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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  • lunarx3dfx - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    I agree with edd. I recently bought a focus flash after using a Nexus S for almost a year, and even with ics the Nexus wasn't anywhere near as smooth as WP7 is. Sure, gpu acceleration helped, but there are other underlying problems in Android.

    That being said however, I will probably be getting the HTC ONE X or the US GSM Galaxy Nexus (if it ever launches) because the one area WP really lacks is in providing features for power users. It is a beautiful os, and as a whole I really enjoy it, but I miss being able to customize everything like I could on android.
    Reply
  • papatom - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Besides there is a lot more that the underlying OS has to offer.
    Let's see how WP subjective performance changes (tanks?) when Microsoft adds all those features.
    They will bring the platform in-line feature wise, won't they?

    Another thing, as pointed by Exodite, is that the first crop of WP phones - at least reference ones - comes from Nokia, and is polished to the point OS permits.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    I'm at 1.2ghz and 768 memory with only around 400 available for me to use! Sure it's dual core, but again, the GPU does its job now.

    Here, read this from an actual developer of Android.

    https://plus.google.com/105051985738280261832/post...
    Reply
  • mutatio - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Careful, Vision, that comes awful close to complimenting Apple's approach since day one of the iPhone. ;-) Reply
  • Exodite - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Ah yes, the wonders of anecdotal evidence and conjecture.

    Incidentially I have an Android phone based on very similar hardware, an 1GHz Qualcomm S2 SoC, 512MB memory and a FWVGA display.

    And it runs absolutely beautifully.

    It's the SE arc though, kinda funny how the old guard in phones still seem to come up with some of the best solutions.
    Reply
  • designerfx - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    wow, really?

    do you understand the point of quad core? it's not performance, it's more power savings.

    WP is not more efficient than anyone - if you think it is the OS, you don't understand that probably 99% of the performance (positive or negative) is based on the chips in the phone and that's it.
    Reply
  • crispbp04 - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - link

    You are clueless so please don't speak on subjects you have no idea about. Do you even know what a scheduling is? Maybe when you get an education some day after you graduate high school you'll understand how an operating system works.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheduling_(computing...

    Saying performance is all hardware is like saying strengh is everything. try holding a 25lb weight 2 feet from you with your arms extended, then hold the same weight to your chest. What is easier?
    Reply
  • eddman - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    Why talk time and 3G web browsing battery times are so low, compared to phones with a similar display and a similar or smaller battery?

    Is this one of the pitfalls of using a dedicated baseband chip?
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Basically that, and again that we're talking about (at least for the cellular page loading tests) the same display being the majority of power draw.

    The tethering results being so close surprised me, and I'm going to re-run the HSPA+ result just to see what was up there. Again very limited time on this review actually.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Lonegunman2012 - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Just a quick question: What is your rush to get the review out? I look to this site for thoroughly written reviews. It's disappointing that so much was left out. I would be happy to wait longer for a review to come out if it was complete. Reply

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