Technology Reviews

Here’s a post that’s not about gaming, well, probably indirectly so, but mainly not. This post is going to be about tech reviews. It’s one of the other things I frequently search on Youtube, aside from of course let’s plays, amature music videos, craft project how to’s and, let’s face it, animals doing cute stuff.

I have a pretty geeky attachment to tech gadgets. If I had money I’d own a lot more than I do. But how do you know what’s actually going to be a good buy for a new device and what’s going to end up being a several hundered dollar disappointment? I used to fall prey to shiny advertising telling me that “THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER YOU HAVE TO OWN IT JUST WAIT PEOPLE WILL CLAMOUR FOR IT AND BE JEALOUS YOU HAVE IT THEY DONT OMG”. So I’d buy new phones when they launched (though I never went for an iphone because the carrier I was with never had them until I decided I couldn’t afford any phone except a prepaid phone). About 3 and a half years ago I bought a Palm Pre thinking it would be really cool. It should be noted that when I was a teenager I had a Palm Pilot that I used as a daily planner. Yes, I was that geeky. So this new Palm product seemed cool to me, and I did need a new phone. So I bought it on release, paid too much even with an upgrade offer from the carrier, and then found out that the phone was not all the ads had promised. The OS was buggy, the phone itself not built well, and certainly not worth what I had paid. Of course you can return products (I didn’t end up returning mine because I am stubborn and thought “it’ll get better with an update”, “it’s the best phone they have anyway”, etc), but why go through the hassle of buying and returning in the first place? It probably just pisses off your credit score or triggers some alarm about you in Consumer Data Collection Land.

So I decided never again would I buy a product right off the shelf, full price, before I’d scoped out some info on it, not from ads, but from other people who buy, use, and love tech. YouTube is actually a really good place to find that. Of course, as with all consumer endeavours, there is a strong “buyer beware” attached here too. Some people on YouTube, especially the ones with fancy equipment and professional videos (i.e. TechnoBuffalo) receive items to review and so they’re trying to give honest objective reviews but might fail to mention a few downsides since they didn’t just drop $300 for the device. It’s just a fact, but if you’re aware of that, you can adjust accordingly. Often my strategy is to wait to buy a new gadget. I’m very patient, so I usually wait for at least one price drop, depending on what the item is. Also, I’ve learned first models are not always excellent and if I wait I might get a better device, even if I pay a little more, which in that case may be worth it.

But while I’m waiting, I check YouTube for new reviews from people who have purchased the item with hard earned dough and want to share with others the pros and cons and what the new fangled dealy is all about. I look for reviews that are done by people who have liked things that I like, or disliked things I haven’t. I look for reviews in which the person sounds like they know what they are talking about. And usually I’ll go for an adult’s review, someone around my age group.

Unboxing videos are great to get a look at a device and see how the company packages it. You will also learn exactly how the device is built, what the hardware is like, without even having to go to the store and touch it. I mean, going and touching would be the next step, but often you might find an unboxing you didn’t like the device and not even bother with the store trip for something you know you’d never buy.

To sum it up – reviews from the consumer market online are far more accurate and and honest than advertisments, hype in magazines (though if you’ve a favorite mag or journalist who’s opinion you trust that can be part of your consumer info source), or even the written reviews on websites. Written reviews can be faked. With a video at least you get to hear and maybe even see the person and get an idea of what they are like – probably even tell if they’re being honest and informative or just hyping the item.

So there it is, my two cents on being a well informed consumer. Next time you are considering purchasing a phone, tablet, PC, camera, etc – go ahead and pop that make and model in the YouTube search box and check out a few videos. You might save yourself some disappointment, or assure yourself you’ll be getting a good buy.

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3 thoughts on “Technology Reviews

  1. You bought an original Palm Pilot back in the day Allaunira? I didn’t think you were old enough to do that heheh (at least judging from your youtube video). Anyway you can’t be as geeky as me, I’ve spent over a decade in the computing world, but even I rely on reviews (of a more technical sort) because of how fast-paced the industry is.

    For example: http://www.jonnyguru.com/ for power supplies. Detailed reviews and figures, some humour and they buy quite a few of the units themselves (not that the team would risk their reputation faking something for a manufacturer payoff). There is still a lot of bull out there, including in user reviews – the problem is people will downrate something for being DOA (crap happens, manufacturing and shipping isn’t perfect) or an issue that is down to user error.

    Well, in any case, have a nice evening and enjoy the new year ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sam

    • You make a good point – I think a fair amount of tech knowledge is required to make good use of the consumer reviews on YouTube. People will downgrade things unfairly because of errors that only happened to their unit and are in fact rare, or simply because the unit doesn’t function the way they’d like it to only because they do not understand how to use it properly. You have to wade through all the crap to find people you can trust.

      • Thank you for the reply Al, that was quick.

        I brought up power supplies in particular because they’re harder to understand than most computer-related parts (without an electronics background) and there’s little to no regulation on what they can be labelled as. Stable, clean power is pretty important and often overlooked. Some of the cheap junkers are outright fire hazards and shouldn’t be on the market. Unfortunately, it’s often tempting to save $30 and buy a crapbox which some consumers end up regretting.

        I just watching your Torment LP by the way, I see you’re already chuckling at Morte’s attitude towards the ladies. Considering how bleak the story is, it’s probably just as well he’s there to lighten the mood.

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