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Category: Touch-based devices

Diversity

Fall is beautiful in North Carolina. The temperature is dropping.  The leaves are changing color, making the hills scarlet and orange.  And, of course, the stores have been decorated for Christmas since Halloween.

As we head into the biggest shopping season of the year, it’s a great time to be getting XPRT results from the hottest devices. In the last few weeks, we’ve published results from

  • tablets such as the Apple iPad Air, Google Nexus 7 2, and both the Microsoft Surface 2 and Microsoft Surface Pro 2
  • phones such as the Apple iPhone 5c, Apple iPhone 5s, and LG G2
  • devices you might not have expected, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, Barnes and Noble Nook HD+, and NVIDIA Shield

The diversity of devices is nice to see. The results come from PT testing, the press, and benchmark users. Note that you don’t have to be a community member to submit results. The person who submitted the MobileXPRT Nook HD+ results was not a member. If you’ve tested something interesting, send the results on!

Eric

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The Microsoft Surface 2

As soon as the Microsoft Surface 2 became available, we got one and have been putting it through its paces. Of course, we ran WebXPRT and TouchXPRT. The results are on the TouchXPRT and WebXPRT sites, but I’ll repeat them here along with the results for its predecessor, the Microsoft Surface RT.

TouchXPRT WebXPRT
Surface RT

98

167

Surface 2

284

324

TouchXPRT shows the Surface 2 to be almost three times faster than the Microsoft Surface RT, while WebXPRT shows it to be almost twice as fast.

Why the difference? The most obvious explanation is that WebXPRT depends on the browser and its implementations of JavaScript and HTML5. TouchXPRT relies less on additional software and seems to take better advantage of the underlying hardware.

While we have yet to test the Intel Core i5-based Microsoft Surface Pro 2 ourselves, others have been doing so. Interestingly, Anandtech’s review of the Surface Pro 2 included WebXPRT results from both Chrome and IE. The Chrome result was over 30 percent higher than the IE result: 1,260 vs. 960. Unfortunately, Google has not made Chrome available for the ARM-based Surface 2, so we were not able to make that comparison.

As always, please let us know any results you get on any new hardware so we can get as many results as possible in our result databases. There are lots of new products coming out in the next few weeks and we’d love your help in getting results for as many of them as possible. Thanks!

Eric

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A happy coincidence

I love new gadgets and even the promise of new ones. Samsung just announced the specs for their upcoming Galaxy Tab 3. Initial reactions to the specs have been somewhat muted to say the least. Basically, they’ve looked at this as only an incremental improvement to the current model. The early rumors of a larger screen and bigger improvements, which turned out to be false, surely contributed to the disappointed reactions.

That being said, some sites claim that the performance of the Galaxy Tab 3 is much higher than the Galaxy Tab 2, particularly regarding graphics. We look forward to verifying these claims ourselves.

Coincidentally, this week we have been playing with an early version of PhoneXPRT (or whatever we end up calling it). So far, things are looking good. We ran it on several devices, including a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Like all the XPRT benchmarks, it uses real- world scenarios, which we think result in more useful and accurate results. We’ll talk more about the scenarios in the next few weeks.

It’s a very exciting time in the Android phone and tablet market. I can’t wait to try out subsequent versions of the new benchmark on the latest and greatest Android devices!

Bill

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Rapid Evolution

As Bill mentioned last week, we are considering changing the name of PhoneXPRT, not only because of the interest in using the benchmark scenarios on Android based tablets, but also because the line between phones and tablets has become blurred.

Devices that are too big to be a phone and too small to be a proper tablet are everywhere. PC Magazine says the first true “phablet” – possibly the ugliest portmanteau in the history of technology – was the AT&T EO 440 in 1993. However, it was more 8 years before Samsung had the first really successful phablet, the Galaxy Note. Now, less than 2 years later, there are rumors that Samsung may kill the Note in favor of the Samsung Galaxy Mega.

Obviously, this is one of the fastest evolving areas in tech. This rapid evolution has given us an almost bewildering array for devices, from small phones such as the Sony Xperia Mini, which a child can hold in one hand, to the ASUS Transformer AiO P1801, which has a whopping 18.4” screen! All this speed and diversity obviously pose challenges for the new benchmark, but it makes the work very exciting as well!

We have received comments about the name and we really appreciate those. If you have any thoughts, let us know. We hope to make a decision about whether to change the name soon.

Eric

P.S. I should note: The Transformer AiOP1801 also runs Windows 8, which means it’s a great candidate for TouchXPRT as well.

 

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TouchXPRT Web test update

On October 22, we released TouchXPRT CP1 to the community. We took the unprecedented step of releasing CP1 without any restrictions on publishing results, and since then reviews of the Microsoft Slate and the Sony Duo 11 Convertible Laptop have used TouchXPRT.

The five scenarios in CP1 focus on media manipulation. While this is an important activity on touch devices, we know this is not all people do.

Next week, we plan to release Web-based scenarios. They use HTML 5 for a variety of activities.  Unlike the original scenarios in TouchXPRT CP1, there will be nothing to download. You simply browse to a URL and run the tests online. There’s nothing to set up, just browse and run.

That means that there is nothing preventing you from running these tests on pretty much any system-browser combination that supports HTML5, not just on touch-based, Windows 8 devices like the rest of TouchXPRT. That started us wondering whether these Web-based activities should be thought of as a different benchmark entirely.  When these tests are available, please try them out and let us know what you think. Do you think they are worthwhile for a broader range of devices? Do you think their scenario-based emphasis is a good alternative to existing lower-level Web-based tests?

Please keep in mind that it’s not too late to give feedback on TouchXPRT CP1. Let us know how you like the scenarios on CP1 as well as what other activities you would like to see.

-Bill Catchings

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Lots of things happening!

If you’re interested in the interface formerly known as Metro (IFKaM), it’s an exciting time.  A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks.

Perhaps the most exciting news is that the first Windows 8 tablets using the Intel Atom (Clover Trail) processor have started hitting the shelves, with many more coming in the next few weeks.

Nor are things are boring in the Windows RT space.

  • The first Windows RT tablet with LTE capabilities will be available this week from AT&T. You’ll find the press release here.
  • Microsoft released new firmware for Windows RT devices.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that the firmware update improves performance.  This is something we will be investigating in the near future.
  • Microsoft added Windows RT to its Compatibility Center. You can go there to find a comprehensive list of devices that are compatible with Windows RT.  Because TouchXPRT’s scenarios focus on media creation and manipulation, we were particularly interested in cameras, media players, and TV devices.

With so much news, TouchXPRT needs some news of its own. When we released the community preview, we gave permission to publish results – the first time that’s happened for a benchmark that was not final. Now we are going to be creating an online database of results from the community preview. Look for it to go live next week.

With so many new devices and updated old ones, there’s a lot out there to test.  We hope that you’ll share the results of your testing, and submit them to the database. The more results we get, the more valuable the database will be.

One final note: Microsoft released its first security patches for Windows 8 on Tuesday. If you are running Windows 8, whether on a touch device or not, check them out.

Eric

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