Unfortunately, the majority of benchmarks that usually grace our smartphone reviews don’t yet have WP7 ports or analogs, but there are a still a number of comparisons we can make. To start, the browser-based performance metrics give a good picture within the Windows Phone ecosystem, and likewise with WPbench, created by one of our own readers and on the marketplace.

There’s been a lot written about performance on WP7 already - namely that comparative analysis isn’t as big of a deal as it is on other smartphone platforms, but of course this is more the result of two things. First, Microsoft’s careful curation of their new smartphone platform with hardware requirements; second, availability of native and managed code execution environments. For the most part, you can pick up any WP7 device and have very good expectation of UI smoothness, but that’s not to say there aren’t differences, especially as the platform moves from one generation of Snapdragon SoC to the next, and now possibly even a move to ST-E. Benchmarking WP7 (and by analog, Windows 8) will become a big deal very soon, however, and numerous SoC vendors and big names in the PC benchmarking scene are looking to port to these platforms.

This current refresh of WP7 devices continues to be based around exclusively Qualcomm SoCs, and the Lumias are no exception. Both the 710 and 800 are based around Qualcomm’s MSM8255 single core S2 Snapdragon at 1.4 GHz with Adreno 205 graphics at the core and dual channel LPDDR2 memory interfaces. This is a 45nm part we’ve seen and explored numerous times before, and as a refresher includes the HSPA+ 14.4 baseband onboard.

Anyhow, onward to the numbers. First is sunspider, which we’ve been using for a long while and recently changed from 0.9 to 0.9.1 with. As a result, I’ve had to re-run devices since the numbers aren’t directly comparable. WP7.5 brings a much improved javascript engine which gives it a big boost in scores. I’ve managed to hang onto the HTC Surround (1.0 GHz QSD8250) and Anand has the Focus (also 1.0 GHz QSD8250), which we’ve included as well.

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

Browsermark hasn’t changed or forced us to re-run things, so we have comparison numbers that show how much difference there is in the browser department in WP7.5.

BrowserMark

In the synthetics, WP7.5’s new JavaScript engine (Chakra) with JIT brings perf almost up to modern levels and is a step in the right direction, but it’s still behind iOS and Android. Moving to a higher clocked single core probably does make sense for Windows Phone, especially if IE is single threaded at this point.

For system benchmarking on WP7.5 we have WP Bench, which was created by one of our own readers. The benchmark reports a total score in addition to three sub-scores for CPU, memory, and GPU. My only point of comparison, again, is the HTC Surround.

WPBench Comparison
  HTC Surround (1.0 GHz QSD8250) Nokia Lumia 800 (1.4 GHz MSM8255)
Total Score 59.85 91.14
Result Screenshot

 

Browser Performance and Changes

I’ve made a big deal about browsing performance because, for me at least, the stock browser is the one place where performance really must be flawless. OEMs are starting to wake up to the fact that browsing performance makes a huge impact on the overall subjective weighting of a platform’s smoothness, which in turn results in a lot of scrutiny. I’d agree with this assertion as well and toss in a few other things that must be flawless for a platform to feel speedy.

When WP7.5 first started surfacing we took a look at its revamped IE9-based browser which uses Trident 5.0 as opposed to NoDo’s Trident 3.1. Unsurprisingly everything we saw in the emulator applies to the real-world experience with WP7.5 on live devices. Actually things are even a bit better than they were when we played around in the emulator.

 

The Windows Phone team has made clear several times that they aren’t going to build the browser to any tests but instead real-world page rendering accuracy. That said it’s still worthwhile to take a look at the synthetics. Acid 3 now completes and nearly passes (the boxes in top right subtract some points) where it previously scored below 95. Similarly Acid 2 now is almost flawless. Finally, the HTML5test score increases from 130 to 141 on the Lumia 800 and newer WP7.5 builds, which is a slight but still important difference.

Moving away from Trident 3.1 to 5.0 has made a huge difference on faithful page rendering and eliminated nearly all of the annoying edge cases I saw with previous WP7 smartphones. A number of pages I visit daily back when we did those reviews would render but with a few notable errata, these are now gone completely.

In addition, scrolling performance remains just as speedy as it was before (essentially buttery smooth) as the rendering architecture remains largely the same. We now have all three platforms (WP7.5, iOS, and Android 3.x/4.x) rendering the browser page into a texture that can be translated, clipped, and zoomed with GPU operations. It’s clear that this is the right way to do things to keep the browser UI speedy.

The changes to WP7.5’s browser make (for me at least) the single most notable improvement over NoDo and previous iterations. It’s a huge step forwards in rendering, compliance, and UI, and having that browser experience be as close to perfect as possible is tremendously important.

Battery Life and Charging Lumia 800 Software -Nokia Apps and WP7.5 "Mango"
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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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