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 …
Re: Since You Asked
Since "doing what it says on the tin" is pretty much the minimum level at which an item is reviewable (Sale of Goods Act, etc) shouldn't that be assigned a much lower mark than 70% or whatever it is that Reg Hardware currently pegs it at? Actually, isn't a number a rather odd way to go about things?
I'd really rather see nothing at all given for an unremarkable device, one star (or perhaps, one vulture?) to an item which has one distinctive selling point placing it above the common and more stars or vultures for each extra distinguishing feature, provided it is executed well.
While I'm here, unless that iPhone5 review was a troll (in which case, well done) I'd really rather not see four pages of somebody explaining how a tech item is a beautiful lustrous fetish that they want to have sex with unless it's a sex-toy. Not a phone. I realize this is a specialist site but not that specialist.
And finally, I wanted to point out the comprehensiveness and balanced nature of Andrew Orlowski's review of the Lumia 920. Good points, bad points, gimmicks, features and comparisons all right there. Well done.
Re: Re: Since You Asked
I take your point, and we considered doing just that at one point, or rather assigning a base level of 50% for 'works as it should' giving us scope to push the score up for stand-out kit and room below for poor offerings.
Trouble is, readers generally seem to assume that such a score means that the product is crap and therefore not worth reading about. We have never inflated a score in order to get readers, but at the same time we don't want to make a product seem worse than it actually is. So if a product is good, it should get a good score.
The problem is, most products today are good, and what lifts one above another is not technical quality but the benefit a given users sees in that one product.
For this reason I'm in favour of dropping scores altogether, but I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise.
Re: Since You Asked
Reminds me of this article on Bit-Tech: When did 8/10 become a bad score?
Well, as your asking...
A little more detail is sometimes wanting. The Kindle Fire HD review was particularly poor on this front. And I get the feeling sometimes that copy takes too long to run (the pricing comparisons on the Acer A110 piece were all to cock suggesting it was written before the Nexus 7 prices were changed, then run without anyone checking. Either the author or editor should have checked.)
I'd say the balance between games, tech hardware and other stuff like cameras and cars etc is about right - the Reg clearly ain't a photography or auto site but the occasionally feature of things like the plug-in Prius or the Sigma SD1 are a welcome balance. Sometimes there's maybe too many games reviews in a string - thing four ran in the space of a few days a week or two back.
As someone else said the Ten Alternatives too...features are pretty good and usually pretty funny (in a good way).
Not too much needs changing imo.
How do you choose the "Top 10"
I can't always understand how you choose which items to feature in the "Top 10" lists. A recent example was gaming headsets, where the price range was £40 - £250 so is this really a like-for-like test? Drilling down further, if you look at e.g. Plantronics (the cheapest headset shown) they do around a dozen different over the head gaming type headsets, Razer do about 8, so how did you choose which of that particular make to review?
I can usually understand product choice where there can be very clearly set specs e.g. there can't be THAT many e-ink e-book readers that are worth reviewing, but many consumer products have a massive variety on offer often with plenty of examples from each manufacturer
Rants can be good
I quite appreciate some of the reviews where the reviewer has been frustrated by a device and shows it quite openly instead of providing a bland, fact laden description - the Kindle Fire HD being the latest example I've seen. This gives a glimpse of 'real world' usage instead of regurgitating Which? magazine. Having said that, some hard numbers and performance comparisons ARE essential too.
Overall I like reg reviews, and have certainly found them useful.
Like the '10 best ...' articles - usually when I'm in the market for something, understanding how it stacks up against its contemporaries in terms of price, features and performance is darn helpful.
While the automated benchmarks, particularly for phones, are all very nice for pretty graphs, what I'm really after is whether it works in real life, i.e. for typical mixed usage during the day, does the battery need charging at lunch? Or does the phone catch fire when attempting to flick from browsing to email to twitter, and so on?
The thinly-veiled reprints of corporate press releases are frankly worthless from an information and journalistic point of view. I want YOUR opinion because it's not the vendor's.
Be more irreverent. That is all.
Remain neutral, have a score and make it comparable
Hi, I like your reviews and the fact that you point out defects and advantages of each product. I don't care if the score is given in percentage, stars, happy faces, etc... may be percentage is nicer. 3 or 4 pages for a review is enough. More is boring. And it would be nice - I don't know how, that's not my job- if the score is comparable among new and old products. For example, if the iphone 3 had a 90% and the 5 an 85% it doesn't mean that the 2 is better than the 5. So that may be tricky
Don't get sucked into the old ways
For some strange reason I actually trust El Reg's reviews. Which is difficult in these days of heavily weighed review sites funded by manufacturers, publishers and the like. (by the way who funds El Reg? :))
In terms of hardware, I would prefer side-by-side comparisons, for example benchmarks against comparable laptops or graphics cards or whatever is being looked at.
The thing you need to do more of are the top 10's. They open my eyes to products I've not even seen or heard of, and has actually influenced my purchasing - the more recent wireless gaming headsets being the one and they're very well written, short and concise. I look at all 10, look at the recommended ones, then go to their respective websites and make my own mind up. That's what a review site should be for,
> do you prefer longer, in-depth reviews - or are focused, waffle-free appraisals what you're after?
It depends on the product but I'm usually in favour of longer, in depth reviews. I agree with the others though. The "10 best Androids under a fiver" style comparisons are excellent. I've used those reviews many times since they started a couple of years ago - and I pass them on to to others when getting the all to common "you work in IT. Which X should I buy" requests.
> Are you looking for science paper-style evaluations - or do you favour short, consumer-oriented 'should I buy this?'
Somewhere in between. There are plenty of sites that do full in-depth technical analysis and plenty that repeat the press release. I think 3-5 pages, depending on how complex the product, is plenty - with an extra page or two for camera reviews to allow for sample shots.
> Are benchmarks important to you
I think a few simple benchmarks can tell you a lot. A fairly standardised battery test for mobiles and laptops (we ran such and such for 2 hours with these settings and it reported x% left). I actually think the benchmarks and spec tables are excellent. The only negative is that sometimes they are omitted. Obviously this will be down to how long you got the device for etc etc but it is annoying if only 9 out of 10 laptop reviews have benchmarks - particularly if the missing one is the one I was interested in!
> Is a percentage rating a useful quick-look measure of a product's worth?
Yes. "Most" of us are adult enough to realise they are subjective and coloured by the reviewers opinions but, if I'm in a hurry and not sure if I have time to read a 5-page review, it is useful to know beforehand if it gets 50% or 90%.
> Do spec sheets or tables help?
Yes. It saves covering every single spec within the text of the review leaving the reviewer to cover only the important USPs.
> Do you like to see lots of product picture
Not lots, but photos of ports etc are helpful - particularly if something has a port cover or plug. Those things can be a real PITA if done badly so a decent close-up is always welcome. Also, something to show a product to scale. It is all very well stating how small, slim, huge, fat a product is but we need to see it in relation to a common, every day object.
> Games reviews - good or bad, more or fewer?
Not fussed personally but I'm sure you guys know how many clicks they get.
Overall though, I love the reg reviews, use them a lot and would just appreciate a little more consistency.
I once bought a product based on a Reg Review
It was (and still is) a Plextor NAS box. As I started to use it, I found that it had several important characteristics that had not been covered at all by the review, some good for me, some bad for me. (Please note: I'm not complaining, I'm observing.)
It took me a week of detailed furtling and fettling to figure out everything (more or less) about the operation and characteristics of this NAS box, and with a bit of detective work on the internet I deduced some interesting facts about its origins. (It was actually based on a previous Japanese product)
The thing is, we can't expect you and your colleagues to spend a week doing detailed digging and operational observations. However, I'm sure many Reg readers would be willing, at least once, to perform a detailed review task for you. I'd be prepared to do serious work reviewing a product (of my choice) if I got to keep it.
What do you say? (I don't mind if you're amusingly rude.)
Re: I once bought a product based on a Reg Review
I'd say that's - in part - what the Comments section is for. Most writers keep an eye on these and respond to questions, though we don't (can't) force them to do so.
We always welcome comment from folk who've used a bit of kit and have hints, tips and - yes - corrections.
Better quality writing, and more "round up" reviews
As other commenters have stated, some pieces are written quite poorly with multiple spelling or grammar mistakes and sometimes poor English. Sometimes pieces seem deliberately written to be controversial purely for the sake of starting commentard flame wars and driving up page views! Depsite this initial whinging, I do love the Register's hardware section and have some positive comments below.
For major product releases, e.g. a new flagship mobile phone, the in depth reviews El Reg publishes are very good. I think they have the right balance of technical details (e.g. what processor does it use) and more user focused information (how well does it actually work?).
I would like to see more round up style reviews covering major product categories e.g. a monthly round up of new phones released. If it isn't possible to review them all then at least a link to any relevant news articles or marketing blurb would be a good service to readers. The "10 x that do x" type articles are also great, for the most popular product categories it would be brilliant to have these published on regular cycle. Finally, it would be really good to see some more games reviews - and please keep the antique code show going!
Having people with vested interests in the products they are reviewing isnt particularly encouraging. For example, a recent review of a smaller fondleslab from a fruit company being written by someone who is involved with creating and selling applications (e.g 'Kate - A Royal Odyssey iPad magazine app' ) for the device...........
A reduction in the superlatives would also be welcome.
As would a reduction of constant comparisons during a review (unless of courses it's a 'how they measure up against each other' type of article. Fine, drop some comments in to the end of the article, but please review the device on its own merits.
A tale of two rants
Rant #1: Be Objective!
There are many parameters of tech products that can be objectively measured, but are typically just waffled about by people with very limited knowledge in the subject.
Colour rendition of screens and response curves on speakers are just two examples that spring to my mind. Both are frequently described as 'warm', 'harsh' or something equally fluffy when they could be explained by a detailed plot or measurement. If you don't have the means to properly test equipment - then don't bother trying!
Rant #2: Know what you're talking about!
Two recent e-reader reviews spring to mind.
In the Kobo Mini review (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/14/kobo_mini_5in_e_reader_review/) it was mentioned that the display comes from VizPlex rather than e-Ink, when in fact VizPlex is a brand of E-Ink.
The Kindle Paperwhite review (http://www.reghardware.com/2012/11/13/review_amazon_kindle_paperwhite_e_book_reader/page2.html) claimed that it's possible to switch off the light - which is also patently untrue (at least with the current firmware (5.2 and 5.3) ).
Both of these facts were pointed out in comments, but the article was never corrected.
But facts and figures need to be backed up by text, and that's where we have come to expect humorous and occasionally vitriolic prose in the above-mentioned Vulture-Style.
Re: A tale of two rants
I can respond to the Vizplex point, because I wrote the review. That seems a minor point, but as I've said in another response, error reports will only be seen if they come via the 'Send a Correction' button. It's fixed now.
I disagree about the 'fluffy' comments inasmuchas not everyone knows how to read a response chart especially the ordinary consumers Reg Hardware reviews have been aimed at. A frequency response chart will tell you what you will hear, but not necessarily how good it sounds. Colour rendition, however, is less subjective and worthy of more scientific evaluation, I agree.
When looking at Amazon reviews etc the ones I check are the negative reviews. I find trawling though the negatives in search of a deal breaker a much more fruitful exercise than heaps of gushing praise. So a simple what's wrong with it (or what's not included / operates poorly) summary in a "why not to buy" on page one of the review would be helpful.
Reviews from a different perspective:
How about reviews for gadgets for more senior friends and family members? I'm not talking about niche phones with just five buttons marked "Daughter, Doctor, Irene, Cat Shelter' but mainstream gadgets reviewed for people whose eyesight requires more than the one pair of specs, or whose fingers aren't as dextrous as they used to be.
I like the Reg reviews for their qualitative reviews- benchmarks and controlled tests are best done by other sites who have a name for such things.
I enjoy the reviews - they're well written, and the reviewers tend to catch some of the detail that's important to me that doesn't get covered elsewhere.
I don't have time to read every review though, and sometimes I just want to know the highlights. The last section is often a good summary of the conclusions, but in some reviews isn't useful on it's own. It wouldn't be too difficult for the smaller portion of reviews to fix this.
It might not even be a bad idea for this to go at the top of the review, but only as long as there's room for more than a sentence or two so that it actually communicates something worthwhile.
Comparisons - and remove the horrid collapse comments thing
I would like to see reviews of phones compared to a similar previous model (i.e. what someone might be contemplating upgrading from), and competing platforms.
For example I would like to see a WP8 phone compared to an N8, a new android, a new iPhone and a new BlackBerry.
I would also like to so the horrid hiding the end of long comments done away with. It makes the comments hard work to follow on a mobile, and often it causes a complete refresh so you lose you place, and if you happen to be in a tunnel you are stuffed.
Has anyone on the staff actually used it on opera mini?
I did buy a hisense 1080p on the strength of a review here, and wasn't dissapointed.
Who is it for?
Make it clear who the review is aimed for; Blackberrys have good security (rumor 1) but are a fashion item down the local pub. NAS boxes are creeping further from business users down to domestic (rumor 2), so make it clear whether your review is aimed at the dolly-bird on the street corner or the sys admin stuck in the basement. Your "Best 10" are good, though.
Another one here who likes the 10 .... type reviews. I've bought a b&w laser printer and a pair of headphones based on recommendations here from those, and been delighted with both.
Please - try to avoid too much waffle in reviews. The recent review of the iPad 4 was three pages - the first page and a bit was actually about how the reviewer did not get the point of tablets when they first came out, but now is an avid enthusiast. Nothing about the new iPad was mentioned until mid-way down the second page. Not really what we need.
And yes - I'm with the people who really think that the review of the iPhone 5 was so astonishingly sycophantic, I had to check whether I was reading the Guardian technology pages.
My two cents.
Smartphones etc. Can we stop dwelling at length on how great / shit the provided TwatFaceBeSpace widget is? a) Like it bloody matters. b) If you don't like it, get another one from apptunes / play school / whatever the boxful of tumbleweeds MS offer is called today.
What would be interesting is how easy it is to rip off the provided cruft in favour of your own favourites. i.e. If you really must have Tw@ter's sewer fed into your handset 24x7 and wish to use your fave Tw@ting tool, whether the provided one can be completely removed, removed but still chew storage or must remain sat there active, chewing storage, memory and the odd clock cycle, but idle.
Told you before but nothing happened. I would like to see the score in the article title, so I can easily see which products have the highest scora. Maybe a search/sort function within each category, which would enable me to see the printers with the highest scores first.
I like the review articles on the Reg/RH. They are generally consistent and well-informed, although there have been notable exceptions.
In particular I love your prosumer/high end camera reviews because they're a refreshing change from the usual choice of crazy in-depth multi-page tracts from the likes of dpreview or the ten-a-penny, barely-scratching-the-surface pointless guff populating the rest of the net. On that note I'd love you to do a review of the Sony A99 SLT camera*.
Other than that I'd like to see something like a "league table" for each category of gear, showing a quick blurb, review date and score, along with a link back to the review itself. I know there're currently category links available from the RH homepage, but they could be improved upon.
* If you've already reviewed it please accept my apologies - I haven't been the most dedicated follower of recent review articles.
This is going to sound really negative..
Essentially, all I can think of is my pet peeves with your reviews. I suspect that this is because the well-written ones don't stick out like a sore thumb, producing a fairly even reaction. It's the really terrible articles/reviews that jump out.
I'm sorry, I'm going to name names occasionally, too- as it's clearer than speaking in general terms.
First, proof reading. Recently, the Reg has become a morass of "off of", dodgy apostrophes, "should of" and similar school-level howlers. I know that staring at an article written out to a deadline can make your eyes go a little funny, so maybe have a reasonably qualified sub-editor read through things before they go live? It just looks terribly unprofessional otherwise. You expect the commentards to be somewhat variable in quality, but the articles are written by supposed professionals (even if they're sometimes mad, drunk or both.. ahem). If your writers are techies rather than writers for the most part, that's fine- just get them some help.
Don't let people who don't understand what they're reviewing handle things, even if you find the resulting rhetoric amusing (see also A. Dabbs and his works). It can be rather irritating, to say the least- you're supposed to know more, not less, after reading a review.
Try to keep reviews factual- rather than as massive whinefests. If someone hates Company X and all their works, and is so inflexible that they will never give their products a fair crack of the whip, give that job to someone else. The worst examples that spring to mind here are generally Andrew Orlowski, who (if I may be blunt) tends to veer into tinfoil hat whining rather than giving people a clear idea of what does and doesn't work. Reviews are to evaluate products or services. Rambling opinion pieces that can be safely ignored are probably better suited to the conspiracy theories.
Photography! I've noticed a lot of reviews using stock shots from the manufacturers, lit and shooped to within an inch of their lives. Surely a couple of lights and a tripod aren't beyond the ken of you stout yeomans? I can manage that on my kitchen work surface, if I steal a lamp from another room- and the results are generally good. Doing better wouldn't be hard. Just make sure that you hit the focus point, and take a couple of white card shots so the colours aren't all screwed up, and it will really do wonders for your reviews. Heck, if you're talking about how icky and fingerprint-prone something is, show us!
Fact checking.. A lot of lazy assertions get made in this neck of the woods- no specific villains to name now, as quite a few folks do it, both in news and reviews. However, if, in a review, you criticise or laud a product for omitting or offering something unusual, maybe check that it's really the case, and that it works? Too often, lazy, rushed reviews are followed by a string of comments from owners saying "actually, it does support 256 bit cat whiffling, you just need to actually press the whiffling button and enable it". A review riddled with factual inaccuracies is not a great thing.
You asked about benchmarks- by all means include them where good and reproducible tests exist. Benchmarks are valuable when they are applied in a consistent and empirical measure over time, too, and include useful numbers of data points, but done well, they are a useful tool where relevant.
Tables of specs are good, especially in situations where it allows a quick glance comparison with competing products. This, however, would feed back into the points above about accuracy, and having an author who understands what they're doing. If specs aren't accurate (or at least as accurate as those from the manufacturer, natch), then they aren't useful.
Ratings- yes, if they are applied consistently and intelligently. An overall percentage or n/10 is nice, bonus points for a few sub-rating categorites like "performance" and "value", especially on longer-form reviews.
Sorry if that sounded like a huge attack, it wasn't intended to be, I am actually trying to be constructive. If I may, here's an example of a gadget review elsewhere that I enjoyed reading and found useful:
The author is lucid, calm, factual and somewhat nerdy. It makes the review a pleasure to read.
Oh, one last thing (maybe more in a Columbo than Zombie Steve Jobs style).. In regards to "lucid", maybe if you're aiming at a more general, grown-up audience, it might be an idea to remove some of the rather incestuous self-satisfied baby talk that occasionally slips in- "fruity company", "fondleslab", "chocolate factory", "fanboi" and so forth. It's only a couple of rungs up the evolutionary ladder from angry twelve year-olds who write "micro$oft", "crApple" and the like. I know a few of your writers overdo it terribly as they feel like they're trying to copy a "house style". It used to be mildly amusing, when occasional and sparing. However, doing it all the time gets somewhat grating.
Anyway, I hope you're not feeling entirely dissed at this juncture, and there some useful points survive.. and thanks for bothering to ask.
Re: This is going to sound really negative..
Thanks for your thoughts, Anonymous. No offence taken.
BTW, the Ars review runs to more than 5800 words. I think El Reg's reviews need to be longer, but I think that's stretching it, even for the Nexus 7.
Re: This is going to sound really negative..
Yes, that review is a bit of a beast; I think my point may relate more to the style and approach- it's clear and fairly balanced without being boring or humourless, the pictures look real, the prose is coherent.
Also, I'm glad that I didn't mortally offend you- I wasted both of my braincells dredging that lot up.
More relevant links please. Use of Jargon
Can I request again more relevant links please. Things have improved a bit on what it was like a year or more ago. But I still often have to track down the relevant website / webpages myself!
I understand you have to use technical jargon on the site but an unexplained jargon word is often the main point of an article. Readers are often expert in their own area but total novices in other areas covered by your site, so a little help would be very useful.
Honestly, there are a zillion review sites out there... When I read El Reg I look for an interesting read with only a kernel of factuality to it. Your reviews should be the same. I like the toungue-in-cheek style of your writing, but that rarely comes out in the reviews...
If I want a real review of a digital camera I'll go to dpreviews, etc, etc. When I read The Register I want to be entertained. It would be great to see your reviews as the Top Gear of technology.... Take the most outrageously expensive pieces of computer gear and review how well they work underwater.. Look at the product claims and verify them to the extreme.
However, one thing that nobody seems to do which I would find useful is pictures of the box that something comes in. When I order something I often have to decide whether it's convenient to have it delivered to my office and take it home on the tube/train or if I need to take a day off and wait at home for delivery.... Sometimes it's just impossible to guess what sort of box something will be delivered in...
Stop! using! masses! of! annoying! Yahoo! style! exclamation! points!
ESPECIALLY on Yahoo related stories.
A few thoughts
First up, overall I like the style and length of Reg reviews as they are at the moment. I echo all the previous comments about proof reading though, it doesn't take long to get someone else to look over your words before publication. Keep the irreverent tone, a few facts and figures are great but don't overload me with them, tell me what it's like to use in the real world too.
I also really like the "Ten...." roundups, more of those would be very welcome.
Scores - I like to have an at a glance idea of how good something is. However I agree with those saying that when everything seems to score 75% or more then why bother? I also understand your point that people in general tend to interpret a 50% score as "bad", as opposed to "it works". So how about changing to a system where the perception of an average score is different. I'm thinking A to E (with F reserved for utter, dismal and complete failure...). We're all familiar with it from school days, a "C" is regarded as average so fits well for the "it works" score and is actually in the middle of the range, and you could put + and - in there if you wanted to be more fine grained.
Also on scores, there are the odd products that end up being dominated by one feature (particularly phones), in cases where this happens maybe an alternative "if feature X is really important" score - an example that springs to mind is cameras on phones. The Galaxy Nexus is by and large a great phone but let down by a shoddy camera, so it might get an overall A-, but an "if the camera really matters" C. The reverse could also apply to the Pureview 808 - average phone with a great camera.
And with that, it's beer o'clock...
How about stuff that we can afford
If a bit skint, 10 gaming headphones reviewed 9 above a hundred quid, 10 dab radios all pricey for basically kitchen radios. I like looking at the shiny stuff but some of the prices for things reviewed are a bit much.
Don't publish the review until it has been re-written.
And at least twice. OK. So you do not seem to be able to procure devices for very long. Well as far as I am afraid that right there is the biggest issue. I want to know what something is like after it has been used and abused for at least three weeks. Every single waking minute of every single day for three weeks. If it is a laptop then it is the reviewers only laptop. Mobile phone? Then it has to have the reviewers main SIM in it for those three weeks. Quite frankly I'll be happy to wait for a review from this site so that when it comes I know it has been really reviewed. If possible get the device to more than one person and have the review period staggered to take into account any early software/firmware updates.
Camera centric phones (so anything from Nokia then I guess), have them reviewed by both a photographer and someone else. The Nokia Lumia 920 review was a very well done review but could of benefited from a proper photographers take on the camera bits in my opinion.
Yes I want to see the full gamut of facts and figures as well as a good run down on what in that list effects the price.
The Reg is at its finest when it stays on topic...
The Reg is at its finest when it stays on topic and avoids flimsy / off-topic articles not directly related to IT! So stick with IT! Case in point, why did you include this on your main page :-
'Reefer madness blasts pot machine maker's stock sky high'
More reviews on every game and PC and laptop you can possibly rate. For instance why are there no articles on the latest high-end gaming laptops and PC's? For example, take the Asus G75VW-DS73-3D or G75VW-DS72, and contrast it with the latest Samsung Series 7 gaming laptop, or the best from Alienware and MSI etc. Yes, The Reg does occasionally reviews individual laptops or a collection of 10, But the problem with that is its sparse and often out of date. I want to see ongoing up-to-date reviews to help with purchasing decisions! You and Amazon could serve a great purpose here! Also, add more in-depth Game and PC reviews after months with the product and not just hours! Surely your staff have personal experience of Games and Gaming machines months in, that would be invaluable here!
Please stop writing commentaries that pretend to be news with inaccurate out of date facts by authors such as Lewis Page. He frequently is permitted to harp on about topics that are way out of his pay grade i.e. nuclear power! This journal is not suited to such complex and divisive topics such as promoting nuclear power post Fukushima! This is an IT tech journal not an energy policy guide!!!
Be more savage...
By way of recent example, the iPad Mini should be ravaged for its many (trivial) defects and omissions. Its screen should be compared with the State of the Art and given a 45% rating. The (missing) GPS should be worth 5 points deduction. It ends up with a mark in the 65% 'Hey Apple, You Can Do Better' range and a recommendation to wait for the /2 version.
Another example is the Google Nexus 4, it gets an overall rating of 'zero' because it doesn't actually exist.
Windows 8 and the Surface fiasco would be a 500-pg review (listing all the defects and daft decisions) and a rating of about 85%, less about 1,500,000% for them being thick.
Basically follow the example of Jeremy Clarkson's car reviews. Make them opinionated and funny, with some good details and comparisons along the way. Accuracy is not essential. Don't limit your ratings to 0-100, negative a million or positive 110 are valid.
audio tests please
I would like objective audio tests like the one's done in gsmarena, BUT not only for phones, do these tests to DAPs also, please. I don't know why no other site that I know do this, maybe the test equipment is too expensive?
Wot a larf
Your venerable on-line organ is simply brilliant. I chuckle more at your by-lines than those of any other medium. If I had to suggest a change, it would be simply to introduce more irreverence.
I appreciate the historical articles on the dawning of ICT, primarily coz I wuz there.
Power consumption testing please...
I think I have emailed about this in the past but for many devices I would like to know what its power usage is. Get yourself a cheap Maplin or similar plug in power meter and run the device through it while you are reviewing it.
A single line in the review like - "We found the 'Fab-o-matic 5000'* drew 42W while starting up, 85W under heavy load, 15W in normal use and 2 watts in standby" - obviously you might want to think about a more consistent approach to measuring from device to device.
*Don't think these are available any more, sorry....
Welcome Request - more of the same but perhaps a little more polish
Well done The Reg,
Data is everywhere and much of it is biased and confusing; please carve yourself a niche by providing a forum for enthusiastic technology users, many of which such as The Anonymous Coward contribute widely and generously from which I have personally benefitted. This is where data becomes actionable/useful "information"
Technology is all pervasive and will continue to be so, therefore if we are to benefit from this mega-trend we need to share our knowledge. This perhaps starts with The Reg and its many thought and comment provoking articles which I feel are in the main good.
I agree the literary content need brushing up (grammar, spellings etc), however as a low level "power user" I look forward to the morning emailer and frequently find many articles of interest.
You might also want to test and indeed share the "background and credibility" of the contributors of the articles as this could be where review objectivity or literary quality standards are dropping off.
Of greatest value to me are the comments that these articles spawn, as exampled by todays "comments regarding NAS storage"; an issue I have been trying to solve for about a year now as a prolific digital photographer in my limited spare time.
In summary, keep dong what you are doing; the tech focus is a sweet spot for me; the articles need a "polish" as perhaps the contributors do or The Reg needs to put a more robust editorial process in place.
But that aside; focus on retaining the most valuable asset "your Users" and those that contribute to the forum comments.
Only one request
.... Single site sign on!!!!!111oneoneone
well reviews that actually inform would be nice
I find most of your reviews are lightweight wallpaper, there is little in them I can't find out from the manufacturer's brochure and couple of amazon buyers reviews typically. After reading them I often just feel frustrated that it didn't actually tell me what I needed to know.
For example, video streaming in stb's tv's and many other boxes (built in iplayer / 4OD etc). The quality of the stream these products use varies widely, some (like Sony BD players) stream (when available) use what looks pretty similar to the HD stream you can get on a PC / web browser - often nearly as good as live HD (if there's not too much action going on), others (like my Humax foxsat HDR) the "HD" stream is worse than broadcast SD, and the SD stream is frankly painful on anything larger than a 15" screen from the other side of the room. So tell us what we really get. And while on integrated iPlayers, the UI when trying to search varies from piss poor to diabolically dire.
Oh yes,! and while your there, how much bandwidth the various functions use would be nice to know for those of on wetstringband internet connections.
I'm with N13L5 on the need for proper info on displays - viewing angles, display technology, colour gamut etc. And yes displays in general do need more resolution - 1080P on a 15" laptop is good, on a 24" screen it's jut a pita. I still have a
VisionMaster 400 upstairs (15" diagonal) that I used to run at 1600, but it's not very portable!
If I had a couple more days I could give another hundred example - but you get the general idea.
Very important to know the stance / affiliations etc. of the reviewer, I can definitely do without the fanboy reviews as well (well maybe if they are particularly amusing I might let is pass - maybe Verity Stob should do more?)
Alternatively do a short sharp informed review and link to other detailed reviews for the gory detail.
As they (mostly) are, they're as much use as my paper's "50 best....." reviews, well less use actually - I can't light the fire with them.
more retro, love the nostalgia when you review something I'd forgotten