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The Register has been running hardware and software reviews for some years now, mainly though not exclusively through its sister-site, the written-for-consumers Reg Hardware. We're planning to make some improvements, but before we put them in place, we'd like to hear what you, the reader, would like to find when you click to …

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Quality writing (i.e. better proof reading), evidence for opinions and statements, more balance.

As per the title.

A number of reg articles recently have had very poor writing. Either in a grammatical sense, or simply typo's misspellings and repeated words. It's not hard to get this right, just get one or two other people to read it before publishing, I presume there must be at least 1 grammar nazi among the reg team.

If not I'll happily take the job, for an extortionate fee of course.

Secondly, opinions and statements given about products should be backed up by fact, and quality facts at that.

A review a short while back of Google Drive for iOS is a prime example, the "screenshots" provided were fairly poor quality photos of the phone screen taken with a camera (or another phone?).

Additionally there seems to be a tendency for the writers opinions to be stated as fact. The Google Drive review (apologies for focusing on one article (but it was so dire it provides a myriad of examples of fail) stated in somewhat factual way the Captcha used was unreadable when this was clearly not the case as I and many others could read in the poor quality images used in the review, not to mention the many people who have successfully used the app.

Overall, less bias please and less writing in the style of a guy showing of his latest toy to his mates down the pub. More writing in the style of a balanced, unbiased quality technology publication (since that is what The Register purports to be).

For examples of quite good reviews The Register has done, I would point you in the direction of:

http://www.reghardware.com/2011/01/24/review_smartphone_htc_desire_z/

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/10/03/review_samsung_galaxy_note_2_gt_n7100_android_smartphone/

http://www.reghardware.com/2009/12/07/review_phone_nokia_n900_smartphone/

All of which helped convince me to buy the particular device, and were fairly well written and were nicely balanced in pointing out the good and bad in the products.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Quality writing (i.e. better proof reading), evidence for opinions and statements, more balance.

Thanks for that, Phil. Some very useful pointers.

Small point: the Google Drive piece wasn't intended as a review per se, more a piece describing the writer's (exasperated) experience with the software. You're right about the pictures, mind.

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Headmaster

Re: Quality writing (i.e. better proof reading), evidence for opinions and statements, more balance.

Muphry's Law in action there Phil?

"typo's" ... "myriad of" ... frequent punctuation errors, nested/unclosed parentheses.

I don't think I'd pay you to be my resident "grammar nazi" if I was the Reg. ;o)

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Re: Quality writing (i.e. better proof reading), evidence for opinions and statements, more balance.

"typo's" is arguably OK as the word typo is itself a contraction of the phrase "typographical error".

So without an apostrophe is OK if the "s" is a multiple of the word "typo" (is this now accepted as an English word?) and with an apostrophe is OK if it's a contraction of "typographical errors".

Unless there's an English teacher/professor who wants to weigh in on that. :-)

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some actual tests would be nice, especially for the displays

If a review won't tell me what actual kind of display is installed, its pretty useless.

1) We need to know if its an IPS, SPL or just a cheap TN panel.

2) Color Gamut, brightness and contrast varies massively among displays, would be nice to know how close does it get to sRGB color space etc.

3) We need to know if the viewing angles are so bad, that a single color will look different at the top of the screen from what it looks like at the bottom or center of the screen.

4) Let us know how well the display works under sunlight. laptops, smartphones and tablets do get used outside...

So far, they all seem to be making stuff up according to subjective impressions, caused by personal preference, coincidental surroundings and other unknown factors.

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Alternatives

When I go reading reviews, it's generally not because I want to know if something is worth buying, but because I want to know *which* something to get. So, for me, comparisons with other similar products are important (especially in the introduction/conclusion paragraphs, which are often the only parts I read).

Doesn't apply so much to game reviews, but I don't care much about those, because modern games all suck anyway.

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Re: Alternatives

Absolutely agree - comparisons is it. I would also suggest that best buy tables be kept live and up to date - add the new item into the existing table, including value for money. I know it's all a judgement, but you are probably better qualified than the rest of us to make that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Alternatives

Yes, I'm all for comparing alternatives as well. But occasionally I can't help feeling that the 10-product-roundups you do have their selection determined by who has paid you to have their stuff included rather than some mechanism that would benefit readers.

E.g., as readers on the comments have pointed out the "Ten... external battery packs" article had just totally overpriced stuff while there were several affordable and great alternatives available from amazon and elsewhere. Getting that sorted for future articles is my one and only request.

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Megaphone

The problem with reg reviews all too often is that they are "I thought this product was this, it's not, so I'm going to moan about it for three pages".

Balanced, objective reviews please. Less benchmarks, we don't need a page of tables, just a paragraph (but always doing a battery life test if applicable), as there are sites out there that will do the benchmarks better than you can anyway.

Product photos are good, but not the ones from the manufacturer as we've seen them all already. If there's a special thing about a product, let's have a picture of it. If not, more shots of it on a white background from far away are pointless.

Obviously I expect a good deal of irreverence from El Reg, it's why I've been coming here for so long.

But please keep up the good work, I like your reviews on a whole, but the ever increasing minority are letting the side down.

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Numbers are objective. Opinions depend on point of view.

I agree products should be evaluated on what they do, not what the reporter thought they would do.

However, reporting variations between what a product is advertised as being capable of and what it actually is capable of is very useful.

I need the numbers. Numbers are objective. Opinions depend on point of view.

Compare battery life in a table. Is 8 hours good or bad compared to the competition.

What we get too much of on North American review websites is a nice touchy-feely story woven around a re-print of the distributors press release.

I could see adding more photos to what the manufacturer has produced.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Numbers are objective. Opinions depend on point of view.

As a general point to all raising the notion of comparisons, I hear what you are saying but it occurs to me that we'll end up hearing nothing but 'why didn't you compare it with X???'

With the best will in the world, any given reviewer is unlikely to have tried all the rival products in the same category as the kit he or she is looking at.

But I will see how we can develop this further. Thanks for the feedback, folks

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I agree: stock photos from the manufacturer should be nixed.

I'd prefer to see animated gifs or VRs of the item--especially for the 'edges' i.e. the ports and buttons and whatnot found around a laptop, notebook, tablet, phone, etc.. That particular photo (often) could be full-width and in-line within the review, as it would be contextually relevant (to the text) and not take up much vertical space. A front- and back-side-inclusive image (whirling dervish style) could be shown at quarter-width or less, with that image itself being a link to a pop-up/new window/new tab displaying the full-size GIF/VR/what-have-you.

Benchmarks are data sometimes useful for making a comparison with other, similar hardware, so their inclusion in reviews is sometimes warranted. Perhaps reviews citing benchmarks could include links to external resources specialising in hosting complete benchmarks e.g. geekbench.ca. (El Reg tends not to provide links to external sites, it seems. For reviews, this general approach could do with a muscle relaxant.)

The use of consistent summary tables for gross attributes (specs, basically) would be a useful thing to provide, either at the head or tail of the article, rather than mid-way through. Such tables allow for more direct comparison of items within a category or class of hardware. Placing them consistently first within the body allows, for example, someone shopping via El Reg reviews, to open multiple tabs in their browser and be able to see all the salient info for each item, in its own tab, immediately, sans navigation.

Camera reviews: page after page of images produced by the camera seem unnecessary when in-lined. Fork that aspect of such reviews into a different tab/window/pop-up, but retain small samples, or pull-photes, in-line with the text, to keep things nicely-decorated.

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Pint

More BOFH's

As per title

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Phil W is pretty much correct...

I totally agree with Phil W, the proof reading has been piss poor recently, and some of the articles on my favorite Lesbian journal (Yes, I've been reading the Reg for some time!) have been really bad. It doesn't take me 2 minutes to read most articles, so why can't someone there proof a colleagues work? It would so improve the quality and add gravitas to the article it's self. Is the plan to become the "Guardian" of the digital age maybe? (In reference to the news paper "Guardian"'s often terrible proof, historically?)

Technical reviews are excellent and really appreciated, and Reg Hardware has often guided me in purchase decisions. Most of which I've found have lead me to making good purchases. I wonder though, if Hardware can do a technical breakdown, and then another section, "Lifestyle" for example could give us a real world, life with said device story? Both styles would be absolutely excellent.

For example, I'm using Rasberry PI's at the moment in work. I need to know the technical specs because in this case I'm using them as Nagios boxes. I'm also now using them at home to replace some full on desktops, for the lower power usage. So two totally different applications there. I'd like to see the tech review so I have some back ground before I order something, but I'd also like to see how they are as Day to Day devices.

Hope that helps a little and makes some sense?

Keep up the good work, just keep cheeking the poof reading and the speeeling,

Bon

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I love your 10 whatever reviews of consumer products, where you review 10 competing products

For consumer product reviews, I love the 10 reviews, where you review 10 competing products and compare them.

Other organizations tend to have shameless "reviews" that are little better than re-printed vendor press releases.

On the other hand, The Reg tells us the good and the bad, and compares products openly -- which is what makes the reviews worth reading.

For the consumer product reviews, I think the approach is very good. If you want to improve it, maybe go into more detail about each product being reviewed, and compare on more points.

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Re: I love your 10 whatever reviews of consumer products, where you review 10 competing products

Actually testing to see if a device meets claimed specifications would be the next best improvement to individual consumer reviews you could make. And if you could do that testing on samples anonymously purchased from random suppliers (rather than specially tweaked samples provided free by the vendor) that would be perfect!

Tom's Hardware does a pretty good job of this with the enthusiast (hobbiest) products they review, such as top-of-the-line consumer graphics cards. But they seem to use specially provided samples, which the vendor may have tweaked. (Sometimes there is no alternative, where a product is not available for sale, but then is a pre-release sample with pre-release firmware something a later production product can be evaluated on? Probably not. But they're in a hurry because their enthusiast readers (hobbiests) -- their target audience -- want to be on the bleeding edge of technology.)

Also they tend to ignore what is most important. For example, they don't test SSDs for stability in desktop situations where supply voltage may vary, they only test speed. What is more important for accessing your data? That it be 10% faster or that the data be there? That the data be there of course. But testing reliability might be embarrassing to vendors.

So yes, adding actual tests of samples obtained by making anonymous purchases would be a valuable addition to consumer reviews.

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Re: I love your 10 whatever reviews of consumer products, where you review 10 competing products

The other website I mention, they do fall into the category of over use of tables. They'll run 8 different sets of benchmarks on each (say) video card and report on each in detail. They'll have 20 histogram tables in one review comparing graphics cards.

That is over use of tables to the point of unreadable boredom.

But a tables to compare resolution, power consumption, dimensions, and 3 columns with frame rate on each frame rate test, a table with 6 columns and one row per product is fine.

Mobile phones, a table to compare battery life, O/S, weight, dimensions, screen size, screen resolution, at a glace, is very useful -- much more useful than the same info buried in separate paragraphs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I love your 10 whatever reviews of consumer products, where you review 10 competing products

Agreed that a feature comparison table would be useful in comparative reviews. For example, a printer review should summarise things like cost, cost per page, DPI, printer language, speed, interfaces, OS support, extras (e.g. duplex printing, second paper tray, scanner, etc.). Picking through each review to find the devices that have the exact features you need is a chore.

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Re: I love your 10 whatever reviews of consumer products, where you review 10 competing products

C'mon guys - GSM Arena already has a feature that allows you to compare side by side the specifications of any two mobile phones... likewise, Tom's Hardware, Anandtech, and DPreview (for cameras) throw more time, benchmarks and controlled tests at things than the Reg could hope to. You benchmark junkies are well served by the internet. It is pointless for El Reg to compete with them on that front.

I see Reg reviews as a good first port of call. Before dumping £300+ on anything, I would seek a second opinion. It is only a few keystrokes away.

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for business products, how about adopting a 10 whatever review style? also testing

For business products, how about adopting a 10 whatever review style, like you have for consumer products?

At a minimum do more comparison of competing products to the product or service being reviewed.

Again, the willingness to report both good and bad aspects of the produce or service, and to compare competing products, is what makes reviews worth reading.

Of course for business products (big ticket items or items where a buyer will be buying 100s) a longer more detailed review is greatly appreciated.

Actually testing to see if a device meets claimed specifications would be the best improvement to individual reviews you could make. And if you could do that testing on samples anonymously purchased from random suppliers (rather than specially tweaked samples provided free by the vendor) that would be perfect!

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Fix the scoring

Do you never review bad items? What is the point of percentage points if nothing scores below 50%? In fact I reckon 80% of stuff come ins between 70% and 90%. Just have 5 stars and be done with.

Apart from that, the comparisons are always good to read and you could do with a few more, and the other reviews are a good balance.

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Mostly been said

It's all been mostly said already although I have possibly a few ideas.

I really like the comparisons and the 10 whatevers, because these often help me to decide which is the best product for my needs.

There are times when I want a long in-depth review but mostly a shorter review covering in the good, the bad and the ugly points are what I am after.

Benchmarks are sometimes usefull but if there is a lot of technical waffle and tables I end up skipping those in favour of how well does it work in the persons hands.

Technical specs i can get from the products webiste, don't waste your valuable time and space copying it from them.

YES for keeping the percentage rating, I like to know what the Reg guys rate things as. The star ratings would just be a different representation of the same thing but less flexible.

Photo's are good only if they show something important, if I want the glossy cover shots I will look at the products site.

"We review products as users" ... thats perfect because most of are end users of the products.

One last point, the spell-checking could be a bit better, not only on Reg Hardware but on Reg itself, there have been a couple of bad ones recently that should really have been picked up by a proof reader, or even a spell checker (unless JSUT is part of your regular spelling)

Otherwise keep up the good work, I love coming in to see whats new or to check how new goodies measure up in the hands of my favourite IT site.

Cheers

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Tagging and am I asking too much?

Like some of the other readers here, I have been reading the Reg for many years - actually since 2000, so whereas I am not so arrogant to say that I can discern all the other readership,based on comments made and articles chosen to publish , I think that there is a fair proportion that have a lot of similar requirements as myself.

As a result I would expect to rely on the Reg for reviews that I can pretty much count on, but I don't for the majority of the time because they seem to come across more like a consumer review (which you said in the article - I never thought of erg hardware as that kind of site before but it now makes sense) from a 'tech' section of a sunday paper. The reviews I like are the ones where you KNOW that the reviewer has used the item and finds it amazing or hated it completely. When that happens then they write about it in depth and chances are, I will too.

So If I wan't a review on something to help make a decision I rely on a combination of Cnet reviews, Amazon reviews and google searches for the other part I will come to.

There are several things that I want to know from a computer regview (see what I did there?).

Build quality.

Drive performance - At the moment this is the biggest singular issue for performance bottlenecks on non-ssd

Screen on a laptop.

Keyboard.

Warranty.

And for me - WILL IT RUN (CRYSIS^H^H^H^H^H^H) LINUX?

Weight is not really a focus. If it is a 15 inch gaming laptop, I know it isn't going to be light. If it is a 11.6 screen, a pound here or there is going to make not one change to my decision. But Linux is *very* important. I also understand there are so many flavours etc and not all will work the same. The fact manufacturers don't seem to really help much is a right PITA, whereas a significant proportion of your readership will find that invaluable.

Now obviously there can be a lot of playing around to get everything working and the time to do that isn't necessarily cost effective, but trying to install a base version of Mint, or even Ubuntu and say what doesn't work would be a real winner for me.

In my case I would like to see basics like multi-monitor support, wifi, networking, what hardware keys do or do not work out of the box. That way it gives me somewhere to start researching to see if these problems are solvable within a reasonable timeframe before purchasing the kit.

Plus Tagging - I know there was a review on a mouse recently, (in the last year), that you really rated. i couldn't remember it. I searched on Mouse, Mouse reviews, tried the reg hardware category for peripherals and couldn't find it anywhere. If you could categorise things with, I dunno, tagging things like; Review, Mouse, Brand, model etc - would make finding things a lot simpler and not picking up any review that just mentions a mouse.

Thanks for the chance to ask about all this...

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pictures

I love the photos in your camera reviews: Catherine Monfils' pictures are always an inspiration. Howevwer, in addition to those i'd like to see some sort of boring "comparable" test screens that make it possible to compare the capabilities, or lack thereof, particularly of phones & such, real cameras these days all take bloddy good pictures anyway.

For things like printers and phone screens, you could do close-ups of a standard image's reproduction (no doubt a vulture).

Perhaps that's asking too much, but even the tinny (that's a horrible word!) -ness of phone or laptop speakers could be exposed by recording them through a quality microphone?

In summary, a (brief) set of "standard tests" that allows people to compare seperate reviews' results.

Oh and thanks for the reviews in general.

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Summarize the review so it appears brief, but have expandable sections (like the comment forums) for those that want to read the full review (me).

Before doing a round-up (ie best 10 whatevers), do a poll to see, out of say 20 items (include an 'other' field), which 10 we want reviewed :p

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Happy

Objective measuring of percentage scores

Hi,

I find the product reviews and I read them whenever they come out. I find them informative and they have guided my spending choices in the past, e.g. powerline adapters.

I am, however, often puzzled by the percentage score though. How is it calculated? I reckon that it is simply the reviewer's gut feeling.

What I would like are some objective parameters, each with their own weighting, the sum of which would give the overall percentage score. Once the methodology is explained, then we can interpret the results ourselves. It would allow for an accurate comparison amongst similar types.

Kind Regards

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Full disclosure

> we'd like to hear what you, the reader, would like to find when you click to read a Register review.

First, I would like to know which items the reviewer (or any other member of the staff) have bought for their own use, with their own money.

Failing that, I would like to know which things have been loaned / given solely for review purposes (I suspect the answer is: all of them) or which items were picked randomly off the shelf i.e. are not "special" - and so have a level of quality / reliability that a normal purchaser could expect.

I would like balance. No bits of electronic (or software) wizardry are perfect, so it's reasonable to ask for the faults to be given as much page-space as the benefits. If you want an icon for this I would suggest replacing "stars" with "Curate's eggs"

Finally, don't bother just repeating any or all of the stuff in the promotional flyer. We're big boys and girls and are quite capable of discovering the makers' publicity for ourselves. So please, please, please write about your own, personal experiences as a USER, don't just parrot the sales blurb.

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More Vulture

The Reg as a whole has a distinctive style which people either love or hate in presenting factual information. I'm quite often missing the Vulture Touch in a lot of the reviews, which is a shame, as there's tons of sites that review the same gadget/item/equipment, but none have that typical Vulture style.

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Linux

Laptops

How about saying that all laptops that don't have what Linus calls "reasonable resolution" are crap.

Likewise glossy screens.

On a slightly more realistic level, why not add a "Will it run Linux*" section to the review. Surely I'm not the only one who will not be using Microsoft software on any future platform.

*Or more likely, how much faster will it run under Linux.

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Re: Laptops

Many reviews do point out the shoddy resolution of laptops, but since rival machines don't tend to do much better, what's the point? Perhaps a Reg Round Up of Top Ten Laptops with Decent Resolution would be a better way of approaching the subject? There are some daftly expensive Sony VAIOs with good resolution, but I can't even find Lenovo mobile workstations with more than 1080 vertical pixels these days.

It amazes me that all these 'Ultrabooks' copy aspects of the Macbook Air, but neglect the screen, both ratio and resolution. Perhaps Intel's top-down requirement that an Ultrabook must weigh less than X, be no thicker than Y, and run on batteries for Z and bugger all other consequences is NOT the way to bring a great machine to market.

And Mystic, people don't don't run Windows because they love it, they run it because of the software available for it. For many people, Linux just isn't an option, even though they might want to use it. Some software might run faster under Linux, but some won't run at all. I would have thought that penguins have their own colonies on the interwebs to share information about suitable laptops, being advocates of learning from each other's experiences and all.

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Boffin

Re: Laptops

Agree with you over the screens. I had a dell with a 1900 plus res screen back in 2002!

However disagree with you over Linux.. For many people, yes, Linux isn't an option. It still is the only option for 'many' people. Whereas there are sites to go and find out if this works or that works, they only build up after something is in use for a while. Since most new lapbooks aren't tested with Linux, people don't tend to buy them new then go straight to linux. Those that do, do so out of necessity. So with that in mind, it would be useful for a common distro to be test installed on a lapbook to see how it fares.

I would find that more than bloody useful.

Anyone else?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Laptops

I guess it depends on which target market you are aiming for, if its corporate than carry around weight is going to be the most important metric and not the screen size.

I dont see that the top 10 for laptops is really going to tell you much, I use amazon for reviews for laptops a simple top ten is to open to reviewer bias.

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WTF?

Re: Laptops

Define "reasonable".

Personally I reckon that having anything above 1080 on a screen of less than 24" is on a par with having umpty-something megapixels on a phone camera.

i.e. Technologically impressive, but makes sod-all difference due to the fundamental limitations of the device.

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That iPhone 5 review.

Was about the most embarrassing, sycophantic love in i have ever read. the fact that it made it on to the front page calls in to question the editorial standards.

other than that. the witty titles are good but you do need to be able to extract some meaning from them. sometimes so elaborate is the pun that all meaning is lost.

like everyone i like pictures, diagrams and tables. this is 2012, if you want me to read you have to entice me.

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Stop

Re: That iPhone 5 review.

This isn't about whether or not you personally like a device, it's about how el reg can improve its reviews. When a major player in the industry releases 1 new phone a year it is fair for the review to be on the front page. The Samsung Galaxy series releases among others seem to make it there also. About the only reasonable thing you can complain about is that reviews should be more objective, but then comparing spec sheets doesn't tell you all about a device either.

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Windows

Re: That iPhone 5 review.

I don't mean that i didn't like it. i mean it was crap. of course the iPhone 5 review should be on the front page. it's just that iPhone 5 review that should have been read by someone and stopped. it's also factually in accurate (first line, pricing), and despite dozens of people sending it was never changed.

if you read it you'll see what i mean

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/09/21/apple_iphone_5_review/

'its slimness, lightness and smooth matte aluminium back continue to take the breath away.'

Unbecoming of El Reg.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: That iPhone 5 review.

This is getting off topic, but two points.

First, the pricing. We can't read all of a story's comments in case of an error. We try, but there aren't enough hours etc. But we do see all messages sent by the 'Send a correction' link at the bottom of each page. But it's fixed now.

Second, you can disagree with the review, but there's no reason why a reviewer shouldn't say a product is breathtaking if he or show believes it is. Not my review, so not my words, but even though I'd probably agree with most of your views of Apple the company, I do think the iPhone 5 is gorgeous. If Dave Phelan is even keener on it, that doesn't make him wrong. Or that we were wrong to allow him to say so.

Now, back to the task in hand...

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Re: That iPhone 5 review.

>'its slimness, lightness and smooth matte aluminium back continue to take the breath away.'

>Unbecoming of El Reg.

Yeah, but that can't be mistaken for anything other than a subjective judgement, so what's the issue? Personal items, from spectacles and cigarette cases to wristwatches are often chosen for their material and finish, and the review is just giving credit where it is due. Personally, my plastic laptop has a screw missing and a warped case, but I like it- other people, especially the less tech literate, gain confidence from from a feeling of solidity, it gives them faith that the thing will reliably do what it does, and removing this doubt aids their learning.

If the appearance isn't important to you, just read on to the bits that are relevant. Processor speed in that iPhone5 review was given in qualitative manner - which is appropriate, since comparing raw CPU power against rivals running a different OS and software isn't too useful a comparison. (Other sites have the resources to conduct, and are better known for, benchmarks... Anandtech, for example)

And after that, a large part of a consumer's decision to buy an iPhone or not comes down to the OS, the apps available, the individuals previous investment or not in the Apple 'ecosystem'... and other things beyond the scope of the phone, and this the review, itself. As was noted in the last paragraph.

The forums themselves are an additional resource for potential buyers, highlighting features the reviewer might have missed, linking to benchmarks or other reviews, or suggesting alternative products. Which is why it is a shame when they get filled with chaff, pointlessly abusing other people for their choice of gadget or computer.

The Reg has reviewed less prominent phones, such as the Sony Xperia P, for example, and they have received positive reviews because they have been very competent and not daftly expensive. The Samsung Galaxy Advance was praised for similar points. The battery life of both these handsets has improved since their reviews, due to power saving features in the Android update to ICS. (That's a point about reviews in itself- with phones, especially Androids, the features can change over the model's lifetime)

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Re: That iPhone 5 review.

Corrections: in the comments many people said they had sent corrections using the send corrections button. i know i did as soon as the review was published.

The Review: Dave Phelan is even keener on it. He is even keener on it than i am on my wife. But that aside it was an awful review. it read like a promotional piece. i can't believe that nobody read it and said come on Dave, when you two have finished, review the phone.

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Re: That iPhone 5 review. Dave 126

The whole review could not be mistaken for a subjective judgement. that was my point really. it's not that it was a positive review. or that it was so gushing. it was that it was El Reg's one and only review of a significant piece of technology and it was a light weight luv in. no reference to any drawbacks at all.

it has been changed since it was written. originally it had such gems as I'd rather have the Lightning adaptor than yet another USB AC transformer.

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+1's

+1 for new photos of the product, not just the manufacturers press photos. Additionally for things like mobile phones, a photo of the back with the battery cover off etc would be nice. Not asking for a complete tear down, just to be able to see all the bits of the phone the manufacturer doesn't show off.

+1 for what Pete 2 said. Tell us whether it is a product supplied by the manufacturers for review, bought by El Reg for review purposes, bought by the reviewer for personal use etc. Also even more importantly, tell us when the review is solely based off paperwork and research, not from physical testing.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: +1's

For the record, almost all reviews samples are sought from vendors or their agents. El Reg has no budget at the moment to buy product.

Occasionally we buy stuff for personal use and review it because it's the only way to get hold of the kit. We will in future make this clear when this is the case.

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Bronze badge

Review Redux

Consider going back and re-doing a review, or updating the old one, even if only briefly. To answer some of the question the commentards have asked following the original review article. Or maybe post a notice that you're going to review something, so we can ask questions pre-emptively.

Telling us what you think we want to know is great, telling us what we actually ask about is even better.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Review Redux

Posting advance notice of reviews is often not practical - and it gives our competitors an advantage - but I like the notion of giving you folks the opportunity to ask questions ahead of time. I will give this idea some thought as to how it could be done. Thanks.

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Flame

Competitions!!!!!

Open to non UK residents would be nice for starters - I suppose I'm pissing against the wind on this one.

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Hmm

Ditch the game reviews. Yes, a lot of us are gamers, but those of us who are have already read reviews that matter on our usual, more focused, gaming sites. They are often out of date anyway.

Pretty pointless, and don't fit in to the site in my opinion.

Also the lack of photos of the thing you are reviewing is annoying, and makes it look like you never had the item, or got 10 mins to play with it at a trade fair.

Seeing a manufacturers CG render, or heavily photoshopped pic, of a phone hovering in the air tells us absolutely nothing about how it fits in your average gnarled, pint-grasping, hacks hand.

Follow up reviews are good, showing how someone has got along with the item while using it for what was intended. Example was the Nokia 808 trip to Stromboli, which convinced me to get it.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Hmm

Follow-up reviewage is a good notion, but often impossible from a practical standpoint: vendors don't let us hang on to the kit for long enough.

No, sceptics, we don't get to keep all this stuff.

It also tends to appeal only to folk who have bought the kit or, six months ago, thought they might do so. Few others care if our past experience of trying is anything to go by. Likewise when we look at old kit with new firmware. Never say never, though.

'Real' pictures are very definitely on the agenda, though

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Re: Hmm

I'd prefer the continued review of /all/ things tech, including games, even though I hardly play them any more.

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Since You Asked

You could start by not apologizing for reviewing Apple products or otherwise catering to the tech equivalent of religious fanatics who confuse that particular fruit with the one in Genesis. (Pro or con - it's all the same.) The Register is justly famed for quality snark, and what could be snarkier at this late date than to refuse to put on that sort of us/them Punch & Judy show? At least in the colonies, courtesy, rational discourse, and tolerance for differing opinions have become so rare as to constitute daring transgression against the pathetic bourgeois norm. Adolescent self indulgence went out with, well... adolescence. "Thank you" is the new "kcuf you."

"We review products as users, not as procurers or engineers…"

Well that is a problem. Consider reviewing them as critics, and more specifically, as journalists. Given that few now alive have ever experienced "journalism" and couldn't define "criticism" at gunpoint, you'll have the pleasure of baffling idiots everywhere. The only thing worse than the subjective trash that passes for criticism amidst the masses are the regurgitated press releases that pundefecators try to pass off as analysis. Eschew both. Subjective, unsupported opinions are as common as cold sores, but considerably less attracting and definitely deserving of less compassion.

As for content, reviews with objective parameters and some sort of transparent scoring system are more useful than those without. User reviews being a sewer of subjective worship and loathing (see "religious fanatics," above), I look to the pros when I want another perspective on what's best. A report card without grades is as useless as grades without a transparent scoring system are unjust.

Finally, if your purpose is to communicate, well-crafted language isn't optional. Your editors are either absent, stoned, or far too concerned with being well liked. Too often, your writers put me in mind of what online comment sections become without a character limit. Cute is seldom anything of the sort, and if I need to read something chummy, I correspond with friends.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Since You Asked

We are indeed looking at revising the scoring system - and then publishing it.

To be honest though, when 90 per cent of what we look at does what it says on the clichéd tin, it's hard to see scores changing much unless we start applying very subjective criteria.

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