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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  • Reflex - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Actually it has to do with panel availability. I believe only LG makes panels with display memory, it is a proprietary technology. Unfortunately LG does not have a 5" 1080p panel available at this time.
  • Brett Howse - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    In the interview with wpcentral.com that I linked to in the article, they specifically called out cost as the issue - which likely has to do with supply as well. If they have to get a custom panel made, it's going to cost more. Still, it's a big sore spot with this device and on something that is supposed to be a flagship, it needs to have it.
  • jjj - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    It might be still early but you guys need to add some CPU benchmarks at some point. The focus on browsing and GPU doesn't seem enough.
    I also think it would be good to test... lets call it "touch latency" (or hand to eye or input lag or w/e seems right).
    Took a long time to add storage tests and battery life in gaming (missing here) , hope it won't take that long for more (needed) benchmarks to be added.
    The focus mostly on pics and very little on video doesn't seem ideal either, wish there was a bit more about video.
    Almost forgot , at least in some cases looking at temps would be useful too, the race for more and more perf is pushing things too far sometimes..
  • wolrah - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    Am I missing something, or does this:

    "With the 930, Nokia has launched a phone which was on the most current SoC at the time of launch"

    not fit with this:


    Wouldn't the Snapdragon 801 at least be required to call it a current SoC, even a few months ago when this apparently launched? The One M8 had the 801 on Android three months before the 930's release and beat this review to bring it to the Windows Phone platform. This thing runs the same processor as the nearly year old Note 3, far from what I'd call current in the fast moving phone market.

    There are already a few Snapdragon 805 devices available in Korea and the Note 4 is soon bringing it to the masses, which'll make the 800 two generations old.

    Windows Phone really needs a proper flagship, but so far they've only had what feel like warmed over revisions of Androids from 6-12 months ago.
  • Brett Howse - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    Hi Wolrah.

    Thanks for the feedback. I've updated the wording of that to include the identical Lumia Icon, which I referenced in the first page. When the Icon shipped in February, Snapdragon 800 was the top. Yes it was not the top for long, but it was at least at the top.
  • Yofa - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    the only thing worse than a windows phone is a riders fan.

  • Brett Howse - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    boo back :)
  • Drumsticks - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    Wow, excellent review! It's nice to finally see a full featured review of a flagship Windows Phone device on Anandtech. Hopefully if Microsoft comes through with rumors of planning more Lumia 1020-esque cameras, we can get one of those on Anandtech as well!
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    It was even a semi-review of the 1020! If we see a true successor to the 1020 that decreases the camera load times, I'll buy it. The 1020 is pure camera joy otherwise.
  • gg555 - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    Yeah, it's amazing how far ahead of it's time the 1020 (and 808) remain. It's such an under appreciated phone.

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