member since: 29 Jun 2015)
Continuum JUST DROPPED. Seriously, what are you gyuys looking for from this feature?? It's brand freaking new, most developers don't even know it exists yet and here I see all these reviews knocking it because only a few universal apps exist. That's like buying a PS4 on day one and wondering where the heck your 10,000 games are. Clueless.
82. Rydsmith (Posts: 525; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
Except there was a Windows 10 Mobile preview for a good six months where they could develop their app to use Continuum and they decided not too.
105. elitewolverine (Posts: 5117; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
And consoles are available for devs for about 6 months to a year depending on studio...point again?
90. gazmatic (Posts: 794; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)
this phone competes with the blackberry priv and nexus 5x and iphone6s.
the xl competes with the nexus 6p and iphone6s+
now... if you are telling me that the nexus 5x is a better phone than this... then there you go.
111. Ronnnie (Posts: 18; Member since: 25 Nov 2015)
It's probably is better than the nexus 5x, but it also costs a lot more than a nexus 5x. I'm sure price is factoring in the lower score too.
100. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1531; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
Microsoft has a problem it cannot force folks to put apps on it devices however let face it WINDOWS 10 IS NOT WINDOWS SMARTPHONES
which has a small market share. It's on Desktop PC's, Laptops, Tablets,
Servers. it's now on over 120 million devices and more are getting it everyday. Sooner or later Microsoft will DEMAND devleopers to only submit MS Universal apss to be in it's Windows 10 store that is on Windows 10 Desktop PC's, Laptops. Ultrabooks and Windows tablets. since Windows smart phone runs MS Universal APPS they will use them too it's just a matter of time that more apps will be used on windows smartphones and Tablets
106. elitewolverine (Posts: 5117; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
And banks will wise up, put UA in the store because tablets are huge for business and they will be able to use the banking app with the tablet camera to submit checks.
161. DSP96 (Posts: 19; Member since: 13 Oct 2015)
That is true. But they haven't done it properly for releasing this flagship phone.The os is really not that good, nor is the design. What they should have done is take some more time in perfecting the os, and in the meantime, release something like the lumia 935 or the lumia 940, to keep the people happy. They just hurriedly pushed this phone out without properly doing their homework. Neither the design, nor the os is any more appealing than the windows phone 8.1 flagships seen(lumia 930, HTC one m8 for windows). The guys at nokia knew all about how to deal with these sort of troubles. That was why the lumia 1020 was made, to attract more people to the windows platform, while the windows phone 8 GDR 3 was being made to support quad core processors and 1080p displays. But MS didn't do that sort of thing. Very sad.
36. Valol23 (Posts: 9; Member since: 17 Nov 2015)
Again, the score is a joke, no surprises and biased sentences as seen in the last reviews.
As for the phone i'd give it a solid 8.5+.
Excelent camera and screen, smooth performance, type-C, wireless charging, fast recharge times, good battery life, expandable storage, the list goes on. The only picky thing is the looks, which is arguable and personal
50. Valol23 (Posts: 9; Member since: 17 Nov 2015)
Tell me a phone that has all the features i mentioned above
130. sbw44 (Posts: 433; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)
Nokia always had amazing designs and built quality but was never mentioned much in reviews while samsungs had crappy designs and cheap plastics oversaturated cameras but it was amazing because it had removable batteries and card slots.
now MS/Nokia does the same it gets bashed! Seriously??? John V was and will always be the biggest WP hater!
38. javy108 (Posts: 1004; Member since: 27 Jul 2014)
Looks like a prototype? For real? Is not a 10 of course, but at least 8 - 8.5.. Cmon, the phone itself has alot of cons.
56. mayur007 (Posts: 563; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)
No. seems legitimate after seeing other reviews....
but I will also wait for gsmarena review
TBH as a android user the only thing I liked about 950 was rich recording, camera and continuum
except nothing else
like kindle app which I use the most nearly all apps are paid then free like playstore..
no banking apps etc.
but will wait for another review...
if you have used it correct me if I am wrong
152. dalydose (Posts: 6; Member since: 29 Mar 2015)
Did you say that Kindle app is paid on Windows? If so, that's false. It's free. I'm not sure where you are getting that "nearly all apps are paid" because they aren't.
MY bank (USAA) has a great app, so the "no banks" accusation is false.
62. NitishNK (Posts: 36; Member since: 03 Jul 2015)
if i simply use the edge browser in continuum to access my mail, banking and other sites and that too, i am getting desktop mode then wy shud i worry 4 apps in continuum?
70. dimas (Posts: 1975; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)
Told ya. 200/10 ratings are always reserved to apple products.
71. FrankUnderwood2 (Posts: 213; Member since: 01 Oct 2015)
For the 1st time ever, I actually think this device deserves less than what John V has given to it. Say a 6.8 or even 6.5. Why I am saying this? For God's sake, its MS we are talking about? Did they really not have time to design a decent smartphone and launch it with a fully functional OS? Even a cheap Gionee can make a better looking phone than this. I am not asking for metal, in fact in my history book, Lumia 720 and 920 are hands down 2 of the most gorgeous and good looking smartphones ever made, both plastics. What I am talking about is a good looking phone regardless of build material which I can take out anytime and be proud of when I hold it.Microsoft had 3 years (anything that came between Lumia 920 and 950 are not good flagships by my book, as Lumia 930 was DOA and 1520 was too big to be called a universal flagship) and all they could make as a successor to their brilliant 920 is this finicky toy? Lumia 950??!!! You should be ashamed of yourself Microsoft.I don't know how much more can I wait for an MS smartphone which can hardly be called "Good".
88. medtxa (Posts: 1126; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)
Yes design is like lower grade cheap phone. at least metal can help make them look more premium. but none of that.
153. dalydose (Posts: 6; Member since: 29 Mar 2015)
Metal also means no Qi charging. I like that feature.
101. mariusmuntean (Posts: 7; Member since: 19 Jan 2015)
You nailed it right! After so many months MS hasn't been able to deliver a working OS either. Windows 10 on desktop still behaves like a beta, and on mobile is very far from beta...more like alpha. As for the phone, I would not mind buying it if it could run WP8.1, but for hell no at this price :))) with 100EUR less I can get a S6 edge or iphone 6 64GBs with a MUCH better OS,apps and support.
129. DSP96 (Posts: 19; Member since: 13 Oct 2015)
It seems as if they did not take in Nokia's best design engineers when they took over the lumia business from nokia.
The people at Nokia know how to make a good looking phone. I own a Nokia Lumia 730 and even that looks amazing (even with a full polycarbonate body). All of previous lumia phones, from the 730 onwards, looked amazing. The 730, 830 and 930 all looked very good (though i don't think the 6 and 5 series were that amazing, maybe due to the price). But I think that the looks are a bit less good, and that's something worrying, if this is the way microsoft goes with the designing. If Nokia can make a Lumia 730 look amazing, even with a removable back cover and expandable memory and an all - polycarbonate body, there is no excuse for Microsoft to get away with an average looking design. Do make better looking phones, Microsoft.
75. jojon (Posts: 332; Member since: 11 Feb 2014)
" The camera reputation is still intact with the Lumia 950, but we have seen better performing stuff already" ..really? ..and just what "stuff" would that be Mr smart arse
80. tigermcm (Posts: 851; Member since: 02 Sep 2009)
i dont read many phone reviews but i do wonder why when it comes to a windows phone review there is always a negative comment about apps but seeing iphone and other phone reviews its about what the PHONE can do and not the apps? again I dont read many phone reviews but thats what I've seen so far. even with the one or two blackberry reviews i read it was about the PHONE and not the OS
86. gazmatic (Posts: 794; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)
i totally saw this score coming.
man... When I saw the xperia get 7 and the nexii get so much...
I knew that this phone couldnt get more than 7.
hahahaha I expected this to get a 6.5!
Anyway... like I said... it could be the SAME EXACT PHONE. The windows one will get less than 8 and the android one more than 8. FOR THE SAME EXACT PHONE.
116. elitewolverine (Posts: 5117; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Don't forget the one that got a higher score, doesn't have wireless charging, has a lower display resolution, doesn't do continuum - despite apps supporting it (did Samsung multiwindow knock the score down or was it praised?...), Camera is of lesser ability/quality.
The only difference, price/apps, which for a bigger battery, wireless charging, better camera, better display, sd card ability, it is ok to be 120$ more. So that leaves apps. Something MS can only do so much about, the 950 isn't stopping you from using apps, the devs are.
132. sbw44 (Posts: 433; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)
Wow just shows what a clueless idiot this reviewer is! I bet if PA reviewed the Surface book and Surface Pro's they'd be giving it low scores as well where iPads and Android tabs will get more because they have more apps!
92. Brabso (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Nov 2015)
Maybe it's just me and am i stupid but ... I can't find any experience from you in this review about the call quality ... ?
Maybe you don't know but this is a phone which is able to make phone calls ;)
The most important thing a phone has got to do, i think that's why they call it a PHONE
93. Spedez (Posts: 441; Member since: 29 Aug 2014)
The design is boring and especially the thick camera ring looks cheapo design element. MS guys surely had their hands in it since all sensible Nokia designers have already left the company.
96. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1531; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
Microsoft's lack of a Windows Flagship smart phone for a year or more was a terrible mistake.
The 950/950 XL case design is dated but the internal specs are very good. The Continuum
feature is a great one some people will find useful. if you have a extra monitor and a wireless more you can use it or if you have a TV with Miracast and a wire keyboard and mouse plus the dock it's a great way to use a large screen to use the 950/950XL Windows store apps or MS Universal apps.
97. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1531; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
Windows smartphone will get interesting next year if it turns out that the MS "Surface" smart phone uses Intel Atom Smartphones CPU"s because the Surface Smart phone will run a special version of the Windows 10 Desktop PC OS and wil run win 32 desktop programs,
Windows Universal Apps , and Windows 10 store apps. games ect. The Surface
smart phone will have a HUGE ECO system of a total of Millions of a Combo of Full
Windows desktop PC and Universal Apps and Windows 10 store apps for use
by the People who buy one it will be a true Smartphone/Pocket PC in a class by itself
using it in "Continuum mode will be AWESOME
99. Brabso (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Nov 2015)
I like this "old school" black model, nothing wrong with it.
No need for fancy glas or whatever, most people use a cover anyway to protect this.
Now you can easily change battery, add storage and you can use the phone bare naked with the cheap plastic back. if it's broken who cares just replace it. Do you wish something more fancy, just wait there are more back covers to come.
|Display||5.2 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (565 ppi) AMOLED|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
3 GB RAM
|Size||5.71 x 2.88 x 0.32 inches|
(145 x 73.2 x 8.2 mm)
5.29 oz (150 g)
|Battery||3000 mAh, 23 hours talk time|