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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  • 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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