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


View All Comments

  • BabelHuber - Friday, June 12, 2015 - link

    It depends on the software you use - nobody forces you to use the software the phone shipped with. For teh SGS4, I prefer AOSP-based ROMs or GPE-versions. Reply
  • Margalus - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    oh, and I am not ms propaganda. The phone wasn't bloated. Brand new out of the store with no apps it wouldn't last more than a day. The person at the store even told me that I would have to charge it every day. I also bought a replacement battery to use since it died so fast, that replacement battery works exactly the same as the stock battery. Barely 24 hours. Reply
  • BabelHuber - Friday, June 12, 2015 - link

    You claimed your WP-phone lasts 5-8 times longer than your Android phone, didn't you? Perhaps this was slightly exagerated?

    But be it as it may, when I have battery problems I actually tend to install a tool to analyze things. Then I can deinstall or freeze the app which causes the problem or block its wakelocks. Problem solved.

    Some other people may prefer to whine because of their low battery runtime instead, to each its own.
  • leexgx - Friday, June 12, 2015 - link

    most avg for battery life is a Nearly a working day for most smartphones (8-12 hours)

    (if you turn off mobile data 3 days is easy maybe even 5 if you can get your phone to use 2G only) and Most people do not AOSP ROM there phone
  • we - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    Two things I cannot confirm (using a fully updated HTC 8X). 1. Action center always flows smoothly. Never had any stuttering or freezing. 2. Generally Scrolling speed is proportional to swipe speed. I can scroll from top to bottom of the "Windows Phone" page of this review within 5 seconds if I swipe quickly, or 15 seconds if I swipe slowly. Top scrolling speed could be faster though. Reply
  • Zizy - Thursday, June 11, 2015 - link

    Currently using lowly HTC 8s which was the worst WP8 phone till 435, no issues with action center - no delay or freeze. It has somewhat strange/unexpected opening, because it can be fully opened or just enough to play with those 4 buttons and or go in settings. I never had enough unattended notifications to be able to test scrolling there.

    Camera - This isn't a proper camera with viewfinder or at least tiltable display. Ever tried underexposing something under bright sun? You wouldn't be able to see anything on the screen. But it would be good to have some notification to tell how many stops below the preview the image is going to end. If you are serious enough about manual stuff this should be enough to know how will the image turn out :)

    As for idle battery drain - try activating battery saver and see the power draw then, plus check which apps drain the battery. If it is the same, probably screen, something failed to close / is intentionally running in the background or some other hardware/software bug. Shouldn't happen but does. Manually closing apps usually resolves the problem.
    If battery saver does help, play with sync settings for mail and similar. For me, syncing mails as they arrive instead of manually every now and then drops battery life from 3-4 days to 1-2 (light use - no demanding games). If you get tons of mail it will be even worse.
  • Harry_Wild - Monday, June 15, 2015 - link

    I just purchased an international version of the 735 and I love it for $300. It is unlocked. I purchased a cyan battery cover too. It feels like a iPhone 6 with a case on it! Same thinnest! The 400 is slow in some operations; but overall it pretty good overall. I switch to the iPhone 6 and back from day to day since they use the same nano SIMs card inside. My iPhone cost $900 so performance is quite a bit faster on everything. But still I like the change of environments. The WP does not have all the apps that I use so most case I pin the webpage and create an icon tile as a substitute. It works for a lot of Apple apps except for Apple Pay and Starbuck's Pay. Reply
  • SirPerro - Monday, June 15, 2015 - link

    I'm just amazed at how people can deny the reality in front of them.

    This phone has a better camera/screen than a Moto E and it is MUCH worse in every other regard. The app selection and quality of the apps is orders of magnitude worse. The web browsing experience is laughable. The overal OS experience and fluidity is worse, no matter how much iOS/WP fanboys keep repeting stupidities about android performance.

    The only reason Windows Phone is alive is because Microsoft has a HUGE pile of cash they can burn if they want to stay in the game, and I seriously pity everybody who puts they hard earned money in such a shitty and undeveloped ecosystem.

    Even with the screen and camera, I find no single person in the planet to which I'd reccomend this phone over a Moto E. And while I'm probably much less polite, the bottom line of the review is Brandon & Anandtech agree with that.
  • Zizy - Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - link

    Quick check whether you need Android/iOS ecosystem:
    Need an app not on WP? Don't get WP.
    Really want anything social (games or apps)? Don't get WP.
    Completely tied to Google/Apple? Don't get WP. Note that plenty think they are tied to google but only really need their search, mail and youtube and could easily ditch the rest.

    Not found yourself up there? You will bitch about WP... but you will bitch about Android and iOS as well :)


    Want better hardware? Go with Lumia. Software? Moto E.
    Would I buy Lumia 640 though? Heck no. I have a WP dev phone already, don't need another. As a primary phone, this one still has too poor camera for my wishes. Lumia 830 is much more tempting, but costs quite a bit more.
  • BaronMatrix - Monday, June 15, 2015 - link

    MS is so pissing me off... First they destroy how I use my desktop, now since they bought Nokia NOT ONE NEW PHONE HAS COME OUT...

    You can't get the 640 anywhere... T-Mobile has it coming soon for MONTHS... And no 640XL even mentioned... Even the MS Store doesn't mention the 640...

    I'm through with Windows Phone... I'll keep one for DEV, but I'm getting an Android phone... I'd rather be able to get all the cool apps that don't come on Windows Phone...

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