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

Emerging Tech

Amazon makes it way easier to add skills to Alexa

It's never been easy to add third-party integrations to Amazon's Alexa assistant, but thankfully, that's finally changing. A revamped app store lets you filter by category, and even add apps with a voice command.

Apple MacBook Air vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The MacBook Air was updated with more contemporary components and a more modern design, but is that enough to compete with standouts like Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 detachable tablet?

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.

Amazon’s new Page Flip feature for Kindle ensures you’ll never lose your page again

Amazon is introducing a digital take on flipping pages: Page Flip. The new feature, which is rolling out to the company's Kindle devices and apps, makes it easier to keep your place.
Smart Home

Pillo is a ‘home health robot’ that seems too good to be true

Pillo is probably the coolest pill dispenser you've ever seen. A campaign has been started for the 'home health robot,' however it seems a little too good to be true. If it does deliver, Pillo could totally change how you handle your…

Snowfox Trackerphone aims to give kids independence, parents peace of mind

An Indiegogo campaign has been started for a phone/tracker that's being touted as the device that will give your kids their independence, while still letting you, the parent, keep an eye on them and make sure they're safe.

Unum could be the organized Instagrammer's best friend

Need more order in your Instagram? Unum is an iOS app for crafting, planning, and scheduling Instagram posts. From the editor to the feed planner, it helps simplify Instagram for the organized personality types.

Google greatly expands its targeted ads, but thankfully it’s opt-in

You may be seeing a prompt from your Google account soon -- it's to ask if you want to opt-in for a new advertising feature that would make ads even more relevant. Google also has a new My Activity page that lets you control how your data…
Virtual Reality

With Google’s new Expeditions app, teachers can take their whole class on a VR field trip

There are already more than 200 different Expeditions which can be taken -- with each one curated with integrated descriptions, talking points, and questions. Currently, trips include visits to historical landmarks, diving underwater with…

The South Korean government will investigate 'some matters' involving Apple

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission launched an investigation into Apple, though the agency's chairman declined to reveal any specifics. Rumors, however, suggest that the country is not happy with Apple's business practices.

Lyft reportedly made investors very happy with its record number of rides

In a leaked investor update, mustached ride-sharing service Lyft reportedly completed 12.7 million rides in May, a company record for any month. Lyft also set records in other spheres, such as number of unique riders.

Best app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps for free for a limited time

Everyone likes free apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers put paid apps on sale for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up fast. Here are the latest and greatest apps on sale in the iOS App…

The 14 most outrageously expensive apps on iPhone

Think $10 is expensive for an iPhone app? Try $1,000. Here, we've rounded up some of the most expensive apps currently available in the App Store, just in case you're in need of a little perspective.

Warby Parker’s new app makes getting glasses even easier

You can renew your glasses prescription from the comforts of your own home or office with Warby Parker's handy app.
1 of 2