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Microsoft Lumia 950/950 XL unboxing and first look

You can now pick up Windows 10 on a smartphone, thanks to the arrival of the Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL. We unboxed both handsets to get a closer look at the company’s latest endeavours into the world of mobile.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL

For the phablet lovers out there, the XL is the new Windows phone for you. Windows 10 brings a lot of scope to the table in terms of usability and versatility, but it’s helped by the 950 XL’s top-tier hardware too.

At its heart is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM, twinned with 32GB of internal storage expandable via microSD up to 2TB. On the front is a big, bright 5.7-inch Quad HD ClearBlack AMOLED display and on the back is a sizeable 20-megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilisation and a triple LED RGB flash.

Microsoft’s kept the design minimal with a satin finish black (or white) polycarbonate body, chromed hardware controls down the right side, including a dedicated shutter key and a single Type-C USB connection on the base, suitable for high speed data transfer and fast charging.

In the box you can expect the handset, a USB-C to USB-C USB cable, a manual and unlike a lot of other flagships right now, a removable 3340mAh battery.

Microsoft Lumia 950

Whilst the Microsoft Lumia 950 is the smaller of the two phones it still packs comparable hardware like a 20-megapixel camera, a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and a smaller 5.2-inch Quad HD AMOLED display which means you technically get a sharper image than its larger sibling thanks to its improved pixel density.

With the exception of the processor and smaller (but still capacious) 3000mAh battery you get the same memory (3GB of RAM), storage and connectivity capabilities too.

A smaller screen also dictates a smaller overall frame and as such the standard 950 is shorter and narrower, but 0.1mm thicker at 8.2mm. The hardware controls also appear in a slightly different arrangement to the XL but remain along the right side of the phone’s polycarbonate body and still include a dual-detent shutter key. The fastest way to differentiate the phones aside from size is that the 950 features a silver surround as opposed to the glossy black camera bump found on the XL.

Powering the phone on it’s impressive to see how much of the old Windows Phone experience Microsoft has retained, right from the initial setup process, making this an easy upgrade for existing Windows Phone users.

Windows 10 on the 950 does pack some obvious differences with new live tiles, customisable wallpapers, a coloured start bar and support for Windows Continuum, which we’ll test out once we get our hands on the Microsoft Display Dock. Beyond that they’ve clearly tried to keep a consistent experience between the generations.

General performance also seems promising from that 808 processor, as general UI navigation was slick, smooth and lag free and snapping photos felt incredibly responsive.

We’ll bring you more once we’ve had a chance to really put both the Lumia 950 and 950 XL through their paces, but on first impressions both handsets are showing a lot of promis, as is Windows 10 on mobile.

Read next: The sexiest bits of the Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL


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