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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  • RaistlinZ - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    2010 would have liked this phone. Reply
  • guidryp - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    Yeah, why are they getting a pass on a single core phone with abysmal browser performance as their flagship offering. Reply
  • hemmy - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Abysmal? Please. Yes the benchmarks are poor but the browsing experience is significantly better than any Android phone with the sheer smoothness. Reply
  • eddman - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    I was watching a video the other day, showing scrolling and zooming in verge and engadget, which are very heavy websites, and was really surprised by how much fast and smooth WP is when it comes to browsing.

    I don't suppose a single-core android phone can be that smooth.
    Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Because life isn't about benchmarks. Reply
  • juhatus - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Totally wrong. Life is a benchmark.

    Now I need my milliseconds back.
    Reply
  • PeteH - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    But without something to measure myself against, how will I know if I'm winning? Reply
  • TGressus - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    2010 would have used a browser.

    p~

    Seriously though, when you have to zoom and pan to view content, doesn't it feel like you are using the wrong device to begin with?
    Reply
  • jwcalla - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    As a software developer I can say that I've had nothing but heartache dealing with Qualcomm hardware so far. Closed-up proprietary stuff with no public API to help us out seems to be the preferred mode of operation.

    Ultimately a platform comes down to its developers. There are a limited number of developers and the platform that attracts the most and best from the lot is going to provide the greatest user experience. Apple figured this out long ago in the device space. Microsoft before that on the desktop. If Nokia and Microsoft understand this today, they'll do well.

    I don't care how well the hardware benchmarks, we need to be treated as something other than an afterthought if you want us to develop for your platform.
    Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    I'm sorry how is Visual Studio not the best for developers? Are you trying to write native code to WP7? I know it can be done, but most apps don't do it.

    I think the developer tools are top notch for WP7.5. Sure, there are some holes to fill (WP8) but they will get filled.
    Reply

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