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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  • Nataku - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    problem is that they will need to rebuild another eco system, market the hell out of the thing, and then there is the amount of apps they need to overcome... before that they will need to find ways to tell people why it is superior to other OSes to regular consumers that can't tell the difference between android and ios if you only show them the app screen

    well, meego would've been great if it came out before android...
    Reply
  • designerfx - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Interesting read up on the wp7 attempts, as that's what I still consider them at this point.

    I'd like to see a review on the HTC rezound if Brian/Anand has one in the works, to compare the two 720p phones.
    Reply
  • ecuador - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Ok, the N9 is out for a few months now and I don't understand why there wasn't a review of it here. Especially now with the Lumia 800 review, the obvious question is how do they compare? Did Elop have a point? I can understand Nokia trying to bury the N9 given their new direction, but I would expect tech sites (especially anandtech) to be really curious about this comparison. Reply
  • Thermogenic - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Because Nokia didn't send them one. I don't think AnandTech typically goes out and buys things retail (ala Consumer Reports), but rather reviews what companies ship them. I think reviewing things purchased at retail is the better way of doing it, but it costs more money and guarantees your competitors will get their reviews out much sooner than you will. Reply
  • sicofante - Friday, January 06, 2012 - link

    AnandTech should ASK Nokia for the N9 and tell us they didn't want to provide one if that was the case.

    There's little excuse for reviewing the Lumia 800 and not reviewing the phone that actually was designed to be inside its case.
    Reply
  • Iketh - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    "There’s an huge amount riding on the Lumia series, which are Nokia’s first devices running Windows Phone 7.5."

    This is the SECOND SENTENCE of the article. Do you have any idea how many first-time readers will immediately move on with their search and never return? The "There's an" and "which are" are incorrect (Lumia series is singular, key word THE.) Instead, try "There's a lot riding on the Lumia series, which is Nokia's first to run Windows Phone 7.5."

    "On the right side, Nokia’s puts their volume rocker above the power button, and then at on lower quarter is the mandatory two-step camera button."

    "raises that backside up off surfaces"

    "the looks and feels department"

    "which we’ll also be reviewing soon" should be "which we'll also review soon" (this is a poor writing style, not a mistake)

    There are more from the first page. Brian, this article is full of information, but it's just too difficult to extract. What has always been the cornerstone of AT is the beautifully written articles. For the love of God, hire an editor. I'd edit your articles for $100 a pop.
    Reply
  • antef - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Agreed, a single read-through should be enough to catch most of these things, no editor required. I don't understand how any of these make it through unless the author simply types it up and immediately hits "post." Very unprofessional. Reply
  • Nataku - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    i actually didn't notice it until lketh's comment lol... Reply
  • bplewis24 - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    "There's an" is incorrect, but "which are" is correct. It has nothing to do with pluralization of "Lumia" and everything to do with "first devices." You wouldn't say "which is Nokia's first devices." Reply
  • Iketh - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    "are" is referring to series which is one thing, a series Reply

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