Google Nexus 6P
Google took the world aback earlier this year by partnering with lesser-known Chinese manufacturer Huawei to deliver the latest iteration of the larger device in its Nexus lineup.
Mountain View's confidence in its new partner proved to be well-founded, with the resulting effort now making many 'smartphone of the year' lists.
Compared to the Lumia 950 XL, the Nexus 6P has a better battery life, more apps and a nicer design. The XL sports a better camera, better options for productivity and, crucially for some, expandable storage where the 6P has none.
In the toss-up between the two, the 6P is the better option for most prospective purchasers, especially given the fact that it comes in cheaper.
- Read our Nexus 6P review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
The Note line is typically Samsung's most feature-packed, and 2015 is no exception. With the release of the Note 5, the Korean firm has sought to prove that it can compete in any form factor and still take the top spot.
Between the Note 5 and the 950 XL, the former certainly has the brighter screen, as well as better overall build quality. The more powerful processor in the Note 5 also makes for snappier performance, while the famous S Pen will be a significant draw for some.
Yet, offering only average battery life and a famously unremarkable interface in TouchWiz, the Note 5 isn't quite perfect. The Lumia 950 XL has just as good a camera, offers expandable storage and a removable battery, and is cheaper.
- Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review
iPhone 6S Plus
The largest iPhone form factor appeared last year, and has claimed a high-profile position in Apple's release schedule. Essentially just a bigger version of the 'normal' iPhone, it has nonetheless carved out an identity of its own.
Compared to the 950 XL, the iPhone has a much better ecosystem of apps, better build quality and a faster processor. It also benefits from the inclusion of 3D Touch – essentially a right-click option for smartphones that enables a greater degree of interactivity.
However, with a high price and no options for expandable storage, the story isn't entirely positive, and there are also currently few apps that really take advantage of the extra screen space offered by the form factor. This makes the Lumia 950 XL arguably the better choice for the productivity-focused, and the iPhone better for, well, most other people.