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


View All Comments

  • name99 - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    "However the labeling here is actually hilarious - AT&T’s WCDMA “4G” marketing carries over to the Lumia 900, so selecting “3G” from the drop down will score you a “4G” indicator in the status bar. Likewise selecting “4G” from the drop down gets you “LTE” in the status bar. Finally, a concrete example of where AT&T’s re-branding marketing has resulted in an actual namespace collision!"

    We have been through this a dozen times, Brian. You are just being immature if you keep pushing this point even after the relevant engineering issues have been explained to you many times.
    If there is a name space collision here, it is because Nokia or MS are too stupid to understand that LTE is not the same thing as 4G, not because of an ATT fault.

    ATT are major league dicks --- there's plenty about them to complain about honestly, without complaining about stupid non-issues.
  • Impulses - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Seems like a valid complaint to me, at least from the point of view of the average consumer, regardless of whose fault it is. If AT&T can influence even Apple to change their connection indicators, surely they could force something less confusing here. It's not a coven to me, but the average consumer barely knows or cares what LTE & HSPA+ are, if they did the iPhone wouldn't be selling very well right now. Reply
  • leexgx - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    MS naming (nice that they let you set the speeds 2g 3g and 4g speeds to bad you cant just force it to stay on one but that be asking to much)
    3g/H/H+ as 3g (WCDMA / UMTS / HSDPA / HSPA) and 4g as 4g (LTE or LTE-ADV) as it should be seems right to me (miss selling 4g when its not 4g is bad in the USA, hope Three in the UK do not start miss selling quite sure they Not be allowed to)

    2g best signal and power bat life
    3g lower bat life and calls and text may some times not work
    4g more power drain less bat life (depends if its been used as LTE should have way better power use then 3g+ spec)
  • DarkUltra - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    I think you should dig some more into WP7. I would not have bought a Lumia 800 if I knew about these:

    - Deleting gmail mail archives mail instead of deleting it
    - Read, delete and move email operations is not pushed or synced immediately. Kinda disruptive and unnerving when you sit down in front of the computer and have to do it all over again
    - international characters turn into æøå after a reply from a gmail account ruining the threading (could be issue with gmail but worked fine on my first gen iphone)
    - no text wrap in ie9 so text on certain websites like anandtech and techreport is redicously small in portrait mode and uncomfortably small in landscape mode.
    - no Find on Page
    - no copy and paste in calendar
    - no every other week timing in calendar
    - no Other and custom phone numbers support in contacts
    - If you set your locale to something like Norway, you get SV: and vs: instead of the regular Re: and Fwd: email subject abbrevations. After a bit back and fourth with people abroad the subject line ends up like this:
    Re: SV: Re: SV: Re: SV: Smörgardsbord på Lørdag
    - no native PDF support, must use a slow and unresponsive 3rd party reader that lack zoom to picture/paragraph and search
    - Other and custom phone numbers in contacts
    Many phone numbers from Outlook and Google doesn't show up

    Othervise I really love this phone and its live tiles.
  • Klimax - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    "Deleting gmail mail archives mail instead of deleting it"
    Setting in gmail.

    "Read, delete and move email operations is not pushed or synced immediately. Kinda disruptive and unnerving when you sit down in front of the computer and have to do it all over again"
    Again, setting in gmail.
  • Impulses - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    "I don't know that there's still a lot of iPhone/Windows Phone cross shopping, but a trend towards even cheaper on-contract prices for high-end smartphones is absolutely welcome."

    I agree with the latter statement... But as far as consumer choice, I think there might be more iPhone/WP cross shopping than iPhone/Android or even WP/Android. MS seems to be straddling this line between Apple's platform approach and Google's, and right now I think they're leaning slightly towards the former.

    I think it's great for the market overall, and it's probably a winning strategy in the long run (something MS knows all about)... But right now I think Google's got more of the bargain/value market and the spec/geek market while Apple's carved itself a big chunk in between from average consumers looking to spend more but not necessarily focused on specs or sheer capability.

    I'm definitely excited to see where WP & Nokia go next, despite being heavily invested in Android... Nokia needs MS more than MS needs Nokia tho, and WP isn't gonna budge from 3rd place if Nokia is the only OEM producing flagship type devices. Could be worse tho, they could be RIM!
  • PeteH - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    You make some good points, but I disagree that the MS approach is necessarily a winning strategy. If this was April 2010 when the smartphone market wasn't so mature I would completely agree that Windows stands an excellent chance of becoming (along with iOS/Android) a third dominant mobile platform. Unfortunately for MS it's April 2012, and it may be too late for Windows to be anything other than a niche player.

    I think the key question is can MS attract developers so that a strong stable of quality Apps can be built up rapidly. If they can it will greatly increase their chance of success.
  • Impulses - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Meh, there's a lot of race still left to run imo, the smartphone market may be maturing rapidly but it's still in it's infancy... It's like in the stage the PC market was in the 80s imo. Reply

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