Battery Life

With everyone sharing the same base hardware and software there are only two items that will ultimately impact battery life between vendors: screen type and battery size. The pecking order is pretty easy to follow. Smaller LCDs will be the best on battery, larger Super AMOLED screens will be the worst. The battery scale is even easier to define: bigger is better, but heavier.

We’ve been testing three Windows Phones: HTC’s Surround, Samsung’s Focus and the LG Optimus 7. The HTC and LG use standard LCD displays, while the Focus uses the same type of Super AMOLED screen we saw in the Fascinate and Epic 4G.

The LG uses a 5.55Whr battery compared to 4.55Whr on the HTC Surround. As a result LG gets the best battery life out of the three with the Focus coming in last due to its Super AMOLED display.

Microsoft mandates three discrete display brightness settings on all phones: low, medium and high, coupled with an automatic brightness mode. The three phones delivered very different levels of brightnes at each setting:

Brightness Comparison (White Point)
Phone Low Medium High
HTC Surround 10.4 nits 183.1 nits 405.7 nits
LG Optimus 7 130.4 nits 259.1 nits 381.2 nits
Samsung Focus 61.9 nits 143.1 nits 234.3 nits

 

Brightness Comparison (Black Point)
Phone Low Medium High
HTC Surround 0.03 nits 0.39 nits 0.88 nits
LG Optimus 7 0.28 nits 0.56 nits 0.82 nits
Samsung Focus 0 0 0

Overall battery life of these Windows Phones ranges from average to above average in the case of the LG Optimus 7. The use of Qualcomm’s 65nm SoC definitely doesn’t help battery life, but Microsoft appears to have done a reasonable job with power management.

The first Windows Phones won’t be in the same realm of battery life as the iPhone 4, but it’s a reasonable starting point. Given a normal/light workload you can easily make one of these things last a full day on a single charge, but heavier users will probably find themselves charging once in the early evening. As with most aspects of the platform, we need to see significant improvement in the next 6 months for Microsoft to be taken seriously. Luckily for Microsoft, where it is today isn’t a bad place to be.

The Windows Phone 7 Connector for OS X The First Phones: LG Optimus 7
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  • serkol - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    "Flipping through pages upon pages of square app icons just isn’t the most efficient way to do it. Folders help reduce the clutter, but they don’t fundamentally address the problem."

    Try placing folders onto the iPhone dock. I've placed 4 folders there. Tap on the folder (in the dock), and it opens up the folder, then tap on the app. This look like 4 mini "start buttons" - very convenient, and looks very good.
    Reply
  • bobjones32 - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    FYI Anand - there's a dedicated Facebook app in the marketplace that was posted today. Actually created by Microsoft, not Facebook. Any chance you can update this article or write another quick one once you have a chance to take a look? The screenshots in the Zune software look interesting, at least. Reply
  • Regenweald - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    The xbox live integration on this alone makes it a much more attractive platform that anything else out there.( i thought I was going to have to buy an xbox for the new plants vs zombies exclusive content, lol) I'm looking forward to WP8. Many persons have sold WP7 short without anything to actually go on, but now, it already seems like the most complete platform out there. Full windows integration, ZUNE, XBOX and Facebook. Reply
  • Dobs - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    All sounded great for me until IE mobile - What a let down.
    Basically a deal breaker. Other faults I reckon I'd be happy to live with until they fixed them.
    My high hopes sunk :(
    Reply
  • RetroEvolute - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    How did this let you down? The article didn't really have much of anything to say negative about the IE browser included in Windows Phone 7. Unless you're just one of those people who hate anything with the name IE or Internet Explorer...

    If you haven't already, try the IE9 Beta for Vista/Win7. It's a huge improvement from their previous versions, and you may just like it.
    Reply
  • Dobs - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Did you read page 9 (Rebuilding a Brand: IE mobile)?

    The benchmarks, blocky text and..
    "Slower page loading times aren’t as big of a deal anyways, since you can leave the browser and go do something else entirely while the page keeps loading."
    This statement instantly reminded me of dial up internet - not a smart phone.
    I don't open a browser to then go and test my multi-tasking or my patience.

    Like I said - I'll wait for now. If IE mobile is fixed I'll seriously reconsider.
    I don't currently have a smart phone and had been patiently waiting for win7 phone as I thought it might be The One - but it looks like I'll continue waiting.

    And I don't think browsers for PC have anything to do with a phone review - Thanks anyhow.
    Reply
  • B3an - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    I dont think the benchmarks matter that much if actual real world browsing is still good, which it is, and that sites are rendered correctly, which they are.
    Compared to the current state of many other phone browsers at the moment IE on WP7 seems atleast decent. Other browsers might have greater speed and specs on paper but they wont run as smooth and they often have trouble displaying certain pages.
    Reply
  • B3an - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Just read the Engadget review and they also like the browser:

    "we've got to say that web browsing on Windows Phone 7 is actually a really pleasant experience. "

    "Loading the desktop version of Engadget was just a hair slower than an iPhone 4, and just as importantly, rendering new parts of the page as you scroll is plenty fast -- not instantaneous, but fast enough so that you never find yourself consciously waiting for it to catch up. Zooming -- which is accomplished with a pinch gesture, of course -- is buttery smooth. The phone accomplishes this in the same way you're probably used to from other devices: when you first zoom in, it uses the same render resolution so that it can at least show you something without going blank, then it renders the appropriate level of detail as it catches up (Google Maps works the same way on almost every platform). It works well. Zooming in and out of a page -- even when still loading up content -- was super fast in our testing, and rendering happened in a split second, meaning hardly any time spent looking at jagged pixels. We're tremendously impressed with how well the browser works "

    However they go on to mention that because of no Flash (yet, Adobe are working on it) that watching streaming video is out of the question for now as the browser also dont support HTML5 video.
    Reply
  • MacGyver85 - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I was at the launch event in Belgium at the Microsoft HQ and had the chance to ask a few questions. One of which was if they'll be moving to the IE9 rendering & javascript engine once it is finalized. The answer was a resounding yes. The guy also said that they are already using some parts of IE9 as well in addition to IE7 and 8. Reply
  • ishbuggy - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    Does anyone know how WP7 will handle updates? I really hope they enforce updates across all the devices so you don't get stuck with old software versions months after new ones have come out like with android. Reply

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