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Category: Google Chrome

Following up on CrXPRT 2 battery life errors

A few weeks ago, we discussed error messages that a tester received when starting up CrXPRT 2 after a battery life test. CrXPRT 2 battery life tests require a full battery rundown, after which the tester plugs in the Chromebook, turns it on, opens the CrXPRT 2 app, and sees the test results. In the reported cases, the tester opened the app after a battery life test that seemed successful, but saw “N/A” or “test error” messages instead of the results they expected.

During discussions about the end-of-test system environment, we realized that some testers might be unclear about how to tell that the battery has fully run down. During the system idle portion of CrXPRT 2 battery life test iterations, the Chromebook screen turns black and a small cursor appears somewhere on the screen to let testers know the test is still in progress. We believe that some testers, seeing the black screen but not the cursor, believe the system has shut down. Restarting CrXPRT 2 before the battery life test is complete could explain some of the “N/A” or “test error” messages users have reported.

If you see a black screen without a cursor, you can check to see whether the test is complete by looking for the small system power indicator light on the side or top of most Chromebooks. These are usually red, orange, or green, but if a light of any color is lit, the test is still underway. When the light goes out, the test has ended. You can plug the system in and power it on to see results.

Note that some Chromebooks provide low-battery warnings onscreen. During CrXPRT 2 battery life runs, testers should ignore these.

We hope this clears up any confusion about how to know when a CrXPRT 2 battery life test has ended. If you’ve received repeated “N/A” or “test error” messages during your CrXPRT 2 testing and the information above does not help, please let us know!

Justin

Results details and unexpected behavior with the CrXPRT 2 battery life test

It’s been two weeks since the CrXPRT 2 public release, and we’re happy to see widespread interest in the test right out of the gate!

This week, we received a couple of questions about its battery life test from Melissa Riofrio at PCWorld. First, she asked for clarification about the relationship between the rundown time and the 30-minute increments that appear in the iteration details table for each battery life run. Second, she asked what could be causing her to get “N/A” and “test error” battery life results at the end of what appeared to be successful tests. Both topics may be of interest to other CrXPRT 2 testers, so we’ve decided to address them here in the blog and invite our readers to provide any relevant feedback.

Rundown time vs. elapsed time

When you’re viewing previous CrXPRT 2 test results and click the Details link for a specific battery life test run, a window displaying additional test information appears (the screenshot below shows an example). The window first provides performance details, then presents a table with several data points for each iteration.

The data point in the far-right column, elapsed time, can be slightly confusing. Each test iteration runs for 30 minutes, and this column provides a cumulative total of these 30-minute increments. In some instances, these totals accurately reflect the actual time elapsed from the time that testing begins. However, if the test system shuts down for some reason before running the entire iteration, this table will still show the entire 30 minutes allotted for the that iteration. In these cases, the cumulative elapsed time value in the far-right column will not match the rundown time that the test reports for the system’s battery life. For that reason, testers should always consider rundown time as the definitive value for battery life.

 “N/A” and “test error” battery life results after apparently successful tests

We’re actively investigating this issue at present. We’ve tested a wide range of Chromebooks, both old and new, on several versions of Chrome OS, including the latest versions, and have been unable to reproduce the problem. Have you witnessed this behavior at the end of a CrXPRT 2 battery life test? If so, we’d love to get more information from you about the system under test and your testing procedures, so please contact us.

We’re grateful to Melissa for raising these questions, and we appreciate everyone’s feedback on CrXPRT 2. Hopefully, we’ll soon be able to determine the cause of the  “N/A” and “test error” results and find a solution. We’ll be sure to share that information here in the blog once we do.

Justin

CrXPRT 2 is here!

We’re excited to announce that CrXPRT 2 is now available to the public! Testers can install the app on Chromebooks by using this link to the Chrome Web Store listing, or by clicking the Chrome Web Store button on CrXPRT.com.

For those who may have missed our previous discussions about what’s new with CrXPRT 2, here is a recap of the key differences between CrXPRT 2015 and CrXPRT 2:

  • CrXPRT 2 has an all-new UI, with a focus on intuitive navigation.
  • The CrXPRT 2 performance test includes six of the seven workloads in CrXPRT 2015. Newer versions of Chrome can’t run the Photo Collage workload without a workaround, so we removed it from CrXPRT 2.
  • We updated the image resolutions and sizes for the Photo Effects and Face Detection workloads.
  • The battery life test now requires a full rundown, so the length of battery life tests will vary according to the battery life of the systems under test.
  • CrXPRT 2 no longer requires testers to enter luminance and audio measurements for battery life tests.
  • We added a second video playback segment to each battery life iteration.


As we’ve noted before, CrXPRT 2 overall performance test scores and battery life measurements are not comparable to CrXPRT 2015 scores. For testers that need to access CrXPRT 2015 for legacy comparison testing, we will continue to make CrXPRT 2015 available via a link on CrXPRT.com.

We appreciate everyone’s input during the CrXPRT 2 development process. If you have any further questions about CrXPRT 2, please let us know!

Justin

The CrXPRT 2 Community Preview is available!

We’re excited to announce that the CrXPRT 2 Community Preview (CP) is now available! BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members can access the preview using a direct link posted on the CrXPRT tab in the XPRT Members’ Area (login required), where they will also find the CrXPRT 2 CP user manual.

You can find more information about the key differences between CrXPRT 2015 and CrXPRT 2 in last week’s blog entry. During the preview period, we allow testers to publish CP test scores, but CrXPRT 2 overall performance test scores and battery life measurements are not comparable to CrXPRT 2015 scores.

If you have any questions about CrXPRT 2 or joining the community, please let us know!

Justin

The CrXPRT 2 Community Preview is almost here!

We appreciate everyone’s patience and feedback during the CrXPRT 2 development process. We’re excited to say that we’re now wrapping up some final details and expect to release the Community Preview (CP) within the next week.

Here is a summary of the key differences between CrXPRT 2015 and CrXPRT 2:

  • As we mentioned a few weeks ago, CrXPRT 2 has a completely new UI in line with the functional and aesthetic themes we used for the latest versions of WebXPRT, MobileXPRT, and HDXPRT, with a focus on intuitive navigation.
  • The CrXPRT 2 performance test includes six of the seven workloads in CrXPRT 2015. Newer versions of Chrome can’t run the Photo Collage workload without a workaround, so we removed it from CrXPRT 2.
  • We updated the images in the Photo Effects and Face Detection workloads to reflect more contemporary file resolutions and sizes.
  • The CrXPRT 2 battery life test requires a full rundown, so you’ll need charge your device to 100 percent before you can start the test, and the length of battery life tests will vary according to the battery life of the systems under test.
  • We no longer require testers to enter luminance and audio measurements in order to run a battery life test.
  • We added a second video playback segment to each battery life iteration.


We allow testers to publish CP test scores, but CrXPRT 2 overall performance test scores and battery life measurements are not comparable to CrXPRT 2015 scores.

Only BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members will be able to download the CrXPRT 2 CP. Because the Chrome team stopped providing search and browse functions for hosted and packaged Chrome apps in the Chrome Web Store, members will need a direct link to access the app. Once the app is available, we’ll post that link, along with the CrXPRT 2 CP user manual, on the CrXPRT tab in the XPRT Members’ Area (login required). We’ll also send a message to the community and post a notice here in the blog.

If you have any questions about CrXPRT 2 or joining the community, please let us know!

Justin

Using WebXPRT 3 to compare the performance of popular browsers

Microsoft recently released a new Chromium-based version of the Edge browser, and several tech press outlets have released reviews and results from head-to-head browser performance comparison tests. Because WebXPRT is a go-to benchmark for evaluating browser performance, PCMag, PCWorld, and VentureBeat, among others, used WebXPRT 3 scores as part of the evaluation criteria for their reviews.

We thought we would try a quick experiment of our own, so we grabbed a recent laptop from our Spotlight testbed: a Dell XPS 13 7930 running Windows 10 Home 1909 (18363.628) with an Intel Core i3-10110U processor and 4 GB of RAM. We tested on a clean system image after installing all current Windows updates, and after the update process completed, we turned off updates to prevent them from interfering with test runs. We ran WebXPRT 3 three times on six browsers: a new browser called Brave, Google Chrome, the legacy version of Microsoft Edge, the new version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. The posted score for each browser is the median of the three test runs.

As you can see in the chart below, five of the browsers (legacy Edge, Brave, Opera, Chrome, and new Edge) produced scores that were nearly identical. Mozilla Firefox was the only browser that produced a significantly different score. The parity among Brave, Chrome, Opera, and the new Edge is not that surprising, considering they are all Chromium-based browsers. The rank order and relative scaling of these results is similar to the results published by the tech outlets mentioned above.

Do these results mean that Mozilla Firefox will provide you with a speedier web experience? Generally, a device with a higher WebXPRT score is probably going to feel faster to you during daily use than one with a lower score. For comparisons on the same system, however, the answer depends in part on the types of things you do on the web, how the extensions you’ve installed affect performance, how frequently the browsers issue updates and incorporate new web technologies, and how accurately the browsers’ default installation settings reflect how you would set up the same browsers for your daily workflow.

In addition, browser speed can increase or decrease significantly after an update, only to swing back in the other direction shortly thereafter. OS-specific optimizations can also affect performance, such as with Edge on Windows 10 and Chrome on Chrome OS. All of these variables are important to keep in mind when considering how browser performance comparison results translate to your everyday experience. In such a competitive market, and with so many variables to consider, we’re happy that WebXPRT can help consumers by providing reliable, objective results.

What are your thoughts on today’s competitive browser market? We’d love to hear from you.

Justin

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