Battery Life and Charging

First things first, the Lumia 900 has none of the charging issues or problem behavior that initially plagued the Lumia 800. In the course of our battery life testing, I’ve repeatedly discharged and charged the phone completely and the Lumia 900 charges up from completely empty like a champ. It seems those initial growing pains are now squarely behind Nokia.

In addition, Nokia has gone with a compact 5W charger (5V 1A) that the Lumia 900 takes full advantage of during a charge cycle - I repeatedly saw the Lumia 900 draw over 800 mA during the charge cycle in its diagnostics menu, which is awesome. One of the things I’ve seen requested a lot is also measurement of just how long devices take to charge from completely empty - I measured the Lumia at almost exactly 3 hours with repeatability, using the supplied charger. The Lumia 900 uses an internal 1830 mAh, 6.77 Whr battery which is about what you’d expect for a device which includes a 4.3" SAMOLED display and LTE.

So how does battery life fare on the Lumia 900? To find out, I turned to our regular suite of battery life tests which consist of pages loaded endlessly until the phone dies, with the display set as close to 200 nits as possible. In the case of the Lumia 900, this actually ends up being the max brightness setting (WP7 offers three settings and auto). Due to time constraints, I haven’t run the WiFi page loading test, but have run the cellular tests over both 3G WCDMA and 4G LTE.

Cellular Talk Time

Web Browsing (Cellular 3G - EVDO or WCDMA)

Web Browsing (Cellular 4G WiMAX or LTE)

When it comes to web browsing, both the 3G WCDMA and 4G LTE results end up being pretty close at around 4.4 hours. This tells me that we’re pretty much dominated by the display’s power drain in that neighborhood. The web browsing tests tend to be pretty brutal on AMOLED devices to begin with, partly because we’re dealing with black text atop a white background. In practice I feel like the Lumia 900 does subjectively a lot better than these results really would lend you to believe. If you can believe it, we actually haven't formally published any AT&T LTE device results yet, so the Lumia 900 is our first.

In addition I’ve also run our hotspot tethering test on 3G WCDMA and 4G LTE, which consists of four tabs of our normal webpage loading suite alongside a 128 kbps MP3 internet radio stream all loaded on one wireless client.

WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (3G)

WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (4G)

The results of the tethering test demonstrate just how taxing constant connectivity can be for the current crop of 45nm basebands, and the Lumia 900 does pay the price for having a relatively hungry one. Our testing was done in good AT&T LTE and HSPA+ coverage, and interestingly enough the results are pretty close for the two air interfaces at around 3 hours. Jumping onto LTE and running the same test incurs a half hour hit.

WP7.5 and Preloaded Applications Performance Analysis
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  • Denithor - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    Kinda sucks. You put in three Nokia models? Why not a comparison to other phones US buyers are likely to be considering? I know the specs are available but it makes for a much quicker reference. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    That's a valid point, and honestly picking the phones for the comparison table is always a bit of a struggle, I just wanted to show how the other Nokia WP7 devices line up in comparison with the flagship. Perhaps another one with Galaxy Nexus GSM/UMTS and iPhone 4S? I mean we've shown those in tables many, many times.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Operandi - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Uhh.. yeah I would say so. This is the only WP7 I would ever consider, the others migh as well not exist frankly. Reply
  • abhaxus - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    What he said. This phone is sexy, I'd like to see it's size compared to other sexy handsets. Most WP7 handsets are... plain. Reply
  • niva - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Performance wise it's not much different from the 710 or the 800, which are both phones worth considering. I think the 800 is better than the 900, but I prefer smaller phones. I think I might just bite the bullet and settle on the 710. Reply
  • geddarkstorm - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Why is no one mentioning the absolutely abysmal battery life of this phone? It's at the very bottom of the tethering chart for instance. I don't see this phone rising above the lower half of the tests in anything other than 4G. And who really wants a phone with sharp corners and no sense of hand ergonomics?

    Can't wait for Windows 8, and good hardware.
    Reply
  • seanleeforever - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    that and this phone is actually slower than it looks on the chart.

    great review, but the chart is seriously outdated.
    take my HTC sensation for example, i just run the sun spider 0.91 and i get 1935ms and browsermark of 77138 with andriod STOCK browser. my phone does have ICS and ARHD rom, but if you honestly think a mod rom would somehow increase the phone performance by 94% faster (39768 on your chart vs 77138 i get), or by 221% faster(6217.4ms vs 1935 ms), you must be drunk.

    this is with ICS stock browser, i think if you updated your chart, you will find windows phone will looks even worse (a lot worse) than it is now.
    Reply
  • dtolios - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    "who really wants a phone with sharp corners and no sense of hand ergonomics?"

    - It has hard corners - where you DON'T hold the phone from...iPhone 4 series has sharper edges - where you do hold the phone from...If that's not an issue - and marketing wise clearly it's not - then the 900 is fine. Afaik most ppl really like the design, and so do I.
    Reply
  • UltraTech79 - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    Yeah iPhone 4 has sharp edges, if it weren't for all the rounded edges. And who are you to tell us how to hold a phone? Never played any games on a phone have you?

    Its badly designed.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    Who are *you* to tell us how to hold a phone?

    See how easy that was? Try a better argument. You had a valid point (worse gaming ergonomics) until you made yourself sound like an idiot (opinion as fact, referring to meaningless notions of sales figures).
    Reply

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