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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  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    Do these ARM chips support something like PAE? Because they don't have any legacy drivers or software to worry about. Not that I think that would be necessary, when they need to go 64-bit for a phone with more RAM, they will release a 64-bit build. Reply
  • xthetenth - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    Pretty sure 64 bit phones are already seeing benefits from register increases. Reply
  • doggface - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    I do wonder if Msoft have enough issues with the size of the O.S. without using the 64-bit version Reply
  • BMNify - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    Big removable battery, upto 2TB Micro sd card on which you can install apps too, Liquid cooling, Glance, Continuum, wireless charging, Good camera, 5th gen OIS and dedicated camera button. What more can we ask?? Will buy it as soon as it is launched. Reply
  • Michael Bay - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    Jesus, where can I get a 2TB SD card?! Reply
  • LiverpoolFC5903 - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    Good flagship phones with great cameras and a modern OS. Whats not to like?

    But why not move to a X86 based chipset and offer something close to the full windows experience through continuum? I am not a developer/programmer but shouldn't it be relatively easy to make the Windows 10 mobile OS compatible with Intel Atom chipsets, considering the OS is based on windows NT?

    A powerful Intel powered phone with 4 GB RAM and support for legacy apps will offer customers a genuinely differentiated product and unmatched by any competitor.

    I am sure all those smart people at MS have thought of this at some point.
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, October 12, 2015 - link

    Most likely the atoms still can't compete with ARM in terms of price/performance. The cheap, low end atoms are still pretty weak, and the chips worth their salt are probably too hot to run in a phone.

    WP has also always used snapdragon, IIRC. Using an atom CPU would require new drivers and more R&D on a low volume product. The rumored surface phone would make much more sense to have an x86 core in it.
    Reply
  • theNiZer - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    950 looks great - when will we see a review by anandtech? Reply
  • andyd - Friday, October 9, 2015 - link

    Not before they are done with iPhone 6s! :) Reply
  • Hiiklstt - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    Full specifications are listed for each of these on the Microsoft site (links below).
    950: http://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/phone/lumia950/...
    950 (Dual Sim): http://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/phone/lumia950-...
    950XL: http://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/phone/lumia950-...
    950XL (Dual Sim): http://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/phone/lumia950-...
    Reply

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