Performance

Performance on Windows Phone 7.5 at the moment tops out at almost the same place for virtually every handset. As I touched on before, the platform is still a Qualcomm-only party, and the name of the game is single core 45nm Snapdragon with Adreno 205 at the high end in the form of either MSM8x55, or for the Lumia 900 APQ8055 at 1.4 GHz.

I’ve already penned some thoughts on WP7’s current chassis spec, and in the future the specification will open up with the Tango update (which we’ve seen in the Lumia 610) to a lower-end configuration with MSM7x30 or MSM7x27A. Eventually Windows Phone will move onto dual core SoCs and possibly more vendors, but when and how that happens remains to be seen. The driving factors will undoubtably be both performance, but also improvements to things around the edges like 1080p video encode, decode, and power gains from a 28nm process geometry.

For now however let’s focus on the Lumia 900, which again is 1.4 GHz APQ8055 with 512 MB of LPDDR2. Benchmarking WP7.5 still is a pretty basic thing, since platform consistency somewhat obviates the need for many of the other big cross-platform benchmarks (this will change with Windows 8, however). For now that means our testing is limited primarily to assessing javascript performance with sunspider, browsermark, and WP Bench.

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

BrowserMark

WPBench Comparison
  HTC Surround
(1.0 GHz QSD8250)
Nokia Lumia 800
(1.4 GHz MSM8255)
Nokia Lumia 710
(1.4 GHz MSM8255)
Nokia Lumia 900
(1.4 GHz APQ8055)
Total Score 61.58 91.14 92.85 89.09
Result Screenshot

At this point all the most modern WP7 devices are still shipping with essentially the same SoC - 1.4 GHz 45nm MSM8x55/APQ8055. For comparison, the initial launch devices were 65nm QSD8x50 at 1 GHz. With the Tango update performance differences will start to be more of a thing for consumers to care about as it becomes possible to select a phone with a lower end SoC that still runs the Windows Phone UI at a decent clip (like the Lumia 610 we’ve handled). As a result, it isn't surprising at all to see the WP7.5 devices with the same exact SoC all clumped together and performing basically the same. In addition, though the WP7.5 IE JavaScript engine (Chakra) is a huge improvement upon the WP7 JScript engine, it still lags behind the competition on Android and iOS. 

 

Battery Life and Charging Camera Analysis - Stills and Video
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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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