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Microsoft Lumia 950 XL – Software

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Core Tip:Lumia 950 XL – Windows 10 MobileThe use of Microsoft’s newly released Windows 10 Mobile operating system is the Lumia

Lumia 950 XL – Windows 10 Mobile

The use of Microsoft’s newly released Windows 10 Mobile operating system is the Lumia 950 XL’s most interesting feature.

The OS is part of Microsoft’s ongoing bid to create an all-in-one OS that runs across all device categories. It shares the same core code as the desktop version of Windows 10 – which in theory makes it easier for developers to create a special type of Universal App that will run on both PCs and smartphones.

On paper, Windows 10 Mobile is a massive upgrade to Windows Phone 8. It adds a number of cool new features that will radically help to improve Microsoft’s mobile application offering – which previously was a little lacking compared to that of iOS and Android.

Continuum and Windows Hello are two of the new OS’s most notable features. With Continuum users are able to turn the Lumia 950 XL into a functioning desktop PC through the use of Microsoft’s Display Dock.

The Display Dock isn’t available yet, but will cost £70 when it launches. It will let you connect the Lumia 950 XL to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. When connected the phone will bring up a slightly simplified variant of the desktop version of Windows 10. From here you’ll be able access the desktop versions of Universal Apps, such as Microsoft Office, the Edge browser and Netflix.

Related: Best Android smartphones 2015


Windows 10 mobile

This sounds great and is definitely one of Windows 10 Mobile’s most interesting and potentially useful features. Sadly, my review unit didn’t come with the Display Dock, so I haven’t had the opportunity to put Continuum through its paces – I’ll be sure to update this review the moment I get my hands on one.

Windows Hello is a security-focused iris-scanning technology. It's unique to Windows 10 Mobile and is currently in beta. It works by creating a 3D map of your iris – which is apparently a more unique and secure biometric key than fingerprints. You stare into a special sensor on the front of the Lumia 950 XL whenever you want to unlock the phone or make purchases in the Microsoft Store.

You may think these features, combined with Universal Apps, mean that Windows 10 Mobile is finally ready to take on Apple and Google’s reigning iOS and Android operating systems, but sadly this isn’t the case.

As it stands, the benefits of Windows 10’s unifying core code are yet to take off and the OS mobile app offering is still lacking. So far, outside of the notable exception of Netflix, there aren’t many non-Microsoft Universal Apps currently available.


Lumia 950 XL

Office, Outlook and oneDrive receive a spruce up – and as a result look excellent – but there are still a number of key applications missing on Windows 10 Mobile. Even Instagram is still in its beta form on Windows 10 Mobile.

Many existing applications look a little neglected. Both Facebook and Twitter are in need of a significant update, sporting archaic-looking UIs from the days when Microsoft Devices went by the name Nokia.

This won’t be an issue for existing Windows Phone fans, but it will prove a huge annoyance for Android and iOS users. It makes it slightly difficult to recommend the Lumia 950 XL to anyone but business-folks and Microsoft fans.

However, with big-name companies including Facebook confirmed to be working on Universal Apps, this could soon change.


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