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Category: XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight

The 2019 XPRT Spotlight Back-to-School Roundup

With the new school year approaching, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve just published our fourth annual XPRT Spotlight Back-to-School Roundup! The Roundup allows shoppers to view side-by-side comparisons of XPRT test scores and hardware specs from some of this year’s most popular Chromebooks, laptops, tablets, and convertibles. After testing the devices in our lab using XPRT benchmarks, we’ve provided performance scores as well as photo galleries, PT-verified device specs, and prices. Parents, teachers, students, and administrators who are considering buying devices to use in their education environments have many options. The Roundup helps make their decisions easier by gathering product and performance facts in one convenient place.

The Back-to-School Roundup is just one of the features we offer through the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight. Every week, the Spotlight highlights a new device, making it easier for consumers to select a new laptop, phone, tablet, or PC. Recent devices in the Spotlight include the Dell G7 15 Gaming laptop, the HP Stream 14, the ASUS Chromebook Flip, the OnePlus 7 Pro phone, and the 2019 Apple iPad Mini. The Spotlight device comparison page lets you view side-by-side comparisons of all of the devices we’ve tested.

If you’re interested in having your devices featured in the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight or in this year’s Black Friday and Holiday Showcases, which we publish in late November, visit the website for more details.

If you have any ideas for the Spotlight page or suggestions for devices you’d like to see, let us know!

Justin

Transparent goals

Recently, Forbes published an article discussing a new report on phone battery life from Which?, a UK consumer advocacy group. In the report, Which? states that they tested the talk time battery life of 50 phones from five brands. During the tests, phones from three of the brands lasted longer than the manufacturers’ claims, while phones from another brand underperformed by about five percent. The fifth brand’s published battery life numbers were 18 to 51 percent higher than Which? recorded in their tests.

Folks can read the article for more details about the tests and the brands. While the report raises some interesting questions, and the article provides readers with brief test methodology descriptions from Which? and one manufacturer, we don’t know enough about the tests to say which set of claims is correct. Any number of variables related to test workloads or device configuration settings could significantly affect the results. Both parties may be using sound benchmarking principles in good faith, but their test methodologies may not be comparable. As it is, we simply don’t have enough information to evaluate the study.

Whether the issue is battery life or any other important device spec, information conflicts, such as the one that the Forbes article highlights, can leave consumers scratching their heads, trying to decide which sources are worth listening to. At the XPRTs, we believe that the best remedy for this type of problem is to provide complete transparency into our testing methodologies and development process. That’s why our lab techs verify all the hardware specs for each XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight entry. It’s why we publish white papers explaining the structure of our benchmarks in detail, as well as how the XPRTs calculate performance results. It’s also why we employ an open development community model and make each XPRT’s source code available to community members. When we’re open about how we do things, it encourages the kind of honest dialogue between vendors, journalists, consumers, and community members that serves everyone’s best interests.

If you love tech and share that same commitment to transparency, we’d love for you to join our community, where you can access XPRT source code and previews of upcoming benchmarks. Membership is free for anyone with a verifiable corporate affiliation. If you have any questions about membership or the registration process, please feel free to ask.

Justin

Three years of the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight

February marked the three-year anniversary of the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight, and we now have over 150 devices in our Spotlight library! We started the Spotlight to provide consumers with objective information on device hardware and performance, and to provide vendors with a trusted third-party showcase for their gear. Each week, we measure and verify the Spotlight device’s specs ourselves, never relying on vendor-published data. We also test each device with every applicable XPRT benchmark, and publish the data that lets consumers know how a device measures up to its competitors.

Over the past three years, we’ve featured a wide array of devices:

  • 49 phones
  • 28 laptops
  • 26 tablets
  • 24 2-in-1 devices
  • 12 small-form-factor PCs
  • 7 desktops
  • 6 game consoles
  • 6 all-in-ones

 

In addition to a wide variety of device types, we try to include a wide range of vendors. We’ve featured devices from ACEPC, Acer, Alcatel, Alienware, Amazon, Apple, ASUS, Barnes and Noble, BlackBerry, BLU, CHUWI, Dell, Essential, Fujitsu, Fusion5, Google, Honor, HP, HTC, Huawei, Intel, LeEco, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft, MINIX, Motorola, Nokia, NVIDIA, OnePlus, Razer, Samsung, Sony, Syber, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

XPRT Spotlight is a great way for device vendors and manufacturers to share PT-verified specs and test results with buyers around the world. We test many of the devices that appear each year and will test—at no charge—any device a manufacturer or vendor sends us. If you’d like us to test your device, please contact us at XPRTSpotlight@PrincipledTechnologies.com.

There’s a lot more to come for the XPRT Spotlight, and we’re constantly working on new features and improvements for the page. Are there any specific devices or features that you would like to see in the Spotlight? Let us know.

Justin

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

The 2018 XPRT Spotlight Back-to-School Roundup

With the new school year approaching, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve just published our third annual XPRT Spotlight Back-to-School Roundup! The Roundup allows shoppers to view side-by-side comparisons of XPRT test scores and hardware specs from some of this school year’s most popular Chromebooks, laptops, tablets, and convertibles. We tested the devices in our lab using the XPRT benchmarks and provide not only performance scores, but also photo galleries, PT-verified device specs, and prices. Parents, teachers, students, and administrators who are considering purchases for use in their education environments have many options, and the Roundup can help make their decisions easier by gathering product and performance facts in one convenient place. We’ll continue to add devices to the Roundup, including the new Microsoft Surface Go, as they arrive over the next few weeks.

The Back-to-School Roundup is just one of the features we offer through the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight. Every week, the Spotlight highlights a new device, making it easier for consumers to select a new laptop, phone, tablet, or PC. Recent devices in the Spotlight include the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, the 2018 Samsung Chromebook Plus, the Intel Hades Canyon NUC mini PC, and the OnePlus 6 phone. The Spotlight device comparison page lets you view side-by-side comparisons of all of the devices we’ve tested.

If you’re interested in having your devices featured in the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight or in this year’s Black Friday and Holiday Showcases, which we publish in late November, visit the website for more details.

If you have any ideas for the Spotlight page or suggestions for devices you’d like to see, let us know!

Justin

More on the way for the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight

In the coming months, we’ll continue to add more devices and helpful features to the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight. We’re especially interested in adding data points and visual aids that make it easier to quickly understand the context of each device’s test scores. For instance, those of us who are familiar with WebXPRT 3 scores know that an overall score of 250 is pretty high, but site visitors who are unfamiliar with WebXPRT probably won’t know how that score compares to scores for other devices.

We designed Spotlight to be a source of objective data, in contrast to sites that provide subjective ratings for devices. As we pursue our goal of helping users make sense of scores, we want to maintain this objectivity and avoid presenting information in ways that could be misleading.

Introducing comparison aids to the site is forcing us to make some tricky decisions. Because we value input from XPRT community members, we’d love to hear your thoughts on one of the questions we’re facing: How should our default view present a device’s score?

We see three options:

1) Present the device’s score in relation to the overall high and low scores for that benchmark across all devices.
2) Present the device’s score in relation to the overall high and low scores for that benchmark across the broad category of devices to which that device belongs (e.g., phones).
3) Present the device’s score in relation to the overall high and low scores for that benchmark across a narrower sub-category of devices to which that device belongs (e.g., high-end flagship phones).

To think this through, consider WebXPRT, which runs on desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, and other devices. Typically, the WebXPRT scores for phones and tablets are lower than scores for desktop and laptop systems. The first approach helps to show just how fast high-end desktops and laptops handle the WebXPRT workloads, but it could make a phone or tablet look slow, even if its score was good for its category. The second approach would prevent unfair default comparisons between different device types but would still present comparisons between devices that are not true competitors (e.g., flagship phones vs. budget phones). The third approach is the most careful, but would introduce an element of subjectivity because determining the sub-category in which a device belongs is not always clear cut.

Do you have thoughts on this subject, or recommendations for Spotlight in general? If so, Let us know.

Justin

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