You’re forgiven if you didn’t know that Microsoft made iPhone alternatives. After buying Nokia’s smartphone business a few years ago, the company set to work pumping out low-end and mid-range handsets hoping users would follow. Recent market share numbers show that the strategy worked a bit, but not enough to stop Microsoft executives from switching tactics. Forget going after mid-range Android phones, Microsoft has its heart set on producing something someone might buy instead of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Last week GottaBeMobile told you about the Lumia 950 and how it compares to the iPhone 6. What some don’t know is that Microsoft reportedly has a Lumia 950 XL in the works to take on the iPhone 6 Plus and maybe the iPad Mini.
To be absolutely clear, Microsoft hasn’t revealed the Lumia 950 XL just yet. What we know about the Lumia 950 XL comes from leaks published by Windows Central, an enthusiast website that’s had accurate information about Microsoft’s plans in the past.
iPhone 6 Plus vs. Microsoft Lumia 950 XL: Design
Even as it was focusing more on mid-range and low-end designs, Microsoft took a practical approach to giving users what they wanted. The Lumia 640 and the Lumia 640 XL, were respectable devices for users who needed a big screen or something they could fit in their pocket. Polycarbonate plastic acted as the main material for those devices.
If described accurately, the Lumia 950 XL is a amalgamation of every hardware design Microsoft Mobile/Nokia has done in the past. Rumors describe it as having a polycarbonate white or black body, just like the Lumia 640 and Lumia 735. Dominating the back of the Lumia 950 XL is a blacked out ring with silver accent around the 22 megapixel camera – just like the Nokia Lumia 1020 that launched with a 40 megapixel camera.
Compared to the iPhone 6 Plus, these details might sound like a giant letdown. The iPhone 6 Plus is a premium device and it looks that way. Apple abandoned glass rears on their smartphones with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The rear body of the device is metal and cold to the touch. A protruding camera module sticks out of the upper-left corner. A 5.5-inch display with curved edges dominates the front of the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus comes in silver, gold and black.
Microsoft is at least betting on aluminum buttons adding some high-end flare, but in the looks department the iPhone 6 Plus sounds as if it wins out. The Lumia 950 XL sounds like it’ll be solid, but also not as interesting as Apple’s latest design.
iPhone 6 Plus vs. Microsoft Lumia 950 XL: Internals
It’s inside that the rumored Microsoft Lumia 950 XL stands to shine.
Microsoft needed a unique feature if it’s phones were to stand out. The company settled on Continuum, a system that lets Windows phone owners connect to an accessory with their phone and get a PC like experience, complete with their apps. Allegedly, the Lumia 950 XL will have this feature and powering it will be an 8-core Snapdragon 910 processor and 3GB of RAM. An SD card and gives users plenty of space to store the pictures taken with the PureView 20 megapixel camera with triple flash. The 5.7-inch OLED display reportedly has a resolution of 1440×2560 pixels.
By comparison the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The front-facing camera in the iPhone 6 Plus has a just a 1.2 megapixel sensor. The rear-facing camera on the iPhone 6 Plus has an 8 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization so that pictures and video don’t turn out like a blurry mess. On paper the rumored Lumia 950 XL turns out to be better than the iPhone 6 Plus. Again, that’s if rumors are true.
To say that its more robust internals make the Lumia 950 XL better than the iPhone 6 Plus would be disingenuous though. The iPhone name isn’t built on raw processing power. Instead, users buy an iPhone because of Apple’s ecosystem and the life-changing trinkets that in contains. Microsoft knows this and is trying to duplicate it, seems.
The iPhone 6 Plus has a built-in fingerprint reader for users instead of typing in their password all the time. The Lumia 950 XL allegedly packs an Iris reader that’ll let users unlock their phone with an eye scan. Instead of using your finger, the Surface Pen that Microsoft uses for it’s 2-in-1s is coming to the Lumia 950 XL. Digital pen input is something the iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t offer today.
Read: iPhone 6 Plus Review
iPhone 6 Plus vs. Microsoft Lumia 950 XL: Should You Wait?
If you’re a Windows user, you could wait for Microsoft to unveil the Lumia 950 XL before making your next major purchase. Based on these leaked specifications, I’d say Windows users are in for a very competitive handset hardware-wise. W
Unfortunately, I’m not of the opinion that you should wait for the Lumia 950 XL. First, the iPhone 6 Plus has Apple Payments and Apple Watch integration that Microsoft has no legitimate answer for. Second, we only have a rough idea of when they’ll go on sale. Windows Central says that it expects a reveal early this September at IFA 2015.
Finally, we don’t know how the app situation in Windows 10, the operating system that this phone will run, will play out. Microsoft has added subsystems for Android and iOS developers to get their apps and games working in Windows 10 with as little effort as possible. On top of that, the apps that run on this phone will also run on millions of Windows PCs. If everything works out, Windows 10 could take off on phones.