I think it’s important to start out with battery life for two reasons - I end up spending a huge majority of my time doing battery life tests, and in the case of the Lumia 800 much has been written about battery-related issues.  The full disclosure is that the Lumia 800 unfortunately does have some rather glaring power and charging related problems. The first Lumia 800 we were sampled suffered from a battery-related problem that caused spontaneous rebooting during use and some charging issues. This was swapped out for another that had the updated release version firmware on it. This second device is the one I spent my majority of time with, although this second device also periodically reboots, though not as much.

The second issue is one that becomes visible when you fully discharge the phone, which naturally we do a lot of while testing battery. If you discharge the phone completely, and then attempt to re-charge, occasionally the phone will go into an endless boot loop, where it powers on, starts WP7, detects that the battery is below its power-off threshold, and shut down. Then the cycle repeats. Ordinarily this isn’t a big deal, but for some reason the PMIC (Qualcomm's PM8058) doesn’t really charge the phone while this is going on. I encountered this once, and even after 3 days of charging couldn’t boot successfully until I did a hard reset with the Nokia triple finger salute. The other minor issue is that if you get the phone into this low power state, sometimes it won’t pull any current to charge the phone. It takes a few attempts and getting the phone into the right pre-boot environment for this to work properly.

Plugged in but not drawing any current - Unplugging and replugging eventually gets the Lumia 800 to charge correctly and draw 5-6W.

The latest update for the Lumia 800 as of this writing is 1600.2479.7740.11451 and includes “charging improvements” in its change-log, so it’s possible this issue has been addressed already, though there’s another update coming down the line as well. The Lumia 800 we were sampled only was being pushed “1600.2475.7720.11414” due to Microsoft’s staggered update push progress, so again it’s possible this is totally fixed.

 

There’s a debug menu which can be launched with the dialer code ##634#, and afterwards appears in the normal application list as well. In here you can see the real battery status, charge capacity, and even the instantaneous current draw no doubt as reported by the PMIC. While I wasn’t affected with the bug that sends the charge capacities to 0 mAh, this is still a useful menu.

So the normal corners of our battery life testing are how long the phone lasts while loading pages over 3G and WiFi, and then call time. Page load tests take place with the display set at 200 nits, though on WP7 the only display options are Low, Medium, and High (we selected Medium). We’ve added hotspot tests too which eliminate the display from being a factor, though these aren’t presently able to be tested on WP7.

Web Browsing (Cellular 3G - EVDO or WCDMA)
 
Web Browsing (WiFi)
 
Cellular Talk Time

The Lumia leads the pack of WP7 devices we’ve tested in two out of the three categories, but lags the LG Optimus 7 when it comes to loading pages on cellular data. I’m decently impressed with how well the Lumia does considering its 1450mAh (5.37 Whr) battery, yet it could be better. Having an AMOLED display in conjunction with our primarily white background webpages from the page loading suite definitely makes an impact. I can’t help but wonder whether these numbers will improve or not after Nokia also updates firmware and fixes some of the battery life bugs have been publicly acknowledged.

I noticed some other subtle behavior while testing the Lumia 800. A new feature in WP7.5 “mango” is the addition of a battery saver tab under settings which optionally allows automatic pausing of background data and dimming of the display when battery gets low. In this menu you can also view battery percentage and some estimates of battery life remaining based on historical use. With the second updated Lumia 800, the phone turns off at 5%, presumably to mitigate the reboot loop that sometimes results if the phone is discharged to 0%. So there’s at least an extra 5% of battery life hanging around that no doubt will be exposed with the eventual update.

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  • smellslikepoo - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    I don't have this phone or an android or an iphone. Last year I shelled out for an unlocked N8 after doing some research. Personally for me it's a awesome piece of tech. The Ovi Store is somewhat limited in it's selection but this really doesn't faze me much. All of the most popular stuff was included or could be a downloaded for free. The processor is a little long in the tooth but I haven't seen another phone that comes close to the hardware packed into my N8. When I bought it I purchased an Otterbox case as well. Most people who see the phone in the case think it is a cheap android.

    Ihave used my girlfriend's iphone 3 and played with alot of droid phones. Recently I bought a gingerbread tablet. The first thing I noticed about android is that it is alot of fun on my tablet but would hate to be stuck with android on a phone.

    I thought the iphone was pretty nice but would hate to be stuck with itunes and all the other things apple. I wasn't impressed with the phone aspect of the phone either.

    When people would ask me what apps I could run or how fast my processor is most of the time I'd say... I I dunno. It do know I have a 12mp camera with a real xeon flash, bt3, usb to go, real gps with a lifetime of free maps all around the world, amoled screen, hdmi, works as a wifi hotspot and 48 gb of storage. People look at the case and think it's another cheap plastic knock off until I show them the aluminum body that is...

    I was
    Reply
  • smellslikepoo - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    .... Hoping this phone would be like my N8 only with WP7. Guess I'll keep my-not-so-smart-but-has-the-features-I-actually-use-in-a-phone-camera until they come out with something comparable.

    In all honesty I'd pay double today for another N8 if I could use it on Verizon's network.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    This hasn't necessarily got anything to do with the Lumia, but wanted to share it nonetheless.
    I don't understand Nokia's reputation for solid phones quite frankly. My experience is a small sample size, but the experiences made in my circle of family and friends is nothing but horrendous. A friend had an N85 which broke 2 times (couldn't dial anymore once and display crack the second time) which got replaced by a N95. That had random reboots and bad call quality. A family member from my wifes side had a N97 which they can't do anything with because it is much too slow. Another friend got a Nokia X8 but portrait/landscape orientation doesn't work one bit. I don't know anyone who has a Nokia Smartphone and is happy and content.

    Granted, Samsung, Apple, LG, HTC etc. aren't marvels of quality control. But at least they don't have a reputation like that. They get called out when shitty stuff happens. I don't see the same level of scrutiny applied to Nokia.

    As for the phone reviewed here. I feel thoroughly underwhelmed. Battery/charging issues, small display (personal taste), ordinary build quality, irreplaceable battery, great camera.... My SGS2 shoots photos that I cannot distinguish from my point and shoot (Canon IS590), that is good enough for me (again, personal taste).

    But since WP7 is kinda supposed to be on the cheap side, 420€ for this thing is too much. I get an SGS2 for the same kind of money with a better screen (RGB>RGBG), better SoC performance and better battery times. If you want WP7, go with another brand would be my advice and use the money saved to buy the next generation. This thing ain't worth it. :)
    Reply
  • Heron Kusanagi - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    Before that, what is the X8? There's only the X7 in Nokia's portfolio.

    Well, Nokia feature and dumb phones back in the day have that reputation of solidness. My family has quite good experience with Nokia, especially with the E series. My E63 is with me for 3 years going on the 4th. My dad's E5 is holding up amazingly too.

    The thing is Nokia doesn't get called out because it was the best before the iPhone came out, and if you

    I think mileage will differ. Like how some guys swear by Acer while I keep having issues with it.

    I am skipping this generation of Nokia WP7 phones because of my contract which doesn't end in June. But I do think the Lumia 800 is a solid first attempt.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, January 06, 2012 - link

    Meant the Nokia X7, got a bit confused with the Xperia X8. :-) Reply
  • binqq - Friday, January 06, 2012 - link

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    Reply
  • huy5sys - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Nokia missed an important trick IMO.
    How about a 3:2 mode for 6x4 prints withou the need to crop?

    16:9 ==> 3552 x 1998 = 7,096,896 pixels
    4:3 ==> 3264 x 2448 = 7,990,272 pixels
    3:2 ==> 3462 x 2308 = 7,990,296 pixels

    About the same pixel count as the 4:3 mode
    Probably needs only a minor software change.
    Makes a big difference.
    Hope someone from Nokia is listening.
    Reply
  • juzzle - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I spent 5 days with a Nokia Lumia 800. I loved it, but returned it. Read the whole story (compared to the iPhone 4S) at the link below:

    "The Nokia Lumia 800 and Windows Phone Mango 7.5 make a formidable combination. Beautiful build quality, gorgeous display, immediate responsiveness and an extremely elegant operating system (clearly better in many respects than iOS5). I bought the phone 5 days ago to replace my painfully slow iPhone 3G. Despite this praise however, the phone is going back today, replaced by my shiny new iPhone 4S – “what?!” I hear you say – well read on."

    Be warned that some grey market versions of this phone (notably Hong Kong) do not come with Nokia Drive or Nokia Music.

    http://opinionroad.com/2012/01/16/nokia-lumia-800-...
    Reply
  • Shuol - Sunday, February 05, 2012 - link

    The phone has a great feel and looks great on the desk. But the software really lets the phone down. It is obviously microsoft software which always lack innovation. The user experience is defined by the programmed functions - i.e. it's bottom up instead of top-down. e.g. when you go to bed you set an alarm. Instead of the phone asking whether it should turn off the phone function until the alarm goes off, you have to set flight mode. This is 2012 not 1990. Nokia gave me corporate blah blah and passed the buck to microsoft, so I created www.nokia-lumia-800.org to vent my frustration and collect everyones thoughts. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    According to Engadget and a few others the new firmware (as of today I think) nearly triples the battery life, I'd like to see that tested. That's either some crazy optimization or some crazy bad original firmware Reply

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