For a young second there I had forgotten that Windows Phones were ever really a thing — iOS and Android devices keep making headlines these days. After all, it’s been ages since we got a high-end phone from Microsoft or one of its partners.
It was… frustrating to say the least, especially if you were one of those people who fell under the spell of Microsoft’s mega-marketing blitz. Now, though, we’ve got two new high-end Windows Phones — the Lumia 950 and 950 XL — ready to bring the best of Microsoft’s new vision of software straight into our pockets. I spent a little time here at Microsoft SA’s offices – shorty after my radio insert on UJ FM – to play around with both, and one thing seems clear: While the hardware doesn’t feel like Microsoft’s best, there are plenty of good ideas here.
Starting with Lumia 950, between its light chassis and the 5.2-inch Quad HD AMOLED screen running up front, it’s an awfully comfortable thing to hold for a while; it was a welcome change after having used Huawei’s Mate S for a week or two. We were then told the 20-megapixel camera on the 950’s back is capable of capturing better photos than even the Lumia 1020 did (with the added benefit of fitting nicely in a pocket). That’s thanks in part to an f/1.9 aperture lens and optical image stabilization. Microsoft went with Qualcomm’s hexa-core Snapdragon 808 (clocked at 1.8GHz) with 3GB of RAM to power the show and it’s about as quick as you’d expect a high-end chipset to run in a Windows Phone.
On the Luumia 950XL, its Quad HD AMOLED display comes in at 5.7 inches diagonal, but it also packs a slightly snappier (on paper, anyway) 2.0GHz Snapdragon 810 chipset — again paired with 3GB of RAM.
Lumia 950 R10549 MTN, CELL C, WINDOWS STORE
Lumia 950 XL R11499 MTN, CELL C, WINDOWS STORE