|Column: How I do what I do (part 2)|
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 13:30
In my last column, I told you about all the steps I take when I review all the toys I get to play with. This time, I'll explain how I come up with the rating out of ten that you see in all of my reviews here on My Digital Life.
What happens fairly often is that I award an inexpensive product with a much higher points rating than I give to a far pricier model. When this occurs, I am bombarded with phone calls, e-mails, PM's and numerous other forms of communication, basically telling me that I must have been smoking my socks. There is no way, I’m told, that the cheap home theatre system I reviewed can ever score higher than the Mega-Buck system than the one owned by the caller/writer. Except, there is.
You see, when I review equipment, I look not only at performance - although this is by far the most important factor – but I also consider ease of use, quality of built, and if said product does indeed do all those things that the print on the box claims that it is able to.
To give you an example: I recently finished up reviewing an all-in-one theatre system that includes amplification, a Blu-ray player, some processing, and even a complete set of speakers. The system is priced at R10 000, which, in my world, falls into the affordable category, particularly when I am used to listening to and looking at systems that sell for up to 100 times as much. (Systems that cost a million Rands are rare, but they do exist and I have actually reviewed a few.)
Back to the cheaper model: the theatre system sounded pretty decent, all its features worked as advertised, it was easy to use and – while I thought the supplied speakers looked and felt a bit on the plastic side – they were easy to hook up and place. When I post my review, you'll see that it scored pretty well. Why? Simply because it performed exactly as the manufacturer said it would.
Now, when looking at much pricier systems, I have much higher expectations. For five or ten times the price of other models, I expect the system to sound better and to be better built. After all, that extra money has to go somewhere, right?
But what if the more expensive system is supplied with a remote control that doesn’t work properly – as is so often the case – or it's difficult or fiddly to set up, or if some of its features don’t work properly?
Should I ignore all of this and give a score based solely on sound and image quality? Or should I ask myself why, if the engineers building the cheaper product could get everything to work as advertised, those designing the more expensive product couldn’t get it right? I don’t believe I should ignore these factors, and my score giving reflects this.
Of course, I always explain the reasononing behind my scoring in the main body of the review, and I would hope that readers take note of what I liked and disliked about the product being reviewed, and don’t just look at the score and come to an ill-informed decision.The scores are an overall indication reflecting as balanced and fair a viewpoint as I’m able to give.
If you're only interested in sound quality, then reading the review will tell you what I thought about that. It is up to you to discount my other opinions about, for instance, a product’s ease of use. If you're a millionaire, you can choose to ignore my feelings on value for money.
After all of that, if you're still a little confused about why I decided to score a product a certain way, you can always contact me on Facebook, or ask My Digital Life for my e-mail address. I promise I will get back to you!
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