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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  • Myrandex - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    You realize the high end Lumia 1520 has SD card slot support...as well as Glance support that was a major loss in the authors eyes right? Too bad it was never reviewed at AT. That LCD screen on it is really nice.
  • Luke4 - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    Just buy the upcoming 730 instead.
  • Chriz - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    Will the 930 support T-Mobile LTE? It wasn't really clear which provider Brett was using to test with.
  • Brett Howse - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    I was testing on TELUS, but as it was an international phone it did not support all of the LTE bands for North America. The specific LTE bands this phone is capable of are listed in the specs on page 1. T-Mobile appears to use band 4, which is not available in the 930.
  • krutou - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    The Lumia 930 (aka Lumia Icon in the US) is a Verizon exclusive. There will be no US GSM versions (ATT&TMobile), aside from international editions of the 930.
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    The 1520 supports TMo LTE though ;)
  • Boogaloo - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    About the wifi graph on page 7: If I'm reading this correctly you tested the 930 with a router that only supports up to 802.11n despite the fact that the phone supports ac, and then published a graph that includes phones that were tested with routers that DO support 802.11ac.

    Let me know if I understood correctly please.
  • Brett Howse - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    Yes, I only have access to a 802.11n router. I updated the graph to point out the connection speed was based on 802.11n. I hope to get a 80.211ac router soon but I have been waiting for the new wave of ac routers that are just starting to appear.
  • jenesuispasbavard - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    Still isn't clear that the other phones were tested with 802.11ac...
  • georgehan - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    I went to the Microsoft store last week, and every single Lumia Icon on display had a ridiculous amount of mura. Solid colors had a rough linen texture even at high brightness levels.

    Maybe Samsung's selling Nokia rejected Galaxy S4 panels?

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