Brand new, great value and with unique USPs: the Lumia 950/XL

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There's a saying in the fashion world that if you wait long enough then almost anything will come back into fashion again. And, although the actual Lumia 950 (and XL) were launched in 2015, enough time has passed that, even at their original launch prices, you could see quite a few competitive advantages if such smartphones were launched today - yes, at the tail end of 2020. Here's my tongue-in-cheek marketing material for your enjoyment and thought provocation...

Lumia 950 and 950 XL

It's time to think different. In a world of over-priced, sealed glass monoblock phones, the Lumia 950 (and its larger 'Pro' sister device, the 950 XL) come with a wealth of benefits:

  • Removable backs (no screwdrivers or pry tools needed!) mean immediate access to a battery that can be swapped out. Running out of juice and no charger to hand, but you do have a charged spare battery in your coat pocket? Just slam it in and you're booted up and at 100% in under 60 seconds!
  • Custom backs mean easy personalisation of your Lumia. Fancy wood or leather? No problem. Swap backs to suit your mood in seconds!
    Mozo leather backs for the 950 range
  • The custom backs wrap around and also mean that you never need to keep your Lumia in a case. Carry it 'naked' and be proud. And if it ever does get damaged, a brand new replacement back is only £20 away! 

  • Never worry about water damage again, the removable back and battery mean quick disassembly and removal of power - just try the bits in an airing cupboard overnight and you're back up and running.
  • Expand your storage with microSD, often not available on today's flagships. Just add as much as you like.
    Back off, battery out!
  • Enjoy top notch wired audio with a dedicated 3.5mm audio jack driven by a custom audio chain.
  • Take superb photos with the genuine RGB oversampling system (no Quad Bayer kludge here!) and quietly understated processing - no aggressive edge enhancement.
  • Take advantage of Qi wireless charging wherever you are - Qi is standard here.
  • Want to hook up to a monitor and use your phone as a desktop PC? You don't need to go Samsung here, the Lumia supports both a wireless and wired desktop experience!
  • Authenticate with a glance with ultra-high security iris recognition - no janky 'press and hope' in-screen fingerprint sensor.
  • Glance screen is standard - always on and always informative, including telling you your next appointment!
  • No worries over Android malware and no lock-in to Apple and iOS - go your own way by using standard Windows 10 UWP applications. Windows 10 Mobile is mature and there are no, repeat zero, emphasise no malware or spyware applications known. It's a guaranteed secure phone environment - whatever malicious content you might be steered to online, your Lumia is immune.
  • All this at a mid-range price of just over £400 in the UK and 400 Euros in Europe.

Lumia 950 and 950 XL

Rather compelling, isn't it? So much of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL feature set is now old enough that it's now interesting again. Compared to an all-sealed, unexpandable, headphone-jackless, £1000 2020 flagship, there's a surprising amount that grabs the eye here. 

If you're a 950 or 950 XL owner then you'll know all this, of course. True, there are some downsides compared to 2020 phones - the Snapdragon chipsets from 2015 are positively archaic and somewhat slow, the 3GB RAM is looking on the light side, the mono speakers are dwarved by the often loud stereo offerings from modern phones, the single (though good) camera is looking lonely on the back of the device, the platform means a distinct lack of 'modern world' integration of hardware and services, etc. You get the picture.

But comments welcome - have I just made you reach for that Lumia 950 in your desk drawer all over again? I do hope so. So much of what we had in 2015 has been lost in the wider 2020 phone world. We've lost just as much as we've gained, I contend.