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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  • doubledeej - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    But Android customer satisfaction is horrible. Consumers might think they want it, but they change their mind after they've used it.

    WP7 has the highest customer satisfaction right now.
    Reply
  • crispbp04 - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    You're too stupid to see the context of my comment, albeit I should have put a semi-colon instead of a period after "the minority of consumers want android". Read the next sentence. Dipshit. Only technogeek nerds WANT Android. Reply
  • Nataku - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    its ok, let the fanboys struggle with that os, my sis switched to lumia 800 because she's fed up with the two android phone she had

    note on consumer (that aren't geeks like us) purchases, they either listen to a friend or get pushed around by the sale people, the rest is marketting (eg. iphone) so no such thing as "every one wants android" crap...
    Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    So your idea of saving Nokia is to make every Nokia phone run Android so it has to compete with every other OEM using Android and has an ecosystem that appeals to only cheap, profitless devices or geeks, instead of going after the profitable markets by creating a quality and unique experience Nokia can control.

    WP7 is their best chance for survival. It's late to the game but WP7 is a brilliant OS, the second best mobile OS and development platform on the market today after iOS/Xcode.

    As David Pogue said, It's only downfall is that "it's not popular because it's not popular." Another year could change all that and both Nokia and MS have the money and talent to hold on for many years looking for their opportunity.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Seems to me that most WP7 phones ship for a lot less money than Android hardware does. So I don't know why the margins would be so small. As fas as I know, WP7 also costs licensing whereas Android is free (in theory, MS still gets money for it from some manufacturers).

    Use whatever floats your boat, but don't think any one of them is superior in their own right. They are not.
    Reply
  • davepermen - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    If this would have been what consumers wanted, why was nokia going down so hard?
    Exactly
    He saves their asses right now. Those N9 fans are loud on internet geek forums and discussions. They are not enough to make them survive, though.
    WP7 is a very geeky os, one that you could love if you moved beyond "omg they changed their plans to survive they're SO uncool".

    and i'm glad they did NOT went the android route. if you want android, there are already enough options. They need to have something that differenciates them from the masses, without the actual investement into building something on their own that is different.
    Reply
  • 465thGTG - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Hmm... as a long time iOS and Android user I find WP7 very fun and interesting. To each his own I guess. Reply
  • davepermen - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    WP7 is an interesting os by itself, too. And yes, alive, unlike the N9. Reply
  • abhicherath - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    this is really,really pretty....The N9 was rather prettier though.
    BTW could anybody tell me why exactly did elop ditch meego.It was functional,zippy and i would take it over mango given the choice...the only thing it lacked was a good ecosystem,ah well..
    R.I.P MeeGo.
    Reply
  • 465thGTG - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Turns out ecosystems aren't easy to come by. Reply

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