Just 5 days ago I posted the Internet sucks in large part due to the sea of bullshit reviews on affiliate link farms we consumers must wade just to get an honest fucking review.
One would hope that “real” sites (ie: those we expect to have legitimately critical reviews) were not so desperate they find themselves stooping to the level of the disingenuous bottom feeders at Purch Group (ie: Top Ten Reviews and their ilk).
As a consumer, I expect professionals who receive piles of free laptops, consoles, cameras and countless other gadgets to review, to actually review them. I guess I live in a dreamworld. I mean, I always knew there was some payola going on in every industry to some degree. Like that movie reviewer at some daily paper in Ohio who gives the latest box office bomb 5 stars. But I thought they were easy enough to identify.
In the market for a new laptop, I’ve started looking at 2-in-1’s or hybrids or whatever you want to call them. All those shiny new devices trying to mimic and improve upon the Microsoft Surface. One of the essential specs for me is excellent battery life. Therefore, I was a little surprised when I read two reviews of the Lenovo Yoga 910 on two (arguably) reputable tech review sites.
The first review, by Kevin Lee (@baggingspam) at Techradar, informed me that the Yoga 910 has “disappointing battery life.” It was listed one of the three main cons in his pros & cons list.
The second review, by Joel Santo Domingo (@JoelSD) at PC Magazine, informed me that the Yoga 910 has “phenomenal battery life”. It was listed in his Pros column and a key point in his “bottom line”.
Obviously, the same battery cannot be both amazing and shitty. Battery life is not an Adam Sandler film. It’s not subjective. It’s fucking measurable. So one of these guys is either very bad at his job or he’s full of shit and on the payola train, and not so different than the assholes at Top Ten Reviews.
I guess I should have titled this post Why The Internet Sucks: Part 2.
Or… I could have titled this post Why The Internet Doesn’t Suck.
No more than 2-3 hours after my post and tweet, one of the reviewers (Domingo at PC Mag) had replied to me on Twitter and clarified the discrepancy. He pointed out that Techradar had reviewed the 4K version of the Yoga 910 while he had reviewed the 1080p version. (Lee and PC Mag liked his response, letting me know that everyone had at least acknowledged my concern.)
I appreciate the quick response. But a word of advice to professional reviewers:
If you are reviewing a product and there are two versions of the product, you should make it very clear that there are two versions and clearly indicate which version you are reviewing. Both articles barely made any mention of this, hence my confusion.
The PC Mag article states “a standard 13.9-inch 1,920-by-1,080-resolution (full HD) IPS touch screen. (An option for a 4K version boosts the price of the Yoga 910 up to $1,499.99.)” halfway through the article and makes no other mention of it.
The Techradar article does mention the 4K screen a few times, once on the first page and a twice again on the second page. In their spec sheet it is listed as UHD (Ultra High Def) rather than 4K, something that may not be clear to the average consumer.
I scoured the articles looking for differences/typos and completely missed the bits about the screen. So that’s my bad. Mostly. (I’ll take 80% of the blame.)
It would have been very simple for the articles to be titled Lenovo Yoga 910 (1080p) Review and Lenovo Yoga 910 (4k) Review, especially when the different models have quite different performance results.
When I’m in the market for new tech I like to read as many reviews as possible. I scan them looking for the germane, I don’t digest every word as though I’m reading Faulkner or Fitzgerald. Clarity is key.
That said, the one thing I’ve always like Twitter for has been customer support. Somehow I’ve often found it more effective than official customer support channels. Perhaps because it also allows companies to slip a bit of marketing in with their support.