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

  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    Out of curiosity, what's slow about the 521? It's main limitation is RAM I think, but then that mostly just means it has to load a bit more when switching programs.

    Of the mobile OSes right now I like iOS best (though obviously I like real Windows far, far better), but I pad $950 for my iPhone and when it broke replaced it with a Lumia 635, and...honestly it's nearly as good, for my use at least. The podcast program actually syncs with iTunes too, and there's nothing on Android that does that for real. (I've seen things CLAIM to, but they don't actually.)
  • mockyboy - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    Once I upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1, it became noticeably slower. Apps crashing, phone freezing, getting the resuming message for 20 seconds or so. And I don't have that much loaded on it. Reply
  • testbug00 - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    oh, in that case, a 640 should be fine. The issue you're running into is most likely RAM. Reply
  • testbug00 - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    Unless you're set on Windows Phone, going with a Moto X 2013 ( is probably the best option.
    Or, if you want/need SD card, get the newest Moto G. Make sure one of the ones with SD card slot, if Moto is still segmenting that.

    From WindowsPhoneLand, there isn't anything that technically has a faster SoC that isn't $300+ iirc. At least, not now.

    If you don't mind buying used, I would check out, everything I've got off there has been great so far. hope it still is.
  • Harry_Wild - Thursday, June 18, 2015 - link

    I have an iPhone 6 and it is super fast and has tons of high quality apps too! I use currently the iPhone 6 and Lumia 735. Both are 4.7". I would recommend the iPhone 6 if you can afford it! But the Lumia 735 is pretty nice at the now low price of $200. I purchase it at $300. Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    It's weird how Metro makes the phones look bulky and crowded, the childish icy iOS rainbows are quite the opposite. Not that M$ should copy that, just the message.
    They also need to dump this kind of back shell. Nokia, iphone 5c, Xiaomi Redmi and many others turned this kind of shell into the definition of cheap and the way they implement it makes the phones bulkier too.
    As for this device ,too bad for the SoC , guess for a startup like Microsoft it's normal to not have the resources to make it's software run on A53.
  • StormyParis - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    that kind of back shell does make an additional case 'which 75% of smartphone users add) unnecessary. I think the Nokia should be compared to case-equipped iPhone et al, and then the bulk issue goes the other way. I'm not a Nokia customer, but I'd love to have a similar design on my Androids. Reply
  • Callum S - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    Completely agree here. It's always been a massive benefit. They're normally thinner than even the most expensive phones with a case, that makes them feel cheap and fat anyway, or much better value and safer than using an alternative phone without one.

    Additionally, as someone who has very rarely used phone cases, I have always found phones with easily replaceable cases beneficial for both appearance when I have dropped and damage them (no walking around with cracked phone cases or backs like so many people with iPhones) and for when I want to pass them down to other family members. After a fresh install and a new $15 back shell it's essentially like a new phone for those who aren't too concerned.
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    Not bad at all really especially for people that don't care or ever need something faster. Reply
  • GlobeGadget - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    My first smartphone was Nokia Lumia 800, it was a pretty great phone but it wasn't as great as the 3310 when it met the pavement... :( Reply

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