Microsoft makes serious smartphone play with Lumia 950 range

Lumia 950, 950 XL pack competitive specs

Older Microsoft smartphones championed technology a generation behind. That ended today with the unveiling of Microsoft’s Lumia 950 series, which introduce innovative features in a bid to draw customers to Windows 10.

Two smartphones were revealed at a global launch event held in New York, the Lumia 950 and 950XL. Both champion Windows 10, which has already been installed on 110 million devices since its launch eight weeks ago.

Separating the two smartphones are displays sized 5.2-inches and 5.7-inches. The use of an AMOLED panel sets these smartphones apart from Apple’s recently released iPhones, as the technology switches off unused pixels for improved performance and economy.

Both smartphones boast a 1440p resolution for pixel densities in excess of 500 pixels-per-inch.

The devices support the next generation USB-C standard, similar to Google’s Nexus devices unveiled last week. Its 5GB per second rate of data transfer makes it possible to output audio and video, and to rapidly charge the smartphone’s battery.

Charging the smartphones from flat to fifty per cent takes 30 minutes, said Panos Panay, the VP of Microsoft’s Surface division.

Additional innovations include tablet class liquid cooling, so that the multi-core processors can be pushed harder, and two antennas for optimum reception at any one time.

Each smartphone has a 20-megapixel PureView camera. It is supported by a three bulb RGB flash and a fifth-generation optical image stablisation module for improved low-light photography.

“When you take a picture, there’s no red eye,” begun Panay. “When you take a picture, you don’t look like a ghost. You look like a human.”

The inclusion of a hardware shutter key shortcuts camera functions, such as the recording of video in 4K resolution.

The front cameras can capture photos 5-megapixels in size and record Full HD videos.

Accounting for computing hardware is a Snapdragon 810 2GHz octa-core CPU in the 950XL, and a Snapdragon 808 1.8GHz hexa-core CPU in the Lumia 950.

Both smartphones have 3GB of RAM and support a microSD card 256GB in size. “Theoretically, when the hard drives catch up, you can push [them] to a full 2-terabytes,” said Panay.

The 950 packs a 3000 milliamp-hour battery, while the phablet variant has a larger 3340 milliamp-hour battery.

Microsoft Lumia 950XL hands-on: Here's the flagship we've been waiting for

Microsoft will begin a global release of the smartphone in November with pricing starting from $US549.

PC World Australia is awaiting a response from Microsoft representatives on the local launch of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. Microsoft is opening its Pitt Street store in Sydney on 12 November. Update, 6:36am: Microsoft Australia has said in a statement the 950 and 950 XL will go on sale in Australia before Christmas.

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