We have already posted the detailed hands-on review of Microsoft Lumia 950 XL few weeks back. Along with Lumia 950 XL, Lumia 950 was launched as well. And this time, we are sharing the hands-on review of Microsoft Lumia 950 for all Geeky Stuffs readers.
There are two versions of Lumia 950 available based on connectivity – single SIM version and dual SIM version. Depending on that, you will have either one or two nano SIM card slots in your Microsoft Lumia 950. Both of these version are exactly same in terms of features and hardware specs, the only difference is in the number of SIM slots they are having. So, you can consider this very same review for Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 Dual SIM both.
This detailed hands-on review of Microsoft Lumia 950 is divided in different section covering features, specs and performance of Microsoft Lumia 950 separately.
Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 Dual SIM : Hands-on Review, Specs and Features
Retail Box and Unboxing
Microsoft Lumia 950 comes in a standard Lumia retail box. The retail box of Lumia 950 contains the smartphone, battery, USB Type-C cable, a pair of earphones and a quick charger along with some user manuals.
Watch the Microsoft Lumia 950 unboxing video below.
Microsoft Lumia 950 comes with a minimalistic but pretty typical and popular Lumia smartphone design. Lumia 950 sports a slim body with 8.2mm thickness but still looks strong, durable and premium. Even though Lumia 950 is one the most high-end Lumia smartphone, mostly plastic is used in its design and body. So this can be a turn off for user expecting the full metal body from a flagship device. The polycarbonate back panel is having matte finish and looks nice. It can be removed to put the battery, SIM cards and memory card inside the device.
There are three keys on the body of Lumia 950 – a volume rocker, power on/off key and a dedicated camera key. The 20MP camera is given on the back along with the tri-LED flash and the speaker on the sides of the camera module. A shiny Microsoft logo is given in the center of the back panel.
There are iris scanner, proximity sensor and 5MP camera on the front side. There are no capacitive keys provided separately and you will find them on screen itself. The USB port is at the bottom and the 3.5mm audio jack is at the top left corner of the device.
We performed a bend test on Lumia 950 and found it durable and strong enough as expected from its looks and design. You can watch the Microsoft Lumia 950 bend test video below
Screen and Display
Lumia 950 comes with a 5.2-inch AMOLED screen having 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution which will give you approximately 564 PPI pixel density. So, you will get the sharp display and will not find any pixels on the screen. Even though the screen size is moderately big, the screen-to-body ratio is around 70.5% and it makes using the device with hand an easy job.
Screen of the Lumia 950 comes with Gorilla Glass 4 protection . The screen quality is really nice in Lumia 950, thanks to ClearBlack display and AMOLED screen. The sunlight readability and viewing angles are also very good.
We performed the knife scratch test and key scratch test on the screen of Lumia 950 Dual SIM to check how good is the Gorilla Glass 4 screen protection. It performed just great and came out of the test without getting a single scratch. You can watch the Lumia 950 knife scratch test video below.
Hardware Specs and OS
Lumia 950 is a 4G LTE device and sports the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor. The processor is supported by 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 418 GPU which works perfectly. Internal memory in Lumia 950 is 32GB but it is expandable using the dedicated microSD card slot. You can use a memory card of up to 256GB to expand the memory. You also get the 15GB of cloud storage from the pre-installed OneDrive app.
One drawback for the Dual SIM version of Lumia 950 is that you can select only 2G for the second SIM, just like Lumia 950 XL.
Unlike other flagship devices available in the market, there is no fingerprint scanner provided in Lumia 950 but this is compensated by the iris scanner that works with Windows Hello Beta to unlock your smartphone. I was a bit sceptic about its performance as I wear glasses but even with spectacles, the iris scanner was able to recognize me correctly every time.
And when it comes to performance, Lumia 950 scores really good because of its hardware. Lumia 950 comes with the latest Windows 10 Mobile OS and with lots of new features like Continuum, Windows Hello, new and more productive Action Center, more customization on Start screen etc. Even though Windows Phone is having its own set of amazing features, it still needs to improve a lot and provide some features which are already existing in Android and iPhones
In our benchmarking tests, Lumia 950 scored pretty well because of its nice hardware specs and the real life performance is pretty much same as well. We played some heavy and high end games like Modern Combat 5, Asphalt 8 : Airborne etc. on our Lumia 950 and the performance was really nice without any lagging or frame drops of any kind.
Camera and Imaging
Lumia 950 sports a 20 MP primary camera with a brand new sensor, so you will find great difference between the imaging quality of Lumia 930 and 950 even though both are having 20MP camera. There is a 5 MP camera on the front side to take selfies and video chatting. The front facing camera can also record 1080p full HD resolution videos.
As expected, the 20 MP primary camera is really good when it comes to image quality thanks to the awesome combination of 1/2.4" sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, PureView technology, optical imahe stabilization and Carl Zeiss optics. The images coming out of it are having great amount of details, very less noise, good quality color rendering and nice sharpness too.
Lumia 950 supports all the features of Lumia Camera like manual controls, Rich Capture, including the newly introduced slow motion video recording. The slow motion video comes without audio and you can customize the slow motion as well whether you want a part of the video to be slow or just a very small fraction of the video in super slow motion for the dramatic effect.
You can do the 2160p video recording @30, 25 and 24 fps, 1080p video recording @ 60, 30, 25 and 24 fps and various 720p video recording too. There is Rich Audio Recording provided as well with the help of four-directional microphones. And for video recording lovers, there is lossless zoom in 1080p (3x) and 720p (4x) videos. So 1080p video recording seems a better option for lossless zoom. The video includes lots of details and high bit-rate as well.
Rich Capture of Lumia Camera app on Lumia 950 does not work properly. Unlike the previously used Rich Capture of Windows Phone 8.1 OS on Lumia 930, I was not able to capture images in Rich Capture mode most of the time. The only time it was working when the flash is on to provide the Dynamic Flash option. I never got other Rich Capture options like Dynamic HDR even though Rich Capture was always on and the pics were taken in different lighting conditions.
The 5MP front-facing camera let you record 1242p resolution videos at 30fps. There is also manual control provided to adjust brightness, white balance, shutter speed and ISO while using the front camera. The images and videos both from the front camera provide nice output with good amount of details.
Overall, the cameras of Lumia 950 are winner in terms of imaging and video recording both.
Entertainment and Gaming
Lumia 950 is having a 5.2-inch screen with great display quality. The big screen and nice display provides a nice experience of watching videos and playing games on this device. The speaker is loud, clear and with good bass. So if you are going to use Lumia 950 for playing games, watching videos or listen music on speakers, you will like it for sure.
The official Windows 10 music app is Groove Music and it works perfectly. It is nice interface, supports streaming and downloading of music and supports most of the music format including FLAC. You can also put music from your computer and enjoy it on Lumia 950. There is also FM radio available in Lumia 950.
The only and a very big drawback is that the player itself is not having the Equalizer settings. So you need to go to the device Settings and change it from there instead of Groove Music app that is kind of annoying.
When it comes to gaming, Lumia 950 performs brilliantly because of nice hardware specs. You will not feel any lagging or frame drops while playing high-end games. The touch sensitivity is smooth and very responsive to enjoy the games perfectly. Also the sensors like accelerometer, gyro etc. perform very well too while playing games.
The only problem we faced while playing games on our Lumia 950 is the heating issue. It heats up while playing high-end games and also sometimes while charging the device.
When it comes to productivity, Windows Phone devices are the best and Windows 10 Mobile comes with lots of new and interesting productivity features. You get Cortana, the most advanced personal assistant on mobile, along with Microsoft Office Suite to perform all your office work on the go. Also, the Start screen contributes a lot in saving time and improving the productivity.
But the best productivity feature of Lumia 950 is the Continuum. But you need the Microsoft Display Dock to use this feature. Once an external screen is connected to the Lumia 950 via the Display Dock, the screen converts into a Windows 10 PC and whatever you do on the screen is get saved on your phone as well.
And the best part is that while using Continuum, you will be able to use your Lumia 950 separately too. It means you can keep making a PowerPoint presentation on the screen while making a call or using WhatsApp on your phone without interrupting the function of Continuum screen or your phone .
Lumia 950 comes with a removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery. The battery performance is good and the phone survives two days easily on moderate usage even with a high resolution big screen and high-end processor. The standby time is also impressive.
There is also Wireless charging (Qi-enabled) and Fast Charging feature provided to improve the user experience with the battery but there is no wireless charger provided and you will have to buy one if you want to use the wireless charging feature.
Microsoft Lumia 950 is a flagship and an innovative smartphone in every sense , thanks to the exclusive features like Continuum, iris scanner, nice design, triple-LED light and amazing camera along with the nice hardware specs. The screen is brilliant, battery life is good, performance is nice and smooth along with the many productive features like Cortana, Continuum and deep integration of Microsoft Office.
The only drawbacks of Lumia 950 are the heating issue and a bit lack of smartphone app. It was launched at a very high price and was a big turn off even for the most loyal Lumia lovers. And since the price of Lumia 950 is reduced alot now recently, buying it would be great deal considering the feature and performance it provides.