Windows Phone has long been a distant third to Android and iOS, but Microsoft is still fighting for market space. On Tuesday it formally revealed the new Windows 10 Phones.
Here are the basics: The new Lumia line is the 950 and 950 XL, with 5.2- and 5.7-inch OLED screens, respectively. They will be priced at $549 and $649, undercutting Apple, Samsung and other notable Android flagships from Sony and HTC. In the presentation, Microsoft spent a great deal of time discussing the phones’ work power: The 950 gets a hexacore processor and the 950XL has an octacore processor, but they both get a form of liquid cooling (known commonly as a "heatpipe"). This is something often seen in high-end PCs and tablets, and it’s supposed to help solve the “hot phone” problem still commonly seen in smartphones.
The phones also have two antennae to improve cell service and a USB-C connection, which Microsoft says will grant a 50 percent battery charge in 30 minutes. There’s a 20-megapixel rear camera with improvements to stabilization and low light noise reduction, the Windows Hello facial recognition software and 32GB of onboard storage. Additionally, the microSD slot can support 256GB cards, and -- theoretically -- up to 2-terabyte cards. And both of the Lumias have gigantic batteries. Microsoft is selling the new Nokias as workhorses for power users.
Apple doesn’t have anything that matches the new Lumia phones, not on paper. The screens are smaller, the prices are higher, the camera sensors are smaller, and there’s no expandable storage. But Apple has millions of apps and users that Microsoft has never been able to match, even with better spec’d and more powerful phones.
The obvious Android choices are Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Note 5. The Galaxy S6 has a slightly smaller 5.1-inch screen and nonremovable 2550mAh battery to the 950’s 3000mAh, plus its camera is 4 megapixels down. But the S6 does pack the same 3 gigs of RAM, even if it doesn’t have expandable storage.
The Note 5 is the 950XL’s biggest competition outside the iPhone 6s Plus, with the same size 5.7-inch screen. Like the 950XL, it’s got 4 gigs of RAM, but only a nonremovable 3000mAh battery to the 950XL’s swappable 3340. The rear camera is also only 16 megapixels to Microsoft’s 20, and the Note 5 doesn’t have expandable storage.
On paper, the new Lumia phones are a powerful force to be reckoned with, but that may not be enough to convince iOS and Android users to jump ship.