Microsoft is back in the premium smartphone race again, as the company announced its first Windows 10 smartphone, the Lumia 950 flagship. The super-sized Lumia 950 XL will follow shortly. The question is whether Microsoft's handsets are an alternative to Apple's iPhone 6s or Samsung's Galaxy S6.

So far, comparisons can be drawn only by looking at the technical specs.

Display Size and Resolution

If size matters, then Microsoft's Lumia 950 takes the cake. It supports the widest display of the three, a 5.2-inch screen with a 2560 x 1440 pixel QHD resolution. The Galaxy S6 is just behind it, with an identical resolution on a slightly tinier screen of 5.1 inches. The iPhone 6s comes in last, with its 4.7-inch display and 1334 x 750 pixel resolution.

Apple brings the 3D Touch-sensitive screen that reacts to the pressure of the user's tap. This added functionality could compensate for the smaller resolution.

Camera

The producers of the Lumia 950 clearly wanted to use the flagship for photography. The 20MP camera of the Lumia 950 bests those of the two other smartphones. In addition to this, the camera of the Microsoft phone uses optical image stabilization, which allows steadier video footage and sharper low-light pictures to be taken.

The Galaxy S6 ranks second with 16MP and an embedded OIS, leaving the iPhone 6s in third place with its 12MP sensor and lack of optical image stabilization.

Even if, on paper, the Lumia 950 seems to be the best option, only a complete review of the phones can establish that. The front-facing cameras on the three handsets are all equal, at 5MP.

Battery

The biggest power unit is found on the Lumia 950. It has 3,000mAh and that might be the reason why this is the heaviest phone of the three. The second best battery sits under the hood of the Galaxy S6 with 2,600mAh, while the iPhone 6s supports the smallest power unit of only 1,715mAh. Apple decided to shrink its size, compared with older models. However, the true test of battery life depends on many factors. Of the three, only the Lumia 950 has a removable battery.

Hardware

The iPhone 6s appears to dominate in terms of processing power, with the Apple A9 chip benchmarking the highest. The Exynos 7420 on the Galaxy S6 receives honorable mention as well. The Snapdragon 808 of the Lumia 950 is reasonably fast, and it supports liquid cooling technology. What this means is that it might see steadier performances for a longer time.

Both the Lumia 950 and Galaxy S6 feature 3GB RAM, 1GB more than the iPhone 6s.

Storage

The Lumia 950 offers the most storage space, both actual and potential. It carries 32GB of internal storage, but buyers can add an SD card and increase its capacity to 2TB. Also starting at 32GB is the Galaxy S6, but no support for memory expansion is available. The basic iPhone 6s only has 16GB of internal storage.

Biometrics

A while ago, the fingerprint sensor was the ultimate security technology. It is still present on both the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6s and can be used to verify mobile payments and unlock the devices. The Lumia 950 ups the ante and brings an infrared iris scanning feature, basically allowing users to unlock the phone just by looking at the sensor.

Connectivity

The Lumia 950 has a reversible USB Type C, the type of connector that will replace micro USBs soon. The Galaxy S6 opted for a standard micro USB, while the iPhone 6s stays true to Apple's lightning connector. The vanguard of USB Type C includes devices such as the Google Chromebook Pixel, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C tablet, and OnePlus 2 and the mini laptop from Apple, the 12-inch MacBook. All handsets have Wi-Fi 802.11 a/ b/ g/ n/ ac, GPS, Bluetooth 4.10, NFC. Also, each of them is GSM, 3G, 4G, LTE and Band 40 compatible.

PC Features

This time, Microsoft brings the innovative approach. The feature is called Continuum and enables the Lumia 950 to function as a Windows 10 desktop PC when you hook it to a Microsoft Display Dock. Similar functions for Android or OS X are missing from the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6s.

Operating System

The three phones take separate routes to reach the synergy of hardware and software. The iPhone 6s works on the latest mobile version of iOS 9; the Lumia 950 uses Microsoft Windows 10; and the Galaxy S6 was launched with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. Windows seems to be at an advantage since integration with the Display Dock makes the phone more versatile than the other two.

Price

By November, Microsoft fans can have the Lumia 950 for $549. Apple's iPhone 6s costs $100 more, if users choose to have it unlocked and unsubsidized. Samsung hits the middle ground, with its Galaxy S6 32GB model selling for $579.99. The prices may fluctuate, depending on the time and location of the purchase. Also, it might be a good idea to keep an eye open for special offers from carriers.

Until each handset can be reviewed side by side, the stats prove that all three producers built premium smartphones that cater to the habits and needs of users. Consumer preferences and brand loyalty are things that can make the difference when buying the iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6 or Lumia 950.

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