So this week, in light of all the reviews coming out about the V, I wanted to ask the community about reviewers. Few of us buy products without doing research first, and because most of us don’t have the time/energy/connections/influence/money/know-how to physically test and review the different devices ourselves, we turn to others who do: reviewers.
So this week’s question is?
What do you consider the most important qualities in a reviewer?
Please (respectfully) share your thoughts and comments below.
I haven’t included a poll in this weeks survey because I don’t think I could come anywhere close to listing most of the responses people will give answering this question. Actually this same problem has prevented me from asking other questions in the past, but this question felt so relevant this week I had to give it a try. So this is sort of a test to see if not having a poll ruins the whole thread or if we can still have a meaningful discussion.
By all means, feel free to create your own polls to compare specific attributes or other things below!!!
The reviewer has to understand and has to have knowledge about what he is talking.
If he says in his text/video the screen is bad, he has to prove this.
(Picture with clouding, messurements of the brightness and so on)
The same for other components in the reviewed device.
Neutral. So many embarrassingly biased reviews out there… Little language details that matter, comparing to different devices and not just the reviewer’s favorite one, etc.
Objective and evidence based. Those “when watching (put the latest film here) the colors of the (put your favorite thing in the film) really popped out” kill me.
Thorough. Saying that the V’s keyboard is “nothing special but in a good way” and then not even mentioning it has unique Bluetooth capabilities, or just forgetting to talk about battery life, doesn’t make for a good review.
First of all, the reviewer has to be familiar with the product. That means, s/he has to know and, at least mention the product’s features. Whether s/he likes it or not is another matter. The worst thing, in my opinion, is giving a Windows device to a Mac reviewer or vice versa, as they would not be able to assess the product to its full potential, unless the product is aimed squarely for that platform (like the Surface Laptop, for example). In that case, the reviewer has to spend the extra effort to learn about the new platform that s/he isn’t familiar with.
Secondly, there has to be numbers and comparison. Posters above have mentioned the importance of numbers, so I wont write it here. However, numbers alone may not mean anything as the readers do not have the competitors’ numbers on top of their head.
Thirdly, understand the purpose of the product. The best example is probably LTT’s video about the Surface Pro 3, where he only tested it as his personal device for his personal use case. Cut it short, he doesnt like it. However, he later admitted in another video that the device is the best companion for students. He should have said that in the review, rather than making a highly personal statements that wont apply for the majority of the crowd anyway.
And finally, they shouldnt waste people’s time more than what they absolutely have to. If a review can be condensed to just 5 minutes without losing any of the points, there is absolutely zero need to make a 30 minutes video or article.
And obviously, no fanboyism, rant, but I think it goes without saying.
Someone who holds a similar set of functionality interests and use cases to me. A reviewer who wants and rates max fps in games is irrelevant to me. A reviewer who wants the best colour reproduction for art stuff is irrelevant to me
I agree a reviewer needs to be neutral, professional etc., but the risk is that you do need to know little and show little to appear to be a pro
Maybe the best of both worlds is someone who has an opinion but can too provide reasoning (not only numbers), i mean you can lookup the specs, the point is if the device is living up to them. I like Linus as a good example, as he lists stuff that is pain from an every day user perspective.
But i too love thorough reviews, with checking for scenarios - example: as notebookcheck did with the Vs, but, apparently they have a good process to do the tests, who does it and how he interprets the results is another thing: oh yeah, because an m3 can rock i5 & i7 just like that and we dont try to find out what may be wrong with our setup but rather reason it is silicon lottery…
A reviewer should be enthusiastic about the areas he reviews (so e.g. a “tech enthusiast” if looking at tech gadgets). Content wise reviewers should try to leave bias aside, compare on a measurable scale (as far as possible at least) and be able to explain the reasoning behind these measures. A reviewer should be able to explain topics in simple language to allow for a wide audience. And of course a reviewer should not just list the features from the spec sheet, but it has to be recognizable that the product that is under review has actually been used.
The AnandTechs and NotebookChecks of the world are invaluable, but I also like hearing from reviewers who are comfortable speaking from their point of view. Complete objectivity is impossible, and an aggregate of differing opinions can be more useful to prospective buyers than running a device past the same benchmarks a million times over.
I’d rather hear what an individual liked or disliked about the device than them trying to speak on behalf of use cases that they are not familiar with. I feel this awareness is largely lacking in tech coverage; writers need to come to terms with the fact that the majority of consumers don’t use technology in the same way that they do.
Technical knowledge and honest unbiased reporting, leaving opinions for a summary and not part of the review to be assumed as fact. I also prefer the unit being put to practical use for a period of time, not just a day or two.