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Category: Google

A new playing field for WebXPRT

WebXPRT is one of the go-to benchmarks for evaluating browser performance, so we’re always interested in browser development news. Recently, Microsoft created a development channel where anyone can download early versions of an all-new Microsoft Edge browser. Unlike previous versions of Edge, Microsoft constructed the new browser using the Chromium open-source project, the same foundation underlying the Google Chrome browser and Chrome OS.

One interesting aspect of the new Edge development strategy is the changes that Microsoft is making to more than 50 services that Chromium has included. If you use Chrome daily, you’ve likely become accustomed to certain built-in services such as ad block, spellcheck, translate, maps integration, and form fill, among many others. While each of these is useful, a large number of background services running simultaneously can slow browsing and sap battery life. In the new Edge, Microsoft is either reworking each service or removing it altogether, with the hope of winning users by providing a cleaner, faster, and more power-efficient experience. You can read more about Microsoft’s goals for the new project on the Microsoft Edge Insider site.

As we’ve discussed before, many factors contribute to the speed of a browsing experience and its WebXPRT score. It’s too early to know how the new Microsoft Edge will stack up against other browsers, but when the full version comes out of development, you can be sure that we’ll be publishing some comparison scores. I’ve installed the Dev Channel version of Edge on my personal machine and run WebXPRT 3. While I can’t publish the scores from this early version, I can tell you that the results were interesting. Have you run WebXPRT 3 on the new Microsoft Edge? How do you think it compares to competitors? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

JNG

BatteryXPRT provides the objective battery life data that shoppers need

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.

Justin

CrXPRT is more valuable than ever

Digital Trends recently published an article discussing various rumors about the future of the Google Pixelbook line. Pixelbooks were some of the first Chromebooks with high-end hardware specs, and they were priced accordingly. Whether or not the rumors discussed in the article turn out to be true, the author points out that the Pixelbook prompted several other vendors, such as HP and Lenovo, to take a chance on high-end Chromebooks. It seems like high-end Chromebooks are here to stay, but given the unique constraints of the Chrome OS environment, buyers are often unsure if it’s worth it to shell out the extra money for a premium model.

We developed CrXPRT to help buyers answer these questions. CrXPRT is a benchmark tool that measures the battery life of your Chromebook as well as how fast it handles everyday tasks like playing video games, watching movies, editing pictures, and doing homework. The performance test gives you individual workload scores and an overall score based on the speed of the device. 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.

You don’t have to be a tech journalist or even a techie to use CrXPRT. To learn more, check out the links below.

Testing the performance or battery life of your Chromebook

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.

Want to know more?

Read the Exploring CrXPRT 2015 white paper, where we discuss the concepts behind CrXPRT, its development process, and the app’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.

Give CrXPRT a try and let us know what you think!

Justin

MobileXPRT 3 is here!

We’re excited to announce that MobileXPRT 3 is now available to the public! MobileXPRT 3 is the latest version of our popular tool for evaluating the performance of Android devices. The BenchmarkXPRT Development Community has been using a community preview for several weeks, but now anyone can run the tool and publish their results.

Compatible with systems running Android 5.0 and above, MobileXPRT 3 includes the same performance workloads as MobileXPRT 2015 (Apply Photo Effects, Create Photo Collages, Create Slideshow, Encrypt Personal Content, and Detect Faces to Organize Photos), plus a new optical character recognition-based workload called Scan Receipts for Spreadsheet.

MobileXPRT 3 is available at MobileXPRT.com and on the Google Play Store. Alternatively, you can download the app using either of the links below:



After trying out MobileXPRT 3, please submit your scores here and send any comments to BenchmarkXPRTsupport@principledtechnologies.com. To see test results from a variety of systems, go to MobileXPRT.com and click View Results, where you’ll find scores from a variety of Android devices. We look forward to seeing your results!

Justin

AI and the next MobileXPRT

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re in the early planning stages for the next version of MobileXPRT—MobileXPRT 3. We’re always looking for ways to make XPRT benchmark workloads more relevant to everyday users, and a new version of MobileXPRT provides a great opportunity to incorporate emerging tech such as AI into our apps. AI is everywhere and is beginning to play a huge role in our everyday lives through smarter-than-ever phones, virtual assistants, and smart homes. The challenge for us is to identify representative mobile AI workloads that have the necessary characteristics to work well in a benchmark setting. For MobileXPRT, we’re researching AI workloads that have the following characteristics:

  • They work offline, not in the cloud.
  • They don’t require additional training prior to use.
  • They support common use cases such as image processing, optical character recognition (OCR), etc.


We’re researching the possibility of using Google’s Mobile Vision library, but there may be other options or concerns that we’re not aware of. If you have tips for places we should look, or ideas for workloads or APIs we haven’t mentioned, please let us know. We’ll keep the community informed as we narrow down our options.

Justin

CrXPRT helps to navigate the changing Chromebook market

Some people envision Chromebooks as low-end, plastic-shelled laptops that large organizations buy in bulk because they’re inexpensive and easy to manage. While many sub-$200 Chromebooks are still available, the platform is no longer limited to budget chipsets and little memory. Consumers can now choose systems that feature up to 16 GB of RAM, 8th generation Intel Core CPUs, and Core i7 configurations for those willing to pay around $1,600. In addition, some Chromebooks can now run Android apps, Microsoft Office mobile apps, Linux apps, and even Windows apps. While Chromebooks still depend heavily on connectivity and cloud storage, an increasing number of Chrome apps let you perform substantial productivity tasks offline. The Chrome OS landscape has changed so much that for certain use cases, the practical hardware gap between Chromebooks and traditional laptops is narrowing.

More consumers might be interested in Chromebooks than was the case a few years ago, but how they make sense of all the devices on the market? CrXPRT can help by providing objective data on Chromebook performance and battery life. Steven J. Vaughan Nichols offered a great example of the value CrXPRT can provide in his recent ZDNet article on the new Core i7-based Google Pixelbook. The Pixelbook’s CrXPRT score of 226 showed that it performs everyday tasks faster than any of the Chromebooks in our results database. When trying to decide whether it’s worth spending a few hundred or even a thousand dollars more on a new Chromebook, having the right data in hand can transform guesses into well-informed decisions.

You don’t have to be a tech journalist or even a techie to use CrXPRT. If you’d like to learn more about CrXPRT, we encourage you to read the CrXPRT feature here in the blog or visit CrXPRT.com.

Justin

Check out the other XPRTs: