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Microsoft Lumia 950 Review

Microsoft Lumia 950

Posted: , by John V.


Microsoft Lumia 950 Review

Microsoft Lumia 950 Review
Microsoft Lumia 950 Review
Microsoft Lumia 950 Review
Microsoft Lumia 950 Review
Microsoft Lumia 950 Review
Microsoft Lumia 950 Review

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.

Microsoft Lumia 950
5.71 x 2.88 x 0.32 inches
145 x 73.2 x 8.2 mm
5.29 oz (150 g)

Microsoft Lumia 950

Google Nexus 5X
5.79 x 2.86 x 0.31 inches
147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm
4.80 oz (136 g)

Google Nexus 5X

Samsung Galaxy S6
5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches
148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

Microsoft Lumia 950 Review


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
Microsoft Lumia 950 349
Google Nexus 5X 487
Samsung Galaxy S6 563
LG G4 454
View all

  • Options

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 10:11 6

3. Dude2014 (Posts: 448; Member since: 12 Feb 2014)

These shots are sick. Definitely the best camera in the market. That alone makes me wanna buy this baby!!!!!

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 19:07 1

79. dimas (Posts: 2525; 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

posted on 03 Dec 2015, 08:08

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

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 10:13 9

5. adecvat (Posts: 321; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)

Also cons:
WP has no gamezzz and appzzz

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 10:21 3

8. ZeroCide (Posts: 785; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)

And you use the platform?

posted on 25 Nov 2015, 02:12 1

95. Spedez (Posts: 514; 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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 10:23 3

9. jellmoo (Posts: 2035; 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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 10:30 3

15. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4319; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

You are also a con in Phonearena.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 13:43

53. Plume-Veil (banned) (Posts: 174; Member since: 19 Nov 2015)

Lmfao, how funny,+1

posted on 04 Dec 2015, 02:56

151. dalydose (Posts: 6; Member since: 29 Mar 2015)

Hyperbolic nonsense.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 10:24 4

11. cornerofthemoon (Posts: 601; 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?

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 10:28 5

14. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS (Posts: 319; 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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 10:34 3

17. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS (Posts: 319; 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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 10:42

20. HTC_ONE_MAX (Posts: 153; Member since: 06 Feb 2015)

The back looks kinda Samsung A series and J series.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 10:50 3

22. xq10xa (Posts: 765; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)

So this review confirms my thoughts.......I don't want the Lumia 950. I want the Lumia 950 XL.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 11:02 2

23. Martineverest (Posts: 490; Member since: 27 Oct 2015)

Phone of the year.. Case closed

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 11:29 3

27. Rydsmith (unregistered)

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
- Amex
- Snapchat

Just to name a few...

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 12:10 2

34. DoggyDangerous (Posts: 1010; 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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 13:20 5

44. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; 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...

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 13:37 3

49. Rydsmith (unregistered)

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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 14:14 3

63. jontaylor07 (Posts: 169; 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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 14:30 3

66. DoggyDangerous (Posts: 1010; 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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 17:50 1

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.

posted on 25 Nov 2015, 06:38 2

104. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; 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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 14:19 1

65. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; 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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 15:22 6

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.

posted on 24 Nov 2015, 19:34 1

82. Rydsmith (unregistered)

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.

posted on 25 Nov 2015, 06:39 1

105. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

And consoles are available for devs for about 6 months to a year depending on studio...point again?

posted on 25 Nov 2015, 01:06

90. gazmatic (Posts: 795; 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.

posted on 25 Nov 2015, 07:28 1

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.

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Microsoft Lumia 950

Microsoft Lumia 950

OS: Windows 10 Mobile
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display5.2 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (565 ppi) AMOLED
Camera20 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size5.71 x 2.88 x 0.32 inches
(145 x 73.2 x 8.2 mm)
5.29 oz  (150 g)
Battery3000 mAh, 23 hours talk time

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