We’re excited to announce that the CrXPRT 2 Community Preview (CP) is now available! BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members can access the preview using a direct link posted on the CrXPRT tab in the XPRT Members’ Area (login required), where they will also find the CrXPRT 2 CP user manual.
You can find more information about the key differences between CrXPRT 2015 and CrXPRT 2 in last week’s blog entry. During the preview period, we allow testers to publish CP test scores, but CrXPRT 2 overall performance test scores and battery life measurements are not comparable to CrXPRT 2015 scores.
We appreciate everyone’s
patience and feedback during the CrXPRT 2 development process. We’re excited to
say that we’re now wrapping up some final details and expect to release the
Community Preview (CP) within the next week.
Here is a summary of the key
differences between CrXPRT 2015 and CrXPRT 2:
we mentioned a few weeks ago, CrXPRT 2 has a completely
new UI in line with the functional and aesthetic themes we used for the latest
versions of WebXPRT, MobileXPRT, and HDXPRT, with a focus on intuitive
CrXPRT 2 performance test includes six of the seven workloads in CrXPRT 2015.
Newer versions of Chrome can’t run the Photo Collage workload without a workaround, so we removed it from CrXPRT
updated the images in the Photo Effects and Face Detection workloads to reflect
more contemporary file resolutions and sizes.
CrXPRT 2 battery life test requires a full rundown, so you’ll need charge your device
to 100 percent before you can start the test, and the length of battery life
tests will vary according to the battery life of the systems under test.
no longer require testers to enter luminance and audio measurements in order to
run a battery life test.
added a second video playback segment to each battery life iteration.
allow testers to publish CP test scores, but CrXPRT 2 overall performance test scores
and battery life measurements are not comparable to CrXPRT 2015 scores.
Only BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members will be able to download the CrXPRT 2 CP. Because the Chrome team stopped providing search and browse functions for hosted and packaged Chrome apps in the Chrome Web Store, members will need a direct link to access the app. Once the app is available, we’ll post that link, along with the CrXPRT 2 CP user manual, on the CrXPRT tab in the XPRT Members’ Area (login required). We’ll also send a message to the community and post a notice here in the blog.
As we get
closer to the CrXPRT 2 Community Preview (CP), we want to provide readers with
a glimpse of the new CrXPRT 2 UI. In line with the functional and aesthetic themes
we used for the latest versions of WebXPRT, MobileXPRT, and HDXPRT, we’re
implementing a clean, bright look with a focus on intuitive navigation. The
screenshots below show how we’ve used that approach to rework the home, battery
life test, performance test, and battery life test results screens. (We’re
still tweaking the UI, so the screens you see in the CP may differ slightly.)
On the home screen, we kept the performance test and battery life test buttons, but made it clearer that you can choose only one. We also added a link to the user manual to the bottom ribbon for quick access.
If you choose to run a battery life test and click Next, the screen below appears. The CrXPRT 2 battery life test requires a full rundown, so you’ll need charge your device to 100 percent before you can start the test. Once you’ve done that, enter a name for the test run, unplug the system, and click Start. (Note that you no longer need to enter values for screen brightness and audio levels.)
The CrXPRT 2 performance test includes updated versions of six of the seven workloads in CrXPRT 2015. (As we discussed in a previous blog post, newer versions of Chrome can’t run the Photo Collage workload without a workaround, so we removed it from CrXPRT 2.) To run the performance test, enter a name for the test run, customize the workloads if you wish, and click Start.
For the results screens, we wanted to highlight the most important end-of-test information while still offering clear paths for options such as getting additional details on the test, submitting results, and running the test again. Below, we show the results screen from a battery life test. Note the “Main menu” link in the upper-left corner, which we added to all screens to give users a quick way to navigate back to the home screen.
CrXPRT 2 development
and testing are still underway. We don’t yet have an exact release date for the
CP, but once we do, we’ll announce it here in the blog.
We’re currently planning the next version of CrXPRT, our benchmark that evaluates the performance and battery life of Chromebooks. If you’re unfamiliar with CrXPRT, you can find out more about how it works both here in the blog and at CrXPRT.com. If you’ve used CrXPRT, we’d love to hear any suggestions you may have. What do you like or dislike about CrXPRT? What features do you hope to see in a new version?
When we begin work on a new version of any benchmark, one of our first steps is to determine whether the workloads will provide value during the years ahead. As technology and user behavior evolve, we update test content to be more relevant. One example is when we replace photos with ones that use more contemporary file resolutions and sizes.
Sometimes the changing tech landscape prompts us to remove entire workloads and add new ones. The Photo Collage workload in CrXPRT uses Portable Native Client (PNaCl) technology, for which the Chrome team will soon end support. CrXPRT 2015 has a workaround for this issue, but the best course of action for the next version of CrXPRT will be to remove this workload altogether.
The battery life test will also change. Earlier this year, we started to see unusual battery life estimates and high variance when running tests at CrXPRT’s default battery life test length of 3.5 hours, so we’ve been recommending that users perform full rundowns instead. In the next CrXPRT, the battery life test will require full rundowns.
We’ll also be revamping the CrXPRT UI to improve the look of the benchmark and make it easier to use, as we’ve done with the other recent XPRT releases.
We really do want to hear your ideas, and any feedback you send has a chance to shape the future of the benchmark. Let us know what you think!
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.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed the capabilities and benefits of TouchXPRT and CrXPRT. This week, we’d like to reintroduce readers to BatteryXPRT, our app that evaluates the battery life and performance of Android devices.
Battery life for phones and tablets has improved dramatically over the last several years, to the point where many devices can support continuous use for well over a full work day on a single charge. This improvement is the result of advances in battery hardware technology, increased processor efficiency, and smarter utilization of software services by the operating system. Battery life has increased to some extent for most device categories and price points. However, enough of a range remains between devices at each level that access to objective battery life data is valuable for device shoppers.
Without BatteryXPRT, shoppers must rely on manufacturer estimates or full rundown tests that don’t resemble the types of things we do with our phones and tablets every day. A rundown test that surfs the web continuously for over 15 hours reveals which devices last the longest performing that specific task. It doesn’t tell you which devices last the longest over a full day performing a variety of common activities such as web browsing, watching videos, browsing and editing photos, playing music, and periodically sleeping. During BatteryXPRT’s battery life test, the app executes those same types of tasks and produces a performance score based on the speed with which a device completes each task.
BatteryXPRT provides an intuitive user interface in English and Simplified Chinese, and easy-to-understand results for both battery life and performance. Because your data connection can have a significant effect on battery life, BatteryXPRT runs in airplane mode, connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, or connected to the Internet through a cellular data connection.
BatteryXPRT is easy to install and run, and is a great resource for anyone who wants to evaluate how well an Android device will meet their needs. If you’d like to see test results from a variety of Android devices, go to BatteryXPRT.com and click View Results, where you’ll find scores from many different Android devices.
If you’d like to run BatteryXPRT
Simply download BatteryXPRT from the Google Play store or BatteryXPRT.com. The BatteryXPRT installation instructions and user manual provide step-by-step instructions for configuring your device and kicking off a test. We designed BatteryXPRT to be compatible with a wide variety of Android devices, but because there are so many devices on the market, it is inevitable that users occasionally run into problems. In the Tips, tricks, and known issues document, we provide troubleshooting suggestions for issues we encountered during development testing.
If you’d like to learn more
The Exploring BatteryXPRT 2014 for Android white paper covers almost every aspect of the benchmark. In it, we explain the guiding concepts behind BatteryXPRT’s development, as well as the benchmark’s structure. We describe the component tests, the differences between the app’s Airplane and Network/Wi-Fi modes, and the statistical processes used to calculate expected battery life.