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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  • steven75 - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    It combines IM, only missing AIM, GChat, Yahoo--you know, the services people actually use.

    Missing youtube client, missing ability to open PDF files. Are you aware that both Android and iOS can do this stuff out of the box?
    Reply
  • Reflex - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    MSN/Live is the most used chat client in the world, and its not paticularly close. Facebook is likely second by now, and it builds that in as well. Yahoo was right after MSN/Live a few years ago, I don't know where it is today, however MSN and Yahoo interoperate, you can add your Y! contacts directly to your MSN/Live contact list.

    AIM is dying. GChat has a substantial userbase, but its not at the level of others. Thier bases are pretty well covered in that regard.

    Youtube worked out of the box for me. Not sure why you think it dosen't support it. Plus there are tons of third party clients available for free as apps if you don't like the built in player or the custom one that HTC and others ship.

    Adobe Reader is available in the app store, I have it on mine.
    Reply
  • Spivonious - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Exactly. Youtube works for me with no extra apps. The Adobe Reader app is free in the marketplace, although I have yet to open a PDF file on the phone. Of course, Office docs can be opened with no problems, which is 99% of what I want to open.

    I'll admit, this is my first smartphone, but I have used my Dad's iPhone, and have played with my sister's Android phone. WP7 is easier to use, and does way more out-of-the-box.
    Reply
  • 465thGTG - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Android can't open PDF files out of the box unless it has an app installed to do so, just like WP7. And MSN and Facebook chat are the two most popular chat services in the world. Finally, it's missing a YouTube client only because Google doesn't permit Microsoft to include one out of the box. It's not a big deal though. Several great YouTube clients are just a couple clicks away in the Marketplace. Reply
  • Thermogenic - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Google wouldn't allow them to do Youtube properly, unfortunately. Reply
  • augustofretes - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    It is a really weak ecosystem, the number of apps may not be 0, but it is low compared to Android and iOS, and more importantly, the quality of the apps is a lot lower.

    I felt WP could catch, perhaps surpass, Android and iOS by now, but I was wrong, iOS is still strong, and Android moved a lot, many WP advantages were eliminated with ICS (and that's its real competition: Android, not iOS).

    I own both a Galaxy S II running ICS (CM9) and an Omnia 7, although WP7 was a lot less uglier than GB, and is objectively good, ICS is really, really good, I no longer miss anything when using the S II instead of my Omnia 7.
    Reply
  • 465thGTG - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Ah how we forget. Android didn't really go anywhere in its first year either. Building a completely new platform takes time. Reply
  • augustofretes - Thursday, January 05, 2012 - link

    The state of the market is completely different, now you can get a modern smartphone with Android or iOS on almost any carrier on almost all countries.Back then the iPhone was only available on a handful of carriers and countries.

    Moreover, by now, Android had Eclair and the Droid, which pushed Android forward, as likeable as the Lumia 800 is, I highly doubt it is or will play the same role as the Droid.

    But will see, hopefully WP will improve and will become a solid third (and hopefully it will stop being one or two hardware generations behind).
    Reply
  • R3MF - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    nice hardware, but as the owner of an N9 i feel i got the whole package, not merely some quality hardware as is the case with the Lumia 800. Reply
  • beginner99 - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    bigger and 20 g more than the competition with same hardware. I carry my phone in the pocket and hence size and weight matter a lot... Reply

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