Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review

Tempting for the Windows faithful, but no one else

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review

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Typically phablets enjoy battery life than their smaller cousins, thanks to the bigger power packs manufacturers are able to squeeze in their larger bodies.

Unfortunately, that trend is not evident in the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL, which I generally found to be quite unpredictable in terms of battery life.

Throughout an average day of use – starting at around 8am, listening to some music, browsing the internet for around an hour or so, watching a show on BBC iPlayer and streaming via Spotify for a while – I generally found that I had around 30% of the battery left by the end of the day.

Typically this would change if I encountered a bug that required a hard reset, or when the device would occasionally randomly heat up before cooling down. Though the 3340mAh battery is substantial, it nonetheless isn't quite enough to keep the Lumia 950 XL going from one day into the next.

Windows Lumia 950 XL reviewWindows Lumia 950 XL reviewWindows Lumia 950 XL review

One other issue I encountered was standby time. To put this in context, upon receiving this unit for review I retired my 930 for a while, leaving it on a table with 70% charge. Four days of pulling notifications later, it was still going, with around 20% of battery left.

Over one night, by contrast, I found the Lumia 950 XL had lost around 30% of its battery. This is due to the difference in efficiency between Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, and is something that will no doubt be addressed in the coming months, but it's still something of a disappointment.

A battery saving mode is available, which is configurable by the user and which can help to eke out a little extra juice when required. And at least there's the option to hot-swap in a fully charged battery, which is especially useful if you're travelling.

Sean is a Scottish technology journalist who's written for the likes of T3, Trusted Reviews, TechAdvisor and Expert Reviews.