This is how connect tests smartphones – new test procedure

Important for measuring voice quality: The Head Acoustics HMS II.3 artificial head (here for a headphone measurement). Using a holding device, the smartphone can be brought to the ear with pressure accurate to a tenth of a newton.
© Head Acoustics

Long-time connect readers know that we carry out a smartphone test reform once a year in order to incorporate the latest technical developments into our test procedure. This ensures that our rating and best list are always up to date.

UMTS shutdown and WLAN measurements

This year the changes are very extensive; on the one hand because we no longer record and evaluate UMTS in the course of the UMTS shutdown; on the other hand, because our test lab has adapted the WLAN measurements introduced in issue 11/18 to smartphones. We can now precisely record how fast and how stable a smartphone receives and sends data in the WLAN.

The associated 360-degree directional diagram is not an integral part of the test table, but we do provide the maximum download data rate and the averaged download data rate with attenuation – the latter is more relevant for everyday use. However, the data recorded with the WLAN measurements are not yet included in the evaluation, as we first want to build up a solid database in order to develop an evaluation scheme.

We are now also recording the data transfer via USB – how fast files migrate from a PC or a mobile hard drive to a smartphone is not unimportant, for example when creating a backup or copying video files.

connect test reform WLAN measurement
The Fold3 in WLAN with and without attenuation. In the former, the smartphone and router are positioned next to each other; in the latter, we simulated a distance of around 20 meters.
© WEKA Media Publishing GmbH
connect test reform loudspeaker measurement
The loudspeaker frequency response covers the entire listening area from the low (left) to the high frequencies. The bass range of the Galaxy Flip3 sounds a bit thin – that’s typical for a smartphone.
© WEKA Media Publishing GmbH

Loudspeaker measurement and new weighting

Loudspeaker measurement has also been added: In addition to the maximum volume, we also record the loudspeaker frequency response and display it graphically in the form of a third-octave analysis. This means that you can see at a glance whether a smartphone with thin bass is falling out of place. In terms of endurance and audio measurements, we have switched from line (cable) to Bluetooth because more and more smartphone owners are now listening to music via Bluetooth.

Reading tip: connect Testreform 2020

There are also innovations in the camera: The maximum number of points that can be achieved has been increased from 60 to 80 points. In return, the maximum number of points for handiness has been reduced from 40 to 20. In the future, we will therefore give greater weight to camera equipment and less weight and size. The logic behind this is clear: the compact smartphone is hardly in demand anymore, many users consider large displays and high-quality camera systems more important than a particularly light and thin form factor.


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