Here’s how Microsoft’s new Lumia phones stack up against the competition

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Microsoft today announced a pair of Lumia smartphones: the flagship Lumia 950 and the slightly larger Lumia 950XL. In fact, it's the third major mobile company to do so in the last month — first, Apple with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus in September, then Google with the Nexus 5X and 6P this time last week. That's six flagship devices across three major mobile platforms; something slightly bigger, something slightly smaller.

At its core, each of these pairs represent the ideal portal into the respective platforms (i.e., iOS, Android, and Windows 10 Mobile). When we talk specs, it's more for sport — the real test will be some combination of the platform itself, its respective ecosystem, and personal taste. Oh, and the camera, too — definitely the camera. But until we can get some prolonged quality time with Microsoft's new devices, let's enjoy the sport:

On paper, the 5.2-inch Lumia 950 and 5.7-inch Lumia 950 XL are powerful devices: OLED screens (564ppi and 518ppi); octa-core and hexa-core processors — with "tablet class liquid cooling" technology; a 20-megapixel camera with triple LED flash (although we haven't really seen how the images look in practice).

Microsoft's most unique feature might well be Continuum, which lets you use a large-screen display — and with a Display Dock, you can even plug in a keyboard and mouse and run a Windows-esque environment capable of using universal Windows 10 apps. It's not quite a PC replacement, but it is something no one else is offering.

The smartphone war, if you want to use such aggressive parlance, will not be won on a spreadsheet. But it can be fun to look at.

* We're still awaiting final confirmation from Microsoft on a few specs, we'll update soon!

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