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Grow Your Business Technology

How We Test Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops

A great gadget can make your life easier, while a bad one can really slow you down. That's why I spend hours testing every device that comes across my desk. As Tech Editor for Business News Daily, my goal is to help you understand which smartphones, tablets and computers are worth your time.

Business News Daily uses precise, repeatable testing procedures to evaluate products and help our readers make informed buying decisions. Our methods include industry-standard benchmark tests, as well as tests developed in-house by our sister site Laptop Mag.

To evaluate battery life for computers, tablets and smartphones, we use the Laptop Mag Battery Test. The test replicates Web browsing at a brightness level of 100 nits, with standby and hibernation modes disabled. Starting with a fully-charged battery, each device runs a script that loads 60 popular websites in a loop, pausing on each for 30 seconds, then closing and reopening the device's default browser to load the next page.

Display brightness is measured using the Spyder4 colorimeter. Brighter screens are easier to use outdoors and in direct sunlight.

BND uses several methods to evaluate performance for computers, tablet and smartphones.

  • Geekbench 3: An industry-standard synthetic benchmark test, developed by Primate Labs that measures overall speed and performance. It tests performance for each of a machine's processor cores, as well as memory performance.
  • Spreadsheet Macro Test: This practical test, developed by Laptop Mag, measures how long it takes a laptop to match 20,000 names and addresses in the OpenOffice productivity suite. It was designed to stress a device's CPU. The quicker a device completes the test, the better.
  • File Transfer Test: Also developed by Laptop Mag, this test measures how long it takes a laptop to copy a 4.97GB folder of mixed media files – including photos, documents, video and music of varying sizes – from one folder to another on a notebook's hard drive. We measure performance by recording the performance at which the notebook copies the files in MBps.

Laptop computers vary widely in shape, size and functionality. That's why we compare each laptop's battery life and performance against other devices in its product category, using data compiled by Laptop Mag. We hope these comparisons provide context to help you understand how a laptop measures up to similar devices.

These categories include:

  • Desktop Replacement (Display measuring 16+ inches, weighing more than 7 lbs.)
  • Mainstream (15- or 16-inch display, weighing less than 7 lbs.)
  • Thin-and-Light (12- to 14-inch display, weighing less than 6 lbs.)
  • Ultraportable (10- 13-inch display, weighing less than 4 lbs.)
  • Netbook (Low-cost, portable systems with low-power processors and displays around 10- to 12-inches)

For questions or comments regarding our testing methods, please contact Brett Nuckles, Business News Daily's tech editor, at bnuckles@purch.com. 

Brett Nuckles
Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.