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

    You call it smooth running and functional, which is fine. That doesn't dissuade me and the OP from feeling it is ugly and off-putting. You even say it doesn't have to be cluttered eye candy, but the review claims it is the most beautiful UI he has ever seen. The thing is big blue blocks. It is exactly what he explained on the first page that Windows typically does with any refresh of their OS: "make it bigger and bluer."

    It is definitely ugly, but if you only care about how functional and fast it is, then you will love it. I admit that I can't stand iOS cluttered eye-candy style either, so I'm with you on that. Give me functional, customizable and sleek and I'm in heaven. Glad somebody already figured out how to do that.

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

    In my opinion, it's quite good looking and better than the default home screen on my HTC Incredible.

    Like you said, it's all a matter of taste. I will put myself out there and say the guy who thinks the "6 year old crackberry looked better" probably has poor taste.
    Reply
  • Smilin - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    It is the most beautiful UI I've seen. Mind you I've SEEN it. Have you? Screenshots don't do it justice. You have to see it moving and the text shifting in parallax. It's eerily 3D.

    iPhone and Android are beautiful too....if you're a Windows 3.1 progman.exe fan.
    Reply
  • gstrickler - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    It may be simple and functional, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring and ugly. I'm a huge proponent of simple and functional, but that screen looks like something out of the late 80's or early 90's. The tiles have too little to differentiate them from each other. A little use of color and better contrast would make it a lot clearer and faster to identify the icons, and it would look better.

    Note to MS, hire a usability consultant and put some of your graphic designers to work (I know you have graphic designers). It shouldn't look like just like Windows 7, but it definitely shouldn't look like it comes from Windows 2.0
    Reply
  • inighthawki - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    That "ugly" home/start screen interface is one of the main reasons I'm interested in WP7. The other smartphone interfaces I've seen from others like iOS and Android are nothing more than glorified and eye-candy enhanced versions of every other phone out there IMO. And as someone who owns a Zune HD which has a very similar interface, I can tell you that it works really well, and is very nice. Reply
  • bplewis24 - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    There is no eye candy in Android. It's basically a blank slate desktop background. And obviously it's no surprise that a Zune HD user would prefer the Windows Phone 7 UI. It's also not a surprise you use subjective and vague justifications for your preference :) Reply
  • inighthawki - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I don't see why I have to justify a subjective decision. The bottom line is "I like it" and my entire point was that just because the OP thinks it's the ugliest home screen they've ever seen, there are people like myself that not only like it, but actually dislike the style they do. I am not trying to force my opinion on anyone. Reply
  • Smilin - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    I agree with you FWIW. Reply
  • cknobman - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    I agree 100%

    Gigantic big colored tiles? Seriously?

    What a waste of space and an overly boring-bland appearance!!!
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    I agree, the WP7 UI looks horrendous to me. Giant space-wasting bland UI components.

    My biggest concern is how HUGE the tiles are. Anand complained about iOS/Android cluttering screens with app icons, but it seems to me like WP7 will be incredibly worse.

    Reducing the number of tiles on the screen so that you can only view 6 full tiles at a time, as WP7 has done (the bottom two tiles appear cut off in pictures) is a huge limitation. The iPhone displays 20 icons.

    If I've got 50 apps, and I'm not using folders, an iPhone will give you three screens to scroll through. Android, I assume is similar. Windows phone 7 seems to require something like 8... And the lack of some sort of folder or grouping support is only going to make this worse.

    My prediction is that, if WP7 takes off and starts getting a decent number of apps, they're going to have to rethink the home UI or it'll be unusable.
    Reply

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