CPU Performance

The Lumia 930 is the second device from Nokia to utilize the Snapdragon 800 platform, with the Lumia 1520 6” Phablet also sporting the same SoC. In this particular case, it is the MSM8974VV variant which contains four Krait 400 cores at up to 2.2 GHz, along with as Adreno 330 GPU. The 930 also has 2 GB of LPDDR3 memory. This combination really kick-starts Windows Phone, which prior to the 1520 had been utilizing dual-core Krait 200 on the upper end models. The implications are dramatic, with the Lumia 930 providing a huge real-world increase in speed. Anyone who believes Windows Phone somehow does not need a faster SoC is kidding themselves, as this device has proven to me. App loading times are much quicker, and app rehydration, which is a huge issue on older devices, is so much quicker that it is almost instant. Skype is well known to all Windows Phone users for having sometimes ridiculous rehydration times, but the Snapdragon 800 almost completely overcomes this handicap.

We can use several benchmarking tools in order to quantify this difference in performance. We will start with some web based javascript tests, and then move on to some native benchmarking tools.

SunSpider 1.0.2 Benchmark  (Chrome/Safari/IE)Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)Google Octane v2  (Chrome/Safari/IE)WebXPRT (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Sunspider has the Lumia 930 besting all but the iPhone 5s. Historically Internet Explorer has always done well at Sunspider though, and version 11 continues that trend. Unfortunately this benchmark has been optimized for by all companies. Moving up to more complex Javascript, we can see the difference with IE 11 compared to other browsers. The 930 falls behind the Google Nexus 5 which shares the same SoC, and it is well behind the Snapdragon 801 equipped phones. However the 930 scores almost half of the 1020 which is a great generational leap. A similar situation occurs on Google Octane, with the 930 behind the Nexus 5, but well ahead of last year’s Lumia devices. WebXPRT scores show the same trend. The Snapdragon 800 transforms Windows Phone into a contender. Javascript performance of IE 11 still is not as good as Chrome or Safari, but it is at least getting close with the latest version of the browser.

BaseMark OS II - OverallBaseMark OS II - SystemBaseMark OS II - MemoryBaseMark OS II - GraphicsBaseMark OS II - Web

BaseMark runs as a native application, and therefore is not handicapped by the Javascript engine of the browser. Here the 930 performs well, with a score right around the same score as the iPhone 5s. Performance compared to the dual-core Krait 200 of the Lumia 1020 is once again pretty much doubled. Looking at the rest of the BaseMark scores, it becomes very clear how much of an improvement the 930 is over previous Windows Phones with MSM8960.

Graphics Performance

For GPU comparisons, we would normally turn to RightWare’s Basemark X 1.1, however a bug in the current version prevents it from running on the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 930. I have contacted them, and they have promised to look into it. If a patch is released, I will re-run the tests and update Bench. We do have access to GFXBench though, so let us see how the 930 performs.

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HDGLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD (Offscreen 1080p)GLBenchmark 2.7 - Egypt HDGLBenchmark 2.7 - Egypt HD (Offscreen 1080p)GLBenchmark 2.7 - Fill TestGLBenchmark 2.7 - Fill Test (Offscreen 1080p)GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle ThroughputGLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput (Offscreen 1080p)GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Fragment LitGLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Vertex LitGLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Vertex Lit (Offscreen 1080p)

Version 2.7 of the benchmark is the current one for Windows Phone, with 3.0 listed as coming soon, however we can still get a glimpse at the huge performance leap from the last generation. While still not as quick through the benchmarks as Android and iOS, it is at least in the same room as them now.


Windows Phone does not support our storage benchmarking apps, and current ones in the store are either wildly inaccurate, or just provide abstract results. For this reason, we are going to create our own, but it is not ready yet. NAND performance was not tested on this device.

Performance Summary

One thing that Anand has harped on with regards to Windows Phone is that it is often on a much older SoC than competitive Android phones. This delta in performance is difficult to turn a blind eye to, even for supporters of the platform. With the 930 and Icon counterpart, Nokia has launched a phone which was on the most current SoC at the time of launch in February, which is a big step forward for Windows Phone performance. With the recent release of the HTC One (M8) for Windows, the platform now has the same SoC as most other flagship Android devices. That is a much bigger deal than many realize. The performance of Windows Phone has always been good on low end hardware, at least as far as the actual OS and animations, but in-app performance could suffer. The Lumia 930 is a breath of fresh air to Windows Phone and this one change alone is quite startling when compared to older devices.

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  • ummduh - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    LOL, ok, I'm coming across mighty angry. I'm not, really. I'd LOVE to be able to use the cloud as it is intended. But I can't, in its current state.

    I'm just sick of people thinking there is no reason to have mSD cards. There are real, legitimate uses for them still. And as long as tiered, over priced network access exists, that isn't going to change.

    The fact that they're getting fewer and further between almost wreaks of some sort of conspiracy, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • Brett Howse - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    There is certainly a place for micro SD cards. I've said it before and I will say it again - Windows Phone supports micro SD better than any OS. But you have to remember this is the only Windows Phone in the entire Nokia lineup that doesn't have micro SD. Unfortunately if that is a requirement then this phone is not for you. If you absolutely need a 5" Windows Phone with top end specs and micro SD, check out the HTC One for Windows :)
  • prb123 - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    Time to get one of these: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=13...
  • Notmyusualid - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    Quote: "The cloud can go screw itself."

    I love this.
  • peterfares - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    LOL SD cards waste battery and you suggest to use streaming instead? HAHAHAHA
  • jimbo2779 - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    The cloud works for certain parts of the world and for people with a phone contract that has enough bandwidth. It is not right to assume that because you are in an area with good reception and a contract that allows lots of downloading that everyone or even a majority of people are because that just isn't the case.
  • pjcamp - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    So someone always has to point this out, but:

    1. The cloud is not always there. If you use T-Mobile, for instance, it can disappear just from going inside a building. What do you do then?

    2. If you don't want to use them, don't use them. But don't demand that they be absent for people who do use them. I don't use Bluetooth. But I just turn the damn thing off rather than demanding that mobile devices stop supporting it.

    3. SD cards can be, but don't have to be, slow. That's why they're useful for mass data storage. I use mine to segregate data from system and apps. When I experimented with Cyanogenmod a while back, I backed up my data by simply removing the card during the install process. Similarly, I installed Sygic navigation (because the cloud isn't always available) and the local maps would totally consume storage space on any of the 16 GB "flagship" phones that companies are putting out these days because, you know, the cloud.
  • pjcamp - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    Why do I have to drop something? Why can't I just pay an extra dollar? Would that really price them out of the market?
  • quasitraveler - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    I think this phone is great. Lack of an SD card is definitely not an issue, at least for me. One drive gives me plenty of storage for almost anything I need and 32GB is plenty of storage for anything else. (Reading these comments makes me realize that so many still don't appreciate the value of cloud storage) Additionally, I am not sure why anyone would ever want to watch movies or TV, like Arbie commented above, on a phone while traveling when tablets or Ultrabooks do a far better job. Just saying...
  • jimbo2779 - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    If you genuinely read ask of these comments you would already know all of the reasons that cloud storage is not a replacement for the majority of users, it is far slower, more costly and only available in limited areas for certain users. SD storage is cheap, faster, always there and just all round more convenient.

    Storage isn't just for huge music or HD film collections. Some of us have large app collections, lots of photos and videos (the cameras on these phones do get used a lot by some of is) and like to have things like maps saved on our devices amongst other things that use up tonnes of space and make a phone much more usable.

    Using the cloud is fine for those that never lose signal, have an unlimited bandwidth allowances and can put up with everything leading much slower then that is fine but for those of us that have no option for reliable and unlimited use of the cloud or prefer much faster local storage we would like for SD card storage to be an option.

    The caddy for the card takes up a very small amount of space and cost just pennies, it is an oversight to not include something so useful to the huge majority of users just because some people can use the cloud.

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