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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  • UltraTech79 - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    Also, no most people do NOT like the design, else they would be buying these and not Droids/iPhones by the truckload. Reply
  • jmcb - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - link

    To me battery life on WP7 has never been as great as many claim since WP7 launched. I usually reference this site for results, debates.

    Battery life is part of my deal breakers for any phone.
    Reply
  • gamoniac - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    [quoteThe article: ]...the only major gripes I have with Nokia Drive are that the application arguably should change between night and daytime map colors automatically...[/quote]

    I checked out this feature at the store, I think WP7 should let you decide whether to let the map color or to set it to manual mode. Some people might find the daylight map easier to read during the night.
    Reply
  • vision33r - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    Well, in general if Android doesn't suck so much none of us really need a quad-core phone. Clearly WP is much more efficient platform than Android today so a single-core phone can be this solid and for most people this translates to feeling faster than most Android phones that lags when apps are running and sans performance.

    Nearly every Android device I've used today needs manual management in order to run smoothly. Letting a single widget or app sitting background too long, battery life and performance suffers. Android's entire ecosystem is to blame for faulty app coding to OS builds rigged with bloatware.

    This is a refreshing device, hopefully people will not care about the specs and embrace efficiency and good hardware and software designs.
    Reply
  • gamoniac - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    I totally agree. I am held back from jumping on a WP7 for two reasons: WP8 is coming and a dual-core WP would be great.

    I respect AnandTech's spirit of journalism that makes it stand out among review sites. At the same time, I wonder if there is a fair way to rate the phone based on total user experience, in a somewhat quantifiable way, as opposed to core count or a simple opinion. Perhaps a weighted score of each of the categories, although that could still be subjective. Perhaps a short video review? Maybe some AT readers have some brilliant ideas to share.
    Reply
  • davepermen - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    a total user experience rating?

    here it is:

    always smooth, always instant, never stuttering.

    why should I care about "faster hardware" if the phone is already perfoming at it's best possible speed?

    this rating is based on the lumia 800 i own.

    i've yet to find an android phone as smooth and fast as the lumia 800.

    i can't wait for apollo, out of the curiosity of what's all in there, and all those tiny features that a win8 kernel brings (WPS for Wifi connection, for example, proper windows updates, etc).

    but at no point i wait for apollo to "get a fast phone". because i already have that.
    Reply
  • french toast - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Yes good point..its efficient and fast..but too be honst Meego and even Symbian is even faster still..running on even worse hardware than this....

    The point is smoothness and efficiency is great...brilliant, but what about things like batterylife? HD displays? powerfull apps and GAMES?? 1080p video recording and editing?? True multitasking?? its not all just about sending a few emails, checking facebook, and floating around in the opererating system...on android and ios you can do soo much more than that...the apps are much better..and the games are just not possible at smooth frame rates on that crappy Snapdragon.

    About the efficiency...you realise that now ICSv 4 has been released and Tegra 3/Snapdragon S4 have been loaded...that lag is a non issue anymore??

    Even with giant HD display...and the resource hungry Sense overlay..a mobile phone has NEVER looked so good and been so slick..WHILST DOING COMPLICATED THINGS (thats the kicker that seperates a SMARTPHONE from FEATURE PHONE)

    For the record im not anti Nokia or anti microsoft..im a fan of both..and will be buying WP8...this is actually the first WP7 device that i would own...as Anand says, considering the 1 year to get this from design to market..and considering the crap components Nokia has to work with..this Nokia 900 is a revelation..Can't wait till Q4 ;)

    For a comparison..this is what a modern Android SMARTPHONE is comapred to the best WP7 has to offer;
    HTC ONE X REVIEW PT1;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gotEbvgu9ms
    PT2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4LQXtV5z0Q&fea...

    Note, that despite hulking around a massive 4.7 HD screen, a quad core tEGRA 3 processor 1gb ram..and the same size battery..the ONE X likely gets much better batterylife than this Lumia 900...(after the OTA firmware update, early reviews had average battery because of this)
    Reply
  • gamoniac - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Those are great review videos. Thanks for the links. HTC One X is quite an impressive piece of device, I must say. As an android user who is not so happy, I can see that ICS has improved quite a bit. Reply
  • leexgx - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    still the hardware requirement to make it smooth is very bad for android, Tegra 3 + android = smooth , any thing els is hit or miss

    every thing on windows 7 phones are GPU driven so no lag due to that and the basic hardware is set quite high (but users thing its low not sure what Dual core win7phones will do), compared to android where any thing goes so you end up with lackluster phones when they should not be even when they are dual core or higher as most apps are not GPU driven they can stall and make the phone laggy (Slow NAND as well i see a lot on android as well)

    when my phone contract runs out i most likely get an windows phone as i need the calendar cant use the one quickly on android (i have always used an windows Mobile device before, i broke the screen on my last one and ended up with an 8520 as an test then 9870 as i got used and liked it, but i do prefer windows phones)
    Reply
  • sonicmerlin - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    HTC One X doesn't get better battery life. You missed the line where Brian states subjectively the battery life of the Lumia 900 is much better than the tests suggest.

    One of the aggravations of Android is that standby drains huge amounts of battery. Leaving radios on, having widgets running in the background, keeping data and background sync on, etc. drain your battery like a fiend even while your phone is on standby.

    WP7 and iOS don't suffer from these issues (iOS fixed them in firmware 5.1, Nokia fixed them after 5 firmware updates to the Lumia 800), and over the course of a day will last you much, much longer than any Android phone.
    Reply

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