Windows 10 handset impresses on the hardware front but is let down by a paucity of third-party apps
Great display, slick performance, decent battery life, expandable storage, excellent camera
Boring design, app selection remains disappointing compared with iOS and Android
£ 449 SIM-free
Display: 5.2in 2560x1440 564ppi AMOLED
Processor: hexa-core 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
Internal storage: 32GB, expandable up to 200GB via microSD
Cameras: 20MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing
Connectivity: GSM/3G/4G, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system: Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile
Microsoft has a lot resting on the Lumia 950. It's the first smartphone the firm has released without the Nokia brand, and it has to prove Windows 10 as a truly universal operating system as Microsoft hopes that those with the software on their PC will opt for a smartphone that works in tandem with the OS.
Microsoft therefore needs the Lumia 950 to show that, unlike the previous Windows Phone 7 and 8 releases, Windows 10 Mobile has the chops, and more importantly the apps, to compete against iOS and Android, which currently account for a combined 98 percent of the global smartphone market.
The Lumia 950 is fairly uninspiring when it comes to design. The handset is available in black or white, and is made from matte polycarbonate that feels somewhat cheap. It lacks elegance and is prone to picking up smudges and fingerprints. It's fairly chunky too at 145x73x8.2mm and 150g.
Our biggest gripe, though, is how bland the handset feels compared with the likes of the Nokia-branded Lumia 920, which had outlandish polycarbonate packaging and a slightly curved 2.5D screen. Microsoft has so far failed to make much of a dent on the smartphone market, and we think this handset's dull design could see it struggle to stand out against its big-name competitors.
While it's not much to look at, the design of the Lumia 950 is certainly practical. The backplate can be removed, giving access to the battery and microSD slot. This also suggests that other, perhaps more colourful, backplates could be made available, but there's no word on this yet.
The design failed to impress, but the screen on the Lumia 950 is stunning. The 5.2in display, which is surrounded by a tiny bezel that gives it an almost edge-to-edge quality, has a Galaxy S6-rivalling 2560x1440 QHD resolution and comes with the AMOLED technology more typically associated with Samsung smartphones.
This makes for crystal clear text, vibrant colours, deep blacks and, despite the reflective Gorilla Glass 4 coating, impressive viewing angles and outdoor visibility. What's more, the screen didn't prove overly susceptible to fingerprints, unlike the Lumia 950's plastic back.
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