The rumors were true. Microsoft does have new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus rivals coming in the form of the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. Microsoft confirmed the device and just about everything else that leaked this morning at the same Windows 10 Devices Event that it used to reveal the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL are – judging by their specifications – the flagship smartphones Windows Phone owners have searched for ever since Microsoft purchased Nokia Devices and Services. Each is built around robust processors and Continuum a feature that Microsoft showed off earlier this year at a Windows 10 specific briefing. The feature allows Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL buyers to plug their device into a dock and use it like they would a typical desktop PC, complete with Windows Store apps. Both phones are able to communicate with the dock using brand new USB Type C Ports.
The Lumia 950 XL is the most advanced Windows phone we’ve ever seen. It has a 5.7-inch WQHD display, placing it comfortably in the realm of smartphones with screens big enough to be tablets in their own right. Microsoft is still using Zeiss optics for the 20 megapixel rear-facing camera that also features optical image stabilization. What’s new is the triple flash module on the back of Lumia 950 XL. Microsoft says that the Lumia 950 XL should perform better than most phones when used in low light situations where flash is a must. Not running into red-eye issues in photographs was explicitly mentioned by Microsoft Devices head Panos Panay. There’s a wide-angle 5 megapixel front-facing camera for talking selfies too. Also facing the user is an Iris scanner that allows them to login without a PIN code.
32GB of storage, an SD card slot and an Octa-core processor make the Lumia 950 XL a power house. Microsoft proudly touted the return of Glance for quick notifications on stage today alongside Continuum. Glance puts tiny notifications on the screen even when the device is locked. These notifications don’t have a huge impact on battery life since the Lumia 950 XL has an OLED display that only lights up pixels when they’re needed. Wireless charging and interchangeable backs complete the Lumia 950 XL experience.
Microsoft will begin selling the Lumia 950 XL unlocked this November on its website for $649 in the United States. The company hasn’t lined up any carriers for the Lumia 950 XL just yet, but the device will work on practically any GSM network – including T-Mobile USA’s – with no hiccups or loss of LTE.
The Lumia 950 already has a carrier lined up for users who aren’t comfortable with the $550 purchase price Microsoft revealed this morning: AT&T.
This device isn’t aimed at those who need the biggest phone that they can find. Instead, its for users who want the power of the Lumia 950 XL in a body that they can handle. It has a 5.2-inch WQHD OLED display with Glance. The 20 megapixel rear-facing camera and Zeiss Lens are included here too. So is the triple flash that Microsoft insists lets user take better late night photos. The Lumia 950 has a hexa-core Snapdragon processor instead of the super-faster octa-core processor found in the Lumia 950 XL. The trade off seems to be worth it though, Continuum still works, and the rear shells are still interchangeable.
All told, Microsoft new iPhone 6s rivals are every bit the beasts the company needs right now. Microsoft isn’t ready to reveal an exact release date for these devices beyond the broad “November” time frame. Microsoft briefly showed off a mid-range Lumia 550 smartphone slated for a December release.