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Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review

Tempting for the Windows faithful, but no one else

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review

Music

The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL doesn't fare well in the speaker department. Although the driver is able to reach an acceptable volume it can become quite tinny at higher volumes, and it lacks the bass levels of the likes of the HTC One M9.

Despite this, the device is a decent music player. The Groove Music application is well laid out, and organises locally stored tracks in a logical and well-presented manner.

Windows Lumia 950 XL review

If you have a OneDrive account you can also store tracks online to be streamed later, which is always a nice option, especially for playback across multiple devices.

With an inbuilt equaliser and virtual surround sound, the Lumia 950 XL is also a decent option for audio-hounds, offering fine control over high and low notes alike, and offering presets for various genres.

Movies

With its 2K AMOLED 5.7-inch screen the Lumia 950 XL is made for consuming video content, and it proved to be a treat in this regard. The bright, punchy and accurate colours meant that I enjoyed my Netflix binges with a lot more 'pop' than might normally be the case.

With Windows 10 Mobile, video content is no longer organised into the video Hub that was present on Windows Phone, and is instead accessed through the Films and TV app.

Windows Lumia 950 XL review

This provides access to the Microsoft store, where various titles can be rented or bought. Locally stored files can also be found here.

In general use, I found only one consistent flaw in the video experience. Typically, when using .MP4 files, the audio would not work in the native app, due to a lack of codec support.

Downloading VLC from the app store solved this problem, but it's a significant problem given the wide popularity of the video format.

Gaming

More than almost anything else, a great deal has been made about the lack of quality games in the Windows Phone Store. While this isn't strictly true, there is a definite paucity of offerings.

Windows Lumia 950 XL review

When it comes to running the games that are available, the Lumia 950 XL is a strong performer, although as mentioned it did tend to get warm during extended periods of use.

Titles such as Halo: Spartan Strike, Mirror's Edge, Sparkle 2 and Asphalt 8 ran without a hitch and looked beautiful while doing so, even if occasionally lacking a few of the bells and whistles of their Android variations.