So I recently upgraded my phone from a Nokia Lumia 1020 (a phone I was very happy with) to the new Microsoft Lumia 950XL. All I can say is WOW… the phone is fantastic! So I thought I’d write up some of the features that I enjoy.
Let me begin by pointing out that I am a massive fan of a frictionless user experience. Phallic-based comparisons of “number of apps in store” don’t concern me as long as the apps I want are there, and the phone works the way I work…
- Taking a photo is now an instant experience – photos are taken as quickly as you can click the button; there’s no “lag” either before or after taking the shot.
- Each photo also captures a couple of seconds video before you click the button, and if you would prefer the shot from some other point in time captured in the video, you can! The feature is called “Living Image”; You’ll never miss the perfect shot!
- Flash & Red-Eye – The flash is actually comprised of an RGB set of LED’s which helps prevent “red-eye” and “silver-eye”
- Text Messages
- You can now reply to texts without leaving your current application – clicking on the banner that appears with the text message in it lets you reply without switching to the messaging app then switching back
- You can message via Skype or Text. It’s the same messaging app, and you see the messages in the same thread.
- Reminders & Appointments
- All my appointments and reminders are in the one calendar (Combining my 2 Exchange calendars, Outlook and Google)… but something I noticed last night – when you turn off the phone, instead of saying “Goodbye” it now says “Don’t Forget!” and gives you the details of your next appointment.
- The one app (comes with the phone) now lets you mark where you parked your car, lets you work out how to get from point A to point B via car, walking or public transport (all over the world, online and offline), see various points of interest (and do things like find the nearest ATM, Thai Restaurant, Supermarket, etc.)
- Reading View
- Turning just about every content-based app sideways (so the phone is landscape aligned) switches on reading mode. The left side stays as emails, news articles, etc – the right side becomes the content itself. A much nicer experience and one I’m familiar with from Outlook (Reading pane)
- Button positions
- The buttons are always within easy reach of a person with normal hands while using the phone – nothing at the top, everything accessible by the hand that is holding the phone.
- OMG. I just used this at work, and it was fantastic. a-mazing. It turns your phone into a PC-like experience, and you can do it from the wireless Microsoft dongle too so with a couple of taps you are running a PC from the phone sitting by itself in the middle of the meeting room conference table! So sweet!
- It’s a bit of a “Hammer looking for a Nail” but the tech is great, and it shows how people can be productive without having to have their PC with them.
- Retina detection
- Unlocking the phone is as simple as looking at it. It will even unlock if you are wearing sunglasses, because it uses an infra-red camera to detect the irises (and therefore works through the sunglasses which block visible and UV light, but not infra red).
There are lots of other nice little bonuses – those things that are tweaked from the previous iteration to make the entire user experience even better. As a person who’s highly mobile, I appreciate the blurring of the lines between devices and the workplace – and I’m looking forward to seeing what Microsoft do next in the mobile space. For those who are interested, Microsoft is not “exiting the phone market” – they’ve decided that it’s better to build a “best of breed” device and create interest around that (like what they did with the Surface Pro and Surface Book…).