Microsoft Lumia 950, 950 XL first impressions: Display dock is a big advantage

Microsoft’s game-changing equation of its Display Dock with new Lumia 950 and 950 XL reinvents the perfect business smartphone.

Written by Debashis Sarkar | Updated: December 25, 2015 9:03 pm
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Microsoft Lumia’s ambition to be a preferred business smartphone for executives may finally take flight in India with the launch of its Lumia 950 and 950 XL. While both the devices have got enough prowesses to impress any Windows 10 fan, the key attraction has to be the Display Dock. With Microsoft’s Display Dock, you can convert these new smartphones into a full-fledged PC running Windows 10, thanks to Continuum.

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How to convert it into a PC?

You will need an external display (any TV with HDMI port), a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard combo along with either the Lumia 950 or 950 XL and of course the Display Dock.  If you don’t find a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, you need not worry. The same can be done on your smartphone as well.

Now think about this scenario. You already have an external display, a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard at your office or any meeting room that you would be visiting. You simply walk in with your Microsoft Lumia 950 or 950 XL, the display dock and the necessary cables for the meeting. Connect the palm-size dock to the TV and your smartphone. Pair the Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. You now have a Windows 10 PC. So, for your next presentation you don’t have to carry your laptop. Everything you need is already synced on One Drive and you are good to go.

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It is way more than Miracast

Keep the thought of Miracast aside. The Display Dock is way more than that old technology. The best part is the TV powered by the dock works independently. This means you can play Angry Birds on your new Lumia smartphone while delivering a PowerPoint presentation on TV. And no one in the meeting room has to know about it.

Not just Angry Birds. You can take calls or even make them, browse the Internet, play music on your Lumia 950 or 950 XL without any interruptions on the TV screen. While your colleague is changing slides or explaining them in the meeting room using the mouse and keyboard, you can easily do your work on your phone. The Display Dock makes the external display work separately altogether.

It comes with two USB 2.0 ports, one USB high current charging port, one Display Port and one USB Type C port for connecting the smartphone. The Display Dock has to be powered separately.

With these, you can transfer files to your smartphone or put them on One Drive from your external storage, charge another smartphone or tablet and more. Also, while the Lumia 950 or 950XL is connected to the Display Dock, it automatically gets charged. So, you won’t end up with low battery on your smartphone after a presentation.

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Apps: What works and what doesn’t?

So, will all apps (predominantly built for small-screened smartphones) open seamlessly on the huge external display? No. Only universal apps will. The good news is most of them you would need are universal.

How capable are the new Lumia 950 and 950 XL?

The purpose of having two devices is primarily to give more choice to buyers. If you need a bigger 5.7-inch display then opt for the Lumia 950 XL, else if you are good with a 5.2-inch display then go for the Lumia 950. Apart from the display size, the Lumia 950 XL runs on an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with Adreno 430 GPU. Microsoft is using liquid cooling technology for meeting the cooling requirements of Snapdragon 810. There is actually distilled water inside the 950 XL working as a coolant. It is powered by a bigger 3,340 mAh.

On the other hand, the smaller Lumia 950 is powered by a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with Adreno 418 GPU and a 3,000 mAh battery.

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Other specs of both the devices are similar. Both come with 32GB internal storage expandable up to 2TB, 3GB RAM, 20 MP f/1.9 rear cameras with Tricolor LED Flash, 5MP wide angle front cameras AMOLED display and Windows 10 Mobile operating system.

After spending a brief time with both the devices, I would say Windows 10 Mobile gives a refreshing touch to traditional Windows phones. Both the smartphones were smooth and I did not face any hiccups while running them the Display Dock. The Snapdragon 810 SoC does heat up a bit but it is way more manageable now and there are no performance issues at all.

Special mention. The camera quality seems excellent.

Full review coming shortly. Stay tuned to this space for more.

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