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The Lumia 950/950 XL smart phones pack a punch and it can be a PC when you need it

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It has been 10 weeks since Microsoft had released its Windows 10 and they have over 110 million devices running on the latest OS so far. To bring the same experience onto smaller screens, they had just announced their latest flagship smart phones – the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. The operating system is no longer called Windows Phone but simply Windows 10 in line with its new direction.

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL aren’t just about the latest hardware but a more integrated experience with its family of products. One notable feature is how it transforms the smart phone to deliver a PC-like experience via Windows Continuum. This is better implemented than other smart phone to PC docks we’ve seen before.

Going through the specs, there’s no surprises from what we’ve seen in earlier leaks. Both the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL come with a Quad HD AMOLED ClearBlack display that are 5.2″ and 5.7″ respectively. These are the highest resolution smart phones Microsoft has ever made with over 500ppi in pixel density. The Lumia 950 XL gets Gorilla Glass 4 protection while the Lumia 950 settles for Gorilla Glass 3.

Under the hood, the 950 XL gets Qualcomm’s 2.0GHz Snapdragon 810 Octa-Core processor while the 950 gets a 1.8GHz Hexa-core Snapdragon 808 unit. Both of which comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of on-board storage. Should you need more especially when shooting 4K videos, there’s a microSD slot which supports 200GB. But in theory, it can go up to 2TB when such capacity is available.

Being a flagship, the PureView camera is back with a 20MP f/1.9 1/2.4″ main shooter with a triple-LED RGB flash for natural looking illumination. Like most new high-end devices, it shoots 4K videos in 30fps while audio is is captured with Lumia Rich Recording that uses 4 microphones. For shake free shots, Optical Image Stabilisation comes as standard and you can capture moments quicker with a dedicated camera button. For the front, it gets a 5MP wide angle f/2.4 camera which supports Full HD video recording.

Keeping the lights on is a removable 3,000mAh battery for the Lumia 950 and a larger 3,340mAh for the XL sibling. As one of the pioneers of wireless charging on a smart phone, it still supports native Qi Wireless charging for both models. If you decide to juice up the old school way, Microsoft is future-proofing its Lumia 950/950 XL with USB Type C that supports fast charging. During the presentation, they shared that a 50% charge can be accomplished in just 30 minutes.

Connectivity wise, both ticked the right boxes with faster 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and 4G LTE. Which ever model you pick, there’s also a dual-SIM variant but it is subject to each respective market. Another new feature is its Windows Hello biometric authentication feature. The actual workings behind it wasn’t explained clearly but the product demo looks similar to Android’s Face Unlock with the use of its front camera. Earlier rumours suggest an Iris recognition technology that’s assisted by IR light.

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Probably one of the coolest feature is Windows Continuum. With a Microsoft Display Dock, you can simply plug in your USB Type C cable from your phone and it offers a PC-like desktop experience. The dock is a tiny box weighing 230 grams and it comes with 3 USB and HDMI/Display Port. When plugged in, you can check Outlook, edit your MS Office documents like a real machine and the transition is simply seamless. So if you got a spare monitor, keyboard and mouse at home, you can leave your clunky laptop at work but still get things done all from your mobile device. Now that’s the power of a PC in your pocket.

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL will be available starting in November and they are priced at $549 (RM2,379) and $649 (RM2,813) respectively. So far there’s no word on Asia Pacific release but it is possible that they could be here before the year ends. For more info, head over to the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL product pages.

Lumia 950

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Lumia 950 XL

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Display Dock

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Alexander Wong