Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Review: Problems and Potential

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

7 Days: A week of Redstone delights, Windows 10 Mobile delay, and Microsoft’s pushy upgrade.

Microsoft Lumia 550 has been launched in India for Rs 9,399 and the phone will go on sale starting December 23. Microsoft’s new smartphone flagships have continues their roll-out round the world, with the latest country to receive stock being Jordan, where the handsets are now on sale.Despite forecasting a rollout of the Windows 10 smartphone update in December several months ago, Microsoft now says the upgrade will take place next year on select devices.Microsoft has silently starting shipping the latest version of Windows 10 Mobile to Lumia 950 and 950 XL devices, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the Windows Insider program or not.7 Days is a weekly round-up of the Editors’ picks of what’s been happening in the world of technology – written with a dash of humor, a hint of exasperation, and an endless supply of (Irish) coffee.

Although no particular devices suitable to the upgrade have been confirmed by Microsoft, The Verge reports that handsets will need to be equipped with a minimum of 8GB. The build doesn’t seem to be available on our Lumia 950 XL, but WBI writes that it’s now being rolled out across the world, so some are seeing it, others are not, at least for the moment.

Indeed, it’s been yet another action-packed week across the tech world – but worry not, for 7 Days is here once more to guide you through some of the week’s top stories, for one last time before the new year arrives. Our final technological odyssey of 2015 begins this week in the United States, where the Department of Homeland Security is planning to scrutinize the social media history of those applying to enter the country.

Over in the UK, the country’s largest mobile network operator, EE, issued a full recall of every one of the free Power Bar mobile chargers that it gave to its customers. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 (MSM8909) 1.1 GHz quad-core processor, five-megapixel rear camera with auto-focus f/2.4 with LED Flash and a two megapixel front camera. The decision was prompted by a series of overheating incidents, including one in which a woman suffered burns when her Power Bar ‘exploded’, causing a fire at her home. On a similar topic, Amazon has started to ban sales of ‘hoverboards’ – the stupidly named wheeled contraptions that have recently exploded in popularity, and in people’s homes. Following multiple incidents around the world in which the devices caught fire – and yes, even exploded – Amazon removed them from sale in the US and UK.

Samsung’s new Android flagships are expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2016, and to the surprise of no-one, it looks like they may draw some ‘inspiration’ from Apple’s latest iPhones. A credible report this week indicated that the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are likely to include a pressure-sensitive display, similar to that featured on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Microsoft delivered an update this week to enable the buttons on its Surface Pen – the digital stylus for its tablets – to be customized to perform different actions and tasks in Windows. Just one week later, it got a £10 price cut on contract-free pay-as-you-go plans via the country’s leading independent handset retailer, which means that you can now buy the 550 from as little as £69.99. While this makes sense when you consider Microsoft’s Office licensing terms, some users expressed frustration that the company hasn’t been clearer on this point until now. Microsoft has been trying to encourage Windows 7 and 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10 since its launch in July – but the company has recently been getting somewhat pushy in its approach.

However, the changes it made presented users with no obvious choice but to install Windows 10, giving them only two options – “upgrade now” or “upgrade tonight” – with no clear option to defer installation for any longer than that. It had previously said that upgrades for existing devices would begin in December, but now says that they won’t start rolling out until “early next year”. And by the way, Microsoft also released a new non-preview cumulative update for Windows 10 PCs on Thursday, bumping the build number up to 10586.36, matching that of the latest Mobile preview build. On Friday, it emerged that Microsoft is apparently planning to restore ‘placeholder’ functionality in OneDrive, as part of its first Windows 10 ‘Redstone’ update next year. Placeholders were originally introduced in Windows 8.1, allowing users to view all of their cloud-stored files in one place, including those not stored locally on every device – but the feature was subsequently removed to avoid confusion among some users.

However, the new build 11082 doesn’t include OneDrive placeholders or the recently-rumored new Cortana functionality that’s also said to be on the way – but it does include the code needed to support new extensions in the Microsoft Edge browser. Amazon slashed $50 off the $249.99 price tag of the Band 2 (and the device is now also available for the same limited-time $199.99 price via the Microsoft Store). Popular media streaming software provider Plex delivered some welcome news this week, when it announced that Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PS4 users can now stream their content to those consoles without needing a subscription. On Friday, a rival group, known as ‘SkidNP’, defaced Phantom Squad’s website, claiming that the latter “took credit for multiple attacks that you nor any of your members did” [sic].

Microsoft announced 16 new additions to its catalog of backward compatible Xbox 360 games, which can be played on the Xbox One – just in time for the holiday season. In our latest Christmas Giveaway on Neowin, we’re offering you the chance to win a Microsoft Lumia 640 LTE, along with a ma-HOO-sive 128GB SanDisk Ultra Class 10 microSDXC card! As we approach the end of the year, I’d just like to say a huge thank you to all of our readers, members and subscribers all over the world for joining us here on Neowin throughout 2015.

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