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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  • bplewis24 - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Check out page 26. It's dedicated completely to how the "update" process works. In short, it's more like iOS than Android....which is sounds like you'd prefer. Reply
  • ishbuggy - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Yeah I accidentally skipped that page :P
    I really hope it works out as well as Microsoft hopes it will
    Reply
  • Voldenuit - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    Will AT be reviewing the Nokia N8 and E8 Symbian phones? Nokia is pretty obscure in the States (since they mainly sell direct from their website, with no carrier subsidy), but are pretty big in Europe and Asia. Reply
  • epyon96 - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    Anand,

    With such a glowing review from you, it's almost enough to bump Windows 7 above my initial choice of getting a blackberry. I need a physical keyboard. I'm very picky about it. You are simply a very engaging writer.

    I really hope Windows 7 mobile comes up with a superior keyboard version
    Reply
  • VashHT - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    The Dell phone coming out looks like it will have a really nice keyboard, I think it is called the venue pro. Also ATT is supposed to have a keyboard phone by LG I think. Reply
  • heelo - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    The Venue Pro *looks* great, but it's somewhat of a monster in size and weight.

    If I weren't stuck on a T-Mobile family plan, I'd probably opt for that LG Quantum. Like Anand said, WP7's interface is extremely usable on smaller screens, and the reasonable form factor and physical keyboard likely make for a very convenient real-world user experience. The drawback is that the looks and (supposedly) build quality are sub-par.
    Reply
  • EarthwormJim - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - link

    OMG a screenshot of me in action is on the Xbox Live page!! Woo-hoo Reply
  • gstrickler - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    That's the ugliest and least interesting home/start screen I've ever seen on a smartphone. It may be functional, but even a 6 year old crackberry looked better (and I don't like the BB). The rest of the UI doesn't look too bad, but the start screen needs some work. Reply
  • bplewis24 - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    I couldn't agree more. I find it funny that people are claiming this UI is "100% right" as if everybody is going to like it. Obviously it's a matter of preference, but I just cannot see the overwhelming majority of people getting into this UI. I find it appalling to look at and couldn't imagine using it every day.

    Brandon
    Reply
  • B3an - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Dont know what you're smoking but most people prefer an easy to use simple looking UI thats functional rather than cluttered eye candy.
    From the vids i've seen it seems to be the smoothest running, most functional, fastest, and natural UI on any phone to date.
    Reply

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