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Category: PCs

The XPRT Spotlight Black Friday Showcase helps you shop with confidence

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here, and you may be feeling overwhelmed by the sea of tech gifts to choose from. The XPRTs are here to help. We’ve gathered the product specs and performance facts for some of the hottest tech devices in one convenient place—the XPRT Spotlight Black Friday Showcase. The Showcase is a free shopping tool that provides side-by-side comparisons of some of the season’s most popular smartphones, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, and PCs. It helps you make informed buying decisions so you can shop with confidence this holiday season.

Want to know how the Google Pixel 3 stacks up against the Apple iPhone XS or Samsung Galaxy Note9 in web browsing performance or screen size? Simply select any two devices in the Showcase and click Compare. You can also search by device type if you’re interested in a specific form factor such as consoles or tablets.

The Showcase doesn’t go away after Black Friday. We’ll rename it the XPRT Holiday Buying Showcase and continue to add devices throughout the shopping season. So be sure to check back in and see how your tech gifts measure up.

If this is the first you’ve heard about the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight, here’s a little background. Our hands-on testing process equips consumers with accurate information about how devices function in the real world. We test devices using our industry-standard BenchmarkXPRT tools: WebXPRT, MobileXPRT, TouchXPRT, CrXPRT, BatteryXPRT, and HDXPRT. In addition to benchmark results, we include photographs, specs, and prices for all products. New devices come online weekly, and you can browse the full list of almost 150 that we’ve featured to date on the Spotlight page.

If you represent a device vendor and want us to feature your product in the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight, please visit the website for more details.

Do you have suggestions for the Spotlight page or device recommendations? Let us know!

Justin

Sneak a peek at HDXPRT 4

A few months ago, we shared some details  about HDXPRT 4 development progress. Now that we’re closer to releasing a community preview build, we wanted to offer a sneak peek at the new benchmark. We may still tweak a few things during pre-release testing, but we’re close to the final look.

Below, you can see the benchmark’s new start page. After installation and completing a few brief pre-test configuration steps, running HDXPRT 4 is as easy as entering a test name and clicking the start button.

HDXPRT 4 start page

During the test, you’ll see HDXPRT’s real-world trial applications such as Adobe Photoshop Elements and CyberLink Media Espresso open and close during each iteration, though you won’t see workload graphics within the HDXPRT UI harness. When the test finishes, the results screen pops up. As you can see below, the results screen displays the overall and individual workload category scores in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner. Below the workload scores, a button provides access to additional test and system information.

HDXPRT 4 results page

We’re not yet ready to share a date for the community preview, but we’ll provide more information in the coming weeks. As always, XPRT community previews are only available to BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members. If you’re interested in testing the HDXPRT 4 Community Preview, we invite you to join the community now. If you have any questions or comments about HDXPRT or the community, please contact us.

Justin

Find the perfect tech gift with the XPRT Spotlight Black Friday Showcase

With the biggest shopping day of the year fast approaching, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the sea of tech gifts to choose from. Luckily, the XPRTs are here to help. We’ve gathered the product specs and performance facts for the hottest tech devices in one convenient place—the XPRT Spotlight Black Friday Showcase. This free shopping tool provides side-by-side comparisons of some of the season’s most coveted smartphones, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, and PCs. Most importantly, it helps you make informed buying decisions so you can breeze through this season’s holiday shopping.

Want to know how the Google Pixel 2 compares to the Apple iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in web browsing performance or screen size? Simply select any two devices and click the compare button to see how they stack up against each other. You can also search by device type if you’re interested in a specific form factor such as consoles or tablets.

The Showcase doesn’t go away after Black Friday. We’ll rename it the XPRT Holiday Buying Guide and continue to add devices throughout the shopping season. So be sure to check back in and see how your tech gifts measure up.

If this is your first time reading about the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight, here’s a little background. Our hands-on testing process equips consumers with accurate information about how devices function in the real world. We test devices using our industry-standard BenchmarkXPRT tools: WebXPRT, MobileXPRT, TouchXPRT, CrXPRT, BatteryXPRT, and HDXPRT. In addition to benchmark results, we include photographs, specs, and prices for all products. New devices come online weekly, and you can browse the full list of almost 100 that we’ve featured to date on the Spotlight page.

If you represent a device vendor and want us to feature your product in the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight, please visit the website for more details.

Do you have suggestions for the Spotlight page or device recommendations? Let us know!

Justin

Celebrating one year of the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight

It’s been just over a year since we launched the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight by featuring our first device, the Google Pixel C. Spotlight has since become one of the most popular items at BenchmarkXPRT.com, and we thought now would be a good time to recap the past year, offer more insight into the choices we make behind the scenes, and look at what’s ahead for Spotlight.

The goal of Spotlight is to provide PT-verified specs and test results that can help consumers make smart buying decisions. We try to include a wide variety of device types, vendors, software platforms, and price points in our inventory. The devices also tend to fall into one of two main groups: popular new devices generating a lot of interest and devices that have unique form factors or unusual features.

To date, we’ve featured 56 devices: 16 phones, 11 laptops, 10 two-in-ones, 9 tablets, 4 consoles, 3 all-in-ones, and 3 small-form-factor PCs. The operating systems these devices run include Android, ChromeOS, iOS, macOS, OS X, Windows, and an array of vendor-specific OS variants and skins.

As much as possible, we test using out-of-the-box (OOB) configurations. We want to present test results that reflect what everyday users will experience on day one. Depending on the vendor, the OOB approach can mean that some devices arrive bogged down with bloatware while others are relatively clean. We don’t attempt to “fix” anything in those situations; we simply test each device “as is” when it arrives.

If devices arrive with outdated OS versions (as is often the case with Chromebooks), we update to current versions before testing, because that’s the best reflection of what everyday users will experience. In the past, that approach would’ve been more complicated with Windows systems, but the Microsoft shift to “Windows as a service” ensures that most users receive significant OS updates automatically by default.

The OOB approach also means that the WebXPRT scores we publish reflect the performance of each device’s default browser, even if it’s possible to install a faster browser. Our goal isn’t to perform a browser shootout on each device, but to give an accurate snapshot of OOB performance. For instance, last week’s Alienware Steam Machine entry included two WebXPRT scores, a 356 on the SteamOS browser app and a 441 on Iceweasel 38.8.0 (a Firefox variant used in the device’s Linux-based desktop mode). That’s a significant difference, but the main question for us was which browser was more likely to be used in an OOB scenario. With the Steam Machine, the answer was truly “either one.” Many users will use the browser app in the SteamOS environment and many will take the few steps needed to access the desktop environment. In that case, even though one browser was significantly faster than the other, choosing to omit one score in favor of the other would have excluded results from an equally likely OOB environment.

We’re always looking for ways to improve Spotlight. We recently began including more photos for each device, including ones that highlight important form-factor elements and unusual features. Moving forward, we plan to expand Spotlight’s offerings to include automatic score comparisons, additional system information, and improved graphical elements. Most importantly, we’d like to hear your thoughts about Spotlight. What devices and device types would you like to see? Are there specs that would be helpful to you? What can we do to improve Spotlight? Let us know!

Justin

TouchXPRT’s future

If you’ve been following the blog, you know that we’ve been reviewing each part of the XPRT portfolio. If you missed our discussions of HDXPRT, BatteryXPRT, WebXPRT, and CrXPRT, we encourage you to check them out and send us any thoughts you may have. This week, we continue that series by discussing the state of TouchXPRT and what we see down the road for it in 2017.

We released TouchXPRT 2016, an app for evaluating the performance of Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile devices, last February. We built the app by porting TouchXPRT 2014 performance workloads to the new Universal Windows App format, which allows a single app package to run on PCs, phones, tablets, and even consoles.

TouchXPRT 2016 installation is quick and easy, and the test completes in under 15 minutes on most devices. The app runs tests based on five everyday tasks (Beautify Photos, Blend Photos, Convert Videos for Sharing, Create Music Podcast, and Create Slideshow from Photos). It measures how long your device takes to complete each task, produces results for each scenario, and gives you an overall score.

As we think about the path forward for TouchXPRT, we’re aware that many expect 2017 to be a year of significant change in the Windows world, with two updates scheduled for release. Microsoft is slated to release the Windows 10 Creators Update (Build 1704) in April, and a subsequent version of Windows codenamed Redstone 3 may arrive this fall. Many tech observers believe that the Creators Update will introduce new creativity and gaming features, along with a UI upgrade named Project NEON. Major foundational shifts in the OS’s structure are more likely to appear with Redstone 3. At this point, quite a lot is still up in the air, but we’ll be following developments closely.

As we learn more about upcoming changes, we’ll have the opportunity to reevaluate TouchXPRT workloads and determine the best way to incorporate new technologies. Virtual reality, 3D, and 4K are especially exciting, but it’s too soon to know how we might incorporate them in a future version of TouchXPRT.

Because TouchXPRT 2016 continues to run well on a wide range of Windows 10 devices, we think it’s best to keep supporting the current version until we get a better idea of what’s in store for Windows.

If you have any thoughts on the future of Windows performance testing, please let us know!

Bill

They’re coming!

We’ve been hearing for a while about Google’s plan to bring Android apps to Chrome.  They recently published a video on the Google Developers channel that gives us some idea of what running Android apps on a Chromebook would look like.

Because I’m very interested in performance, the claim “Android apps can run full speed, with no overhead and no performance penalties” got my attention. You can bet we’ll be using the XPRTs to check that out! We’re using a Google developer tool called ARC Welder to do some experiments. However, it’s not fair or valid to print performance results based on a developer tool, so we’ll have to wait until the official release to see what the performance is really like.

Obviously, the use cases for Chrome will be changing. The demos in the video are for workloads we associate with PCs. MobileXPRT-type workloads might be more appropriate, or, assuming the scripting tools are available, perhaps HDXPRT-type workloads. We’ll be watching these developments closely to see how they will affect our future cross-platform benchmark.

Eric

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