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Lumia 950 XL – Battery and conclusion

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Core Tip:Lumia 950 XL – BatteryThe Lumia 950 XL is powered by a 3,340mAh battery, which Microsoft claims will survive 9.5 hours

Lumia 950 XL – Battery

The Lumia 950 XL is powered by a 3,340mAh battery, which Microsoft claims will survive 9.5 hours of web browsing and 10 hours of video playback off a single charge.

I found this quoted life to be a little optimistic. I generally managed to get a full day out of the Lumia 950 XL with moderate use, but in heavy use saw the battery deplete fairly quickly.

The phone also loses significant power in sleep mode. Whenever I retired to bed with both the Lumia 950 XL and Nexus 5X charged at 100%, by the following morning the Microsoft phone would have lost 10%-plus of its charge. The Android would have lost a meagre 2-3% by comparison.

Moderate use entailed using the Lumia 950 XL as my primary work and personal smartphone. This involved sporadically listening to music, regularly checking my email and social media feeds, making and taking a few calls, and watching an episode of Adventure Time on my commute home from work.


Lumia 950 XL

Video streaming on Netflix hit the Lumia 950 XL fairly hard. On average I found that the phone would lose between 14-20% of its charge per hour of video streaming. This is well above the 10-15% rate I’ve seen delivered by other top-end phablets.

Gaming resulted in a similar loss. Playing Halo: Spartan Assault, the Lumia 950 XL lost between 18-25% of its charge every hour – again, not great if you plan to use the Lumia to entertain you on long-haul flights.

The use of USB Type-C and fast-charge technology does partially make up for this, with it quicker and easier to sporadically top up the phone’s battery throughout the day. I found a solid 15 minutes at the mains got me at least an hour of juice from the phone.

Lumia 950 XL – Sound

I’m yet to find a smartphone with truly excellent speakers – and the Lumia 950 XL doesn’t change this. The speakers suffer a poor low-end, even by smartphone standards. Cranked to its maximum volume, I also noticed some signs of distortion, particularly with guitars and drums.

That said, the speakers aren’t the worst I’ve experienced. At moderate volumes they don’t sound overly tinny and are more than good enough for watching videos.

Call quality is also very good. Taking calls on a busy London street I never once struggled to hear what the person on the other end of the line was saying.


Lumia 950 XL

Should I buy a Lumia 950 XL?

If you liked Windows Phone then you’ll feel right at home with the Lumia 950 XL. It doesn’t offer the best design, but for Windows fans it will tick all the right boxes.

However, for Android and iOS users it’ll be of little appeal. Microsoft is working hard to fix Windows 10 Mobile’s app shortage but, in its current state, the iOS and Android stores offer more variety and better quality services.

The Lumia 950 XL also isn’t the best value phablet out there. Google’s competing Nexus 6P serves up equivalent specs, a nicer design and a more developed app ecosystem while costing close to £100 less. For most people, I'd recommend opting for the Google phone.


The Lumia 950 XL will work for existing Windows Phone users – but iOS and Android fans will remain disappointed.


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