Tech Reviews are Wonderful…But – An Open Letter to Tech Reviewers

I am sure it will not surprise you that I am very interested when new technology comes out. When I decided to drop my iPhone I spent a lot of time researching what I would get for a replacement. But in the end the technology itself was somewhat irrelevant. It was the provider that interested me.  So I picked the service provider first and the phone second.

Oh I read all the reviews about the various Androids, at the time I knew I would be getting an Android because only AT&T had the iPhone and my main concern was getting rid of AT&T.  I know, we all have cell phone companies we hate. Mine, currently, is AT&T. Goodness knows I’m not too thrilled with Sprint right now; however I wanted to go with Sprint and that left me simply asking myself, what is the top of the line Sprint phone? Evo. Any reviews say it is awful? No. Can it do what I want? Yes.


The Reality

Here’s the reality. Every tech article I read on the various phones showed positives and negatives, but those positives and negatives focused on the internal technology of the phone, not what the phone could do for me as an end user.

Some people seem to have amazingly strong views about their phones. I could care less. To me, they are just pieces of technology, inanimate objects that help me do my work. Never forget that the average person reading a review isn’t looking for the perfect device that makes the extreme tech-head happy. She is looking for a device that is easy to use and will do what she needs it to do. It’s as simple as that.

Get to the Bottom Line

I am amazed at the number of reviews that never really get to the bottom line, i.e. here is what this device does well, here is what this device does not do well. I don’t need to know about the minutia of the device. Just tell me if it works, is physically solid, and does what I need it to.

I am amazed by passionate negativity that I see when Apple introduces a new iPad; oh the horror, it isn’t perfect! Or the newest iPhone, oh no, we can’t have a white iPhone, why not?  Or the newest Android, it has a pixel over there when it should be over here! Seriously? I just don’t care. Neither do other end users.

Case in Point

I am experiencing this issue with tablets right now. I want a tablet, I would prefer an Android so I can use the same apps on my phone and my tablet. Damned if I can make a reasonable decision based on the reviews I am reading. Not one review is giving me the practical information I am seeking. I just want the facts that will tell me what it is like to actually use the device in a day-to-day way.

How fast is it?
Will it break easily if I drop it?
What kind of apps does it handle well?
What kind of apps does it not handle well?
Is it good for a business user?
Is it secure?
Does it check email well?
Surf the Web well?
How’s the input?

If you are a tech site and your main audience is true power user tech people, high level tech reviews are fine. But if you want to attract the attention of the average user, even one who is very much into technology, the reviews simply need to get more on point.

Put it in Plain English

I see people mocking the iPhone ads on AT&T that point out you can surf the Web and talk on the phone at the same time. You know what, that is something that actually matters. I had to search out that bit of information to provide the basic information business users require. I care about this ability. Some people don’t. I do. It is certainly something people will want to know before they buy the phone, try to look something up while talking and find out, oh no, it won’t work that way.

I see people writing with great frustration about how Evo isn’t upgraded to newest version of Android yet! Ok, why does it matter to me? Why is this a problem? Or is it simply irritating because we don’t have the latest thing?

I see people comparing iPhone and Android and never once mentioning that it is kind of a pain in the butt to organize music on an Android and the user will probably have to go searching for a decent music application, never mind it is simply easier to set up an iPhone. Some people tell me, well it is easy, just drag it over. Yes it is easy. No I don’t want to do it that way. This matters to the average end user.  I can’t believe that Apple isn’t using this bit of detail in its ads. Thanks for letting me know if I don’t have an iPhone, I don’t have an iPhone. That’s really useful. For stupid people who don’t know what phone they bought.


Just let us know. What can it do. What can’t it do.  You are the tech writer. You get the free testing devices. You are the people who are capable of figuring out the limitations of the technology. Once you do that, if you are so inclined, list every single aspect of the item at the bottom of the page for people who care. But in the meat of the article, please simply tell us, how’s the device? What can it do?  What can’t it do.  Analyze it from a perspective that makes sense for most of the people out there. In other words, convert what you know about the technology you are looking at into plain English that makes sense to the way in which the end user will use the device they are considering purchasing.

I guarantee, if you write your reviews this way, you will get more readers, have a greater impact on the market place, and make consultants such as myself most grateful.

Thank you.

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