Battle of the Microsoft phablets: Lumia 950XL vs Lumia 640XL

lumia 950xl vs 640xl 950 xl features iris jpg
The Windows flagship everyone has been waiting for is finally here. The Microsoft Lumia 950XL is the best Windows Phone we have seen in a while. It’s a phablet, if you will, but Microsoft is no stranger to large-and-in-charge phones. The Lumia 640XL launched earlier this year with the same size 5.7-inch display. How does the Lumia 950XL compare to the Lumia 640XL?

Lumia 950XL

Microsoft Lumia 950XL Thumb

Lumia 640XL

Lumia 640XL Thumb
Size 5.98 x 3.09 x 0.32 inches 6.22 x 3.21 x 0.35 inches
Weight 5.82 ounces 6.03 ounces
Screen 5.7-inch AMOLED 5.7-inch IPS LCD
Resolution 2560 x 1440 pixels, 515 ppi 1280 x 720 pixels, 259 ppi
OS Windows 10 Windows 8.1, Windows 10 upgrade available
Storage 32GB 8GB
SD Card Slot Yes Yes
Processor Octa-core Snapdragon 810 Quad-core Snapdragon 400
RAM 3 GB 1GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n/ac), 4G LTE, HSPA+ Wi-Fi (b/g/n), 4G LTE, HSPA+
Camera 20MP Rear PureView, 5MP Front 13MP Rear PureView, 5MP Front
Video 2160p 4K UHD 1080p
Bluetooth 4.1 4.0
NFC Yes Yes
Fingerprint sensor No No
Iris Scanner Yes No
Water Resistant No No
Battery 3,340mAh 3,000mAh
Charger USB Type-C Micro USB
Quick Charging Yes No
Wireless Charging Yes, Qi No
Marketplace Windows Store Windows Store
Avg. Price $649, $200 with a two-year contract $250, $1 with a two-year contract
Color Options Red, White, Blue, and Black Matte Cyan, Orange, Black, Matte White, Glossy White
Availability November 2015, AT&T AT&T
DT Review Hands on review Hands on review

 Microsoft

 Amazon | AT&T

Power

Both phones use Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, but there is a big difference between the two. The 950XL’s Snapdragon 810 is an octa-core processor that is super fast. On the other hand, the 640XL sports a dated Snapdragon 400, which is a quad-core chip that’s normally found in mid-range phones. Windows 10 is pretty lightweight, so most people probably won’t notice a difference with normal use. However, the 950XL uses the extra power for Windows Continuum, which allows the phone to operate like a desktop computer. It’s a very neat feature that you won’t find on many other phones at this point in time.

Winner: Lumia 950XL

Display

Size doesn’t always matter. You will find a 5.7-inch display on both phones, but the 950XL is a lot more pleasing to the eye. The 950XL features AMOLED technology and a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. That translates to a whopping 515 pixels-per-inch. The 640XL is more mid-range with it’s IPS LCD display and 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution. While most people don’t pay attention to every pixel, most consumers will notice a difference between these two displays side-by-side. The Lumia 950XL is significantly sharper and brighter.

The other plus with the 950XL is the AMOLED technology, which means that the phone can conserve battery life by only lighting the pixels that it needs. For example, the lock screen notifications will barely impact battery life since the entire display won’t be lit.

Winner: Lumia 950XL

Productivity

Having a great display and a lot of power doesn’t always translate into productivity. However, the Lumia 950XL might be one of the most productive phones we have ever seen. With Windows Continuum, you can attach the phone to the optional display dock and it will transform into a Windows 10 desktop of sorts. Windows 10 apps will automatically adjust to a larger monitor, and you will be able to use a full keyboard and mouse. Now that’s productive. Unfortunately, the 640XL doesn’t have the same ability, but then again, not everyone is looking for that feature from a phone. Still, there’s no denying that the 950XL will serve your productivity needs better.

Winner: Lumia 950XL

Camera

Both phones feature PureView cameras, but the 950XL gets a nice upgrade with a 20-megapixel sensor vs. the 640XL’s 13-megapixel sensor. We know it’s not all about the megapixels, but the 950XL also features an aperture of f/1.9 and optical image stabilization. On top of this, the 950XL is capable of recording 4K video, while the 640XL is limited to 1080p. At the Microsoft event, we saw some amazing pictures taken with the Lumia 950XL that showed impressive detail when zooming into the shot. It’s too soon to tell for sure, but it’s just about a certainty that the 950XL will outperform the 640XL in sheer quality.

Winner: Lumia 950XL

Design

Picking the best phone in terms of design is difficult, since it’s such a personal thing. Both phones feature plastic bodies, so neither one is going to blow you away. The 950XL does sport a larger camera lens, which might offer a more premium look for some. The one noticeable advantage of the 950XL is that it’s little smaller even though it has the same display size. Still, we can’t see anyone choosing either phone over the other for styling alone. The two Lumias look quite similar in style, after all, though the 640XL does come in lots of fun colors.

Winner: Tie

Extras

The 950XL provides a few extras that make it even more attractive. On top of a bigger battery, the 950XL also supports quick charging, which means that you can charge it from 0 to 50 percent in only 30 minutes. The 950XL also supports Qi wireless charging. Security is another area in which the 950XL shows its prowess. Microsoft added an iris scanner that works with the Windows Hello Beta, too. This means that you can unlock the 950XL by just looking at it. Of course, it doesn’t work yet, though it will soon. Unfortunately the 640XL doesn’t offer any of these features.

Winner: Lumia 950XL

Conclusion

It appears that we have a clear winner, but it really comes down to your needs. If it’s a flagship Windows 10 phone with a lot of power and features that you want, then the Lumia 950XL is the phone for you. However, if you don’t think you need to use your phone as a desktop computer and don’t care about having the most high-end specs, the 640XL is a good choice, considering it still has a decent PureView camera, very good battery life, and is eligible for the Windows 10 upgrade. Plus, you can get it for $400 less off contract or $200 less on contract.

Wearables

Before buying a Fitbit, check out these Garmin fitness trackers under $100

The Apple Watch is a great fitness tracker, but it's not cheap. Thankfully, there are plenty of fitness trackers under $100, and they offer many of the same features. Here are the best fitness trackers under $100.
Mobile

iFixit's teardown might show the reason the Galaxy Fold keeps breaking

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 update gives manual control of Bright Night mode

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.
Mobile

Waze vs. Google Maps: Which map app should you be using?

Waze and Google Maps are two of the most popular apps for those looking for turn-by-turn navigation, yet there are some notable differences to point out. Here, we examine both to decide which offers the best feature set.
Health & Fitness

Google’s redesigned Fit activity tracker is now an iOS app

Google Fit has landed for iOS. The activity tracker offers the same clean design that arrived with the major revamp of the Android version a year ago, with features such as Move Minutes and Heart Points also included.
Mobile

Stunning photo shows Honor 20 will get the full Moschino designer treatment

Honor will launch the Honor 20 on May 21, at an event taking place in London. A special Moschino version will also be revealed, potentially with a Lite version, and perhaps even another model also showing up on the day.
Mobile

Leak says Huawei will supply 5G equipment to the U.K., but with a caveat

A leak from the U.K.'s National Security Council says Huawei has been approved to supply certain 5G infrastructure equipment, but not the core components related to secure aspects of the network.
Mobile

Smash your carrier shackles with the best unlocked phones

If you want the freedom to switch carriers at will or you prefer to get your phone directly from the company that makes it, you'll want to buy an unlocked smartphone. These are the best unlocked phones you can buy in the U.S.
Mobile

Google Assistant for Android and iOS wants to tell you a story

Just in time for National Tell a Story Day on April 27, Google has added the ability for Google Assistant for iOS and Android to read you a story. So now there's no excuse for not catching up with a good book.
Android

Here's how much it will cost to buy the Galaxy S10 5G, and when it releases

Samsung announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show, as it will be the first 5G-ready smartphone to hit the market.
Mobile

Verizon reveals 20 new cities that will get its 5G network in 2019

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it has also begun deploying mobile 5G. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network, including when it will be in your town.
Mobile

Bothering the bots: Funny questions and commands to pose to Google Assistant

Communicating with Google Assistant can be a chore. Luckily, there are plenty of fun questions and commands to add a little entertainment to your oft-rigid conversation. Here are some of our favorites.