System Performance

Since the state of benchmarking on Windows Phone is not as mature as Android, I haven’t been able to compare the Lumia 640 to the competition in every aspect that I would like to. What I have been able to do is put it through our standard browser benchmarks, along with BaseMark OS II to look at individual component performance, and GFXBench to examine GPU performance.

While the absolute performance of Snapdragon 400 is well known, certain aspects of performance are heavily impacted by a device’s software. A good example is browser performance, which is a function of both SoC power and the speed of a device’s browser and Javascript engine. Two devices with the same SoC can have very different browser performance.

Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Google Octane v2  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

WebXPRT 2013 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Unfortunately, it’s clear that Internet Explorer doesn’t measure up to Chrome and Safari when it comes to performance. While buyers may be pleased that their Lumia 640 performs as well as the more expensive Lumia 735, both of these phones occupy the lowest positions on every chart. There’s even a significant gap between them and other Snapdragon 400 devices running Android, such as Motorola’s Moto G.

Basemark OS II 2.0 - System

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Memory

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Graphics

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Web

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Overall

There's not much need to go into detail on the Lumia 640's performance in BaseMark OS II. With the exception of a fairly good result in the NAND memory test, the Lumia 640 achieves the lowest scores that we've seen in recent times.

Unfortunately, the Lumia 640 isn't shaping up to be a very quick device. It's consistently bested by Snapdragon 400 devices running Android, and in 2015 we're going to see Snapdragon 410 used as the SoC of choice in devices at this price bracket, which won't make the Lumia 640's position any better. Microsoft needs to iterate much quicker than they currently are. Their slow pace in adoption new hardware helped kill Windows Phone in the high end market, and it will do the same to the low end. I have some further words about performance on the Lumia 640 and Windows Phone in general, but those will have to wait until the software section of the review.

GPU Performance

The last area of performance to investigate is GPU performance. The performance of Adreno 305 has been thoroughly evaluated on Android, but differences in drivers and graphics APIs can improve or reduce performance across different operating systems.

Since Adreno 305 doesn’t support Direct3D feature level 10.0 and Shader Model 4.0 it’s unable to run the GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan test. This leaves us with only the T-Rex HD benchmark which isn’t very hard on high end devices, but still poses quite a challenge for weaker mobile GPUs.

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Onscreen)GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

In both the on-screen and off-screen tests, the Lumia 640 lags behind the Moto G. While 1-2fps doesn’t seem like much, when your frame rate is in the low single digits it represents a significant difference in performance. Because of this, I decided to take a look at the performance in GFXBench’s driver overhead test to see what impact the GPU drivers and graphics API might have on performance.

GFXBench 3.0 Driver Overhead Test (Offscreen)

As suspected, there’s a very significant gap in performance when comparing the Lumia 640 to the Moto G. I can’t say whether this is due more to the differences between OpenGL and DirectX, or between the different Adreno drivers on Windows Phone and Android, but whatever the case may be the end result is a notable decrease in GPU performance on Windows Phone when compared to an Android device with the same SoC.

I’m not happy at all with the GPU performance that we see in low-end and even mid-range smartphones, and the Lumia 640 is no exception. There’s not much Microsoft can do here though, as moving to Snapdragon 410 with its Adreno 306 will not improve GPU performance at all. All I can really say is that users shouldn’t expect to be playing any 3D games on their Lumia 640, but simpler 2D games should run just fine.

Introduction and Design Display
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  • WinterCharm - Tuesday, June 09, 2015 - link

    That's a really nice phone for the price! :D

    Great look and design, too!
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, June 09, 2015 - link

    That kind of performance is going to get frustrating pretty quickly. Simply using some kind of navigation will quickly show the limits of using an A7 core. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, June 09, 2015 - link

    On Android an A9 is dirt slow, while it's not bad running real Windows, much less Windows Phone.

    I've got a 520 and a 635, and the A7 isn't an issue in the 635 at all...at least not for the stuff most people do (certainly including navigation software). This 640 looks like an awesome extension...2x the RAM and a larger screen. Naturally it's coming out not long after I bought a spare 635 lol
    Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    As the review makes clear - Windows Phone lost its advantages in terms of performance... Reply
  • jakoh - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    The review compares the 640 to a bunch of high spec'd android and IOS, it doesnt show that WP can run smoothly even on crappy specs. Reply
  • leexgx - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    i do agree i got a nokia 820 seems to work well
    But the Main problem with windows phones is lack of ram some times background tabs are deep suspended and take to long to restore i ignore any windows phone with 512mb of ram but would recommend 2GB as a minimum
    Reply
  • darkich - Friday, June 12, 2015 - link

    You clearly didn't even read the article.

    The author was specifically comparing this to low end Motorola moto E performance wise.

    And he stated for several times that the whole OS and browser feel really slow in comparison.
    Reply
  • SirPerro - Monday, June 15, 2015 - link

    "I mentioned in my Moto E review that for a long time I recommended that users who wanted a cheaper smartphone go with Windows Phone over Android, because at the time the options on Android were janky, slow, and offered a poor experience. I can’t make that recommendation anymore, because the app gap is still here, while the experience gap in favor of Windows Phone is gone."

    Article is loud and clear
    Reply
  • Murloc - Tuesday, June 09, 2015 - link

    not really, I have a 635 and the experience is fluid. Reply
  • testbug00 - Tuesday, June 09, 2015 - link

    Really? L520 running quite smoothly through everything I throw at it (web browsing, some music playing, few notes in OneNote) andf it's a dual core A7 chipset (SD200).

    /yawn
    Reply

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