Microsoft Lumia 950 review: Legendary Edition

Legendary edition

GSMArena team, 02 December, 2015.

Multimedia

Photos

The first and most notable new app is Photos. It defaults at your entire collection of pictures sans the screenshots. It is also capable of aggregating all of your OneDrive photos and listing them along with your camera snaps. You can turn on/off the OneDrive picture syncing from settings. Microsoft gives you 30GB for free plus 3GB for the each device on which you turn on the automatic OneDrive camera upload.

Microsoft Lumia 950 review: The Photos app Microsoft Lumia 950 review: The Photos app Microsoft Lumia 950 review: The Photos app Microsoft Lumia 950 review: The Photos app
The Photos app

It is very easy to select, delete and share multiple images. A limited editing option is available as well with support for rotation and crop. For advanced image editing you should go for the Lumia Creative Studio.

Microsoft Lumia 950 review: Viewing an image Microsoft Lumia 950 review: Viewing an image
Viewing an image

The Photos app offers a new Albums view - it allows you to quickly organize, edit and share multiple pictures or albums with your friends and family vie OneDrive links.

Live images are available as well. If the option is enabled from within the camera interface, your image will open as an animated picture similar to Apple Live Photos, sans the 3D Touch gimmick. The live picture is stored in standard jpg container, but only the Photos app of Windows 10 (Mobile, Desktop, Xbox One) can actually display the image animated. For all others image viewers/editors - it's a static image, double the size though.

Groove Music

The Music app in Windows 10 Mobile has gone through some major changes. It is now called Groove Music, named after Microsoft's music streaming service. Groove Music service is integrated within the app and offers streaming and downloading music the same way Google Music and Apple Music does.

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Groove Music

The Groove Music sorts your local music by albums, artist, songs and playlists. It covers all the usual requirements for a music player, supports editing playlists and comes with a nice and clean interface.

Groove Music app supports playing the music you've uploaded onto your OneDrive storage, which is quite useful sometimes.

Microsoft Lumia 950 review: OneDrive playback settings Microsoft Lumia 950 review: Equalizers are in Settings, Extras, Equalizers Microsoft Lumia 950 review: Equalizers are in Settings, Extras, Equalizers Microsoft Lumia 950 review: Equalizers are in Settings, Extras, Equalizers
OneDrive playback settings Equalizers are in Settings, Extras, Equalizers

Equalizers and surround enhancements are available from the phone's settings (Extras->Equalizers).

FM radio

The Lumia 950 comes FM Radio-enabled, but in most regions there is no FM radio app pre-installed. You can grab a proper app from the Windows Store and listen to FM stations using your headset as an antenna.

Note that this functionality may be locked entirely for some countries.

Films and TV

The Films and TV app supports Microsoft's video service, and you can buy or rent video content. Local playback is very easy thanks to the clean interface. You can browse by folders if you like.

The Lumia 950 is more than powerful enough to breeze through 1080p and 4K videos. It had issues with the AC-3 audio codec and failed to load sound in videos carrying it but that's mostly the norm for smartphones these days. The MKV movies went through, but without sound because pretty much all of our samples have AC-3 audio.

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Films and TV

Subtitles are supported, just hit the subs virtual key and you will be able to choose a file (from the current video folder only).

Audio output is good, but not exceptional

The Microsoft Lumia 950 did excellently when plugged in an active external amplifier. While its volume levels were only average, it posted great clarity scores top to bottom as a true high-end smartphone should.

Plugging in a pair of headphones harmed the stereo crosstalk moderately and it also introduced some intermodulation distortion and frequency response fluctuations. It's still a very good performance overall, but not quite among the best out there.

Anyway, here go the results so you can do your comparisons.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Nokia Lumia 950+0.01, -0.03-91.391.20.00360.012-91.6
Nokia Lumia 950 (headphones attached)+0.59, -0.03-92.091.90.0110.316-63.9
Sony Xperia Z5+0.01, -0.04-95.589.50.00330.012-94.8
Sony Xperia Z5 (headphones attached)+0.22, -0.24-95.189.50.00570.212-59.8
Apple iPhone 6s+0.03, -0.04-93.593.50.00160.0075-73.2
Apple iPhone 6s (headphones attached)+0.10, -0.06-93.893.90.00300.101-68.2
Samsung Galaxy S6 +0.01, -0.04-95.692.80.0024 0.0094-94.5
Samsung Galaxy S6 (headphones)+0.02, -0.05-92.691.90.0025 0.042-83.4
LG G4 +0.04, -0.07-93.493.30.0021 0.050-92.6
LG G4 (headphones)+0.93, -0.13- 91.491.90.013 0.244-50.4
Nokia Lumia 930+0.12, -0.02-91.490.70.0099 0.101-90.3
Nokia Lumia 930 (headphones attached)+0.19, -0.43-89.490.70.012 0.501-55.8

Microsoft Lumia 950 frequency response
Microsoft Lumia 950 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • jamc7826

The 950 is great phone yeah I admut I've bought ut 6mths ago but even still its yp there with recent counterparts its fast does what needed camera brilliant only prob is the ability to enable apps to be loaded u can side load but still only thing I d...

  • Tommy H

Love how efficient Windows is is. 48hr endurance rating is awful.

  • AnonD-563126

I wanna buy this phone