The SmartCamClub verdict on the Lumia 950 XL

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You'll remember Marc Wielaert, who used to run the popular PureView Club web site, looking at the Nokia imaging powerhouses on Symbian and Windows Phone? Well, he renamed and then stoppered his site a year or so back, but it seems as if he's pulled out the stopper again for a monster post (many thousands of words) giving his views on the Lumia 950 XL, Continuum and the platform. Plenty to read through and digest, there are a few quotes below.

Here then are some of his quotes, from the original article. First he gives a point of view on the 'app gap':

First thing is I don't really miss any apps on Windows Phone anymore to be honest. And that's not just because I simply got what I need on an everyday basis - Internet (doh), all social media, news apps that matter most to me, everything from Microsoft Office including Outlook - but also because I'm using the device in a fundamentally different way.

I've touched on this a number of times. It's about approaching a smartphone as a powerful, hyper-converged computing device in your pocket and less as a host for 'apps' for every shop and service. And, if you don't need Snapchat, Tinder, and so on, if you don't absolutely have to have loyalty cards and bank accounts on your phone, they why not? It's a valid viewpoint.

Next, he tackles security (an underrated aspect) and live tiles:

Next, with Windows Phone I don't have to worry about virusses and other kind of spam or even hack attempts I do see too much on my Android devices lately (even if I'm running the latest software, have AntiVirus running all the time and never install apps from unknown sources).

Last but not least, I love the "live tiles" on Windows Phone - now Windows 10 Mobile. They are part of the experience that gives me the impression I'm working with something else than a smartphone. It's a smartphone of course, but it has developed into something that's so much more than that. In the past years, a smartphone has become an internet/social media device for one or gaming device for the other. And although you can get tons of serious stuff done on iOS or Android, the Lumia 950 XL feels more like a tiny PC in my hands than any device I ever used before.

The bulk of Marc's article tackles Continuum and Camera (on the 950 XL). He seems very taken with both. On Continuum:

Other applications however appear to be optimized already. Continuum shows Outlook Mail in a way that leaves nothing to be desired. And my Twitter client Aeries for instance (a must-have if you're on Twitter a lot), shows four columns spread over the full 24 inch of my screen: amazing! Just like the new Edge Explorer fills the screen and will play YouTube videos like if you are on your PC, even in Full HD - it's a bit startling when you realize this full screen presentation and speed comes from your smartphone...

Windows Maps is supported (but HERE Maps isn't, I guess I wasn't supposed to install it anyway). Seems like all of Microsoft's official apps are supported - including everything from Microsoft Office and you can even use Lumia Camera! - turning your monitor in the biggest electronic view finder you've ever seen. But still, this is all so much part of The Road Ahead that in Continuum you still can't use a lot of programs you are likely to use on your Lumia right now.  

What is it good for right now 
Be that as impressive as it may at the moment, what's the practicality of all this? In my home, the Display Dock has now replaced my old laptop. Didn't do much else with it than surf the web, read social media and type some articles in Word or in the CMS from this club. So now I can hook up my Lumia and just get started where I left off.

Marc concludes with impressions of the 950 XL and with its camera in particular:

...the Lumia 950 XL is doing a fantastic job as a smartphone camera, actually better than I hoped for (all my experience with the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 in mind). A bit to my surprise, I think it's certainly better than what the LG G4 has shown in this test.

I know some of you will be asking so here it is right away: no, I can't compare the Lumia 950 XL with the Nokia 808 PureView or Lumia 930/1020 simply because I don't have them anymore. I really like what I've seen from its camera until now, although I have to admit I'm surprised a few things appear to have gone from the menu. Maybe it's a matter of time before they will return (like bracketing or capturing .JPG in full res if you want to save the RAW files as well).

Would I advise you to get one yourself? No doubt about it, provided you're aware of its "limitation" as far as new apps are concerned. The cheap back cover is annoying as well, but at least there is a removable back cover on a high-end Lumia this time, (plus an exchangeable battery plus a micro-SD slot), which is something I really appreciate. Moreover, adding the Mozo cover to your Lumia definitely makes you enjoy your device on a whole new level.

I think I've demonstrated how good the camera is in combination with Lumia Camera, which still is waiting for some updates. Don't forget though, if it's the camera you're after, you might also buy the Lumia 950 which has the exact same optics.

You can find all the original shots from this post on Flickr. The fact however, I'm not just carrying a smartphone but in fact a small computer, proving its power together with the Display Dock is something I can enjoy every single day. I don't think I ever used a smartphone much longer than half a year (except for the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020), but I really believe I won't be bored with the Lumia 950 XL anytime soon. 

I can't believe that Marc let go of his beloved Lumia 1020 and Nokia 808, as collectables and reference devices at least, but hey, we all make mistakes.... 8-)

Anyway, the full epic post is worth a read.

Source / Credit: SmartCamClub