How to Read Reviews
When it comes to buying electronics, reviews are best way to know what you are getting. Various sites offer reviews, but in general I prefer to use cnet for editor reviews, or amazon for user reviews.
Editors are often experts on technology. and able to easily and quickly break down the best and worst features or bugs of a product. Cnet in particular has best video reviews I’ve found. Cnet has a good repuation and offers mostly unbiased reviews from informed professionals. Editor reviews are great for pro/con on features. However, since editor reviews are based on handling product for first time, editor reviews often tell little about usability or long term durability of a product. Editors also often receive free product in order to give favored reviews, and in this way can exhibit bias.
User reviews are written by consumers who have bought the product, and rated it based on their personal experience. Often user reviews are uniformed, and by themselves mean relatively little. But when looked at in terms of statistics, offer a wide range of information that editor reviews cannot provide. Including issues that only occur after prolonged or long term use.
user reviews have five main elements:
- Rating: high and low score able to be given
- Number: how many times has the product been reviewed
- Average: average rating of product taking all reviews into account
- Mean: What rating scale has the most reviews?
- patterns: any features/issues mentioned frequently by many different users?
Lets compare two products.
- product A: $199 average rating 4.5/5 (2 reviews) release date: last month
- Product B: $139 average rating 8/10 (2050 reviews) release date: last year
At first glance, product A appears to be the better option. It is higher rated, the newer product and while slightly more expensive, would appear to be better buy. The only reason Product B is rated lower, is because it has over 1000% the reviews than product A. The benefit to the large number of reviews is that an unusually high number of defective units or similar issues mentioned, should be taken seriously. The low amount of user reviews on product A, causes the high user rating to mean absolutely nothing.
In general I start by reading the 4/5 ratings and 2/5 ratings. The 5 and 1 star reviews are often empty and exhibit polar viewpoints based on flash judgments or brand loyalty opposed to an unbiased views of product.
- “I love it! best gadget ever! You GOT to buy it.” (5/5)
- Good gadget overall, but had some issues with battery life. 4/5
- Liked gadget ok, but wouldn’t buy again. 3/5
- Battery life very short. Gadget costs twice what competitor offers with half the features and battery life! Would not recommend. 2/5
- ^%^&* POS worthless gadget! Would rate 0/5 if i could! (1/5)
Look for more tips on reading reviews in part 2! (coming soon)
Happy deal hunting!
-The Broke Technophile
What is an Audiophile?
“An audiophile is a person with interest in perfecting sound (usually music) quality, desiring high-quality sound reproduction.”
The broke technophile, is my answer to those of us who have an obsession with tech, but little to no budget for it. Luckily, rapid advancement of tech industry have left even smallest budget with many options.