Most people only start to fret about their Internet’s download speeds once those actually dip to the point of being noticeable. Ookla’s Speedtest has long been regarded as one of the go-to tools for benchmarking those speeds, though not without some controversy and criticism. These days, however, raw download and upload numbers are less important than how those speeds will affect their video streaming binge. That’s why Ookla expanded its Speedtest app to include tests for video streaming, a feature that is finally available on Android months after its initial announcement.
As if Internet speeds weren’t already nontrivial to evaluate because of many fluctuating factors, video streaming adds its own sets of constraints and variables to complicate matters. Anything from your Internet connection’s bandwidth, video resolution, phone hardware, and network traffic can make or break your streaming experience. Speedtest’s new Video Testing feature takes all those into consideration and, more importantly, offers actionable steps to take to improve your experience.
Benchmark tests are as much art as they are science, and different suites follow different philosophies and methodologies. Speedtest’s strategy is to stream short videos at increasing resolutions until it fails to finish within a predefined amount of time or it reaches 4K resolution.
Going beyond just reporting numbers, however, Speedtest will recommend steps to take to maximize video streaming. These can include lowering video resolution or even watching on a different device if you prefer higher resolutions anyway. Speedtest notes that there are times that your network capacity is far better than what your phone can handle.
Speedtest’s Video Testing feature was announced back in February but was limited to iOS only. Now it’s available on Android as well, accessible from the Video tab at the bottom of the screen. It bears noting that benchmarks are only approximations of actual performance measured against ideal conditions, and it might not always match your actual experience when streaming videos.