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Microsoft Lumia 950 review

7/10 AVG.

Informr score
The Microsoft Lumia 950 currently has an Informr score of 7 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 26 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Sharp and clear display
  • Smooth performance during all tasks
  • Excellent picture quality in good and low light situations

What's bad

  • Iris detector feature doesn't work all the time
  • Continuum feature requires peripheral accessories and only works with a few apps
  • Very limited app selection in Microsoft Store

In the battle of smartphones, Microsoft trails well behind giants like Apple and Android. The Lumia 950 is Microsoft's latest attempt to attract more the market and keep their users interested. Does it accomplish this? On the design front, experts say no. They call it uninspired, bland and cheap feeling due to the use of an all plastic body. At 0.3 inches it is not the slimmest smartphone on the market nor is it the lightest at 150 grams. Still, critics note the boxy design fit well in their hands and they can easily use it with one hand.

The 5.2-inch AMOLED display offers a quad HD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440, which is sharper than both the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. For many reviewers, the display is the highlight of the Lumia 950 as it is incredibly sharp with decent sunlight legibility. They did notice, however, that colors tended to be a bit washed out though they add that blacks were nice and dark. Still Ars Technica calls the screen "glorious."

The Lumia 950 comes with modern internal hardware: a hexa-core processor made up of a 1.82GHz dual-core chip and 1.44GHz quad-core and 3GB of RAM. Surprisingly, experts found the processor ran rather hot even during normal use. As well, they noticed some slowness in between some apps, but for the most part Windows 10 mobile ran fairly smoothly for them during basic tasks as well as more intensive tasks. Unfortunately the 3,000mAh battery didn't last them much longer than a day of normal use though fortunately it is removable and, according to critics, charged incredibly fast.

On the back of the phone is a 20MP camera equipped with optical image stabilization and triple LED flash. For the most part critics were able to take excellent pictures with good color reproduction and decent amount of contrast. Even in low light situations they were able to fairly decent images. Even still, they note that it could not compete with other competing cameras. They noticed a lack of fine detail in some indoor lighting situations. The front 5MP camera also performed admirably though again critics could not call it the best on the market.

Besides taking selfies and video conferencing, the front camera doubles as an iris-scanner for the Windows Hello feature. Users only have to hold up the camera the phone to their eye to then unlock the phone. For the most part reviewers only noticed issues in certain lighting conditions, but luckily Microsoft combats this with a PIN backup. While an interesting software addition, they also add it isn't any easier or faster than a fingerprint scanner.

Microsoft intends the biggest draw to be the Continuum feature. In practice it is meant to turn the phone into a full-fledged PC with the use of the Display Dock peripheral, a mouse and keyboard and a display. Essentially, users simply need to connect the phone to the Display Dock and they would be able to access their apps on a larger screen. Like the Windows Hello, critics though the overall idea was good but the execution was flawed as they noticed it had issues loading full desktop browser pages and it only worked with a few apps. Speaking of apps, the Microsoft App Store still lags far behind Google and Apple in terms of sheer number and availability of even popular apps.

In general while reviewers enjoyed using the Lumia 950 they have a difficult time recommending due to its price and disappointing new software features. Tech Radar states, "It's an incomplete picture…Of course, this is more than enough for Windows Phone 8.1 users to upgrade to the Windows 10 Mobile flagship's debut." CNET adds, "I do believe there are some people who will like the Lumia 950, which is good from a hardware perspective…In my opinion though, you'll get more from similarly priced or even cheaper Android phones."

Operating system
1.8 GHz
Screen Size
20+ MP

What the Critics Are Saying...

Know Your Mobile

Microsoft's Lumia 950 is a very mixed bagged. Its camera and Windows 10 Continuum are fantastic, but its day-to-day performance, battery life and low screen brightness just aren't quite good enough to warrant a whole-hearted recommendation. This is a real shame, as there's clearly a lot of potential...

- rgoodwin, Know Your Mobile

Microsoft's Lumia 950 is a good Windows 10 smartphone with decent equipment and interesting technical features.

- Michael Moser, Notebookcheck
Make Use Of

Overall, the Microsoft Lumia 950 is a solid piece of hardware, with a friendly and, efficient Windows 10-style user interface. But ultimately, like a PC, it’s designed for office productivity first, fun later.

- Christian Cawley, Make Use Of
Tech Advisor

Windows 10 has arrived on smartphones and we're not exactly blown away. Loyal Windows and Windows Phone users will appreciate features like Universal Apps and while Continuum appears to be a real wow features, it requires a lot of extra equipment. The OS is buggy, too. The Lumia 950 itself offers so...

- Chris Martin, Tech Advisor

A great phone that has been let down by some mediocre software. If you are a fan of the Windows way of working then you will get on with this phone very well, especially if you have made the move to Windows 10 on your laptop/desktop.

- Garry Clark, Coolsmartphone

Prices (Where to Buy)

Common Questions

We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Microsoft Lumia 950 user manual here.

Microsoft backs up the Lumia 950 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.

If your Lumia 950 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Microsoft support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Microsoft's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.


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Quick view

Screen Size

The Microsoft Lumia 950's screen size is 5.2 inches with 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution.

1.8 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 Hexa core 1.8 GHz processor (CPU).


The phone runs on the Android 10 operating system (OS).

20+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 20+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 5+ megapixels resolution.

32 GB

Internal memory is 32 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 200 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.


The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3000 mAh battery. Microsoft's performance ratings are 1380 minutes, 570 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Lumia 950 Specs

Release date October 7, 2015
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Mobile / Cellular Data
SIM card size
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 10

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 Hexa core 1.8 GHz
Internal Storage 32 GB
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.48 W/kg
Body: 0.6 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery, Data Cable
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 3000 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging Yes
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 600 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 570 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 1380 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 11.5 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Black, White
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.5 x 7.3 x 0.8 cm (5.7 x 2.9 x 0.3 in)
Weight 150 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels
Pixel density 564 pixels
Size 5.2 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features -
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.1
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 200 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
DLNA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Main Camera
20+ megapixels
Yes (Triple LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
5+ megapixels
Additional Front Camera Info
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AMR-NB, MIDI, MP3, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
Additional comments

Also available in a dual-SIM model.

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Microsoft Lumia 950 Reviews
Where to buy Microsoft Lumia 950
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