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Category: Education

The XPRT Spotlight Back-to-School Roundup

Today, we’re pleased to announce our second annual XPRT Spotlight Back-to-School Roundup, a free shopping tool that provides side-by-side comparisons of this school year’s most popular Chromebooks, laptops, tablets, and convertibles. We designed the Roundup to help buyers choosing devices for education, such as college students picking out a laptop or school administrators deciding on the devices for a grade. The Roundup can help make those decisions easier by gathering the product and performance facts these buyers need in one convenient place.

We tested the Roundup devices in our lab using the XPRT suite of benchmark tools. In addition to benchmark results, we also provide photographs, device specs, and prices.

If you haven’t yet visited the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight page, check it out. Every week, the Spotlight highlights a new device, making it easier for consumers to shop for a new laptop, smartphone, tablet, or PC. Recent devices in the spotlight include the Samsung Chromebook Pro, Microsoft Surface Laptop, Microsoft Surface Pro, OnePlus 5, and Apple iPad Pro 10.5”.

Vendors interested in having their devices featured in the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight or next year’s Roundup can visit the website for more details.

We’re always working on ways to make the Spotlight an even more powerful tool for helping with buying decisions. If you have any ideas for the page or suggestions for devices you’d like to see, let us know!


Thoughts from MWC Shanghai

I’ve spent the last couple days walking the exhibition halls of MWC Shanghai. The Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) is large, but smaller than the MWC exhibit space in Barcelona or the set of exhibit halls in Las Vegas for CES. (SNIEC is not even the biggest exhibition space in Shanghai!) Further, MWC here still only took up half the exhibition space, but there was plenty to see. And, I’m less exhausted than after CES or MWC in Barcelona!

Photo Jun 28, 9 56 45 AM

If I had to pick one theme from the exhibition halls, it would be 5G. It seemed like half the booths had 5G displayed somewhere in their signage. The cloud was the other concept that seemed to be everywhere. While neither was surprising, it was interesting to see halfway around the world. In truth, it feels like 5G is much farther along here than it is back in the States.

I was also surprised to see how many phone vendors are here that I’d never heard of before such as Lephone and Gionee. I stopped by their booths with XPRT Spotlight information and hope they will send in some of their devices for inclusion in the future.

One thing I found of note was how much technology in general and IoT in particular is going to be everywhere. There was an interesting exhibit showing how stores of the future might operate. I was able to “buy” items without traditionally checking out. (I got a free water and some cookies out of the experience.) I just placed the items in a location on the checkout counter, which read their NFC labels and displayed them on the checkout screen. It seemed sort of like my understanding of the experiments that Amazon has been doing with brick-and-mortar grocery stores (prior to their purchase of Whole Foods). The whole experience felt a bit odd and still unpolished, but I’m sure it will improve and I’ll get used to it.

Photo Jun 29, 12 04 30 PM

The next generation will find it not odd, but normal. There were exhibits with groups of children playing with creative technologies from handheld 3D printers to simplified programming languages. They will be the generation after digital natives, maybe the digital creatives? What impact will they have? The future is both exciting and daunting!

I came away from the conference thinking about how the XPRTs can help folks choose amongst the myriad devices and technologies that are just around the corner. What would you most like to see the XPRTs tackle in the next six months to a year?

Bill Catchings

Another pronunciation lesson

Knowing how to say the terms we read on-line can be a bit of a mystery. For example, it’s been 30 years since CompuServe created the GIF format, and people are still arguing about how to say it.

A couple of months ago, we talked about how to pronounce WebXPRT. In the video we pointed to, the narrator openly says he’s confused about how to say “XPRT.” For the record, it’s pronounced “expert.”

Recently, we came across another video, which referred to CrXPRT. The narrator pronounced it “Chrome expert.” The “expert” part is correct, but the “Chrome” part is not. It’s an understandable mistake, because Cr is the chemical symbol for chromium. That’s why we chose it! However, we pronounce the C and R individually. So, the name is said “C R expert.”

All that being said, it was great to see CrXPRT in the classroom! When we created CrXPRT, the education market was a big consideration, as you can tell from this CrXPRT video. We love seeing the XPRTs in the real world!


CrXPRT: a valuable tool for evaluating Chromebooks

Last week, we reintroduced readers to TouchXPRT 2016. This week, we invite you to get to know CrXPRT, an app for Chrome OS devices.

When you buy a Chromebook, it’s important to know how long the battery will last on a typical day and how well it can handle everyday tasks. We developed CrXPRT 2015 to help answer those questions. CrXPRT measures how fast a Chromebook handles everyday tasks such as playing video games, watching movies, editing pictures, and doing homework, and it also measures battery life. The performance test, which measures the speed of your Chromebook, gives you individual workload scores and an overall score. The battery life test produces an estimated battery life time, a separate performance score, and a frames-per-second (FPS) rate for a built-in HTML5 gaming component.

CrXPRT completes the battery life evaluation in half a workday, and delivers results you can understand. Before CrXPRT, you had to rely on the manufacturer’s performance claims and estimated battery life. Now, CrXPRT provides an objective evaluation tool that’s easy to use for anyone interested in Chromebooks. To learn more about CrXPRT, check out the links below.

Watch CrXPRT in action:

CrXPRT in action

To test your Chromebook’s performance or battery life:

Simply download CrXPRT from the Chrome Web Store. Installation is quick and easy, and the CrXPRT 2015 user manual provides step-by-step instructions. A typical performance test takes about 15 minutes, and a battery life test will take 3.5 hours once the system is charged and configured for testing. If you’d like to see how your score compares to other Chromebooks, visit the CrXPRT results page.

If you’d like to dig into the details:

Read the Exploring CrXPRT 2015 white paper. In it, we discuss the concepts behind CrXPRT 2015, its development process, and the application’s structure. We also describe the component tests and explain the statistical processes used to calculate expected battery life.

BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members also have access to the CrXPRT source code, so if you’re interested, join today! There’s no obligation and membership is free for members of any company or organization with an interest in benchmarks.

If you have a Chromebook you’d like to evaluate, give CrXPRT a try and let us know what you think!


A new reality

A while back, I wrote about a VR demo built by students from North Carolina State University. We’ve been checking it out over the last couple of months and are very impressed. This workload will definitely heat up your device! While the initial results look promising, this is still an experimental workload and it’s too early to use results in formal reviews or product comparisons.

We’ve created a page that tells all about the VR demo. As an experimental workload, the demo is available only to community members. As always, members can download the source as well as the APK.

We asked the students to try to build the workload for iOS as a stretch goal. They successfully built an iOS version, but this was at the end of the semester and there was little time for testing. If you want to experiment with iOS yourself, look at the build instructions for Android and iOS that we include with the source. Note that you will need Xcode to build and deploy the demo on iOS.

After you’ve checked out the workload, let us know what you think!

Finally, we have a new video featuring the VR demo. Enjoy!



Side by side

We’re making a big upgrade to the Spotlight: It will now let you make side-by-side comparisons of any of the devices we’ve featured. You’ll also be able to filter devices by type.

We’ve also added pricing information to the Spotlight. The price of a device can vary a lot, depending on the options you select. We give you the price we paid for the device as we tested it. Because prices can vary over time, we also give the date when we bought the device.

We think these changes will make the Spotlight an even more powerful tool for helping with buying decisions.

We also created a special page, the Back to School Roundup. It provides side-by-side comparisons of 13 of the hottest devices to help families and students choose the right ones for their educational needs. We include a range of device types—all-in-ones, Chromebooks, convertibles, laptops, and tablets—and operating systems—Chrome OS, OS X, and Windows.

Going forward, we’ll be adding more advanced querying features. Of course, we’ll also add new devices every week.

Check it out! And, if you have any ideas about how to make the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight more useful, let us know!


Check out the other XPRTs:

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