How we test Laptops and PC

We run our own benchmarks on every Windows and macOS system we test. These are based around image editing, video editing and multitasking (where we run the video editing benchmark while simultaneously playing back a 4K video). At the bottom of each laptop and PC review you’ll find the system’s score in each of these tests, plus an Overall score. If a laptop scores 70, say, then it’s 30% slower than our reference system – a PC with a Core i7-4670K and 8GB of RAM. If it scores 160, then it’s 60% faster. We test laptop battery life by playing back a full-screen video until the battery runs out. We set the screen brightness to 170cd/m2, or as close as we can get using its settings, and switch to Flight mode.

Screen quality

In each laptop, phone, tablet and monitor review you will see our conclusions about the screen quality. Some of this will be subjective, but we also test each screen using a Display i1 Color meter.

We measure for maximum brightness, colour accuracy and consistency – there may be a difference in brightness, say, from the middle and the edges of the panel. We also measure Delta E, which gives a guide as to how accurately the panel displays a colour. Anything under 1 is excellent and likely to be difficult for the human eye to distinguish; 1-2 is still strong; above this suggests a panel that you shouldn’t trust for colour-accurate photo editing.

Phones and tablets

We run a selection of publicly available benchmarks on all the phones and tablets we test. First,Phones and tablets We run a selection of publicly available benchmarks on all the phones and tablets we test. First, we run Geekbench 4 (geekbench.com).

This is a good test of the processor and memory in particular, and includes both a test for single-core and multi-core performance. See below for a selection of scores to provide a reference of what’s good… and what’s not so good. We also run the graphics-intensive GFXBench (gfxbench.com) to see how well the phones and tablets are likely to perform in games. As with laptops, we test smartphone and tablet battery life by playing back a full-screen video until the battery runs out. We set the screen brightness to 170cd/m2, or as close as we can get using its settings.

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