Does Microsoft’s Lumia 950 Have A Place In The Market?

Microsoft’s Lumia 950 was released during the fourth quarter of 2015. The 950 has many impressive features, but its performance is lackluster compared to flagship phones from competing companies – making it a hard sell at $549.

Microsoft Lumia 950

Microsoft has finally released the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. These smartphones aim to compete with a few of the most powerful phones on the market. Both of these phones feature a minimalist design and the new Windows 10 operating system.

But can these Windows phones really compete in a market dominated by Android devices and iPhones with a price marker in the $600 USD range?

Although the Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL, have impressive specifications, they miss the mark set by more popular Samsung flagships and are marketed towards middle-tier users. Unfortunately for the Lumia 950, consumers tend to gravitate towards flagship phones or budget phones rather than models in the middle of the two extremes.

Another issue plaguing the Lumia 950 is the decreasing market share of Windows phones. According to Gartner (via GSMArena), a market research company, the Windows smartphone market share decreased to a measly 1.7 percent in the third quarter of 2015. This is a 50 percent decrease compared to its market position just a year prior in the third quarter of 2014.

Lumia 950 and its apps
The Lumia 950 may have social media apps, but they are obsolete compared to those offered by Android and iOS.

The Lumia 950 simply cannot measure up to iOS or Android devices due to its lack of applications. Although Microsoft’s application suite will take care of users’ basic needs, the list of apps that the Windows device has access to pales in comparison to the plethora of apps that mainstream iOS and Android users have at their disposal. While this Windows handset does have access to popular social media apps such as Twitter and Facebook, even these are obsolete compared to their counterparts on other platforms.

Despite its shortcomings, the Lumia 950 certainly is impressive for what it is. Here’s the rundown of its specifications.

Lumia 950 specifications

  • CPU: Dual-core 1.82 GHz Cortex-A57 & quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53
  • GPU: Adreno 418
  • Display: 5.2 inches, 16 million colors, 2560×1440 pixels
  • Storage: 32 GB, expandable up to 200 GB with microSD
  • Battery: Removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Primary Camera: 20 MP, f/1.9, 26mm, Carl Zeiss optics, OIS, autofocus, triple-LED RGB flash,
  • Front Camera: 5 MP
  • Operating System: Windows 10
Source: GSMArena


  1. The Lumia 950 and 950xl specs are better than competitors phone offering more ram( 3gb) better gpu, the most advance CPU on the market at this present time hexa and octa- core processor( not dual and quad core processors). They both have a 20mp camera that is best in class. No other phone other than the Lumia 1060 can compete including the iPhone 6s and newest lg. The Lumia 950xl camera is professional grade to say the least. It even offers the best battery available on the market and it’s removable. Also no other phone offers expandable memory up to 200 GB at this time and that doesn’t include the internal memory of up to 64gb and OneDrive online cloud memory that is included with your purchase. No other phones offer anything close to continuum as well, which allows the phone to perform s as a PC when necessary. The only area where this phone lacks is it app ecosystem, but the universal apps are new and are catching developers attention. All Microsoft needs to is pay the developers more to design better apps, they definitely can afford to do so more then Apple and Samsung when it comes to comparing assets. Windows phone market is decrease only because people stop buying the phone due to the anticipated wait for the new flagship Windows 10 mobile phones which are only exclusive to ATT &t. As soon as other carriers begin to offer Windows 10 mobile devices the Os numbers will increase significantly.

  2. Every time there is an original and viable alternative to Apple, out jump the post-Jobs Apple evangelists and question such alternative it order to suppress any potential to dent what is an absolute domination of Apple. I can’t understand, how come, the mainstream media that is sooo eager to bash the top-dog and promote the underdog, how come it feels the need to defend the 300 kilo gorilla of the industry?

  3. This review is a transparent effort at bashing what is clearly an impressive and very different phone. The writer has to hold his/her nose to squeeze out that it “is an impressive phone for what it is.” Hey, appreciate that. What it is, is a very different phone for a reasonable price.

  4. First of all, the company that measures market share is Gartner, not Garter. One can only hope the author knows that and the error was just a typo. Beyond that, articles like this are myopic and blatantly biased against the device being “reviewed.”

    The Lumia 950 has one thing that neither Apple or Android can claim: an opportunity for devs to reach a market that dwarfs both. How many times have users wished they had an app on their PC to match the app on their phone, or vice versa? Add to that the ability to use OneDrive as a data store that will enable users to have those apps sync without the dev having to host the data? e.g., Top Task List. Apple has two distinct operating systems with OSX and iOS. Google has killed the Chrome OS and Android can’t run full-featured desktop apps.

    Microsoft has brought to market a phone that is really a miniature computer with calling and camera features. Continuum may be a proof of concept feature, but I can foresee the day when we’ll be able to take any device into a coffee house, rent a “workstation” that is nothing more than a monitor/keyboard/mouse setup, and do real work without having to worry about opening our files on a public computer.

  5. Agreed. MS is logical in their approach. And as you pointed out even Google is converging because they finally figured it out – 1 OS is better than 5.

  6. Writers often use Apple. Graphics artists often use apple. Musicians often use apple. That is why. They have an affinity for Apple. I tend to think it’s a psychological issue – an insecurity – they need to feel that they’re right because they’ve been in the fan club for so long. I know people who are like them and then actually tried a surface pro and came back telling me how much better it was. I was shocked. Apple fans rarely give MS credit. Most don’t to be sure.

    But even though I like Windows Phone, lets be real, MS does need to be VERY aggressive. Already Google is converging. Apple will do the same. Laugh at them all you want for going back on their word, but touch macs would sell.

    MS should be more aggressive right now for the very reason nerdy woman described, they were smarter to converge early, which gives them a head start. Now they need to move super aggressively. I’m not saying they’re not, but I think they need to even more so than ever.

  7. Is this a computer generated article collected from various FUD sites? It says the phone has poor performance then dies nothing to say why. This is obviously a generated clickbait article.

  8. I’ve been using the 950XL together with the new MS Hub since it came out in late November. That pretty much means I’ve been using it as a laptop replacement – for those who don’t know, you can connect a mouse, keyboard, and full-size screen to it. So far, I’m impressed. It feels like a mid-range laptop. The version of Office that ships with it is good enough for most tasks. I’ve even substituted a projector for the screen option, and done presentations from it.

    This is not a high-end computer. It’s not a state of the art gaming computer either, but it never claimed to be. I wouldn’t use it for most of the software development that I do, but I do use it to test some of the stuff I code. But, for most business-related tasks – spreadsheets, word processing, presentations, web browsing, etc. it does the trick. This could easily replace some people’s desktop computers or laptops – certainly for people who hot-desk it.

    As far as apps go, so far, I haven’t found myself saying “I wish I had an app that…” yet. I’ve found something for everything that I’ve needed so far.

    Oh, it’s a pretty good phone, too! If Microsoft currently has a weak spot, I’d say it’s currently their marketing department. It’s certainly not this phone!

  9. The Lumia 950 is the best phone I have ever owned. Of course it has a place in the industry. It has a great camera for both video and stills. Call quality is rock solid and as far as apps and user experience goes, Its just works. Windows Phone 10 just recently came into its own as a rock solid OS. At this point its ready for primetime and if your more obsessed with productivity than social media You’ll find every major app you’ll need. (Previous 2 phones Lumia 920 and Galaxy Note 3 )

  10. Oh come on, I’ve seen numerous reviews of this phone and hardware is the only win it has. Technology has become increasingly mobile and though continuum. I have been using Windows on an off since 2013 with the Nokia 928, Lumia Icon, Dell Venue 8 and a Thinkpad 8, including using the Windows Insider program, and have ended up going back to Android or IOS everytime. Windows is and will always be PC centric. I’m using Windows 10 on my alienware15 and after a few bugs got fixed love it. But to say the 950 or 950XL stand out in mobile is being niave. I am using the LG V10 to type this, it to has a removable battery, 64gb built in storage, microSD support for up to 2TB, which I am currently using a 200gb card along with the extra battery and charging cradle supplied by LG. Long story short, Windows fans have been promising better apps for years, and even though there has been some improvement, the app gap is huge in terms of quality and official apps (Facebook just to name one). I want to love MS as it brings back nostalgia from their dominance when I was a kid and teen but no developer is going to continue with the platform for long as they cannot get consistent revenue due to such low adoption rates. Windows mobile other than the Surface line is in a death spiral specifically in the US.

  11. Nope. Windows phone is in a death spiral. As good as the Surface line is, the phones cannot compete. Windows is trying to compete with Android on specs when in fact they don’t need to. The problem with Windows is and will continue to be applications. The number of popular apps and the quality of the ones they do have are severly lacking. I have been a Windows mobile user on and off since W8 mobile came out with the Lumia 928, Icon, Dell Venue 8 Pro and Lenovo Thinkpad 8 tablets and have ended up going back to Android or iOS every time. I used the developer preview of Windows phone on the icon and ThinkPad 8 (which I regret on the tablet as it rendered it useless) and I still ended up back to an Android phone and an IPad Air 2 for my tablet use due to again the apps. Guess what, MS can throw money at devs all they want and though it may work initially they will drop support in the long run because of lack of market share which means little to no revenue or incentive to keep the app going. MS should be, in my opinion, trying to compete with Samsung’s Note series for business with a stylus based surface phone and give up on the consumer market. In addition, take a look at Microsoft and you will see they support their own apps better on iOS and Android than they do their own platform. Of that doesn’t show their indifference to Windows phone I don’t know what will.

  12. See, I have always thought that Microsoft is like the guy that is always being ‘friendzoned’ it does all the right things but is always being dumped for the douchebag

  13. I am fine with it. Who needs 4 billion apps? But good try anyway. 🙂

  14. OK, I’ll remember this when I laugh at you 2 years down the road. Why not? I laughed at the last guy who said this 2 years ago. 🙂

  15. I love the numerous, supportive and quality comments made. This article is just another hater hating. The 950 is top shelf, and the Surface Phone will set the bar even higher. MS is coming back.
    Author: Find some new content, dogging out Windows Phone for lack of apps is old news.

  16. That was 2 years ago under Steve Ballmer. Microsoft’s current CEO has made several telling remarks about the platform and it’s current status in the market. MS is a for profit business and they can’t keep sinking money into a turd. Like BlackBerry they would be better off joining Android and forking it or skinning it but they will not get dev support as current mobile hardware is not advanced enough to run full fledged .exe programs. If WP survives I’ll be pure stubbornness and not profitability as the reason.

  17. And that is supposed to make me forget about your comment when I’m laughing at it in 2 years? You’ve said nothing that proves anything.

  18. You are a child and I’d almost bet that WP is done within the next 2 years.

  19. I don’t have the 950 but my windows phone is great! I use for work and can even type and send reports on my phone. Apps : mobile internet whats the difference? Candy Crush?

  20. Grow up. Nobody cares about your opinion. You hate windows, we got it, now shut up.

  21. WP is done right now. The 950 series is a different creature altogether. Your comment about apps would be reasonable if more apps was actually a good thing but most apps are mere toys. Most of them are junk. Reading between the lines the entire phone is a toy for you. This is not an invalid stance but you are not the market driving Microsoft’s decisions. Windows continues to dominate the desktop and the workplace. Phones as an extension of that world is a clever long term way to recover control of the market. Where Microsoft is taking the phone it will become the only option that allows both BYOD and corporate network security and management. This in turn entrenches Windows on the enterprise desktop, which is why Nadella will tolerate continued losses.

  22. Two things: What you said, unbelievably good dev tools available at no charge to the indie developer, and an enormous pre-existent community of professional developers. (That’s three things. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!)

  23. I can’t decide whether this is hilarious or sad. You are so right.

  24. The problem is the media is dominated by the sort of people who like iPhones, latex outfits and sweety fizzy booze.

  25. The Surface Pro 4 beats the Ipad Air 2 on all levels except apps. I clearly stated the lack of apps are a problem, but just a minor problem that keeps Windows 10 mobile from winning over the children who aren’t able to download candy crush, etc. Still the Lumia 950 & 950xl phones have top notch hardware that is worthy of recognition. The Windows ecosystem is showing signs of growth in the early beta stages of its life. Of course Windows 10 mobile will not be able to compete with a OS that has been building since 2007(Android) or 2006(IOS) at this point in time. Microsoft came into the phone arena 4 years too late and it was a unsuccessful attempt. Windows 10 mobile is a rebirth of a new OS with endless capabilities. Apps are a temporary issue that will be resolved as the Microsoft app store expands to accommodate the Windows 10 as a whole ( Windows 10 mobile, Surface Pro, Xbox, etc.).

  26. This is a laughably bad bit of so-called journalism. I have had this phone a month now and I am very impressed by not only what it can do now, but what it represents as the future. I am not much of a cany crush player, but I do have a job and need to be connected. this phone does it all, including subbing for a laptop for presentations with continuum, or even as a minimalist laptop. Once I got the update, battery life is as good as ever, the camera is incredible, and the functionality of office apps and associated apps that I use frequently are all there. Improved Bing navigation is a plus. I really don’t have any complaints. I suppose a NFC payment app or ability for vendors to use the phone with square, etc. would be nice but that does not impact me as a productivity user. I think this has a bright future and a “surface” phone would bring more of the useful things I need to my phone. I think in many ways the 950/950XL represent the future of the phone as computer, the much-desired unified device is coming and it is built by Microsoft, as unexpected as that might be.

  27. I am typing this with my 640XL, right next to my new 950XL. Because this phone still has plenty of battery. The 950 doesn’t, although both were fully charged when I went to bed last night. You see the problem is that Microsoft released a super phone when its windows 10 mobile OS is still to this day half cooked. Massive mistakes with the look and feel of the phone were made as well (and I am recognising this despite being a fan). You see the problem is not what you and I think. The problem is what the market thinks. And the market judges by appearances, by number of apps, and by reports about stability and ease of use. Why on earth would an average user switch from a top and iphone or android when they have to struggle with bugs, when they have no snapchat, and when the battery will run out after one hour of heavy use? I will miss windows phones when they are gone.

  28. I don’t hate Windows I just think it was not very well thought out and as far as business goes, it’s still BlackBerry and Iphone as a secondary in the mobile space for business. MS is the king of desktop and productivity software but they are dead in the mobile computing area especially in the consumer market. I’ve had several Windows phone and Windows 8 devices but as a consumer it’s hard to purchase a 1100 to 1200 mobile device with a dead ecosystem considering MS develops so well for IOS and Android, it makes their hardware almost obsolete. But I agree that the Surface 3 and 4 are nice but they are niche products at this point.

  29. Also, I don’t care about votes or your years in IT. I’m giving my opinion which is also shared by many, MANY consumers as well as tech outlets.

  30. Didn’t read. Sorry, I don’t have conversations with immature people who call me a child. Find someone else to whine to.

  31. Lumias are great phones unfortunately microsoft managed to screw this up. The Lumia 950 has all sorts of bugs. I have been using Lumias since WP7 and this latest Lumia is just trash. The phone struggles to take clear photos. Capturing videos is also a disaster since the first few seconds become a slide show. When you attempt to capture multiple photos it goes to a buffering state. It gives you a “saving” message after like 5 or 6 continues shots. Every shot from there you will have to wait for a few seconds to capture a photo. There was one time when this phone was draining the battery and would not go up to a full charge I found out an update would not come down so I had to completely reset the phone just for a single update. I really could careless about apps I’m more of a business user so I just need office and the live tiles unfortunately Microsoft managed to break those functionalities too as Office randomly crashes as you attempt to send an email or when you try to switch between text and email. The live tiles arent live anymore even with its own native apps. Cortana is also broken as it can only be used to search the web. At random times the search function just closes when you perform a search you have to completely reset the phone to make basic searching work. The flaws and problems of this phone is endless save yourself some headhache and money and stick with the older Lumias. This phone is a disaster.

  32. Specs are really useless if you compare the Lumia 830 to the 950 the older phone is much faster. If I was composing an email and surfing the web then instantly switch to camera mode to capture video or photo I can do that on a Lumia 830 very fast without missing the action then switch back to productivity very smoothly. Lumia 950 will crash if you attempt to do that. If you successfully switched to the camera you will end up with blurry images and choppy videos as the phone struggles to keep up with the multitasking.

    As for apps, if you like giving away your information for free to all sorts of developers from India to eastern europe then you will be so happy with apps. Windows phones were perfect for people like me. I cared more about the amount of realtime information I could see at one glance. I can view a list of my investments,weather,top news,social network status,etc. It was like driving a sports car.you didnt have to push a button to check your speed or push another to check oil pressure. Everything was there layed out. Unfortunately the idiots at microsoft managed to break all that.

  33. This reviewer claims the “performance” of the phone is “lackluster,” yet there is nothing in the review that demonstrates anything to substantiate that claim. The reviewer says it has “impressive features” and “impressive specifications,” which seem to indicate he is happy with the actual performance of the handset.

    The lack of apps for a phone has nothing to do with the performance of the phone itself. It is like saying a Porsche has lackluster performance because it does not contain Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system. Certainly the availability of apps are a consideration when purchasing a phone, but the lack of apps should not be confused with the performance of the phone. For some people, the current apps available may be all they require. I myself don’t care about a Facebook or Twitter app, so why should that be counted against the “performance” of the phone itself?

  34. Specs are very important, because it enables you to do more. The bugs can be fixed in the future with a few updates just as every other problems are corrected with new inventions.

  35. Of course specs are useless I wouldn’t be recommending this phone because it has this processor or that amount of memory when all the bugs it has render the phone useless for basic functionalities. An old Lumia 525 is far more dependable than this junk. Again I just noticed this phone randomly looses carrier signal this is the third time it happened with this phone. You have to power off the phone and turn it back on to regain signal. none of this problems happen with the older lumia phones.

  36. I haven’t experienced anything like that with my 950, it’s very smooth. And windows 10 is also working fine on my technophobe husband’s 1020 and my temperamental teenage son’s 535.

  37. I have candy crush on my Lumia 950! I don’t want it, it came with the phone haha ?

  38. Can I ask what it is about the Lumia 950 that sets it apart? I’m super interested to know, been with Apple since the iPhone 4S and am considering a change!

  39. the earlier versions work good the Lumia 950 is filled with all sorts of bugs.

  40. LOL, just read that response and yea, totally agree. MS is the good woman who is perfect except only a 7 on a scale of 1-10. Good wife, good mother, creative, talented and smart. Apples the whore. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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