Microsoft Lumia 950 XL, Larger Than Life!

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The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is a wet-dream came true of any respectable Windows Phone 10 fan-boy.

A few days ago, I told you about the Lumia 950, but the XL version is the definition of “bigger, better, faster, more”.

Basically, what we’re dealing with here, besides flagship stuff, is a true-blue WP 10 running phablet. You know what a phablet is, right? A weird compromise between a huge smartphone and a tiny tablet. That’s a phablet folks. The best or the worst (depending on personal taste) of both worlds.

What’s different between the Lumia  950 and the XL flavor? Well, a lot, starting with the price, then continuing with the bigger screen (nothing radical in this department, just a 0.5 inches difference) and ending with a lightning fast system on chip. Enter the octa-core (that’s like 8 cores, or CPUs) Snapdragon 810.

The “old” Lumia 950 SoC has only six cores, being based on the “next best thing” Snapdragon 808, but let’s not anticipate, don’t go breaking the piggy bank just yet.

What’s really awesome about the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is the high end , brand new liquid cooling system, which will definitely come handy when you’ll be playing demanding video-games on the precious, or exploring the latest and the greatest from Wild Bill’s universe: the Windows Continuum, that thing that can get you high just looking at it!

Just kidding folks, let’s continue with the review.

So, from the point of view of the system on chip and the rest of the hardware, you can bet that the Lumia 950 XL has a lot to offer. Don’t forget that these high-tech gizmos are running on Windows Phone 10, which is very light and fast, and that means power overwhelming, user power that is.

I mean, on this beast of a phablet, everything will run buttery smooth and fast like the Millennium Falcon. You know, Han Solo’s star-ship, right? The one that made the Kessel  run in less than 12 parsecs, simpatico?

If you’re not a huge Star Wars fan, stop reading right now and go lock yourself inside your mom’s closet.

Back to the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL right after the coffee break!

Okay, I’m back, let’s see what’going on with this magnificent piece of “Redmond designed-China made” hardware.

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The first thing that you must remember is that WP 10 comes with Continuum support via HDMI or a dock, and that translates into your smartphone connected to a TV and acting like a laptop.

And that’s awesome!

If you’re not into TVs, well, just take a look at this magnificent 5.7 inches wide Quad HD AMOLED screen, with a stunning 518 pixels per inch density and protected by Gorilla Glass 4. The Clear Black technology and Glance Screen are absolutely breath-taking, believe me. And even if Microsoft could have paid the designer more, this display looks absolutely fabulous.

The rest is not so fabulous, especially for hipsters and wannabes. I mean, Microsoft chose to build their ultimate flagship using premium looking and feeling poly-carbonate. Others are huge fans of glass or metal, but believe me: in the long run, the poly-carbonate will maintain its looks and it won’t break if dropped.

So, if you regard your smartphone as a piece of hardware, not jewelry or a symbol of social status, the Lumia 950 XL does have a premium build, but it’s practical, not fashion-orientated.

The XL measures 151.9 x 78.4 x 8.1 mm, and weighs 15 grams more than the “regular” 950, but that’s okay, since it’s significantly larger (not monstrously larger, keep that in mind).

Matte plastic is always a pleasure for the regular user, as it offers tons of grip and it won’t slip in the toilet at the worst moment possible, nor it will break if you cough at it directly.

The screen is quite big and premium looking, with excellent color rendering, great sunlight legibility and a very low average deviation. Basically, the contrast, legibility and color accuracy are outstanding, right out of the box.

In terms of battery, the 950 XL comes with a meaty 3340 mAh unit, which, surprise-surprise, is user removable! Great job, Microsoft! And with an endurance rating of 62 hours, this baby can easily stay alive for at least two days, under medium usage.

Connectivity is basically the same as in its smaller sibling: LTE, USB Type C, Bluetooth 4.1, dual band Wi-Fi, GPS, Glonass, everything is there at your fingertips.

Windows Phone 10 runs like hell on the high-end hardware which is based on the somewhat infamous Snapdragon 810. I’m saying “infamous” because this high tech, almost alien artifact tends to get hot under heavy usage, i.e. having a “heating issue”, and that’s why Microsoft chose a liquid cooling system to mitigate the problem instead of throttling the chip, as other lazy producers are doing.

And they did a tremendous job: the phone runs smooth, it doesn’t get hot, it doesn’t stutter etc, even if you push it hard.

And that’s due to the  810 SoC, which comes locked and loaded with 4 Cortex A-57 CPUs@2.0 GHZ and 4 Cortex A-53@1.5 GHZ, together with 3 GB of RAM. For demanding video apps and games, the XL uses an Adreno 430 GPU, being on par, performance wise, with the Galaxy Note and 15% better than the Lumia 950.

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The camera is a 20 Megapixels  PureView variety with optical image stabilization (OIS)and it offers an absolutely superb image quality, being among the best on the market. 4K video recording is there too, along with 1080p capability via loss-less zoom! Microsoft did an amazing job in this department, drop of the hat for their R&D team.

In conclusion, the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is a true piece of work, a high-end WP 10 running phablet, which offers an outstanding user experience if you’re not a droid-head. And yes, it’s worth a shot, who knows, you may like it!

 

 

 

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