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Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review

6.5/10 AVG.

  • Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
  • Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
  • Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
  • Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
  • Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
  • Microsoft Lumia 950 XL

Informr score
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL currently has an Informr score of 6.5 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 22 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Sharp display with accurate colors and excellent contrast
  • Camera provides detailed images in bright and low light situations
  • Smooth performance

What's bad

  • App gap between Android and iOS
  • Mediocre sunlight legibility
  • Boring and basic design

Windows continues to struggle in the smartphone market as Android and iOS gobble up the majority of their audience. Rather than focus on converting fans, the company now hopes to keep the remaining few they have with the release of the Lumia 950 XL.

As the name suggests, the XL sits firmly in the phablet territory, measuring in at 5.9 x 3 inches making it practically impossible for one-handed use. At 0.3 inches, it isn’t the thinnest smartphone on the market, but reviewers still found it quite comfortable to hold thanks to the rounded edges and light weight of 167 grams. This lightweight is due to the mainly plastic body, which critics found very flimsy. One of the best updates to the 950 XL, however, is the ability to switch out the case for something with a bit more flair. Users can choose from different designs and colors to suit their needs allowing for amazing personalization. Still despite this, many describe it as “bland” and “basic.”

For the most part, critics found the screen passable. The 5.7 inch AMOLED display has a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560, which translates to a pixel density of 518ppi. As expected, they didn’t have any issues with pixilation making for a very sharp display. Of course, sharpness isn’t everything, and luckily the 950 XL delivers. Almost everyone found the contrast perfect with excellent color accuracy all around. Unfortunately, it started to struggle once they got into bright light situations with text becoming almost illegible in sunlight.

Powering the phone is an octa-core 2.0GHz processor and 3GB of RAM. Microsoft has opted for liquid cooling to keep the processor from overheating, though reviewers still found it to get quite hot leading to worries about its longevity. In actual practice, the 950 XL performed well with no crashes or stutters occurring even when running multiple apps or gaming. And while it comes with 32GB of internal storage, it also has an expandable microSD slot. Like its predecessors, the biggest drawback is the lack of apps for Windows phones. The 3340mAh battery is also removable, which might come in handy as critics noticed battery life was fairly unpredictable. In general, they were able to get a full day’s worth of life with moderate usage.

Most Lumia owners don’t get the phone for its powerful specs. They get it for the camera and in this department the 950 XL excels. Armed with a 20MP rear camera, optical image stabilization and triple-LED RGB flash, experts consider this one of the strongest mobile cameras available. In good lighting, their pictures were detailed with accurate and vivid colors and excellent white balance. Even in low light situations, the pictures came out quite clear with very little noise. It also shoots 4K video, which they describe as “crisp and clear.”

Although the Lumia 950 is certainly a good phone, reviewers are hesitant to suggest it to those already in the Android or iOS market. For those already devoted to Windows phones, however, they highly recommend it. Tech Radar states, “As a device, the Lumia 950 XL...has been carved out as a tool for the purist...For the faithful, this will likely be enough to keep them going while rumours of the ‘Surface Phone’ fly around…” CNET adds, “...I’d have to say unless you’re a die-hard Windows fan then you’d have a better mobile experience from Android and iOS.

Operating system
Windows Phone
2 GHz
Screen Size
20+ MP

What the Critics Are Saying...


Lumia 950 XL wasn't a symbol of a new beginning for Microsoft's mobile efforts, but the end of an era. With this release, Microsoft pretty much accepted that no matter how hard it tries, Windows 10 Mobile can't be saved, so the company decided to embrace a completely different strategy that doesn't...

- Bogdan Popa, Softpedia
Mobile Choice

If you are a devout Lumia fan then it cannot get better than this. Windows 10 is present and correct and it has the battery power, camera and the display that, in theory, can take on the best out there.

- Sunetra Chakravarti, Mobile Choice
Know Your Mobile

It's the best Windows 10 phone around, but it's still dogged by major performance issues.

- Richard Goodwin, Know Your Mobile

The Lumia 950XL isn't the phone that'll bring Microsoft the sales that it's looking for. The phone lacks good design elements for the asking price and there are just not enough apps on the Windows Store to recommend the phone to anyone. A lot of work needs to be done still.

- Prasid Banerjee, Digit
My Nokia Blog

Overall the Lumia 950 XL is an exercise in futility, the OS lags and stutters in most places, not to mention the general lack of apps that will probably ever be filled at this point; meaning unfortunately the Lumia 950 XL is a very hard phone to recommend, to anyone, ever.

- Aliqudsi, My Nokia Blog

Prices (Where to Buy)

Common Questions

We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL user manual here.

Microsoft backs up the Lumia 950 XL with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.

If your Lumia 950 XL has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Microsoft support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Microsoft's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.

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Quick view

Screen Size

The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL's screen size is 5.7 inches with 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution.

2 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 Octa core 2 GHz processor (CPU).


The phone runs on the Windows Phone 10 operating system (OS).

20+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 20+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 5+ megapixels resolution.

32 GB

Internal memory is 32 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 200 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.


The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3340 mAh battery. Microsoft's performance ratings are 1140 minutes, 1500 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Lumia 950 XL Specs

Release date October 31, 2015
Regions available USA
Mobile / Cellular Data
SIM card size
Dual SIM No
Operating System Windows Phone 10

Compare Windows Phone Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 Octa core 2 GHz
Internal Storage 32 GB
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.56 W/kg
Body: 0.36 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery, Data Cable
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 3340 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging Yes
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 660 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 1500 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 1140 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 12.5 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Black, White
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.2 x 7.8 x 0.8 cm (6 x 3.1 x 0.3 in)
Weight 165 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels
Pixel density 515 pixels
Size 5.7 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features -
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.1
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 200 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
DLNA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Main Camera
20+ megapixels
Yes (Triple LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
5+ megapixels
Additional Front Camera Info
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AMR-NB, MIDI, MP3, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
Additional comments

Also available in a dual-SIM model.

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Reviews
Where to buy Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
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