Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: The Master Chief

The Master Chief

GSMArena team, 07 December, 2015.

Multimedia

Photos

The first and most notable new app is Photos. Its default view is an overview of 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 XL review: The Photos app Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: The Photos app Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: The Photos app Microsoft Lumia 950 XL 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 XL review: Viewing an image Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: Viewing an image Microsoft Lumia 950 XL 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 with 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.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: Groove Music Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: Groove Music Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: Groove Music Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: Groove Music
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 XL review: OneDrive playback settings Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: Equalizers are in Settings, Extras, Equalizers Microsoft Lumia 950 XL 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 XL 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 XL 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.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: Films and TV Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: Films and TV Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review: Films and TV
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).

Very good audio quality

Despite the different chipsets, it appears the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL audio bits and pieces seem pretty close to those of its smaller Lumia 950 sibling. The phablet produces very good output even if it's not quite the best out there. While connected to an active external amplifier, the smartphone's volume levels were nicely high and its clarity readings were splendid.

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 XL+0.01, -0.08-91.691.70.00350.012-89.3
Nokia Lumia 950 XL (headphones attached)+0.48, -0.07-90.491.50.0110.293-55.6
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 Premium+0.01, -0.03-95.989.60.00340.012-95.5
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (headphones attached)+0.11, -0.40-95.680.70.00570.227-55.2
Apple iPhone 6 Plus+0.04, -0.04-94.094.00.00130.0064-72.0
Apple iPhone 6 Plus (headphones attached)+0.10, -0.04-94.093.90.00160.087-64.1
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

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL frequency response
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL frequency response

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

Reader comments

  • Sem911

No it's not I use it every day in car, paired with Samsung buds, garmin watch, connect faster to car then note10+,

Unfortunately, nope! the supports ended in december last year

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