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How We Test Phones

We employ a rigorous series of consistent tests to assess the mobile phones under review. These tests encompass factors such as battery life, call quality, multimedia features, reception, and other relevant aspects.

CR Staff
By Updated: 2023, Aug 24

Mobile phones serve as compact computers that offer far more functionality than just making phone calls. At, we thoroughly examine every facet and capability of both feature phones and smartphones during our testing process. This comprehensive assessment is conducted across numerous handset models annually.

how we test phones

To prevent our mobile phone reviews from becoming overly extensive, we occasionally omit certain test outcomes from individual reviews. However, please be confident that each and every phone we evaluate undergoes rigorous testing across the subsequent categories.

Cellular Radio and Data Speed Assessment

When evaluating a phone’s compatibility with various US carriers’ networks, we examine the supported cellular technologies (such as 4G, mid-band 5G, or high-band 5G), frequency bands, and carrier certifications. To gauge the impact of different radio band combinations on data speeds, we utilize the Ookla Speedtest app. For phones equipped with millimeter-wave 5G, our testing often encompasses the range from a well-established 5G panel location.

The majority of modern phones exhibit similar 4G reception capabilities. We measure and compare 4G RSSI values between the phones under testing and a leading smartphone. Any noteworthy deviations are highlighted in the review. Our testing no longer includes 2G or 3G assessments, as these network technologies are nearing their discontinuation.

Call Quality

In the realm of call quality, where psychoacoustics wield significant influence, a well-trained ear serves as the ultimate guide. Our team of reviewers has meticulously assessed numerous cell phones, conducting a variety of tests. These tests involve making calls to automated voice-recognition systems and traditional landline answering machines. Subsequently, we attentively listen to the recorded messages, critically evaluating the sound quality in the process. Our focus centers on the effectiveness of background noise cancellation, both on the incoming and outgoing audio.

To quantify speakerphone capabilities, we employ a decibel meter positioned at a distance of six inches from the speaker. This measurement is taken during a test call featuring a recording of someone reading a book aloud. Similarly, we determine the maximum earpiece volume by positioning the decibel meter in proximity to the earpiece while placing a call to the same designated number.


testing mobile performance

Testing Mobile Performance

We utilize a range of benchmarking tools to comprehensively assess various aspects of phone performance. For web browsing capabilities, we employ Basemark Web. To gauge raw processing power, we turn to Geekbench for both single-core and multi-core performance evaluations. To assess the AI capabilities of the phone, we utilize Geekbench ML. For graphics display proficiency, GFXBench (both Aztec Ruins onscreen and offscreen) comes into play. Additionally, we employ Work 3.0 to measure application performance.

While benchmarks provide quantifiable metrics for direct phone-to-phone comparisons, they don’t provide the complete performance narrative. Software optimization significantly impacts a phone’s overall performance, a factor we thoroughly consider in our reviews.

Furthermore, we immerse ourselves in high-end gaming scenarios—currently Genshin Impact, Alto’s Odyssey, and Call of Duty. Our gaming assessment encompasses frame rate stability, fluidity of controls, and overall smoothness, all while monitoring battery consumption. To quantitatively analyze frame rates for these games, we employ WeTest PerfDog. Subsequently, we contextualize the gaming performance against other phones within a similar price bracket.


testing mobile phones camera

Testing Mobile Phones Camera

We evaluate every camera on the phone across different scenarios. This involves capturing numerous test shots in various outdoor settings during the day and night, as well as indoors under both favorable and low lighting conditions.

Our assessment includes a thorough examination of full-sized photos to gauge aspects like precise color representation, vibrant saturation, depth of field, wide-angle distortion, intricate detailing, and image noise. Additionally, if the phone is marketed with specific camera capabilities like underwater photography or video stabilization, we put those features to the test as part of our evaluation process.

Other Phone Features

We examine controls, ports, and storage, as well as assess the volume of the ringtone and the intensity of the vibrating alert. Our evaluation of microSD card slots involves the utilization of a 256GB card. Additionally, if a phone is equipped with or compatible with accessories like fast chargers or smart pens, we subject them to testing as well.

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