Microsoft (Nokia) Lumia 950 Review: Windows 10 for your pocket

Overview

The Lumia doesn’t lack performance, the display is on top level and also the photo quality is outstanding. In addition, the Lumia 950 can be used like a PC on a monitor via the dock. But a big minus: the short battery life.

Pros

Device with accessories can be used as Windows 10 PC
Sharp display
High speed
Memory expandable
Battery exchangeable
Integrated wireless charging
Unlocking via iris scan

Cons

Very short battery life
Low quality design

The Lumia 950 was together with the larger Lumia 950 XL the first smartphone with Windows 10 mobile. In the meantime, the dual SIM variant Lumia 950 Dual SIM is also available. Unlike previous dual SIM models, the COMPUTER BILD test has no disadvantages in comparison to the normal single SIM variant, for example in terms of battery life. With Windows 10 mobile, Microsoft also offers the entry-level model Lumia 550 and the stylish mid-range device Lumia 650 (also known as Lumia 650 Dual SIM).

Lumia 950: price under 300 Euro, even with dock

With prices of less than 300 Euro the Lumia 950 is a real bargain. The dual SIM version (Lumia 950 Dual) is currently available in the Microsoft Store (as of September 6, 2016) even officially for 299 euros – including Microsoft Dock (for monitor, keyboard, mouse). Students get away again more favorably: They receive further 29.90 euro discount, pay thus even only 269.10 euro. The larger Lumia 950 XL costs 399 Euro, for students only 359.10 Euro. Both offers are real bargains in view of the built-in technology, especially since Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote are also installed in mobile versions for mobile work. You don’t need popular apps like Pok√©mon GO, Snapchat and the connection to smart hardware like Sonos. And even though Microsoft itself is sticking to Windows 10 mobile, support for Windows smartphones is currently declining. One reason: Microsoft itself is only launching a few new models and other manufacturers have not yet jumped on the bandwagon.

Startup problems fixed

The problems with connections to Bluetooth hands-free kits, for example in Mercedes or VW cars, have now been solved after several firmware and software updates. The still not very long battery life can be extended in practice by switching off the look function (display of the time in standby, can be deactivated in the settings in the submenu Extras). With the latest firmware version, unlocking the display by double-tapping the display finally works, but not as smoothly as with earlier Lumia smartphones. Despite the update to the Anniversairy Update, Windows 10 Mobile is not mature in all respects. In addition, the latest Twitter and Facebook apps offer similar functions to iPhone, but do without special Windows Phone functions such as automatic synchronization of profile photos, contact data and the timeline with the built-in address book.

Lumia 950: As good as the XL version?

The Lumia 950 offers similar technology to the large Lumia 950 XL, but there are three important differences: First, the display has a diameter of only 5.2 inches (instead of 5.7 inches in the Lumia 950 XL), which is about the same size as the Galaxy S6, but since it has the same high pixel count (2560×1440 pixels), it is actually sharper. Apart from that, the display of the Lumia 950 impressed in the test with a similarly high brightness reserve and contrast as the display in the 950 XL. Secondly, the six-core processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 with 1.8 GHz) is used, while in the larger Lumia 950 XL the Octa-Core processor Snapdragon 810 ensures speed (but also high heat generation). In the everyday test the Lumia 950 was no slower than the XL version and reacted even faster in some points. In addition, the 2,900 mAh battery is slightly weaker than the XL version (3,270 mAh). Thus the Lumia 950 achieved a very lean battery life of only eight hours and 20 minutes in the test. This is over an hour less than on the iPhone 6, with the high power consumption of the new Windows 10 smartphones in standby mode. It can’t be ruled out that Microsoft will reduce the hunger for performance with a future Windows 10 update. An advantage over the large Lumia 950 XL: The charging coils of the Lumia 950 are arranged in such a way that even older wireless charging cups such as the Nokia DT-910 or the Nokia CR-200 car cradle can continue to function without problems.

Lumia

Clock display in standby mode

The OLED technology of the screen is also intended to save power. This ensures that the device consumes little energy when displaying dark image components. This ensures that the time is always visible even in standby mode. This is probably not the reason for the low battery life.

20MP camera

Previous Lumias were characterized by a particularly good photo quality for smartphones. The Lumia 950 also bears the name Pure View and again features a Carl Zeiss lens. The resolution is 20 megapixels. A highlight is the combination of optical and electronic image stabilizer. The easiest way to take pictures is to use a separate shutter release with a two-step pressure point for focusing and shutter release. For example, a “Triple LED RGB” flash prevents red eyes in poor lighting. Save videos in 4K (3840×2160 pixels at 30 fps) as needed. The front camera has a resolution of 5 megapixels. The Lumia 950 (like the Lumia 950 XL) is the first smartphone that achieves a “good” rating for photos in low-light situations and at the time of testing (28. In daylight, the photo quality is better than that of the iPhone 6S or Galaxy S6, just a touch behind Moto X Style and Moto X Play.

Storage

The Lumia 950 comes with 32 gigabytes (GB) of storage space, of which 24.19 GB are free ex works. In addition, the Lumia is expandable via microSD, even swallowed the new 200 GB microSDXC cards in the test. Advantage over Android devices up to Android 5: Under Windows 10 mobile, most apps can also be installed on the memory card, map data for the navigation apps can also be stored on the memory card differently than before. The main memory is 3 GB, which is a lot of memory.

Lumia 950 charges quickly or wirelessly

The Lumia can be charged quickly via the supplied USB-C power supply and is charged to 50 percent in about 30 minutes. Wireless charging takes longer. The Lumia 950 weighs 150 grams and measures 145×73.3×8.2 millimeters.

Design

The matt plastic housing fits well in the hand. They’re not ugly, but the design for a flagship product looks a bit upright – especially since Microsoft has dispensed with the gaudy colors typical of Lumia’s past. At least: The housing is changeable, as is the battery. If you don’t like black or white, you can replace the back with three different coloured leather covers by Mozo.

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