Xperia Z1 deemed best Android phone in China
China has a glut of smartphones, sold by global brands like Samsung, as well as local vendors including Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo.
Considering this range of selection, venture a guess as to who offers the best Android smartphone to Chinese consumers; with "best" having superior performance, battery life, and display quality, thus providing the user the best in browsing, infotainment, messaging, and multimedia.
Well, who knows? That's why Tencent, China's Internet service provider, Qualcomm, and BDTI (Berkeley Design Technology, Inc.) set out to figure it out last year when the three companies founded the Mobile Experience Alliance.
By developing a new rating system called Certimo—short for Certified Mobile Experience Rating—for mobile devices, the Mobile Experience Alliance unveiled Sunday, February 23, the first ratings of 29 handsets.
The winner in the Certimo Overall Rating was Sony's Xperia Z1 L39h. Samsung came in the second with its Galaxy Note 3. The third place went to Sony, again, with its Xperia Z Ultra XL39h.
China's Tencent published the first set of Certimo ratings for Android smartphones to hundreds of millions of users on Tencent's QQ.com network.
According to the alliance, the Certimo ratings provide "a single number summary rating that reflects the real-world user experiences that mobile devices deliver when performing the functions most frequently used by consumers—including application performance, web browsing, messaging, multimedia and infotainment."
The website also offers different rating results according to the following eight categories. They include: Certimo overall rating, performance, battery life, display quality, browsing experience, infotainment experience, messaging experience, and multimedia experience.
The idea is to let users sort out the ideal phone according to personal preference.
For example, if battery life is particularly important to a user, he'll lean towards Huawei Ascend Mate, instead of Sony's Xperia. The top three Android smartphones in the best battery life category all went to Chinese vendors. Vivo Xplay came in the second, and Oppo N1got in the third place.
Why yet another rating system?
The world is full of benchmarks, product reviews, and consumer reports. Does it really need the Mobile Experience Alliance to launch yet another rating system for mobile devices?
Dino Brusco, general manager of the Mobile Experience Alliance, told EE Times that the motive behind the Certimo ratings was to come up with a meaningful benchmarking system that can serve both users and the mobile industry.
Faced with so many choices in mobile devices, with similar features and almost identical shapes, consumers are confused about how to compare them, and more importantly, how to choose the right device, explained Brusco.
The same goes for the industry. While handset OEMs can benchmark their devices in terms of MIPS (millions of instructions per second), pixels per inch, and other numerical measures, they actually struggle to figure out how to compete, where to invest R&D and how to promote their differences. To develop credible strategies, OEMs need to know where their mobile device stands in terms of the real-world user experiences it's delivering.
Asked who actually does all the ratings, Brusco stressed, "None of this matters if this were all done by a handset vendor."
BDTI, a developer and practitioner of benchmarking processors over the last 20 years, is responsible for delivering independently certified test results for the Certimo ratings, said Jeff Bier, president of BDTI. "We would like to think that BDTI delivers rigor, integrity and objectivity to the process."
Bier acknowledged that BDTI is known for benchmarking on the processor level, with no experience in mobile devices. "Still, we were appalled by the lack of objectivity" in benchmarks used for mobile devices, he said.
About a year ago, BDTI took on the project, hired Brusco, a former vice president of mobile innovation centre at Huawei device, and decided to put the initial regional focus on China.
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