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Category: Tablets

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!

Justin

Celebrating one year of the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight

It’s been just over a year since we launched the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight by featuring our first device, the Google Pixel C. Spotlight has since become one of the most popular items at BenchmarkXPRT.com, and we thought now would be a good time to recap the past year, offer more insight into the choices we make behind the scenes, and look at what’s ahead for Spotlight.

The goal of Spotlight is to provide PT-verified specs and test results that can help consumers make smart buying decisions. We try to include a wide variety of device types, vendors, software platforms, and price points in our inventory. The devices also tend to fall into one of two main groups: popular new devices generating a lot of interest and devices that have unique form factors or unusual features.

To date, we’ve featured 56 devices: 16 phones, 11 laptops, 10 two-in-ones, 9 tablets, 4 consoles, 3 all-in-ones, and 3 small-form-factor PCs. The operating systems these devices run include Android, ChromeOS, iOS, macOS, OS X, Windows, and an array of vendor-specific OS variants and skins.

As much as possible, we test using out-of-the-box (OOB) configurations. We want to present test results that reflect what everyday users will experience on day one. Depending on the vendor, the OOB approach can mean that some devices arrive bogged down with bloatware while others are relatively clean. We don’t attempt to “fix” anything in those situations; we simply test each device “as is” when it arrives.

If devices arrive with outdated OS versions (as is often the case with Chromebooks), we update to current versions before testing, because that’s the best reflection of what everyday users will experience. In the past, that approach would’ve been more complicated with Windows systems, but the Microsoft shift to “Windows as a service” ensures that most users receive significant OS updates automatically by default.

The OOB approach also means that the WebXPRT scores we publish reflect the performance of each device’s default browser, even if it’s possible to install a faster browser. Our goal isn’t to perform a browser shootout on each device, but to give an accurate snapshot of OOB performance. For instance, last week’s Alienware Steam Machine entry included two WebXPRT scores, a 356 on the SteamOS browser app and a 441 on Iceweasel 38.8.0 (a Firefox variant used in the device’s Linux-based desktop mode). That’s a significant difference, but the main question for us was which browser was more likely to be used in an OOB scenario. With the Steam Machine, the answer was truly “either one.” Many users will use the browser app in the SteamOS environment and many will take the few steps needed to access the desktop environment. In that case, even though one browser was significantly faster than the other, choosing to omit one score in favor of the other would have excluded results from an equally likely OOB environment.

We’re always looking for ways to improve Spotlight. We recently began including more photos for each device, including ones that highlight important form-factor elements and unusual features. Moving forward, we plan to expand Spotlight’s offerings to include automatic score comparisons, additional system information, and improved graphical elements. Most importantly, we’d like to hear your thoughts about Spotlight. What devices and device types would you like to see? Are there specs that would be helpful to you? What can we do to improve Spotlight? Let us know!

Justin

Ready for your closeup?

On January 6, we announced the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight. We spotlighted the first device, a Google Pixel C, on February 8. Since then, we’ve spotlighted around 20 devices, and the list keeps growing with phones, tablets, Chromebooks, and laptops. The XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight has been a big success and is one of our most visited pages.

XPRT Spotlight 1

From the beginning, we’ve offered to spotlight your device for free, though we will need to keep the device to allow for retesting with future versions of the OS and benchmarks. Any device you contribute jumps to the head of the queue, and will be in the Spotlight the following week. We have a page for vendors with all the details.

XPRT Spotlight 2

As we continue to spotlight new devices, we are thinking about ways to allow you to compare their specs and XPRT results. We would love to hear your thoughts on what capabilities would be useful to you in those comparisons.

Looking forward to seeing your device in the spotlight soon!

Eric

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