Microsoft Lumia 950 XL - Performance and camera

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Lumia 950 XL – Performance

The Lumia 950 XL is chock-full of

impressive hardware. It’s powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon

810 processor, Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB of RAM. There are very few apps on

the Windows Store that need this much horsepower – although I

imagine Continuum will be a big drain on the phone’s memory.

My only

potential concern about the specs is the 810’s well-documented tendency

to heat up to thigh-burning levels. However, outside of a few

inexplicable, randomly timed hot flashes, the Lumia 950 XL generally ran

cool during my time with it.

Benchmarked on Basemark OS II, the

Lumia 950 XL performed slightly worse than expected, with an overall score of

1,481. The cheaper Google Nexus 6P achieved a 1,595 overall

score on the same test, by comparison.
Lumia 950 XL

I noticed a few performance issues during

my time with the Lumia 950 XL, however. On occasion, software bugs caused

my review sample to chug and stutter when navigating between menus.

Games of Halo: Spartan Assault suffered the same issue.

The

stutters are far from deal-breaking, but they do make the Lumia 950 XL

feel a little buggy for my liking.

Lumia 950 XL – Camera

The Lumia range’s PureView camera tech has always been a unique selling point for the Windows phones.

As

a result, I had high hopes for the Lumia 950 XL’s 20-megapixel rear

camera. Following a week with the device, I’m happy to say that I in general, I was happy with the camera’s performance.

Shooting in regular

light the camera proved capable of taking wonderfully sharp and vibrant

shots in its automatic setting. Photos were crisp, displaying decent

contrast and white balance=. I also didn’t notice any lag between the time I clicked the shutter button and the camera snapping a photo in

regular light.

Moving into lower light, the camera again performed

admirably. Thanks to the inclusion of optical image stabilisation

technology (OIS), combined with Carl Zeiss optics, the Lumia 950 XL

produced decent images with the flash off. Pictures displayed

reasonable amounts of detail, with fairly realistic colours – with no sign of any pixellation.

However, there was one

issue: at points, the autofocus would become a little finicky and take a millisecond longer than I’d like to lock on to my

intended target. Note that this is an issue that affect most smartphone cameras in low

light.
Lumia 950 XLThe Lumia 950 XL’s camera works pretty well in low light

Lumia 950 XLPhotos are suitably sharp

Lumia 950 XLThe triple LED flash doesn’t overdo it

Lumia 950 XLColours are vibrant

The triple LED flash tech also performed well, but continued to make people or objects in the foreground of shots look overly

bright and slightly luminous. The phone’s Rich Capture mode helped

to partially mitigate this issue, but failed to entirely fix it.

Rich

Capture is a shot option that lets you manually adjust the colour

saturation of specific sections of photos after they’ve been taken.

The

Lumia 950 XL’s reworked camera app aids its impressive photographic

performance. Although it may have been renamed “Camera”, the app is actually

an updated version of the Lumia Camera app that appeared on past top-end Microsoft phones. It’s a marked step up from Windows Phone 8.1’s

previous home-brewed camera app, but it houses a wealth of manual controls

for the camera’s ISO, white balance and exposure.

4K video

capture is another positive – although I didn’t have a 4K monitor to hand

during my review so can’t comment accurately on its quality yet.