HTC One X / iPhone 4S / Lumia 800 shootout: The Basics

Over the next few days we're going to take a look at some of the latest and greatest devices from each of the big platforms and put them to the test against each other.

The devices on the block are the Apple iPhone 4S, the Nokia Lumia 800 and the HTC One X. Each phone is at the high end of the smartphone market, and we want to help you understand the differences between them, where they each fall down and where each is able to show its strength.

This is the first in a four part series that takes a deep look at the three devices:

Specifications

  HTC One X Lumia 800 iPhone 4S
Product Codes S720e N/A 4S
GSM Bands 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G/4G Bands HSPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 (varies in some countries) HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
Display 4.7-inch Super-LCD 2 at 1280 x 720
312 ppi pixel density
 
AMOLED Capacitive touchscreen at 480 x 800
252 ppi pixel density
Clearblack display
LED-Backlit IPS TFT
330 ppi pixel density
Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3 chipset
1.5 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU
<500 MHz "companion core"
Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon
1.4Ghz Scorpion (single core)
Apple A5
Dual-core 1GHz Cortex-A9
Graphics ULP Kal-El GeForce Adreno 205 PowerVR SGX543MP2
RAM 1 GB 512 MB 512 MB
Storage 32 GB internal user storage 16 GB internal only 16 / 32 / 64 GB internal only
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (dual-band)
Bluetooth 4.0
A-GPS
DLNA
NFC
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1
A-GPS
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP
A-GPS
 
Camera 8 MP rear camera with f/2.0 28mm lens, BSI sensor and LED flash
1.3 MP front camera
1080p video recording (rear), 720p recording (front) 
8MP rear camera with f/2.2 lens, dual LED flash
No front facing camera
1080p video recording
8 MP rear camera with f/2.4 lens
VGA front camera (480p)
1080p video recording (rear), 480p video recording (front)
Ports MicroUSB
3.5mm audio jack
MicroUSB
3.5mm audio jack
Apple 30-pin USB connector
3.5mm audio jack
Sensors Accelerometer
Magnetometer
Gyroscope
Proximity sensor
Light sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Proximity Sensor
Light Sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Proximity sensor
Compass
Battery Li-Po 1,800 mAh non-removable Li-Ion 1450 mAh non-removable Li-Po 1432 mAh non-removable
Launch OS Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich"
Sense 4.0 UI
Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" iOS 5.0 (upgradable to iOS 5.1)
Launch Date April 2012 February 2012 (US) October 2011 (US)
Size & Weight 134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm
130 g
116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm
142g
115.2 x 58.7 x 9.3 mm
140g
Price Unlocked & Outright: US$740 Unlocked & Outright: $424.95 USD Unlocked & Outright: $649 USD

Design 

Design is so important on a high end smartphone. They're a fashion object. A device of human desire. Naturally, people associate the phone they have in 2012 with how "cool" they are (this is a gross over-generalization, yes) and tend to head towards the iPhone more than other devices. The iPhone's design is that good.

There are new kids in town, however, with the Lumia 800 and 900 bringing an industrial design that had never been seen before. A beautiful, unibody design that can't be found anywhere else. Striking colors and choice in a smartphone world that is dominated by white and black is enough to turn a few heads. Not only that, but the devices are made out of a type of polycarbonate that's not found on any other phone and feels fantastic to touch.

HTC had a few years of sloppy designs, plastic-fantastic phones and screens that were easily scratched and was able to learn from this. The "HTC One" series finally emerged from the mistakes the company made previously and built on what they used to know. How to make a beautiful device.

Instead of basic, traditional plastic, they too chose a polycarbonate body. They chose to create a unibody shell and house a slab of Gorilla Glass on the front. They sacrificed battery doors for sealed backs and recessed the cameras to stop them from being scratched. HTC is back in the fight. The One X is nothing short of breathtaking. So is the Lumia 800. But is killer design enough to win you over?

Battery life

I didn't perform any scientific tests for this one, I just used the devices day to day for a few days to see how they fared, in various setups to test them. On each device, I acted how I normally would with a phone, sending a few texts, checking Facebook / Twitter throughout the day and placing a few calls. 

The Lumia 800 had perhaps the most impressive battery life, able to last up to two days (at least!) with 3G on at all times and moderate use. If I turned off data, I got almost 3 days out of a single charge, which isn't bad at all. The iPhone 4S didn't fare as well, barely pulling through a day, finishing up at 10% battery remaining. It's long been known the iPhone 4S battery isn't great. However, with data off, I can get 2-3 days out of a single charge.

As for the HTC One X, the battery life was very hit and miss. For a phone with a 1800mAh battery, I had higher expectations. On some days, it barely got me through 8 hours without requiring a charge, and even after tweaking a few settings it was hard to scrape through an entire day without needing to seek out a power socket. Whilst it may not be a problem for me to charge it during the day as I work in an office, it might not be a great choice for others who need long life. That said, with a screen this size it's expected the battery is going to drain pretty quickly when you use it, so your mileage may vary.

That said, HTC's already released a update which users are reporting produces results that range from a modest battery life improvement to a massive one. Some have reported 2-3 days on a single charge, so once I get that update, I'll update this section.

Web Browsing 

This may seem like a peculiar topic to have in a review like this, but I felt it was something that needed to be addressed in a shootout. The iPhone 4S has a fantastic web browser for a phone, and the Safari-based browser can handle most pages that are thrown at it. Some may argue that's because everyone actually makes their websites for the phone, but that comes with a platforms popularity. My only complaint there is that the screen is a bit small for web browsing sometimes.

This is where the HTC One X comes in, with it's slick pixel-packed display that's almost five inches. It does everything the iPhone does (and even more, if you install Chrome) and it lets you see a ton more, simply down to the space available.

However, that's not what I want to discuss. Windows Phone's browser is still the worst out of the three. It's one of the more disappointing browsers I've used on a phone in the last few years, and it doesn't seem to get much better with the releases we've seen to date. Text renders out of place, with jagged edges or at weird sizes, images sometimes won't load altogether and more. It's sloppy.

I've remarked on this before, and every time I do, I get the standard response from Microsoft; "it's not our fault, developers aren't making their sites compatible!" There's a deeper problem here, and that excuse is rubbish. The other platforms can get a simple web browser right, it can't be that hard for Microsoft to do it too. Especially if they want to be competitive in the mobile space. Right now, it's just not good enough and it really ruins the experience.

Display

It's not just a resolution war anymore, it's also a pixel density race. I love a screen with a high pixel density. That alone would be almost enough to sell a device to me if it was all that really mattered.

The iPhone 4S has an incredible display. Retina blew away everything we'd ever seen in mobile devices before; the pixel density on the iPhone is 326 ppi (pixels per inch) and the HTC One X comes close at 312 ppi (it's worth noting that devices have higher ppi, such as the Xperia S/HTC Rezound). The difference is barely noticable, even with the devices next to each other, and the One X's 4.7" display makes the device look even more fantastic.

The HTC One X has the most incredible display I have ever seen. It renders crisp images with the most amazing color I have ever seen on a mobile screen. It's hard to describe how good it looks in writing, and the pictures of the device barely do it justice. It's breathtaking. The first time I turned on the device I couldn't believe a screen like this could even exist, let alone at this size. This is truly something new, and beautiful. I can't commend HTC enough on this point, they really took the iPhone "retina" display to a whole new level, and even beat Apple at their own game here. Tim Schiesser wrote a detailed review on the HTC One X and had similar feelings about the screen and explains how incredible it really is in more depth.

Putting the Lumia 800 next to these devices is more than disappointing. It makes you wonder what Microsoft could possibly have been thinking. The screen comes in at a measly 252 ppi, and if even if you don't look closely it's obvious that this wasn't something Nokia considered.

In terms of resolution, the HTC One X has a whopping 1280 x 720 (720p) display, the iPhone boasts a 960 x 640 display and the Lumia 800 has a measly 480 x 800 display, which is pretty standard in Windows Phones.

Microsoft really needs to make their move into higher resolution displays quickly, as they're being left behind. It's disappointing to pay flagship smartphone prices and receive a display that comes from 2010. Some people might not think they care about this, but when you put the iPhone and the Lumia 800 next to each other, it becomes really apparent the screen is dated.

The saving grace here is Nokia's "Clearblack" technology, which actually works as well as the company says it does. Using the phone in direct sunlight is actually very good. As is the HTC One's display, featuring the latest display tech; a Super IPS LCD2 display which is exactly the same from every angle, and even in direct sunlight is completely visible which is a real step up from the iPhone 4S' TFT-based display which struggles in the sun.

Roll Up

It seems to me like HTC is on to a winner here. The One X is an impressive refresh for HTC's brand, one that couldn't have come at a more perfect time. The device is a breath of fresh air, and it's the first time a display as good as the iPhone 4S' has been on a larger device. It has a catch though, that battery is pretty hit and miss right now, although the coming update may fix that. As an enthusiastic iPhone 4S user, this is the first time Android has had both the hardware and software to match. Android 4.0 is a massive improvement over anything else that's been released, and it's a well-rounded OS. This phone might be enough to convince iPhone users who are looking for something new (or a bigger screen) to switch. 

Even just using the One X briefly made me find it very hard to use anything else, the displays size and incredible quality makes everything else (including the iPhone 4S) feel completely different, and inferior.

As for the Lumia 800, there's only one way to say this: Microsoft can do better. Nokia did wonders for the Windows Phone platform by producing some truly stunning hardware it can shine on, but Windows Phone's limitations and poor display support have let the device down. The Verge came under fire earlier this month for a scathing review of the Lumia 900, saying that "[we] think it's time to stop giving Windows Phone a pass," and I can't agree with this statement more. Microsoft needs to step up their game and stop offering 2010 software and hardware at 2012 prices and trying to tell everyone it's good enough. There's a long list of small issues with Windows Phone that accumulate and create a frustrating experience. 

The shootout coverage will continue over the next few days;

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65 Comments

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another garbage useless pro apple/android review, why didn't you just review the 4S against the 710>>> bit pointless comparing apples top of the line latest and greatest against a mid range WP phone. BTW my 900 screen looks way better than the 4s screen especially once you venture outside of the hole in the ground you are living in. The operation and smoothness of the OS on WP also is superior to the other 2, and I have never had any problem with ie9 mobile, while safari actually sucks in my opinion, so even in your review the mid range much cheaper WP is better to the high end apple and android phones.

korupt_one said,
another garbage useless pro apple/android review, why didn't you just review the 4S against the 710>>> bit pointless comparing apples top of the line latest and greatest against a mid range WP phone. BTW my 900 screen looks way better than the 4s screen especially once you venture outside of the hole in the ground you are living in. The operation and smoothness of the OS on WP also is superior to the other 2, and I have never had any problem with ie9 mobile, while safari actually sucks in my opinion, so even in your review the mid range much cheaper WP is better to the high end apple and android phones.

You know opinion is subjective, right? That's your opinion. It's only "pro Android" because you like a particular platform more yourself.

Edited by Owen W, Apr 27 2012, 3:47am :

I like to have the latest and greatest, but I'm very happy with the Lumia 900. I am well aware that its specs are not up to par, but the OS experience is great despite some missing apps. With that said, I can't wait until WP8 comes out because I'm hoping it will shut up the spec trolls and fill in the remaining gaps.

Whilst I technical comparison might be something people value, I wouldn't mind a sort of diary of experiences of using each of the 3 phones under normal daily situations for a week, and remarking on things that you liked and disliked about the experiences at the time you were using them, rather than a raw technical analysis of the hardware specifications.

Though, the Lumia 800 is a mid-range phone, not a high-end phone The price in most regions that fact - even in the table above where it's listed less than 60% of the price of the OneX, a big delta to take into consideration. Also the jagged edges on font's have little-to-nothing to do with IE 9 on Windows Phone (given that it renders text using DirectWrite with sub-pixel positioning), that is more down to the PenTile matrix screen on the 800, and something not nearly as apparent on the 900 for example. It's also a delightfully smooth browsing experience is it not? No matter though, I look forward to rest.

Edited by ~Johnny, Apr 26 2012, 7:25pm :

~Johnny said,
Whilst I technical comparison might be something people value, I wouldn't mind a sort of diary of experiences of using each of the 3 phones under normal daily situations for a week, and remarking on things that you liked and disliked about the experiences at the time you were using them, rather than a raw technical analysis of the hardware specifications.

Though, the Lumia 800 is a mid-range phone, not a high-end phone The price in most regions that fact - even in the table above where it's listed less than 60% of the price of the OneX, a big delta to take into consideration. Also the jagged edges on font's have little-to-nothing to do with IE 9 on Windows Phone (given that it renders text using DirectWrite with sub-pixel positioning), that is more down to the PenTile matrix screen on the 800, and something not nearly as apparent on the 900 for example. It's also a delightfully smooth browsing experience is it not? No matter though, I look forward to rest.

Without having my hands on a Windows Phone anymore I'd happily do that as I tend to carry my One X and iPhone with me at all times. From a UK point of view the One X will actually be cheaper than the Lumia 900 (when it launches) on contract. I can get a One X free on a £24 a month contract and for a phone like that you can't argue.

Is it really about the hardware specs ?? The single core Lumia 800 is as good/better as the dual core iPhone 4S, and both are definitely better than the quad core OneX (eerr Android) ... when the interface lags, keep telling yourself "i've got a quad core phone yeye", while the single core users are only surprised how well the latest apps use the Metro UI and how fluid they are ...

Also @ reviewer, PPI is a very recent term introduced by Apple purely for marketing purposes .. i mean u really need to ZOOM and show the difference, while you'll hold the phone at least 1.5 ft. away for normal usage, so does it really matter .. its sharp yes, but is 250 ppi so bad that it cannot be used ?? Also why did you not mention the resolution and display size of the 4S ?? 3.5" is also pretty darn old spec !!!

Also, no comparison on build quality? The review is very biased based upon specs hallucination !!!

deathvirus_me said,
Also @ reviewer, PPI is a very recent term introduced by Apple purely for marketing purposes

Lolwut!? PPI (pixels per inch) is the display equivalent of DPI (dots per inch), and is a term that has been around for AGES. Apple certainly did not invent the term.

Also, you hold your phone 1.5 feet away? That's quite far away so you must have bad eyesight, which would explain why you don't notice the difference

"Lumia 800 has a measly 480 x 800 display, which is pretty standard in Windows Phones"

Pretty standard in Windows Phones? Are there Windows Phones running at some different resolution?

well....cant blame nokia for that.....honestly windows 7.5 should have had support for dual core and higher resolution...i mean this standard is now there in the market for quite a while.....supporting dual core 6-7 months after quad core is out not good......

though everyday usability wise, you have to give creadit to microsoft

and credit to nokia for getting a device which has points so strong that it can overcome its weaknesses in that sector....i mean except its low resolution, the lumia screen is really good...then the design give it a uniqueness...which is why the 900 is selling reasonably well when there are such tough competitors out there....

Gondya bhau said,
well....cant blame nokia for that.....honestly windows 7.5 should have had support for dual core and higher resolution...i mean this standard is now there in the market for quite a while.....supporting dual core 6-7 months after quad core is out not good......

though everyday usability wise, you have to give creadit to microsoft

and credit to nokia for getting a device which has points so strong that it can overcome its weaknesses in that sector....i mean except its low resolution, the lumia screen is really good...then the design give it a uniqueness...which is why the 900 is selling reasonably well when there are such tough competitors out there....

You've said it yourself... usability wise WP is great.

I'm not sure of the importance of dual core processors or a higher resolution. It would be like releasing a faster xbox 360, you would see almost no difference. On WP maybe Sid Meier's Pirates would load faster between screens but that's about it.

I never thought i would see people argue that pixel density is not important. I'm actually shocked.

LaP said,
I never thought i would see people argue that pixel density is not important. I'm actually shocked.

I honestly don't see any noticeable difference between my iPhone 4S and the Samsung Focus S (4.7" 480 x 800 display). I'm sure any average non-techy consumer would agree.

andrewbares said,

I honestly don't see any noticeable difference between my iPhone 4S and the Samsung Focus S (4.7" 480 x 800 display). I'm sure any average non-techy consumer would agree.

Even my mum would disagree there!

LaP said,
I never thought i would see people argue that pixel density is not important. I'm actually shocked.

Me too. It's glaringly obvious to me how different they are.

Techomaniac said,
Why not do this

Lumia 800 vs iPhone 4 vs HTC One V

Much better comparison with similiar specs.


Why? These are all flagship devices.

So the only thing going against the Lumia 900 is the screen resolution and pixel density. I don't get it, I don't notice any difference between the iphone 4s screen and my Omnia 7 unless you have your face glued to the screen.

Also why not talk about how the 720P HTC screen effects the OS since most games and apps are designed for 480x800 they don't appear correctly.

This is exactly what I've been wondering as well. My Omnia 7's 480x800 resolution seems more than enough for the job. The only time when I can see the seperate pixels on its' screen is when I have it at somewhere around 5cm. from my face, and at that distance, my eyes start having difficulty focusing on the screen.
Sure, that 720p screen res would be nice, but I wouldn't really notice it that much in daily use.

Gaffney said,
So the only thing going against the Lumia 900 is the screen resolution and pixel density. I don't get it, I don't notice any difference between the iphone 4s screen and my Omnia 7 unless you have your face glued to the screen.

Also why not talk about how the 720P HTC screen effects the OS since most games and apps are designed for 480x800 they don't appear correctly.


The 720p res is great, all the apps I tried scaled perfectly.

"Reviewer"
I've remarked on this before, and every time I do, I get the standard response from Microsoft; "it's not our fault, developers aren't making their sites compatible!" There's a deeper problem here, and that excuse is rubbish. The other platforms can get a simple web browser right, it can't be that hard for Microsoft to do it too. Especially if they want to be competitive in the mobile space. Right now, it's just not good enough and it really ruins the experience.

I'd appreciate it if you understood the problem before making comments like that. Microsoft are actually correct, and I'll tell you why: there's a second browser war going on in the mobile space. WebKit (made mainly by Apple and Google) has a monopoly, and most mobile Web developers are only supporting their websites in these browsers. It's breaking the Web.

Meph said,

I'd appreciate it if you understood the problem before making comments like that. Microsoft are actually correct, and I'll tell you why: there's a second browser war going on in the mobile space. WebKit (made mainly by Apple and Google) has a monopoly, and most mobile Web developers are only supporting their websites in these browsers. It's breaking the Web.

Or, Microsoft is breaking the web by being the only incompatible one

totally ridiculous: comparing high-end devices with with the lumnia 800 when there is the high-end-version 900 already out!

i worked with all 3 operation systems : and wp7 wins by far. i have no idea what difficulties you have (e.g. wrong rendering) there...

it really seems you are a one of the nerds who spends most of the time tweaking instead of using your mobile phone. and comparing devices just by specs doesnt make sense as well. never had any resets, delays, etc with wp7. with android and ios: very often....

yves707 said,
totally ridiculous: comparing high-end devices with with the lumnia 800 when there is the high-end-version 900 already out!

i worked with all 3 operation systems : and wp7 wins by far. i have no idea what difficulties you have (e.g. wrong rendering) there...

it really seems you are a one of the nerds who spends most of the time tweaking instead of using your mobile phone. and comparing devices just by specs doesnt make sense as well. never had any resets, delays, etc with wp7. with android and ios: very often....

That's simply false, WP7 doesn't "win by far". WP7's multitasking is far worse than iPhone, app launch speeds are worse, app performance is worse, there's no notification manager, things do crash still in Windows Phone (I've been an owner since it was first released).

iPhone also has problems: No live tiles, unintuitive interface, fewer free apps, etc.

iPhone and Windows Phone are basically tied in my opinion.

Well you should probably know this now and keep it in mind for the next few articles: Owen's opinion is quite different on the matters He did actually used to be quite a fan of Windows Phone, an opinion he no longer keeps.

yves707 said,
totally ridiculous: comparing high-end devices with with the lumnia 800 when there is the high-end-version 900 already out!

i worked with all 3 operation systems : and wp7 wins by far. i have no idea what difficulties you have (e.g. wrong rendering) there...

it really seems you are a one of the nerds who spends most of the time tweaking instead of using your mobile phone. and comparing devices just by specs doesnt make sense as well. never had any resets, delays, etc with wp7. with android and ios: very often....


The only difference with the Lumia 800 to the 900 is a larger screen, LTE and a bit more RAM. I don't think your argument is relevant.

I wonder how the Samsung Galaxy S3 will match up with this trio once it hits the streets. Will it defeat the One X?

Evert said,
I wonder how the Samsung Galaxy S3 will match up with this trio once it hits the streets. Will it defeat the One X?

I think it probably will in terms of performance, but the design on the One X is hard to trump IMO.

First off, spec whores like Owens will always be spec whores. You can't change their minds, and they imagine they "feel" a difference between old specs and new, regardless of that REAL performance. Having said that, I agree that the Lumia 800 isn't even second gen WP7 by many points. But, then, Owens clearly isn't getting the Nokia strategy to begin with. Nokia has been pushing Microsoft to allow devices with LOWER specs so that they can compete with the glut of sub-standard, low-end Android pieces of garbage. Where Nokia has made their mistake is over-pricing the first range of Lumias---which they've begun to correct with the Lumia 900. Daily I'm impressed by just how excellent the Lumia 900 is, in looks and performance. You see, I've outgrown the childish impulse to play the stupid "my specs are bigger than your specs" game. I much prefer the "show me your performance capability and I'll show you mine". THAT'S where it counts. Period, end of discussion. Owens (and many others) should be comparing the Lumia 800 against midrange devices in competitors' camps, just as the 710 and 610 should be compared against the low-end. Only the Lumia 900 should be compared against the high-end. BTW, my original Samsung Focus, with a 32GB Kingston card in it, STILL outperforms my wife's iPhone 4. The only thing she has that it doesn't is the front-facing camera, which my Lumia 900 has, of course.

ScubaDog said,
First off, spec whores like Owens will always be spec whores. You can't change their minds, and they imagine they "feel" a difference between old specs and new, regardless of that REAL performance. Having said that, I agree that the Lumia 800 isn't even second gen WP7 by many points. But, then, Owens clearly isn't getting the Nokia strategy to begin with. Nokia has been pushing Microsoft to allow devices with LOWER specs so that they can compete with the glut of sub-standard, low-end Android pieces of garbage. Where Nokia has made their mistake is over-pricing the first range of Lumias---which they've begun to correct with the Lumia 900. Daily I'm impressed by just how excellent the Lumia 900 is, in looks and performance. You see, I've outgrown the childish impulse to play the stupid "my specs are bigger than your specs" game. I much prefer the "show me your performance capability and I'll show you mine". THAT'S where it counts. Period, end of discussion. Owens (and many others) should be comparing the Lumia 800 against midrange devices in competitors' camps, just as the 710 and 610 should be compared against the low-end. Only the Lumia 900 should be compared against the high-end. BTW, my original Samsung Focus, with a 32GB Kingston card in it, STILL outperforms my wife's iPhone 4. The only thing she has that it doesn't is the front-facing camera, which my Lumia 900 has, of course.

Well said

At least it's funny to see people comparing a mid-end Windows Phone to high-end Android devices. How ironic?

Cøi said,
At least it's funny to see people comparing a mid-end Windows Phone to high-end Android devices. How ironic?

Over here in the UK the Nokia 800 is still the high-end right now

ScubaDog said,
First off, spec whores like Owens will always be spec whores. You can't change their minds, and they imagine they "feel" a difference between old specs and new, regardless of that REAL performance. Having said that, I agree that the Lumia 800 isn't even second gen WP7 by many points. But, then, Owens clearly isn't getting the Nokia strategy to begin with. Nokia has been pushing Microsoft to allow devices with LOWER specs so that they can compete with the glut of sub-standard, low-end Android pieces of garbage. Where Nokia has made their mistake is over-pricing the first range of Lumias---which they've begun to correct with the Lumia 900. Daily I'm impressed by just how excellent the Lumia 900 is, in looks and performance. You see, I've outgrown the childish impulse to play the stupid "my specs are bigger than your specs" game. I much prefer the "show me your performance capability and I'll show you mine". THAT'S where it counts. Period, end of discussion. Owens (and many others) should be comparing the Lumia 800 against midrange devices in competitors' camps, just as the 710 and 610 should be compared against the low-end. Only the Lumia 900 should be compared against the high-end. BTW, my original Samsung Focus, with a 32GB Kingston card in it, STILL outperforms my wife's iPhone 4. The only thing she has that it doesn't is the front-facing camera, which my Lumia 900 has, of course.

I am not a spec whore. As someone who owned a HTC Trophy up until January 2012, that is invalid. You don't know me. The specs DO matter sometimes. I'll be exploring how the specifications aren't relevant later on in this series

Where I'm from, the Lumia is touted as a flagship device and has very (exactly the same) pricing as the One X and the iPhone do.

ScubaDog said,
BTW, my original Samsung Focus, with a 32GB Kingston card in it, STILL outperforms my wife's iPhone 4.

So I've gotta ask here, how did you do your performance testing? It seems to be that you are being very subjective here in your assessment, and labeling it "REAL performance".

The Lumia 900 cannot play high-end games due to the lack of processing/graphics power. The current-gen PowerVR SGX543MP2 is capable of at least 12.8 GFLOPS (>1000 MPixel/s) at 200 MHz and the Adreno 205 can barely manage 2 (~200 MPixel/s if I'm being generous), which means the former GPU can manage an environment ~6x as detailed as the latter. This is effectively the same difference between the AMD Radeon HD 3870 and the HD 7950.

Developers refuse to support the platform for this very reason. Why haven't we seen high-end Gameloft games on Windows Phone if apparently the phone performs well enough? They support the platform, just don't port the games.

Also, the Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 is simply incapable of recording and decoding 1080p video, and the power consumption per core is much higher than the current generation Snapdragon S4s and the Tegra 3.

AMOLED displays look much worse than the Super LCD 2 (speaking from experience) and the density enables you to fit more in the screen. The Lumia's communication chip doesn't support Wi-Fi on the 5 GHz band so I can't connect to my home network with less interference. 16 GB of storage is half what I can get on the One X and 1/4 of the iPhone.

Specs matter, and saying they don't is a typical Windows Phone user avoiding the issue.

Edited by Scorpus, Apr 27 2012, 8:14am :

About the browser, isn't it really not Microsoft's fault? Most websites are targetted at webkit browsers(iOS and Android) and if they are using -webkit prefixes, how is IE9 supposed to work with them?
Having said that, i havent really faced major issues with WP but it should work better.

IE9 on Windows Phone also intentionally alters the website - it increases the size of headers and what it thinks is important content. This is to your benefit, but always causes people to complain that it renders differently on different phones. It's a feature, not a bug. Seriously.

And anyone who says that the iPhone display is the best because of it's pixel density needs to get out more. Get some sunshine. And see how washed out your screen gets in the sun.

Edited by rfirth, Apr 26 2012, 2:52pm :

BajiRav said,
About the browser, isn't it really not Microsoft's fault? Most websites are targetted at webkit browsers(iOS and Android) and if they are using -webkit prefixes, how is IE9 supposed to work with them?
Having said that, i havent really faced major issues with WP but it should work better.

Unfortunately, reviews have been selectively choosing web sites as a way to put in a negative against WP7's browser. For example, another web site, in their review, used twitter.com in the web browser to show that did not render correctly in IE. Turns out, twitter had their server misconfigured and was returning an incorrect MIME type. Twitter fixed it, returning the correct type and everything worked correctly. Checking MIME types is part of the W3C spec, so why is not WebKit following the spec?

Of course, when people pointed out that IE was doing the correct thing, that other site decided to attack the people rather than admitting that they were wrong. Concluding with "Chill the F*** out."

Over the years, we see the story change to fit the narrative. The mantra has been that IE is bad because they allow bad HTML to be rendered and do not follow the spec. Now it is IE is bad because they are too restrictive and follow the spec too closely. Web sites check the user agent and feed out HTML based upon what they think the browser should support. But if the web site is feeding bad data, and IE decided that it knew better and rendered the HTML in a way that it felt was correct, then we would have people complaining that IE is not following the spec, non-standard, and should be avoided.

I don't understand comparisons like this, nor how people not new to the smartphone market can bounce around between phone OSs. As a phone, they're all the same... you punch in some numbers and make a call. As a mobile device, these differences are important, but what is most important is the software you're running on the phone.

As an iPhone user since the beginning, the cost to replace all of the apps I use rules out any other phone. If you're just using Facebook and Twitter and want a shiny phone with a big screen, sure, get any of these. Or, get a much, much cheaper phone that works just as well.

threetonesun said,
I don't understand comparisons like this, nor how people not new to the smartphone market can bounce around between phone OSs. As a phone, they're all the same... you punch in some numbers and make a call. As a mobile device, these differences are important, but what is most important is the software you're running on the phone.

As an iPhone user since the beginning, the cost to replace all of the apps I use rules out any other phone. If you're just using Facebook and Twitter and want a shiny phone with a big screen, sure, get any of these. Or, get a much, much cheaper phone that works just as well.


Is it really? You need at least $199 to get latest iphone and most atest Android/WP can be had for free. It is not really costly to replace apps at that point. :-)

Soldiers33 said,
the htc one x is like almost 1k. You can buy a decent car for that money.

It's cheaper than an iPhone here!

Was reading that Verge article and they say this:

"Third-party app offerings are weak"

So what does Microsoft need to build all apps themselves now? Or Android market was just bloated with apps when they started out?

"Specs feel last generation"

So lets put an Quad-Core into it "just because" or maybe you can tell your friends that you got an quad-core phone?If it runs fine on a 1.4 snapdragon why do you even need more? Or should WP just trun into the new Android where every OEM can bloat it with bull**** that you don't need?

"Camera underwhelming"

You want a camera, go buy one.

I don't own an WP, in fact I own an Android but this is getting stupid.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
So lets put an Quad-Core into it "just because" or maybe you can tell your friends that you got an quad-core phone?If it runs fine on a 1.4 snapdragon why do you even need more? Or should WP just trun into the new Android where every OEM can bloat it with bull**** that you don't need?

"Camera underwhelming"

You want a camera, go buy one.

I don't own an WP, in fact I own an Android but this is getting stupid.

Of course Windows Phone NEEDS updated specs! That's like saying, "Why do you need that supercharged 5 liter Mustang? A 1.8 liter naturally-aspirated civic can still drive you around town"

And of course the Lumia needs a better camera, it's TERRIBLE! You know what, I DO want a better camera... I guess I'll buy a different phone then cause the Lumia sucks! Samsung Focus S is the best Windows Phone right now honestly...

andrewbares said,

Of course Windows Phone NEEDS updated specs! That's like saying, "Why do you need that supercharged 5 liter Mustang? A 1.8 liter naturally-aspirated civic can still drive you around town"

And of course the Lumia needs a better camera, it's TERRIBLE! You know what, I DO want a better camera... I guess I'll buy a different phone then cause the Lumia sucks! Samsung Focus S is the best Windows Phone right now honestly...

Why does it need updated specs? Does it crash or slow down on something? As far as I know it doesn't so the only thing why it "needs" them is bragging rights whats meant for 10 year olds getting their first phone.

Secondly I already mentioned, if you want a camera, buy one, phones are not meant to take some extra high res photos (and if you really want that there are specific phones for that like the Nokia 808 PureView, next to that every phone is **** but I wouldn't call 808 a phone anymore, its more like a digital camera with phone functions).

All your arguments are invalid and just about bragging rights. I actually can see no use for them, the camera in 800 is as good as it should be, it takes decent photos (not some super high quality, but bareable), the 1.4 snapdragon is more then enough to run WP7, thank god OEMs cant bloat it with unneccesary apps unlike another OS what really does need a dual-core already to run it decently.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,

Why does it need updated specs? Does it crash or slow down on something? As far as I know it doesn't so the only thing why it "needs" them is bragging rights whats meant for 10 year olds getting their first phone.

Secondly I already mentioned, if you want a camera, buy one, phones are not meant to take some extra high res photos (and if you really want that there are specific phones for that like the Nokia 808 PureView, next to that every phone is **** but I wouldn't call 808 a phone anymore, its more like a digital camera with phone functions).

All your arguments are invalid and just about bragging rights. I actually can see no use for them, the camera in 800 is as good as it should be, it takes decent photos (not some super high quality, but bareable), the 1.4 snapdragon is more then enough to run WP7, thank god OEMs cant bloat it with unneccesary apps unlike another OS what really does need a dual-core already to run it decently.


I don't see why it's not advantageous having a device in your pocket that replaces the need for another camera? The iPhone 4S does that for a similar price to the Lumia 800, so why not get the best of both worlds? I'm sorry, but your argument is invalid.

Personally I haven't used the L800 (only the original Focus), I feel the review of the screen is rather subjective. I have used the 4S, and do agree its really crisp, however only when I really look closely can I see jagged lines of the pixels on WP7...and even then, it doesn't bother me when I'm using it. I find my focus has really bright colors, and that's what matters to me.

I haven't seen a single page load incorrectly for me on WP7 (or at least didn't notice). I recently started playing Lords of Ultima - a browser game based on JS. My WP7 loads it (albeit slowly) whereas the 4S doesn't.

While I think it would have been nice to have mango support multicore, I really haven't felt my single core being too slow - 3D games notwithstanding.

UseLess said,
Personally I haven't used the L800 (only the original Focus), I feel the review of the screen is rather subjective. I have used the 4S, and do agree its really crisp, however only when I really look closely can I see jagged lines of the pixels on WP7...and even then, it doesn't bother me when I'm using it. I find my focus has really bright colors, and that's what matters to me.

I haven't seen a single page load incorrectly for me on WP7 (or at least didn't notice). I recently started playing Lords of Ultima - a browser game based on JS. My WP7 loads it (albeit slowly) whereas the 4S doesn't.

While I think it would have been nice to have mango support multicore, I really haven't felt my single core being too slow - 3D games notwithstanding.


Agreed about the single core not being so slow, we'll explore this more later in the series. WP7 stands up very, very strong with the specs it has.

andrewbares said,

Cause the 800 is a nicer phone? I think it is.

Nicer, sure. I agree but specs wise it would be 900 that's more on bar with the one x and 4s.

~Johnny said,
I presume because Owen is based in New Zealand, and the 900 doesn't exist outside of US yet.

That, and the Lumia 900 is very, very similar except for its size.

boumboqc said,
Lumia 800 ?
Why not the 900 ?

The screen resolution and browser is just as bad on the 900 (I've tried it), so I don't imagine the review would be any different.

480 x 800 is 2009 or older hardware, it's not acceptable in 2012.

simplezz said,

The screen resolution and browser is just as bad on the 900 (I've tried it), so I don't imagine the review would be any different.

480 x 800 is 2009 or older hardware, it's not acceptable in 2012.

NO

Lumia 900 has a NON pentile display while L800 uses pentile, leading to worse aesthetics, L900 also has a gyrometer, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZjfe2_zUo4

simplezz said,

The screen resolution and browser is just as bad on the 900 (I've tried it), so I don't imagine the review would be any different.

480 x 800 is 2009 or older hardware, it's not acceptable in 2012.

Not acceptable by whos standards? Yours? You don't make the world you know and secondly, its a god damn phone after all not a 32 inch plasma TV.

boumboqc said,
Lumia 800 ?
Why not the 900 ?

The Lumia 800 is a far more impressive phone in my opinion. Plus, it has the curved glass display, which makes it even more readable outdoors.

simplezz said,

The screen resolution and browser is just as bad on the 900 (I've tried it), so I don't imagine the review would be any different.

480 x 800 is 2009 or older hardware, it's not acceptable in 2012.

Who are you, the phone police?

andrewbares said,

The Lumia 800 is a far more impressive phone in my opinion. Plus, it has the curved glass display, which makes it even more readable outdoors.

It has curved edges... which have no effect on readability at all.