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Category: Apple

WebXPRT in PT reports

We don’t just make WebXPRT—we use it, too. If you normally come straight to BenchmarkXPRT.com or WebXPRT.com, you may not even realize that Principled Technologies (PT) does a lot more than just managing and administering the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community. We’re also the tech world’s leading provider of hands-on testing and related fact-based marketing services. As part of that work, we’re frequent WebXPRT users.

We use the benchmark when we test devices such as Chromebooks, desktops, mobile workstations, and consumer laptops for our clients. (You can see a lot of that work and many of our clients on our public marketing portfolio page.) We run the benchmark for the same reasons that others do—it’s a reliable and easy-to-use tool for measuring how well devices handle web browsing and other web work.

We also sometimes use WebXPRT simply because our clients request it. They request it for the same reason the rest of us like and use it: it’s a great tool. Regardless of job titles and descriptions, most laptop and tablet users surf the web and access web-based applications every day. Because WebXPRT is a browser benchmark, higher scores on it could indicate that a device may provide a superior online experience.

Here are just a few of the recent PT reports that used WebXPRT:

  • In a project for Dell, we compared the performance of a Dell Latitude 7340 Ultralight to that of a 13-inch Apple MacBook Air (2022).
  • In this study for HP, we compared the performance of an HP ZBook Firefly G10, an HP ZBook Power G10, and an HP ZBook Fury G10.
  • Finally, in a set of comparisons for Lenovo, we evaluated the system performance and end-user experience of eight Lenovo ThinkBook, ThinkCentre, and ThinkPad systems along with their Apple counterparts.

All these projects, and many more, show how a variety of companies rely on PT—and on WebXPRT—to help buyers make informed decisions. P.S. If we publish scores from a client-commissioned study in the WebXPRT 4 results viewer, we will list the source as “PT”, because we did the testing.

By Mark L. Van Name and Justin Greene

Local AI and new frontiers for performance evaluation

Recently, we discussed some ways the PC market may evolve in 2024, and how new Windows on Arm PCs could present the XPRTs with many opportunities for benchmarking. In addition to a potential market shakeup from Arm-based PCs in the coming years, there’s a much broader emerging trend that could eventually revolutionize almost everything about the way we interact with our personal devices—the development of local, dedicated AI processing units for consumer-oriented tech.

AI already impacts daily life for many consumers through technologies such as such as predictive text, computer vision, adaptive workflow apps, voice recognition, smart assistants, and much more. Generative AI-based technologies are rapidly establishing a permanent, society-altering presence across a wide range of industries. Aside from some localized inference tasks that the CPU and/or GPU typically handle, the bulk of the heavy compute power that fuels those technologies has been in the cloud or in on-prem servers. Now, several major chipmakers are working to roll out their own versions of AI-optimized neural processing units (NPUs) that will enable local devices to take on a larger share of the AI load.

Examples of dedicated AI hardware in recently-released or upcoming consumer devices include Intel’s new Meteor Lake NPU, Apple’s Neural Engine for M-series SoCs, Qualcomm’s Hexagon NPU, and AMD’s XDNA 2 architecture. The potential benefits of localized, NPU-facilitated AI are straightforward. On-device AI could reduce power consumption and extend battery life by offloading those tasks from the CPUs. It could alleviate certain cloud-related privacy and security concerns. Without the delays inherent in cloud queries, localized AI could execute inference tasks that operate much closer to real time. NPU-powered devices could fine-tune applications around your habits and preferences, even while offline. You could pull and utilize relevant data from cloud-based datasets without pushing private data in return. Theoretically, your device could know a great deal about you and enhance many areas of your daily life without passing all that data to another party.

Will localized AI play out that way? Some tech companies envision a role for on-device AI that enhances the abilities of existing cloud-based subscription services without decoupling personal data. We’ll likely see a wide variety of capabilities and services on offer, with application-specific and SaaS-determined privacy options.

Regardless of the way on-device AI technology evolves in the coming years, it presents an exciting new frontier for benchmarking. All NPUs will not be created equal, and that’s something buyers will need to understand. Some vendors will optimize their hardware more for computer vision, or large language models, or AI-based graphics rendering, and so on. It won’t be enough for business and consumers to simply know that a new system has dedicated AI processing abilities. They’ll need to know if that system performs well while handling the types of AI-related tasks that they do every day.

Here at the XPRTs, we specialize in creating benchmarks that feature real-world scenarios that mirror the types of tasks that people do in their daily lives. That approach means that when people use XPRT scores to compare device performance, they’re using a metric that can help them make a buying decision that will benefit them every day. We look forward to exploring ways that we can bring XPRT benchmarking expertise to the world of on-device AI.

Do you have ideas for future localized AI workloads? Let us know!

Justin

WebXPRT 4 is good to go with the latest Apple software release

Last month, we reported the good news that our WebXPRT 4 tests successfully ran to completion on the beta releases of iOS 17.2, iPadOS 17.2, and macOS Sonoma 14.2 with Safari 17.2. When we tested with those beta builds, WebXPRT 4 did not encounter the issue of test runs getting stuck on iOS 17.1 while attempting to complete the receipt scanning task in the Encrypt Notes and OCR Scan subtest. Unfortunately, during the past several weeks, this fix was only available to Apple users running beta software through the Apple Developer Program.

We’re happy to report that Apple has now finalized and published the general releases of iOS 17.2, iPadOS 17.2, and Safari 17.2. WebXPRT 4 tests running on those platforms should now complete without any problems.

We do appreciate everyone’s patience as we worked to find a solution to this problem, and we look forward to seeing your WebXPRT 4 scores from all the latest Apple devices! If you have any questions or concerns about WebXPRT 4, or you encounter any additional issues when running the test on any platform, please let us know.

Justin

The evolving PC market brings new opportunities for WebXPRT

Here at the XPRTs, we have to spend time examining what’s next in the tech industry, because the XPRTs have to keep up with the pace of innovation. In our recent discussions about 2024, a major recurring topic has been the potential impact of Qualcomm’s upcoming line of SOCs designed for Windows on Arm PCs.

Now, Windows on Arm PCs are certainly not new. Since Windows RT launched on the Arm-based Microsoft Surface RT in 2012, various Windows on Arm devices have come and gone, but none of them—except for some Microsoft SQ-based Surface devices—have made much of a name for themselves in the consumer market.

The reasons for these struggles are straightforward. While Arm-based PCs have the potential to offer consumers the benefits of excellent battery life and “always-on” mobile communications, the platform has historically lagged Intel- and AMD-based PCs in performance. Windows on Arm devices have also faced the challenge of a lack of large-scale buy-in from app developers. So, despite the past involvement of device makers like ASUS, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft, the major theme of the Windows on Arm story has been one of very limited market acceptance.

Next year, though, the theme of that story may change. If it does, WebXPRT 4 is well-positioned to play an important part.

At the recent Qualcomm Technology Summit, the company unveiled the new 4nm Snapdragon X Elite SOC, which includes an all-new 12-core Oryon CPU, an integrated Adreno GPU, and an integrated Hexagon NPU (neural processing unit) designed for AI-powered applications. Company officials presented performance numbers that showed the X Elite surpassing the performance of late-gen AMD, Apple, and Intel competitor platforms, all while using less power.

Those are massive claims, and of course the proof will come—or not—only when systems are available for test. (In the past, companies have made similar claims about Windows on Arm advantages, only to see those claims evaporate by the time production devices show up on store shelves.)

Will Snapdragon X Elite systems demonstrate unprecedented performance and battery life when they hit the market? How will the performance of those devices stack up to Intel’s Meteor Lake systems and Apple’s M3 offerings? We don’t yet know how these new devices may shake up the PC market, but we do know that it looks like 2024 will present us with many golden opportunities for benchmarking. Amid all the marketing buzz, buyers everywhere will want to know about potential trade-offs between price, power, and battery life. Tech reviewers will want to dive into the details and provide useful data points, but many traditional PC benchmarks simply won’t work with Windows on ARM systems. As a go-to, cross-platform favorite of many OEMs—that runs on just about anything with a browser—WebXPRT 4 is in a perfect position to provide reviewers and consumers with relevant performance comparison data.

It’s quite possible that 2024 may be the biggest year for WebXPRT yet!

Justin

Recent XPRT mentions in the tech press

Each month, we send out a BenchmarkXPRT Development Community newsletter that contains the latest updates from the XPRT world and provides a summary of the previous month’s XPRT-related activity, including mentions of the XPRTs in the tech press. More people read the weekly XPRT blog than receive the monthly newsletter, so we realized that some blog readers may be unaware of the wide variety of tech outlets that regularly use or mention the XPRTs.

For today’s blog, we want to give readers a sampling of the XPRT press mentions we see on a weekly basis. Recent mentions include:


If you don’t currently receive the monthly BenchmarkXPRT newsletter, but would like to join the mailing list, please let us know! There is no cost to join, and we will not publish or sell any of the contact information you provide. We will send only the monthly newsletter and occasional benchmark-related announcements, such as patch notifications or news of upcoming benchmark releases.

Justin

Let the XPRTs be your holiday shopping companion!

The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and choosing the right tech gift can be a daunting task. If you’re considering new phones, tablets, Chromebooks, laptops, or desktops as gifts this year, and are unsure where to get reliable device information, the XPRTs can help!

The XPRTs provide objective, reliable measures of a device’s performance that can help cut through competing marketing claims. For example, instead of guessing whether the performance of a new phone justifies its price, you can use its WebXPRT performance score to see how it stacks up against both older models and competitors while tackling everyday tasks.

A good place to start looking for device scores is our XPRT results browser, which lets you access our database of more than 3,500 test results from over 165 sources, including major tech review publications around the world, OEMs, and independent testers. You can find a wealth of current and historical performance data across all the XPRT benchmarks and hundreds of devices. Learn how to use the results browser here.

If you’re considering a popular device, chances are good that a recent tech review includes an XPRT score for it. Go to your favorite tech review site and search for “XPRT,” or enter the name of the device and the appropriate XPRT (e.g., “Pixel” and “WebXPRT”) in a search engine. Here are a few recent tech reviews that used the XPRTs to evaluate popular devices:


The XPRTs can help consumers make better-informed and more confident tech purchases this holiday season, and we hope you’ll find the data you need on our site or in an XPRT-related tech review. If you have any questions about the XPRTs, XPRT scores, or the results database please feel free to ask!

Justin

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