• Why I Don’t Do “Phone Reviews”



    Last Friday Howard asked me if I wanted to review the BlackBerry Passport. I declined. Why? I guess I was worried about the trackpad—what I mean is, the capacitive qwerty keypad that effectively does double-duty as a trackpad.

    I'll elaborate on that...

    Years ago, when my brother was over at my apartment doing something on my Macintosh computer, he complained to me about the mouse. Apparently the cursor tracked too slowly across the screen for him. Cut to a few days ago when my girlfriend was doing something on my Linux computer, and complained that the mouse was too sensitive—in other words, the cursor tracked too fast.

    If users can have such wildly different experiences with something as bog-standard as a desktop computer mouse, how on earth is anyone supposed to write objectively about something so intensely personal as a smartphone?

    Here's another example, XDA recognized developer Adam Outler's video wrap-up of his experience with an iPhone 6 and iOS8:



    Android users be like...



    And iPhone users be like...



    Honestly though, what did this self-proclaimed "Android Enthusiast" expect from his first experience with an entirely foreign smartphone OS?

    This isn't to say that the traditional smartphone review has no value; isn't one of the basic functions of the human brain to quantify in some way the chaos that surrounds it? What I enjoy about Howard's reviews is the comparisons to other devices that the prospective buyer might also be considering. And I think that other big tech sites are starting to become aware of the "subjectivity trap" in phone reviews. I can't find a specific link to it, but I distinctly remember that earlier in the summer Android Central did a piece where each of the staff writers weighed in on a phone (the HTC M8? Samsung SGS5?) instead of assigning one of them to a traditional review. I really enjoyed that.

    I personally don't like reading long reviews, or writing them. When it comes to devices I'm particularly excited about, like the Moto G or the OnePlus One, I prefer to stretch things out and write shorter posts about particular aspects of the device. Of course I can't resist the urge to chime in with my two cents about whether it's worth buying or not. But does that constitute a review? And if it's not, is it still worth reading?

    And to bring it back to BlackBerry, I think it was pretty clear that I was out of my element with a piece I wrote about BB10 last November. As an Android user I feel like I can write with some authority about devices running that OS; in the same way, I'm so invested in Android that I don't think I could make a Passport my primary device, even if only temporarily.

    I sure would like to try one out for a couple of days, though...



    [hr][/hr]
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Why I Don’t Do “Phone Reviews” started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      - True story!
    1. dragon2knight's Avatar
      dragon2knight -
      Doing phone reviews, especially video reviews, is a pain in the buttocks....but it is fun to do if your a true geek and love diving into the details. I'm a certified tech nut since the Commodore 64 days, and I've been doing written reviews since the BBS days. To me tech is a bit more than a hobby. I guess it takes a really strong addiction to tech to always write about it without driving yourself crazy, but it is very rewarding helping other folks out. I usually only do low end product reviews because that's a segment usually not covered too well, especially the overseas stuff.

      My suggestion to you: Find a niche you like, learn all you can about it, and review only that which makes you comfy doing it. That's the way to being a good reviewer in short order
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Quote Originally Posted by dragon2knight View Post
      My suggestion to you: Find a niche you like, learn all you can about it, and review only that which makes you comfy doing it. That's the way to being a good reviewer in short order
      Thanks, but you're presuming that I want to do traditional phone reviews. I really don't.
    1. dragon2knight's Avatar
      dragon2knight -
      Quote Originally Posted by acurrie View Post
      Thanks, but you're presuming that I want to do traditional phone reviews. I really don't.
      Fair enough But your a pretty insightful guy, you'd make a really good reviewer
    1. ijcy's Avatar
      ijcy -
      BTW love this video review from Adam Lol.
    1. JasonMR's Avatar
      JasonMR -
      BTW love this video review from Adam Lol.
      Me too
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