I have been a Windows user from the beginning, and now that I have about 6 pc's on Windows 10, I am perfectly content and would never switch. I throughly enjoyed my Windows 8 phone, and now like others, while eager for something newer, I will NOT be getting the 950 at this time.
As an experiment, I took a spare Samsung Core 4g we had lying around and started learning it's behavior. At first I had a hard time, but I kept at it. I did a factory reset, updated to the latest Android version, made selective use of "live"-like widget apps, a few nested menus, and a alphabetic list of "all" apps. Gotta say, it's not bad at all. Turns out it uses the same type of SIM card as my HTC 8x, so I may just try it out for a bit. The screen size is a tad larger; other specs are not as good...but it may be a nice zero cost option for a while, until other option comes along.
I'm switching to the 950 (or 950XL) precisely because it's unlocked. In the past Microsoft has made it difficult to buy models unlocked (except for a few). Now it's easier-- they're all unlocked, more stores have opened in Canada, and one can always order online.
The main point is that Microsoft is moving to treating smartphones as PCs, and it just makes sense not to be tied to a carrier's updating schedule or limited selection of models.
The trend in the U.S. is for manufacturers to sell unlocked smartphones directly (the rest of the world is already there):
Why do people think being beholden to the carrier overlords is the only path to success for these smartphones?
For me its not the issue of it only being sold unlocked vs subsidized. You pay for the phone either way, whether outright or a bit each month. Sure subsidized is easier on the wallet, but still, Its never free. For me, its not that .. its simply a matter of value. At $960.44 tax in, I no longer see any value in it. Not for a phone in my pocket. Sure some argue its actually a computer in my pocket, but thats not quite valid, as my pocket sdont hold a keyboard and a monitor. I can get 90% of 950 , in other unlocked phones, at a fraction of the price, in a very powerful mobile device. And its much easier to swallow if I ever lose or damage the phone and need to replace it . I think the 950 is a very nice phone, despite its paultry market share, and I can afford it, but I simply dont see the value any longer.
I do think it's better to evaluate the phone on the basis of needs, rather than the carrier financing. However, on a cost basis, there are more expensive phones out there.
I've found great value in the higher end phones because I'm also looking at the high end camera features, GPS, screen size and legibility for reading, great battery life, synchronization with what I'm working on with my PC, and so on. I only very rarely use the phone feature on my Lumia 1020. There are many occasions when I didn't bring my Surface Pro, and I still got the work I needed to get done on my Lumia. There is an app gap, but I've found many substitutes such as using the mobile web versions of services. But equally so I've been in groups where the Lumia 1020's signal strength is the best, and I even dished out Internet Sharing (up to 8 connections)-- so it's also a wifi hotspot router.
With Rogers, unlocked phones would go with the "No Tab" option, which is $20/month off.
I was on the Windows Phone Developer Preview, and I really enjoyed getting great features many months before Rogers released the official updates. With Windows 10 as a service, which means routine upgrades throughout the year, the only way to fully make use of that would be to go unlocked.
Unless the carriers have made special deals to deliver timely updates (which I believe is the case with Apple), then it's clear that Windows 10 Mobile is specifically intended to work primarily with the unlocked option.
Not sure if this true or not but saw this article http://www.neowin.net/news/canadian-carriers-will-supposedly-not-offer-the-lumia-950-or-lumia-950-xl so wonder if this will leave us the choice of going to MS Store directly
From what I have been reading since last week, and what a couple Rogers employee's confirmed on another thread is that Rogers not be offering either Lumia device. So if you are interested in the 950 - 950XL device you will be able to order it here when it becomes available.
As for Bell or Telus, I don't think there has been any official announcement on Lumia availability. (If there has, please someone let me know) I'm waiting to hear something official before I pull the trigger on another windows phone. Can't afford the Lumia 950 so it might be a 930 or a 1520.
Here is a link to some highlights of the rumoured Surface Phone, for 2016:
Maybe by then the 950 will have dropped in price. For now, I jumped ship to Android for my phone (still permanaently loyal to Windows 10 on all desktops). I was suprised how many Microsoft apps are available on the Google Store inlcluding Word, Excel, PwoerPoint, Outlook etc). Very cool.
@Mediaman Microsoft's refusal to give special status to its own operating system when it comes to its own software products (at least in mobile) is part of the reason Windows Phone is having a hard time getting noticed.
Paul Thurrott, a well-known tech commentator who writes mostly about Microsoft (see his blog at Thurrott.com), has noted of late that, if you like Microsoft software, the best experience you will have with it on mobile devices is on iOS.
That's not quite right for Paul Thurrott (https://www.thurrott.com/). He has always preferred Windows Phone, but in the ramp up to Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft was releasing software of major titles to both Android and iOS, sometimes delaying the release for Windows Phone.
With Windows 10 Mobile out now, that would likely be less of an issue. Paul Thurrott does chide his readers in not realizing that Microsoft telegraphed its intent several months ago-- that it's not going after Apple and Android in the current mobile space, but that it will release key products in key markets in the interim (budget, flagshap, business, with some countries and carriers emphasized). It's the long game that Microsoft's interested in, which was strongly implied at its recent devices launch (mostly Surface products). The next space will likely be identified with something like a Surface Phone-- an Intel device that functions increasingly more like a PC than ever before, with interchangeable peripherals that will work with the other Microsoft devices.
I generally don't like to switch standards as it could mean switching connectors, peripherals, software versions, etc. Microsoft tends to be more conservative to cater to business PC replacement cycles, but that also means there's focus on getting work done rather than fiddling with the device or spending time upgrading all the time. Unlike Apple products, there's usually tons of good budget devices that work with Microsoft software. I tend to look at Android products as one-off appliances-- an ecosystem I don't really want to invest in for the long term.
Wow! thank you so much for that in depth review.
Out of curiosity which Samsung are you using and is it the latest Lolipop operating system?
I've been flipping back and forth between sticking with my 920 for now or getting a free Android. Its tempting, but I'm afraid that I"ll get an Android phone, hate it and be stuck with it for two years or have to buy myself out of the bad decision.
Thanks again for your review! Its appreciated!