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Microsoft's Lumia 950 XL takes on top-tier jumbo phones (hands-on)

The larger, 5.7-inch version of Microsoft's first two Windows 10 phones amps up its battery size and processor.

Now playing: Watch this: Microsoft Lumia 950, 950 XL usher in Windows 10 for phones
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This post has been updated with hands-on video.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has the S6 Edge, the iPhone 6S has the 6S Plus and the Microsoft Lumia 950 has this Lumia 950 XL.

With a larger, 5.7-inch display and a few more muscular components, it isn't exactly a sidekick. However, the 950 XL will cost more ($649 in the US), and appeal mostly to those who are specifically looking for a larger screen and overall build. In the UK the XL is £470 and in Australia you'll pay AU$1,129.

Once ridiculed for their massive size, supersize phones -- also known in the industry as "phablets" -- have become so commonplace that phone-makers like Microsoft apparently think they would damage their sales projections if they didn't offer the choice to go big.

Specs and design

The Lumia 950 XL and 950 are nearly identical, except the larger XL has a bigger screen. Its battery also gets a tiny boost, and its Snapdragon processor moves up to eight cores instead of the 950's hexa-core chipset.

Although both devices use identical camera technology, the camera mount on the 950 XL looks larger and cleaner with its edgier design. It's a really large phone, which makes it harder (for me) to handle than the 950, though there are a few software adaptations to help make the screen more maneuverable. These include some menu toolbars within Universal apps (like Word) that pop up on the bottom of the screen rather than the top. You can also press and hold on the Windows start button to condense the screen toward the bottom, so your fingers don't have to reach as far if you're using the device one-handed.

  • Windows 10 Mobile operating system with Cortana voice assistant
  • 5.7-inch AMOLED screen with 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution
  • Octacore Snapdragon 810 processor
  • 20-megapixel PureView camera
  • 5-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 4K video capture
  • USB Type-C fast-charger
  • 32GB internal storage with up to 200GB in microSD storage

Separately, Microsoft also announced a new entry-level phone, the Lumia 550. The $139 quad-core Windows 10 phone is coming in December. No UK or Australia pricing has been announced for the lower-end phone, but it roughly converts to £91 and AU$195.

See all of today's Microsoft news.

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