Today Microsoft officially revealed three phones which have been showing up in leaks for the past while. Leaks always seem to take away some of the wow factor at a launch, but the latest Windows 10 Mobile phones look to be a solid offering from the Redmond group in a division which has seen a lot of disruption over the last year or so.

Let’s start with the flagship phones. The Lumia division has not had a flagship phone since the Lumia 930 launched as the Lumia Icon back in February of 2014. That is an eternity in the smartphone space, and considering it was not exactly bleeding edge at the time, it has quickly fallen behind some of the other players.

Lumias
  Lumia 550 Lumia 950 Lumia 950XL
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 quad-core A7 Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 2xA57+4xA53 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 4xA57+4xA53
Memory unknown
Display 4.7" 1280x720 LCD with Glance 5.2" 2560x1440 OLED with Glance 5.7" 2560x1440 OLED with Glance
Storage unknown 32 GB plus microSD
Camera 5MP Rear, 2MP Front 20MP w/OIS Rear, Triple LED flash, 5MP Front
Price $139 $549 $649

Microsoft is launching two models of their flagship to suit different peoples wants and needs. First, the Lumia 950 is a 5.2-inch device with a 2560x1440 OLED display. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 32 GB of storage, and a 20 MP camera. The Lumia 950XL is its larger cousin, and has a 5.7-inch display with the same 2560x1440 resolution, and it is also OLED. The main difference between the two other than the display size is the 950XL moves up to the Snapdragon 810.

Lumia 950XL

One thing that I have been wondering for a while is whether or not Windows 10 Mobile would launch with ARM 64-bit support, and the answer is unfortunately no. The processors are of course 64-bit capable but Windows 10 Mobile has decided to target 32-bit support.

With that bad news out of the way, the phones themselves are solid offerings and should have plenty of performance compared to the current generation of Windows devices. Microsoft was keen to show off their Continuum experience, which allows the phone to be connected to a display and used as a Windows 10 desktop, albeit with only access to Universal Windows Apps. The demo was good though and they showed off the app loading and multitasking capabilities very well.

Lumia 950

The 950 and 950XL feature a removable back, so you can get some interesting rear colors and material choices. Microsoft had some leather backs on display that looked and felt great, and there were several colors to choose from as well.

The camera has generally been a strong point of the Lumia line, and the 20 MP model has the same number of pixels as the Lumia 930 but is backed by a 5th generation optical image stabilization. Although there was no chance to test the low light capabilities, we hope to have more time to test these out soon.

One thing that has made its way back is the Glance Screen, which leverages the OLED to allow the Lumia to display important information on the display even when the phone is turned off. This is a fantastic feature that I have used on several phones, and having a phone without it is a burden after you have used it.

They will also feature Windows Hello facial recognition to unlock the phone. The demo took a couple of seconds which is too long, but it may have been non-ideal lighting. It needs to be as easy as fingerprint unlock to gain traction so this will also need to be tested further.

The Lumia 950 and 950XL will go on sale in November at $549 and $649 respectively.

The other Lumia announced was a much less expensive option. The Lumia 550 is a new low cost model featuring the Snapdragon 210 quad-core processor and LTE. The camera is just 5 MP but the 4.7-inch 1280x720 LCD display also features Glance. The 550 is decidedly less exciting, but the price is just $139 with it arriving in December.

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  • uhuznaa - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    These devices are outright impressing. I think finding a single Android phone with all these features (as opposed to hundreds with a few of them) would be hard, even if you discount the creepy iris scanning. Changeable back, SD card (with up to 2TB), removable battery, 3 GB RAM, an actually useful OLED display, a good camera (supposedly), docking support, wireless charging... well done! Reply
  • lorribot - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    I see the Continuum thing, question is, is it a full desktop in the sense it can run all the applications I normally have on my desktop and work with SCCM or will I be limited to Store apps only?
    This is a business feature but if you can't run the normal legacy junk programs and manage from MS own management tool it won't take off. Also needs to be able to run two monitors. Has the potential to be just another Surface RT stuck in the no man's land between consumer and enterprise products.
    Reply
  • NXTwoThou - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    It's currently limited to Universal Windows Apps(aka, Windows 10 apps). Until they come out with Windows 10 Mobile for Atom phones, you won't be seeing x86 programs running on a W10 Mobile phone. Even when they do release an x86 version, they might not allow win32 programs to work for fear of fragmentation of the Continum concept. I think it's sad though, it would have been an incredibly strong selling point for businesses. Maybe the rumored Surface Phone? Reply
  • doggface - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    Universal apps only, but as far as enterprise goes ->

    a) there will be a way to publish internal apps for corporates. SCCM will be the delivery vehicle.

    b) how long will it take to roll a citrix receiver/rdp app or similar for vdi? Not long. Goodbye single app, hello desktop.

    c) those phones are just as much pointed directly at enterprise (so the local Msoft rep tells us) and about 2-4 years from now when Win 10 is across large enterprises in force... It will kill the iPad/iPhone/laptop trio that many travelling workers are hampered with atm.

    d) I told a travelling exec about continuum and man you would have thought I had told him he was getting a new car.

    The real problem is what to use for a bigger display... Some kind of miracast tablet?
    Reply
  • Michael Bay - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    I haven`t seen a single one travelling iPad _worker_.
    Literally everything is done on laptop.
    Reply
  • Schnydz - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    Well I'm a traveling exec. Let me tell you what in my bag...2012 MacBook Air, iPad, and a Lumia 640. And yes, I use all three through out my day. Crazy I know. Reply
  • doggface - Thursday, October 8, 2015 - link

    Obviously YMMV. In our enterprise (multiple brands), most of our Regional Managers will have an iPhone, a Brand specific iPad for WebEx/email/comms on the run, and a Win Laptop for when they are at a desk.
    They would give much to ditch the laptop.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    If the 950 has 4GB of RAM I will probably buy that as my next phone, even though it is pretty expensive and still has a stupidly high resolution screen. Seriously, there's NO reason to go beyond 1080p in a phone.

    Even with those shortcomings, I'm gonna need a new phone in less than a year and there's literally no options in the world of Android right now.

    The state of the smart phone market is just so incredibly depressing.
    Reply
  • EddyKilowatt - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    Just bowing to market pressure, or more correctly tech journalist and forum fanboy pressure... they'd get shelled if their new flagship(s) "only" sported 1080 screens. Hopefully this fad will pass as the megapixel fad has, sort of, somewhat, god-I-hope-it-doesn't-come-back, passed. Reply
  • CSMR - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    It will be several years before phones will make use of >4GB RAM and need a 64 bit OS. Perhaps a decade given that Moore's law is slowing down. Reply

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