The Microsoft Lumia 950 review - by proxy, from the USA!

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Regular readers of AAWP will know Andy Hagon's name, a Brit who's now living in America, putting him in the perfect place to get a review unit of the Lumia 950, released first in the USA as an AT&T exclusive over there. So, in the complete absence of 950-esque review hardware this side of the pond, here are the potted highlights of Andy's full review.

From Andy's Lumia 950 review (you'll see that AT&T put together special Continuum presentation packs), you'll see he very quickly headed for the camera app, being a shutterbug like me:

Now the app itself opens quickly, allows some manual manipulation and then captures such crystal clear detail in my photos, I’m ready to ditch my Lumia 1020 for good! The images are outstanding in their clarity and overall quality. One slight change is with how Rich Capture works. Now (if Rich Capture is set to ‘on’), the phone ‘decides’ whether or not to offer up the “Choose best lighting” menu option, for some HDR tweaking by the user. If the camera ‘thinks’ that the scene doesn’t have enough contrast and that HDR customization menu wouldn’t really offer much in the way of possible changes, it does its best to give you a balanced or ‘natural’ version of the photo with (what it thinks is) the right amount of HDR processing.

I had to quote this since this seems like a bug I'd been experiencing until the update of the Camera app a couple of days ago. However, it seems that there's more going on here than meets the eye (pun intended!).

  • When contrast is high (e.g. sunlight), you get traditional HDR Rich Capture.
  • When contrast is low (i.e. HDR wouldn't do much anyway), you get the 'Dynamic Exposure' (motion stopping) short/long exposure trickery mentioned by Microsoft in the Lumia 950/950 XL launch materials. For a static subject, this appears to do nothing, of course, but it should help when shooting people and pets (etc.)
  • When light level is dark enough and flash is used, you get 'Dynamic flash', choosing a blend of flash and natural lighting in the usual way.

More on all this when I get my hands on the devices, of course!

He then headed for the Continuum feature and the Display Dock:

The Dock is a beautifully-made piece of kit: it’s surrounded by metal, feels heavy and solid and grips the surface it’s sitting on with its rubberized base. It’s a lovely little gadget, with all the ports on the rear side, and a simple led on the front. Apps such as Word actually scale-up to the larger screen; it’s crucial to understand that the Continuum Display Dock doesn’t just mirror and enlarge the phone’s screen on to the TV. And you don’t have to have a separate keyboard and mouse; you can just use the phone for typing and navigation if you want; the phone screen shows a ‘touch pad’ for moving the cursor around and scrolling, and the on-screen keyboard appears when you need to type in a text box. Brilliantly, when you’re using Continuum, the phone actually remains in ‘phone’ mode, while on the TV you can use the Start button, open apps, and use the Continuum magic to the point where it just feels like you’re using a PC of sorts. It works exceptionally well! I was a teeny bit afraid that this initial release would be a little laggy or buggy and things wouldn’t be as smooth as they should.

And Andy finishes with:

To wrap up, it’s clear that Microsoft have focused on their fans with this device; they are not throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, they have listened to their enthusiasts and gone with tried-and-true features that we all love, like Glance and Qi-charging, but they’ve also gone the extra mile by introducing market-first features such as Windows Hello (which I still think is like living in the future!) The device is a beautiful slab of the latest mobile technology that I would be proud to show off to my friends and family. Windows 10 mobile simply sings on this hardware, and the hardware… well it clearly speaks for itself. The folk at Microsoft have truly outdone themselves with these two flagships. The wait was definitely worth it.

If you're looking for (much) more depth then you'll have to wait for the full AAWP review of the 950 and 950 XL, review devices should hit us within a week or two. It's good to see Andy being so positive, but you have to live with a smartphone day in, day out for quite a while before you can fully evaluate it. 

Sample low light snap

Source / Credit: OneTechStop.Net