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.

Introduction and Aesthetics Performance
POST A COMMENT

120 Comments

View All Comments

  • Thermogenic - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    The polycarbonate shell gives it the weight. That's one of the main selling features of the phone, but it's not for everyone. Reply
  • jagor - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    It seems you have the High and Low levels switched in the Display Metrics table. If so, and max brightness is just 196 nits for the High level, you probably should use the High brighness level in the battery tests for an apples to apples comparison. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Fixed!

    -Brian
    Reply
  • zvadim - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    I find USB ports on top to be a PIA when using phone in a windshield/dash mount. Reply
  • ReySys - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Finally no thanks to Microsoft or Nokia Marketing or Carrier in Mexico I´m going to have mine thru Expansys Unlocked! Really a lot to do to market WP7 worldwide! More than 20 models last year but only LG Optimus arrive to Mexico thru Telcel! I decide to wait to mature a little more... My decision was right Optimus has Battery problems. Still Ipm going to buy an, Thinkpad W, Asus Transformer Prime & maybe at last an iphone 5! Sorry IT Administrator & Consultor need to test & from an opinion. Already have 2 blackberrys! I before all of them a Dopod 900! Still functioning! Long wait! Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    I was hoping for more, I know it is a bit misguided but the opening paragraph said it would look into the new features that Mango brought to WP7. They were barely even talked about.

    I understand that Apple and Android are dominant, so when they sneeze out a tiny update they get an entire article just for the update. This was just a gloss over of WP7.5. Anandtech should have given it a review on its own.

    I know Brian doesn't use WP7 as his smartphone, but quips like this bug me "It’s is telling about the functionality still missing from the core of WP7 that you need to go download a YouTube and Adobe Reader application from the market to use those things"

    Well, you don't HAVE to download a YouTube app - you COULD just go to the youtube web page. Is it telling about the functionality still missing from the core of iOS 5 that you still have to install a facebook app? Facebook is fairly well integrated into WP7, and so is twitter. I know it is still missing things, but these are the items that should have come up in the Mango review which just never happened.
    Reply
  • steven75 - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    That part about downloading Adobe Reader does sound pretty behind the times to me. Only Microsoft has an OS that can't natively read PDF files (that goes for the desktop too). Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    I agree about Adobe Reader - sure am glad it is FINALLY going to be native in Windows 8. Reply
  • 465thGTG - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    Android can't natively read PDF files without a third party app either, but I don't see what the big deal is regardless. If you try to open a PDF file on a WP7 device it asks if you want to install a PDF reader from the Marketplace and proceeds to do that for you. Painless. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - link

    I wanted to spend a lot more time codifying why (for me at least) I think that WP7 needs more before it really feels as powerful as Android or iOS. We've been big fans of WP7 for a while now (I was at MIX10 when it launched, and we covered the WP7 launch) but I still can't shake the feeling that it should be more at this point.

    Codifying that was my original objective for part of this article, and obviously some of that didn't really make it though in the end. I use WP7 now and then, but I'll be first to admit it isn't nearly as much as Android and iOS.

    -Brian
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now