Microsoft’s Lumia 950 and 950XL bring Windows 10 to big little screens

Microsoft's Lumia 950 lands at AT&T on Nov. 20 and the 950XL goes up for pre-order unlocked

Microsoft has finally launched a set of high-spec new Lumia smartphones, the long-rumored 950 and 950XL. We’ve heard plenty about the over the past few months, thanks to extensive leaks, but do the real things live up to expectation? Here’s what you need to know.

Updated on 11-16-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added confirmation of a November 20 launch date for the Lumia 950 at AT&T. Also added pre-order info and news about the 950XL’s availability on the Microsoft store.

Price and release date

The Lumia 950 is finally scheduled to hit AT&T on November 20. The carrier announced different pricing options for the new Windows phone, which include the following:

  • Next 24 (30 months): $0 down and payments of $19.97
  • Next 18 (24 months): $0 down and payments of $24.96
  • Next 12 (20 months): $0 down and payments of $29.95
  • Two-year contract: $150

There’s no word on whether the Lumia 950 will reach other networks in the U.S. or if the Lumia 950 XL will be sold with carrier support in the States at all. Microsoft put the 950XL up for pre-order on its website unlocked for $650. You’ll even get the Microsoft Display Dock — which connects your phone to a PC and enables the Continuum feature in Windows 10 — with it for free. Meanwhile, the unlocked Lumia 950 is listed as coming soon on Microsoft’s website, as is the AT&T version.

So far, Vodafone in the UK and AT&T in the U.S. are the only networks to confirm they’ll stock the Lumia 950, but neither network mentioned the 950XL. We’ll keep you updated here.

Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL

Introduced by Panos Panay, the new man in control of Lumia and Surface at Microsoft, there are two phones — the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL.

The 5.2-inch Lumia 950 uses a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, and comes with 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage space. The good news is under the rear cover is a MicroSD card slot that can raise this number by a massive 200GB, plus there’s a removable 3000mAh battery that can be wirelessly charged. The AMOLED 2560 x 1440 pixel screen is fitted to a 150 gram body that measures 8.2mm thick.

For the Lumia 950XL, Microsoft’s chosen the Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor and equipped it with the same amount of RAM and internal storage space. The removable battery’s capacity has increased to 3340mAh. The screen size has also been increased to 5.7-inches, and although it has the same 1440p resolution, it’s covered in Gorilla Glass 4, rather than Gorilla Glass 3 on the Lumia 950. The device is slightly heavier at 165 grams, and a little slimmer at 8.1mm.

Both Lumia phones get a 20-megapixel rear camera

Each phone has a 20-megapixel, f/1.9 aperture, 6-lens camera on the rear, equipped with optical image stabilization, a triple LED flash, and a dedicated camera shutter release. On the front, it’s the same 5-megapixel wide-angle selfie camera, that can shoot 1080p video. The rear camera can shoot 4K video at 30fps.

The Lumia phones use the latest USB Type-C connector, which provides a fast charge, and quick transfer of data across to your computer. Microsoft has installed Windows 10, along with various standard apps including Skype, Outlook, and Office. A beta version of Windows Hello is on the phone for quick, secure unlocking, and the major software draw is Continuum for phones. Using the USB Type-C connection, and a Microsoft Display Dock, the Continuum feature ports the phone’s main screen onto your desktop. Apps on the phone scale on a monitor for a PC-like experience.

Lumia 550

A Lumia 550 was also announced for $140, an affordable smartphone with a quad-core, 1GHz processor, a 5-megapixel rear camera, and 8GB of internal storage space. Windows 10 is installed, just like the 950 and 950XL. Rumors put the screen size at 5-inches with a 960 x 540 pixel resolution, but Microsoft hasn’t confirmed the final specs just yet. Vodafone in the UK has said it’ll stock the phone in the near future.

Previous updates:

Updated on 10-07-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added final specs for the Lumia 950 family.

Next page: All the rumors leading up to the Microsoft Lumia launch

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