What types of reviews does PhoneArena publish?
In the best case scenario, we always strive to provide you with a full device review that explores all the essential aspects of a given device.
Reviews cover everything there is to know about a product, including the full roster of benchmarks, camera samples, and our personal experience with the device that’s been accrued across multiple days of using it as a daily driver.
In these full reviews, we also provide readers with additional buying recommendations that might be worth exploring, as well as our unbiased and honest opinion about the reviewed device as a whole while reflecting on its unique spot in the current market.
In some scenarios, when a new phone gets announced but we’ve had limited access to it at the time, we might publish a hands-on review, or preview.
Hands-on reviews deliver our initial impressions of a product, usually obtained during manufacturer device launches or similar media briefing events where we’ve had some first-hand exposure to the product. These materials do not contain conclusive findings or opinion, but serve to set some initial expectations about the device in question.
We also publish 1v1 comparisons that compare two rival devices or a new phone against its predecessor. In these types of reviews, we aim to find all the important differences between the two products, ultimately giving our verdict as to which one is the better one depending on the target audience.
Aside from our personal experience with each phone, tablet, earbuds, etc., these types of comparison reviews usually contain camera and video samples taken with each device at the same time, as well as the full slew of benchmarks and battery life tests that might be relevant to the devices in question.
How does PhoneArena review phones?
Our reviews combine our real-world experience with a given device and all the synthetic benchmark tests that we conduct, which helps us compare it with other devices of the same type. We always strive to spend a certain amount of time with the phone we review so as to get a more accurate and complete outlook of what it’s like to use that phone as a daily driver.
First up, we gauge the design of the phone and what its effect is on everyday usability, as well as what hardware and software features set it apart from its rivals and predecessors.
In the meantime, we also conduct a series of benchmarks of the phone’s display, performance, and battery life, all of which are extremely important and essential aspects of the smartphone experience.
How do we test phone displays?
Displays are tested by a professional PhoneArena employee, who measures the minimum and maximum brightness of the screen, the contrast ratio, gamma, and color temperature. We also check the color and grayscale accuracy of the display, as well as compare the actual color measurements against the CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart.
In order to achieve coherent and comparable display benchmarking results across multiple devices, we’ve been relying on the superb Calman Calibration software for years. Developed by one of the most adept companies in the field of color science and display technology, Portrait Displays, this product ensures that we can reliably measure the inherent properties of device screens.
How do we test phone performance?
When it comes to performance, we conduct a series of synthetic benchmark tests that allow us to compare how a given device fares up against the competition. While various benchmarking tools on both Android and iOS exist, we usually run the following benchmarks on the phones we review: Geekbench 5, 3DMark, AnTuTu, GFXBench, and others.
Primate Labs’ Geekbench is one of the most reliable cross platform benchmarking solutions thanks to its single- and multi-core tests that provide a definitive measure of the processing prowess of a given device.
On the other hand, 3DMark intensive synthetic benchmark lets us stress-test each device and see how well it retains its peak performance after a while and if thermal throttling is too severe.
How do we test phone cameras?
Testing a phone’s camera system and its capabilities definitely is one of the more important and time-consuming tests we do.
For every device we review, we strive to take as many photos as possible, testing out all of the cameras it might have (regular, ultra-wide, telephoto, front-facing, etc). We strive to benefit from various lighting conditions and unique shooting scenarios as possible in order to simulate what you might stumble upon in your day-to-day endeavors.
For example, aside from regular camera samples taken in good lighting conditions, we also love to head out at night and see what each phone’s camera is capable of once the lights go down. The same applies to any other inherent camera feature that might be intriguing to both beginner and advanced mobile photographers.
How do we test phone battery life?
And finally, we put all the phones we review under our bespoke battery tests that aim to mimic real-life usage as closely as possible.
We manually set all phone displays to 200 nits by using Portrait Displays’ Calman Calibration suite and then run our three separate battery tests.
The first one aims to simulate a pretty standard web browsing scenario over Wi-Fi. It loads up the same set of webpages on all of the phones we test and then scrolls up and down to simulate real-world use.
Our second battery life test involves video streaming and auto-plays the same playlist of videos and could prove to be immensely useful to those who watch a lot of media on their devices.
Finally, our gaming test involves the same 3D gaming environment on all phones and puts a more pronounced strain on the GPU of a given device.
We also test the charging speeds of each phone; if there’s no charger in the box, we always try to use the one recommended by the manufacturer.
How does PhoneArena rate phones?
When we complete our device reviews, we rate each device based on its market segment and price point. Although budget and premium flagships are usually comparable, they do not necessarily share the same review rating system. That’s why a decent budget phone can receive the same (or even higher) rating as an expensive flagship phone.
We use a 10-point grading scale, with 1 being the worst and 10 hypothetically the best score a phone could score. Here’s what each score means:
|1.0-2.0 Terrible||The weak points of this device surmount dramatically its useful features.
|2.0-4.0 Poor||A device with major drawbacks.|
|4.0-6.0 Average||This is an average device, which performs decently and will satisfy the general consumer preferences, but not much else.|
|6.0-8.0 Good||This rating indicates a device with above average performance and features, which has some minor drawbacks.|
|8.0-9.0 Very good||The device is amazing in almost all of its aspects, with minor exceptions.|
|9.0-10 Excellent||The performance and the features offered by the device are outstanding.|
Does PhoneArena give badges and awards?
Yes, we award a "Recommended" badge to all products which score an overall rating of 8 and up in our review section. The purpose of the badge is to signal to readers that the product in question is a remarkable performer in its category.
We also give out awards to deserving devices and manufacturers on a fairly regular basis. You can usually expect this during major industry events and exhibitions, like CES, MWC, and IFA.
We also love to give yearly awards at the end of each year, celebrating the best phones in different categories and across different price points.
Is PhoneArena free to use?
As you all know, every single feature on PhoneArena.com is accessible and absolutely free of charge to the visitors.
We do, however, allow paid advertisements in order to cover the expenses related to keeping the site up (hosting, staff, equipment, etc.).
You may also stumble upon affiliate offers while browsing PhoneArena. We may earn a commission if you make a purchase by following any of those links. Of course, any accompanying content remains unbiased and always strives to present the given product in the most objective manner possible.
Therefore, it should be clear that it is in our best interest to keep our visitors and attract new ones, by providing the most unbiased phone reviews as soon as a device is made available to us.