Microsoft unveils Lumia 950 and XL at Windows event


Manufacturer also took wraps off the new Surface tablet and announced the follow-up to the Microsoft Band

Microsoft has unveiled a new range of devices at a launch event in the US today, including a new Lumia flagship, a new Surface tablet and the follow-up to its first wearable, the Microsoft Band.

The Lumia 950 comes in two models – one with a hexacore processor and the Lumia 950 XL which with an octa-core chip from Qualcomm.

The Lumia 950 has a 5.2 inch OLED touchscreen with 561 ppi, while the larger XL has a 5.7 inch display.

The displays have “glance” technology that can be used to give specific information, such as diary schedules or a reminder, without using any battery life at all.

Lumia_950XL_Marketing_01_DSIMBoth come with a 20MP camera with Microsoft’s Pureview technology and image stabilisation. It also includes 4K recording and automatically sends images and video to the cloud.

They come with a microSD card slot up to 128GB and a USB-C connector. This allows the device to charge to full in under-30 minutes.

Both run on Windows 10 and comes with Microsoft Office, Cortana and other Microsoft software.

Microsoft revealed that in the last year, more than 1,000 businesses have adopted Lumia devices.

O2 and Vodafone have already confirmed they will both will be stocking the device. The Lumia 950 will go on sale from $549, while the XL version will cost $649. Both will be available for pre-order in November.

Surface Pro 4

According to Microsoft, 98 per cent of people using Surface Pro 3 recommend it to their friends or family. Microsoft now makes $3.5 billion from the Surface business, the firm claimed.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 16.02.30The Sufrace Pro 3 is 8.4mm thick with a 12.3 inch screen. It has a 5-inch trackpad, and is powered by a 6th generation Intel core processor that Microsoft claims is 50 per cent faster than a Macbook Air. It is also 30 per cent faster than the Pro 3.

It has up to 16GB of RAM and can come with storage options up to 1TB.

It comes with a detachable Typecover keyboard and Microsoft claim it is the lightest and thinnest keyboard it has every shipped.

stylus pen that comes with “all year” battery life. It has 1,024 levels of pressure and comes with an erasure on top. Microsoft has also added magnetic storage, which allows the pen to attach to the tablet.

The pen also has interchangeable pen tips, which allow users to write in different colours.

Microsoft Band

Microsoft also unveiled an update to its wearable device, the Microsoft Band.

The fitness tracker comes with an OLED display coated in Gorilla Glass 3, and like last year’s model offers GPS, heart rate, calorie and sleep tracking, guided workouts and smart notifications.

It works with Windows 10, iOS and Android, but the price has gone up by $50 to £249. The second generation Microsoft Band is available for pre-order from today (October 6).MSBand2015_DeviceANR_RGB


Analyst’s view


CCS Insight VP for the Americas Geoff Blaber said a lot was riding on this launch for Microsoft.

“With the future of Microsoft and its new subscription based business model depending heavily on Windows 10, Microsoft must be encouraged by how many devices have been updated so far,” Blaber explained. Windows 10 also seems to be getting a far more positive reception from consumers that the ill-fated Windows 8. The challenge now is to build on this positive momentum.”

“Microsoft should be applauded for its efforts with Surface. When the first device was announced in June 2012 it was derided as a vanity project that would scare off PC makers. In fact it has injected a new wave of innovation into the embattled PC sector and has acted as a halo devices for the so-called two-in-one category.

“Despite looking very similar to previous iterations, the Surface Pro 4 is an impressive update to Microsoft’s increasingly successful product line. It’s the most powerful Surface to date with updated screen technology, a more ergonomic keyboard cover and many other incremental improvements.

“Surface is doing everything Microsoft set out to achieve. It acts as a halo product that demonstrates “the art of the possible” to Microsoft licensees . In close partnership with Intel , Surface has resulted in vastly more innovative designs from PC makers who a few years ago seemed incapable of delivering anything other than ugly, bulky and unattractive laptops.

“Microsoft has a mountain to climb to make itself relevant in the smartphone market again. These new Lumia devices tick all the boxes in terms of specifications and features but they are unlikely to be enough to lure customers away from the iPhone or Android-powered rivals.” spokesperson Abby Francis said the Lumia 950 has a lot to live to as the first Windows 10 handset to go to market.

“Fortunately, an amazing screen, impressive camera and more than enough power and storage should give it more than a fighting chance,” she added.

Abby Francis“As usual, the Lumia’s camera is device’s biggest draw. A Carl Zeiss lens, 4K video and triple LED flash will all help even the most amateur of photographers shoot excellent photos and videos. But at the end of the day consumers focus on megapixels, and with the Lumia 950 packing a 20-megapixel on the rear and a 5 megapixel selfie snapper on the front, it should turn plenty of heads.

“We still view the majority of our photos and videos on our phones, so the 5.2-inch display and 565pp pixel density means Windows 10 users will be able to view their latest shots on a screen that’s on par with those available on Samsung and LG’s flagship devices.

“The Lumia 950’s 32GB of storage is standard, but being able to take a 2TB micro SD card is a real surprise. In a world where manufactures are removing micro SD slots, the Lumia 950’s ability to take 2TB cards is beyond impressive. Although we’re all meant to be using cloud storage the majority of consumers still rely on their phone’s internal storage.

“Few companies kick-off an event by bragging about antenna, but that’s what Microsoft did. The dual-antenna should mean that consumers get the best available reception in their area. Although this is good news, it was an odd way to start the presentation.”