Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Microsoft's flagship Lumia 950 and 950XL will lead Windows 10 Mobile with premium specs

Jared Newman | Oct. 7, 2015
The first Windows 10 flagship phones have high-quality cameras, liquid-cooled processors, and Continuum support.

For Windows enthusiasts, the wait for a flagship phone is finally over, with Microsoft announcing not one, but two Windows 10 Mobile handsets.

At a press event on Tuesday, Microsoft confirmed months of leaks and rumors with the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL (previously codenamed Talkman and Cityman). They’re coming this November for $549 and $649, respectively.

As the names suggest, the Lumia 950 XL is the larger of the two phones, with a 5.7-inch, 2560x1440 resolution OLED display and an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. The Lumia 950 squeezes the same 2560x1440 resolution into a 5.2-inch display, and uses a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor. Both phones include 32GB of storage and a 20-megapixel rear camera.

Microsoft’s main selling points lie beyond the basic spec sheet. The processors, for instance, are liquid-cooled, which according to Microsoft allow for tablet-class performance. The camera includes optical image stabilization and “triple LED RGB” flash, which apparently eliminates redeye. The USB-C port transfers data at 5GB per second, and can charge the phone up to 50-percent capacity in less than 30 minutes. There’s also a “glance” feature that shows basic notification details as you pull your phone out of your pocket. (It sounds a lot like the Active Notifications feature on Motorola’s Moto X Android phones.)

The other big pitch for Microsoft’s Lumia phones is Continuum, a feature that turns the handsets into lightweight desktop PCs. Microsoft plans to sell a docking station that connects via USB-C, and includes HDMI and DisplayPort outputs along with three USB ports. The idea is that you could quickly edit documents or deal with emails on the larger screen without completely switching devices. (Keep in mind that the phones don’t run full-blown Windows 10; you’ll use universal Windows Store apps with Continuum.)

Of course, Microsoft’s new hardware won’t address the biggest issue with Windows 10 Mobile, which is the lack of apps compared to iOS and Android. But Microsoft did announce that universal Windows Store apps are on the way for Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, CBS, Audible, and Uber.

In addition to the new flagship phones, Microsoft also announced a low-end Lumia 550. At $139 with a quad-core processor and LTE connectivity, it’s a cheap way to see what Windows 10 Mobile is all about.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more updates on Microsoft’s latest phones.

 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.