We test each phone in real-world scenarios, focusing on its features, design, performance, camera, battery life, and overall value. We document our findings in preliminary reviews and update them regularly when there are new software updates, or we compare them to new phones from competitors like Apple, Samsung, Google, and OnePlus. Here’s our general approach to testing smartphones, which also applies to flip phones.
Photography is the main focus of most phones these days, so we take photos and videos of a variety of subjects in a variety of settings and lighting scenarios. We tried all the new camera modes, like the Action mode introduced with the iPhone 14 series, or the Unblur photo tool introduced with the Google Pixel 7 series.
Battery testing can be performed in a variety of ways. We evaluate the phone’s battery life during daily use and record how it performs during more focused sessions such as video calls, media streaming, and gaming. We also ran a video playback test as a simple, replicable measure of pure battery life, which isn’t always included in initial reviews but is sometimes added in updates.
We use benchmarking apps to measure each phone’s performance, combined with our own anecdotal experiences using the phones for review. Of note is the look of the graphics and animations. Are they smooth? Or do they have lag or stutter? We also looked at how quickly the phone switched between horizontal and vertical orientations, and how quickly the camera app opened and was ready to take a picture.
We perform processor-heavy tasks such as editing photos, exporting videos, and playing games. We evaluate whether new versions of specific phones include enough features to make them worth upgrading from older models.