Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is official: liquid-cooled Snapdragon 810 SoC, 5.7-inch OLED display, runs Windows 10 Mobile

The Lumia lineup needed a flagship smartphone and it needed it badly. It needed a phone to succeed the 18-month-old Lumia 930, a phone to show that Windows Phone is still alive and kicking. Well, that's the kind of phone we got today. The Microsoft Lumia 950 is now official, and burdened with the task to show us what Windows 10 for Mobile has to shine with. 

But the Lumia 950 was not the only phone shown off on stage during Microsoft's media event. Along with it was announced the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL – a larger, more powerful version of the Lumia 950, and one that will draw the attention of those who are into extra-large handsets. Yup, the Lumia 950 XL is what some would call a phablet.


Needless to say, the Lumia 950 XL is a rather large smartphone. It is 151.9mm tall and 78.4mm wide, which makes it about as large as a Galaxy Note5. Also, it is 8.1mm thick, as long as you don't count the slight camera hump at the back.

On-screen navigation buttons are present on the Lumia 950 XL, whether you like it or not. Naturally, the power and volume keys are physical and located on the side. Interestingly, it appears that the elongated power key is positioned in the middle, with the volume up and volume down buttons placed above and below it respectively. A dedicated camera button has been also thrown in.

The back of the Lumia 950 XL is made of plastic and can be removed, although the battery is fixed and not user-replaceable. Only two colors for the handset have been announced so far – white and black.


The Lumia 950 XL stands out with its large, 5.7-inch display, protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 4. Microsoft has spared no expenses here as the OLED screen packs 1440 by 2560 pixels for a pixel density of 518 PPI. Microsoft's Glance Screen tech is also on board, allowing you to view notifications by simply taking a look at your phone, without touching a button. The good old ClearBlack technology minimizes the screen's reflectance for better outdoor visibility. Speaking of outdoor visibility, a high brightness mode is triggered when needed. 

Processor and memory

Under the hood of the device is the controversial, but still powerful octa-core Snapdragon 810 SoC running at up to 2.0GHz. Overheating issues are expected to be non-existent thanks to the liquid cooling technology that Microsoft has built in. The latter has been inspired by the cooling system found in the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft brags. 

For some reason, Microsoft isn't saying how much RAM has been packed inside the Lumia 950 XL. (UPDATE: The phone comes with 3GB of RAM on board.) What we do know, on the other hand, is that storage space stands at 32GB. Neither more, nor less. While 32 gigs should be enough for the needs of the typical consumer, the slot for microSD cards allows you to add extra storage.

Software and features

Naturally, the Lumia 950 XL runs Windows 10 Mobile out of the box. In other words, you get to enjoy features like Cortana – Microsoft's intelligent virtual assistant. OneDrive, Skype, and Office are also baked into the experience. And no less importantly, Microsoft's new web browser is on board, built from the ground up to replace Internet Explorer and to deliver a top-notch web experience.

While the Lumia 950 XL does not have a fingerprint scanner, it brings along Microsoft's Hello identification system, albeit in beta form. Simply put, the phone looks for its owner when it is picked up and unlocks if they're recognized. No need to press a button. 

Then there's Continuum – a feature that truly separates the Lumia 950 XL from other phablets. Basically, you may hook up the smartphone to an external monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse for desktop PC-like productivity. The new tech was demonstrated on stage and it looked pretty handy. But there's a catch. You'll need a Microsoft Display Dock to take advantage of Continuum. It plugs into the 950 XL's USB Type-C port, providing the necessary connectors and ports for hooking up the handset to various peripherals. 


Lumia phones are known for their capable cameras, which is why the expectations for the PureView camera on the Lumia 950 XL are set high. With 20MP of resolution (at 16:9 ratio), ZEISS optics, and 5th generation optical image stabilization, we're promised great photos even in poor lighting conditions. On top of that, an innovative triple LED flash is present. Using three different LEDs is meant to produce better, more natural colors and skin tones when the flash is used. You also get a 5MP front-facing cam for selfies.

Videos can be recorded at up to 4K resolution for outstanding details, while the four microphones capture rich, high-fidelity sound. However, it is rather odd that we don't see any fancier modes present on the Lumia 950 XL. For example, 60fps video mode isn't listed in the phone's specs. Slow-motion mode is absent as well.

Connectivity and battery life

As far as connectivity goes, the Lumia 950 XL has not one but two adaptive integrated antennas to improve reception, depending on how the handset is being held. And on its bottom is a USB Type-C connector – one in which USB Type-C cables go either way. Just keep in mind that Type-C is incompatible with the widespread Micro USB cables of today. Fast charging is on board – a 30-minute charge from the stock charger should get you from 10% to over 50% battery capacity. Or you may recharge the phone's battery wirelessly. Speaking of the battery, it is removable and has a capacity of 3340mAh.

Price and release date

The Lumia 950 XL won't come cheap. Microsoft will release the smartphone in November for a price of $649 off-contract. As of this writing, not a single U.S. carrier has announced plans to release the phone on its network. Still, we do expect a launch in parts of Europe, where Lumia phones are enjoying slightly better popularity. 



1. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

I wish the design was nicer, but good to see Microsoft back in the flagship world.

3. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015


35. Shubham412302

Posts: 580; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

overheating 810 compelled Microsoft to use liquid cooling in a phone

30. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

I wish it did not have a camera bump on the back so it could sit flat on a table.

47. Penny

Posts: 1859; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Doesn't look like it sticks out that much, just looks like more of a camera hump due to the similar design to the 1020.

41. Loveneesh

Posts: 441; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

I think it look much better if they use lumia 925 design concept.

44. CyberFalcon

Posts: 223; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

Ok i get it 8.1 mm is thick nowadays. :)

62. Mercedes-Benz

Posts: 403; Member since: Jan 18, 2015

i dont think the new lamia's looks as nice as the older L900,920,800

70. boody15

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 09, 2015

please take alook here and let me know what u think now !!

2. hafini_27

Posts: 951; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

810 sure is a troublesome chipset. Liquid cooling sounds cool though.

6. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

Makes me worried about ordering my Nexus 6P lol

15. sgodsell

Posts: 7419; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The new Z5 from Sony is liquid cooled as well.

23. Shocky unregistered

Didn't OnePlus use some kind of gel? guess it depends how you market it.

25. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

They used extra thermal paste

63. Shocky unregistered

I'm sure they said thermal gel.

40. StreetNerd

Posts: 870; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

no? more like extra thermal paste ...

42. win2008workstation

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 06, 2015

Heck, the Z2 was liquid cooled.

45. cdm283813

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

Same here. Qualcomm messed up so many flagships this year it's not funny. Only Apple and Samsung had winning chips. Still trying to decide if I should rock the iPhone this year. And no telling if the SD820 is going to have the same problem.


Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

It won't. The problem is big.LITTLE was a new design concept to qcom. Samsung had experience with it, as well as a much more appropriate fabrication technique. Qcom is going back to quad core with the SD820; four cores is all a phone really needs, honestly.

11. datphoneguy

Posts: 155; Member since: Sep 15, 2013

Exactly. I'm confused as to why manufacturers (Microsoft/Sony with the Xperia) spend so much time and resources tweaking their hardware to prevent overheating issues when they can just put in the equally capable 808...

18. jeeta444

Posts: 154; Member since: Mar 24, 2014

808 is not powerful enough to be called a flagship chip. Adreno 418 is a slight upgrade over Adreno 330.

61. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

808 GPU weak asf dawg...

19. SirYar

Posts: 351; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Equally capable? The GPU in the 808 is almost twice as weak as the 810...

24. Shocky unregistered

It is twice as weak, SN808 should have been for mid range phones.

46. cdm283813

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

I don't consider the the 808 to be flagship level when the 810 is supposed to fill that role. On paper the 810 is the better chip. In real life it has single handedly made qualcomm incompetent.

57. rency0722

Posts: 158; Member since: Jun 12, 2013

RAM latency from LPDDR3 (SD808) is very much different with LPDDR4 (SD810), as well as GPU differences. HEVC encoding also on-board with the 810 while not on 808.


Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

It's nowhere near as capable. There are more differences between the two chips than just number of cores and GPU. The capability of the ISP, the RAM, the codec capabilities, among other things, are better on the SD810. It would be better and easier just to switch off two of the big cores in the SD810 than to go with the 808

4. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Finally, liquid cooling becomes mainstream. Let's see if it's "cool" enough.

5. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Liquid Cooling Well The Microsoft Is Serous About Making The Sd810 Perform Like It Was Meant To.

7. greenelektron

Posts: 537; Member since: Sep 10, 2014

I hope the price is appealing.. And nire apps please

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