Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Review


The Lumia 950 XL offers solid battery life that does not exceed expectations.

The sizable 3340mAh battery inside the Lumia 950 XL has no problem putting us through a day of normal use, although we expected to squeeze a bit more efficiency out of a Windows handset with an AMOLED display. In optimal conditions, the 950 XL can power through 11 hours of video playback and 25 hours of talk time, while stand-by time is rated at 12 days. Wireless charging via the Qi standard is an option as well, which feels welcome.


Unfortunately, the Lumia 950 XL fails to champion Windows 10 before the better, faster, stronger competition of Android and iOS phablets. The operating system is still in need of improvement and doesn't make for the kind of polished user experience that we're used to from competing devices. The phablet itself feels undercooked, as if it was quickly put together so that the new platform would have a launch device. We fear the 950 XL is destined to be forgotten quickly after a more elaborate handset claims its media and retail presence for itself in the first half of 2016. Hopefully, it will make a better case for Windows 10's strong sides.

Still, fans of Microsoft's non-traditional approach to mobile computing, or users deep into MS's product ecosystem will have a hard time finding a more impressive Windows 10 smartphone than the Lumia 950 XL right about now. Otherwise, with its unlocked price of almost $600, the 950 XL simply lacks a killer feature that would make one go for it, instead of a superior and more reasonably priced Android device, like the Google Nexus 6P by Huawei. However, we must acknowledge that hi-end phablets that play on the same hardware field as the Lumia 950 XL usually start from $700 and up. But given the handset's serious shortcomings, we still cannot call it a bargain.


  • Big display with reasonably accurate colors
  • Elaborate camera that handles most scenarios reliably
  • Features like iris scanner security and Continuum are quite advanced, although very niche at the moment


  • Mediocre design and build quality
  • Very low maximum brightness for the display
  • Frustrating user experience that's riddled with bottlenecks

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