Microsoft Lumia 950: The first 48-hours

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Microsoft Lumia 950: The first 48-hours
Starting today, consumers can go to their local AT&T retail store and purchase the Microsoft Lumia 950 – powered by Windows 10. It’s the beginning of a journey for the Redmond based company, which has been investing a lot of time, resources, and development in its revamped platform. The Microsoft folks sent us a special package a few days ago, containing the new smartphone in question along with some extra goodies.

Having it for a couple days at this point, it’s not enough time to really get acquainted with all the ins and outs of what the phone has to offer. So instead, I'm just going to detail some of the things that I’ve come across in my short time using it, which I feel to be noteworthy – whether it’s good or bad even. I’m familiar with Windows Phone, but in all fairness, I haven’t made Windows Phone my daily driver since the HTC Arrive/Pro 7.

Much has changed since that handset, as the platform evolved to its most current iteration in Windows 10. The Microsoft Lumia 950 is one of two brand new handsets running the new platform, which hopes to reinvigorate interest in the platform. At the heart of it all, the identity of Windows is intact with this updated OS, so it’s a familiar scene for us catching up with the Lumia 950 once again. In my short time, here are some of the things I’ve come to realize:

  • Continuum is the platform’s coolest feature: Finally, we have the power of a PC in the palm of our hands with the Lumia 950. Using Continuum, we can experience a very desktop-like Windows 10 experience using the phone with the Display Dock. However, it seems that only the native apps, as well as those from Microsoft’s portfolio (Word, Excel, etc), are compatible using the feature. The vast majority of third party apps have not been optimized to support it.

  • You can use Continuum wirelessly, without the dock: We really thought that you needed the Display Dock to experience Continuum. Interestingly, though, we can get access to Continuum wirelessly by connecting the Lumia 950 to a Miracast enabled device (a dongle connected to our television in our case). Sure, there might be a little bit of latency issues, but it’s still usable.

  • Better apps ecosystem: Microsoft has been doing a better job of getting all the apps we actually use, so we’re happy how it’s competing against other mobile platforms. Although it would be unheard of for it to lack apps like Facebook or Twitter, but we do appreciate how the platform is greeted with other apps that would have otherwise been non-existent even a couple years ago – such as Swarm for example.

  • If you’re invested in Google’s ecosystem, you can forget about it: Unfortunately, the Windows Store is sorely lacking the many Google Apps we’re familiar with on Android or iOS. Yes, there’s the official Google app, but you’re pretty much out of luck if you happen to use Google Voice or Google+. They’re just not there.

  • Apps just have a habit of refreshing constantly: Who knows why, but the platform still has some issues when it comes to refreshing apps whenever we exit out of them. Pandora is a perfect example, as it never seems capable of staying in the same position in our station listing whenever we happen to exit the app and come back to it. Of course, it’s even more maddening having to constantly scroll through the listing whenever we come back to the app.

  • Windows Hello is pretty accurate: While it lacks a fingerprint sensor, the Lumia 950 has a killer feature in Windows Hello, which utilizes an iris scan to verify your identity to unlock the phone. After getting our eyes scanned a few times to improve its accuracy, it becomes pretty routine for Windows Hello to recognize us and unlock the phones. Even in dim conditions, it works rather well.

Related phones

Lumia 950
  • Display 5.2 inches
    2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP (Single camera)
    5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, 3GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Windows 10 Mobile



35. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

folks it is interesting to note that Microsoft's web site store has sold out the MS Lumia 950XL again. Some say windows smartphones are dead. I DON'T THINK SO and the best is yet to come especially if the Surface Smart phone becomes a reality and can run Full Windows 10 and Windows 32. x86 Desktop programs like it is rumored to be able to do. No smart phone around today will be more powerful and have a bigger eco system.

41. snowgator

Posts: 3630; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

I used to think that going with a Surface phone line would be a mistake, but I have done a 180 on that. IF the passion MS brings to designing and producing the Surface line can go to their devices, than I am all for it. Lumia is a good brand name. It is associated with Windows. Even people who do not know what Windows Phone is know the Lumia name. But I would rather have MS all in.

32. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

this phone will be reviewed and wont get more than 8. It definitely wont get a 9. It doesnt have a samsung or apple logo

29. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Hello sounds cool if it works as fast and flawlessly as the presentation led us to believe.

40. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

it works very fast, the more different settings you upload the quicker it recognize you........when i say settings I mean upload in the dark, in dim light, in bright light, without glasses, with glasses, and etc, the more data you send to hello the quicker it unlock for you cause it knows you completely

26. snowgator

Posts: 3630; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

I am going to trust John V. to do a good job reviewing this... but reality is you have to be a MS ecosystem user or a specific needs user for this device to make sense. I am excited about it, but I understand where MS is going with this under their new CEO's vision. I do not feel MS is going to abandon their OS, like so many doomsayers are cheering for. However, I also understand this is an OS that is shooting for a business first use with enough fun tossed in to keep it's users amused. It may not ever be a mass consumer OS. I am open to the idea of an Android for the first time since the WP 7 Mango days. MS has done an amazing job getting it's apps on the Android store. (Their Groove Music app is still weak, though.) But I really want to love the L950 or 950XL. I really want my OS to start growing again. Too much to hope to see it back to 3%-5% by end of 2016?

27. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

If WP is to make it there are hardware and software issues that need to be fixed quickly. Get rid of Hello iris scan because it seems to have problems with glasses and it apparently does not work unless you hold the phone fairly close in front of your face (how can you sneak a peek during meetings?). Add stereo front facing speakers. Make the phones look more premium. Make all apps work with Continium. Support Android apps since WP is missing some people's favorites. Make better use of screen space like making text bigger instead of leaving lots of space on many screens.

30. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

It's a process and if done right it works flawless. First it tells you to take your glasses off, then I did the scan in different lighting l, then with my glasses on. It works very well

39. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

do it without glasses first, then do it with glasses, and do it in as much different positions as you can, the more you do it, the easier it works in any condition, for example I made the room pitch dark and it recognize me, I did glasses, no glasses, bright room, medium light room, I did it close, I did it about medium length away and I did a little bit further away, testing how much further I can push the phone back so I can unlock it in many ways

24. FrankUnderwood2

Posts: 243; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

Waiting for the 6-6.5 score review from PA? Were you guys expecting anything higher?

25. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

I'm going to raise that to 7-7.5 knowing who is reviewing it

21. sergiobr

Posts: 718; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

The photos seem to be closer to my 1020 ...

14. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Had mines for a few days, I made a early review video but never posted it on youtube, it's a very good phone, battery life is great, well that's windows phone for you, it never had bad battery life. The camera is so beautiful, oh my, oh my, I have the white and it is so pretty, I decided to use a clear case, with a temper glass so people can see all of its beauty

20. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

"all of its beauty" how ugly was your previous phone? I guess beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I think my Sony Xperia Z5 Premium in Chrome finish is beautiful.

38. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

definitely eye of the beholder, I just look up pictures of yours, I do not like it much, but maybe in person I would feel different, cause thats how I felt about the 950, I did not like the pictures so much but when I open the box and seen the white on the back I love how smooth and clean it looks and the AT&T logo is perfect on maybe I would feel different if I seen yours up close.........I learn not to trust pics since the phone came out

33. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

post it. I wanna watch it. I am still waiting on mine

12. cornerofthemoon

Posts: 620; Member since: Apr 20, 2010

News of the near future: Microsoft abandons its OS entirely.

11. senseiJ

Posts: 172; Member since: May 02, 2015

Id grab a lumia if it weren't for the lack of quality apps :/

10. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

I was considering the 950XL but the lack of front facing stereo speakers and app choice made me decide to go with the Sony Z5 Premium (which I really like).

28. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

How crazy is the display? I am display w***e and if this can beat the Note 5 and GS6 displays I might pick it up eventually. I loved the Xperia Z3 display.

8. Spedez

Posts: 542; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

WP global marketshare has dropped to 1,7% last quarter. Good luck with that ecosystem.

18. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

And yet there are more Windows 10 devices than Mac OS devices, just a few months after launch. We already know of several major apps coming, and there are new apps launching all the time. I think it'll probably be just fine.

42. oldhamletman

Posts: 72; Member since: Sep 03, 2011

outright lie

7. iusshpandeh

Posts: 250; Member since: Jul 23, 2014

I love this phone! Polycarbonate is AWESOME! And, this phone feels amazing in hand, much better than my pointy edged Lumia 930. If you are comparing it to older Lumia just cause of pics, you're missing one of the best in hand feeling. I used it for quite bit of time, my friend got one, and I'm surely going to get Lumia 950xl instead of Priv what I was thinking to get! And, CAMERA!!!!! OH MAN! THIS THING IS GONNA BLOW YOU AWAY; GO AHEAD AND CHECK IT OUT!

9. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

My priv went back due to hardware issues and I decided to pick the l950 up as my first windows phone and I have to say I'm impressed so far. Will it replace my s6 edge plus? Nope but it's a great little phone so far. My battery life has been amazing right off the first full charge somehow

17. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

Yeah, battery life is surprisingly good if you're coming from Android. If you're coming from iOS, it's better life and bigger batteries. As the owner of an L 640, I can confirm that although it has unassuming looks, it feels great to hold.

6. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Folks the Microsoft 950 and the 950XL are the first in the class of super MS universal apps Arms CPU smartphones however Microsoft has to make a cheaper models of that has the Windows 10 "Continuum" feature so more People can afford to buy Windows 10 smart phones that have it. The Rumored Microsoft "Surface Brand" smart phones are said to be able to run a special version of FULL WINDOWS 10 OS and run desktop Windows 32 programs as well as run the new MS Universal Apps and Windows 10 store apps. This can be achieved by Microsoft Surface smartphones using Intel Atom x3 C3440 or x3 C3445 CPU's which are used in some Android smart phones today. These Atom smart phone/ tablet CPU'S can run full Windows 10 which means they can run full Windows 32 desktop programs. That means the eco system of full desktop Windows 32 programs and touch screen Windows 10 apps for a Surface smart could run is in the Millions. WOW this means a "Surface smartphone with the new Intel Mobile Atom CPU's will be a true Smart phone pocket PC Hybrid. The Surface smart phones with full Windows 10 would be awesome running in Windows 10 "Continuum Mode" and probably the only Windows smart phone that would dramatically increase needed windows smart phones sales.

5. maikyvenger

Posts: 17; Member since: Jan 08, 2013

I'll receive it today :-)

13. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

don't make us jealous

36. Plume-Veil

Posts: 174; Member since: Nov 19, 2015

"Don't make us jealous".

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