At the beginning we wanted to inform you that we are taking several measures to ensure that the test results can be objectively compared. And for this we have developed a standardized test procedure. Yes, color space measurement diagrams and line pairs per millimeter diagrams are fun. But while we believe that laboratory testing and scientific testing play a role in some applications, we also take a lot of time to explain (and show) the differences between different devices through real world examples.
To give an example, instead of showing you a frequency response curve, we’ll describe how our favorite songs sound differently when you use different headphones. And we’ll show you dozens of different sample photos and lots of photo comparisons between different smartphones so you can see the results and make your own informed decisions.
Our editorial team has used and tested hundreds of different smartphones, headphones and wearables over the years. Rest assured, with its experience, NextPit is pretty sure that you will end up with the best product based on your requirements.
How do you get the devices you test?
The majority of the tested devices are made available to the NextPit editorial team on loan and free of charge. Sometimes it also happens that we also buy the devices. In any case, the origin of the product has no influence on our final evaluation. The result is always independent and objective.
Some manufacturers are also advertising partners with NextPit. However, promotions or paid items are clearly marked as such. In addition to this, we also use affiliate links and we may receive a commission on the sale. However, this fact will not affect our ratings in any way.
Our evaluation scheme and the resulting test result are based on the following test criteria, the composition of which is adjusted depending on the tested device category:
Design and build quality
Oh yes, design. One can argue about this for hours and is certainly in the eye of the beholder. But yes, there are some more objective criteria. A poorly balanced phone made with cheap materials and strange color combinations scores lower than a neatly designed device made with higher quality materials like glass and metal. To ensure that the original reviewer gave the correct number of points, the grade is also checked by a second editor.
The processing quality, on the other hand, is easier to assess. How does the device feel? Does it bend and twist? How well are the buttons and connections made? Is the device scratch, shock and / or waterproof? All of these factors play a role in how we achieve an end result.
Any device that has a display must go through some visual tests. We check the display brightness, contrast, refresh rate and color space as well as possible restrictions due to rounded corners and edges or cutouts for cameras or speakers.
In our reviews we use two pieces of software; HCFR and a Spyder4Elite to measure contrast, peak brightness and color rendering. In addition, we rely on the experience and judgment of our editors when reviewing the device. Finally, we check the responsiveness of the touchscreen’s digitizer under a variety of conditions, from everyday use to gaming.
Software & operation
The role that good software plays on a modern gadget is crucial. No matter how good the hardware is, poor software can affect the user experience. The NextPit editorial team is aware of this and takes a close look at the installed operating system and the changes that a manufacturer may have made compared to the vanilla version (especially Android).
Another important aspect is the ecosystem built around the operating system in terms of app availability, compatible devices and accessories. After all, the manufacturer’s update strategy plays an important role in our test, as it affects the longevity of the device.
We check both the technical equipment of the device and its performance under load. To do this, we run a predefined series of benchmark tests on the device, which can vary depending on the device category.
The NextPit editorial team also subjects the device to various everyday tests and observes exactly how it behaves in everyday life.
In addition to the system performance, the radio connections (LTE / 4G / 5G) are also evaluated and rewarded. Additional points are awarded if the smartphone supports a new wireless standard, such as Wi-Fi 6 or UWB in 2021.
Our audio tests vary widely depending on the device category. With smartphones, the quality of the conversation in both directions (listening and speaking) is important – both with and without ambient noise. Since making a phone call is still the main feature of a phone (isn’t it?), Special attention is paid to it. For smartphones, we also check the quality of the speaker (s) in terms of bass, clarity and volume.
Devices such as headphones and speakers – where audio quality plays an even greater role – are tested with a variety of songs from different musical genres. In the case of headphones, we also check exactly how good / bad the Active Noise Cancellation function is, if available.
Since smartphones have essentially replaced stand-alone point-and-shoot cameras, their camera systems play an important role in our tests. Some of the things we weight in our smartphone camera tests include; How flexible is the camera system from ultra wide angle to telephoto zoom? Does the camera have any hardware and software extras? Do the different cameras work well together and is the app user-friendly?
We also examine the image quality in different lighting conditions, from daylight to darkness. How do color reproduction, image noise and detail reproduction vary under different conditions? Is the camera’s autofocus fast and reliable? And of course the selfie camera is also important.
Finally, let’s take a detailed look at the video quality. We look at the maximum supported resolutions and frame rates and also check how good / bad the image stabilization function is. And of course we also examine how the video quality behaves in different lighting conditions.
Various factors play a role with rechargeable batteries: How much capacity does the battery offer? Maybe it can be charged wirelessly and does it support wired / wireless fast charging? Are there any sensible power saving settings?
The battery life is particularly important for the sensible use of pretty much every modern gadget (see Google Glass!). Accordingly, we also rate the battery at NextPit in today’s overall context and deduct significant points for the comparatively short battery life.
The selection of these test criteria reflects the history of NextPit: Formerly AndroidPIT. While smartphones are still our core business, we’ve also gotten to testing devices from different categories. In the recent past, for example, we have introduced e-bikes, robotic vacuum cleaners and smart home speakers. An evaluation of the (non-existent) camera is of course pointless in such a case. Therefore, we completely dispense with individual evaluation points depending on the device class.
We test our products using a clear checklist and standardized procedures. Nevertheless, consumer electronics products are as diverse as their users and target groups. The NextPit editors assign individual scores to the individual points, which are then broken down into the NextPit star system using various weightings.
To give the NextPit community a clear indication of the overall ranking, we have broken down our scores here:
Test result at NextPit
|5 Stars:||This product has absolutely no weaknesses and offers a real technological edge over the competition in at least one main category.|
|4.5 stars:||A clear purchase recommendation: This product has no weaknesses and is above average in every category.|
|4 stars||Overall, this product is above average. Here and there there may be minor weaknesses, but these do not affect the overall performance.|
|3.5 stars||Overall average: Although this product is good in some areas, it also has noticeable technical defects that impair its function in everyday life.|
|3 stars||This product offers below average performance. There are alternatives on the market that are better choices in all respects in this price range.|
|2.5 stars||No more clear buy recommendation. This product has clear weaknesses and cannot fulfill at least one important feature.|
|2 stars||Technical issues prevent this product from working as promised. A purchase only makes sense in very special cases.|
|1.5 stars||This product has serious technical problems and cannot perform any of its primary functions. We therefore clearly advise against buying it.|
|1 star||Smells like fraud: The manufacturer of this product is deliberately deceiving its customers. The product does not meet the promised functionality in any way or simply does not work.|
Our test results do not “age”. This means that they always refer to the time of the test and the firmware currently available for the device. Before we start testing, we always make sure that the latest software is installed. If the devices are pre-series or if pre-firmware is still running, we will point this out in the test.
Questions that may still move you: Can I also write a test for NextPit?
We’re always looking for talented community testers who want to occasionally test products and share their results with the NextPit community. We not only value a clear technical understanding, but also a clear, structured writing style. We pay a flat rate for each test report. Since the learning and quality effort on our part is initially high, we only want long-term testers.
Please understand that we assign the devices to the community testers and cannot accept requests for the respective devices.
If you are interested, please email us using the contact form.