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Tag Archives: phones

Updates on HDXPRT 4 and MobileXPRT 3

There’s a lot going on with the XPRTs, so we want to offer a quick update.

On the HDXPRT 4 front, we’re currently testing community preview candidate builds across a variety of laptops and desktops. Testing is going well, but as is often the case prior to a release, we’re still tweaking the code as necessary when we run into bugs. We’re excited about HDXPRT 4 and look forward to the community seeing how much faster and easier to use it is than previous versions. You can read more about what’s to come in HDXPRT 4 here.

On the MobileXPRT 3 front, proof-of-concept testing for the new and updated workloads went well, and we’re now working to implement the new UI. Below, you can see a mockup of the new MobileXPRT 3 start screen for phones. The aesthetic is completely different than MobileXPRT 2015, and is in line with the clean, bright look we used for WebXPRT 3 and HDXPRT 4. We’ve made it easy to select and deselect individual workloads by tapping the workload name (deselected workloads are grayed out), and we’ve consolidated common menu items into an Android-style taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Please note that this is an early view and some aspects of the screen will change. For instance, we’re certain that the final receipt-scanning workload won’t be called “Optical character recognition.”

We’ll share more information about HDXPRT 4 and MobileXPRT 3 in the coming weeks. If you have any questions about HDXPRT or MobileXPRT, or would like to share your ideas, please get in touch!

Justin

MobileXPRT-3-main-phone

Notes from the lab: choosing a calibration system for MobileXPRT 3

Last week, we shared some details about what to expect in MobileXPRT 3. This week, we want to provide some insight into one part of the MobileXPRT development process, choosing a calibration system.

First, some background. For each of the benchmarks in the XPRT family, we select a calibration system using criteria we’ll explain below. This system serves as a reference point, and we use it to calculate scores that will help users understand a single benchmark result. The calibration system for MobileXPRT 2015 is the Motorola DROID RAZR M. We structured our calculation process so that the mean performance score from repeated MobileXPRT 2015 runs on that device is 100. A device that completes the same workloads 20 percent faster than the DROID RAZR M would have a performance score of 120, and one that performs the test 20 percent more slowly would have a score of 80. (You can find a more in-depth explanation of MobileXPRT score calculations in the Exploring MobileXPRT 2015 white paper.)

When selecting a calibration device, we are looking for a relevant reference point in today’s market. The device should be neither too slow to handle modern workloads nor so fast that it outscores most devices on the market. It should represent a level of performance that is close to what the majority of consumers experience, and one that will continue to be relevant for some time. This approach helps to build context for the meaning of the benchmark’s overall score. Without that context, testers can’t tell whether a score is fast or slow just by looking at the raw number. When compared to a well-known standard such as the calibration device, however, the score has more informative value.

To determine a suitable calibration device for MobileXPRT 3, we started by researching the most popular Android phones by market share around the world. It soon became clear that in many major markets, the Samsung Galaxy S8 ranked first or second, or at least appeared in the top five. As last year’s first Samsung flagship, the S8 is no longer on the cutting edge, but it has specs that many current mid-range phones are deploying, and the hardware should remain relevant for a couple of years.

For all of these reasons, we made the Samsung Galaxy S8 the calibration device for MobileXPRT 3. The model in our lab has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4 GB of RAM, and runs Android 7.0 (Nougat). We think it has the balance we’re looking for.

If you have any questions or concerns about MobileXPRT 3, calibration devices, or score calculations, please let us know. We look forward to sharing more information about MobileXPRT 3 as we get closer to the community preview.

Justin

Planning the next version of MobileXPRT

We’re in the early planning stages for the next version of MobileXPRT, and invite you to send us any suggestions you may have. What do you like or not like about MobileXPRT? What features would you like to see in a new version?

When we begin work on a new version of any XPRT, one of the first steps we take is to assess the benchmark’s workloads to determine whether they will provide value during the years ahead. This step almost always involves updating test content such as photos and videos to more contemporary file resolutions and sizes, and it can also involve removing workloads or adding completely new scenarios. MobileXPRT currently includes five performance scenarios (Apply Photo Effects, Create Photo Collages, Create Slideshow, Encrypt Personal Content, and Detect Faces to Organize Photos). Should we stick with these five or investigate other use cases? What do you think?

As we did with WebXPRT 3 and the upcoming HDXPRT 4, we’re also planning to update the MobileXPRT UI to improve the look of the benchmark and make it easier to use.

Crucially, we’ll also build the app using the most current Android Studio SDK. Android development has changed significantly since we released MobileXPRT 2015 and apps must now conform to stricter standards that require explicit user permission for many tasks. Navigating these changes shouldn’t be too difficult, but it’s always possible that we’ll encounter unforeseen challenges at some point during the process.

Do you have suggestions for test scenarios that we should consider for MobileXPRT? Are there existing features we should remove? Are there elements of the UI that you find especially useful or have ideas for improving? Please let us know. We want to hear from you and make sure that MobileXPRT continues to meet your needs.

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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