Reader input required: review our reviews
Tell us what you like - and what you don't
Site News The Register has been running hardware and software reviews for some years now, mainly though not exclusively through its sister-site, the written-for-consumers Reg Hardware.
We're planning to make some improvements, but before we put them in place, we'd like to hear what you, the reader, would like to find when you click to read a Register review.
We have a good idea of the kind of products you like us to cover and what you don't. From the comments, we have a shrewd notion of what irks some of you about specific reviews. But we want to learn what you hope to get from a review, and here's your chance to tell us.
For instance, do you prefer longer, in-depth reviews - or are focused, waffle-free appraisals what you're after? Are you looking for science paper-style evaluations - or do you favour short, consumer-oriented 'should I buy this?' surveys? Are benchmarks important to you - or are they now largely irrelevant in this era of fast-enough CPUs and long-run batteries?
Is a percentage rating a useful quick-look measure of a product's worth? Or would you prefer a star rating, visually different but essentially just a mark out of ten? Or perhaps you prefer to make your own mind up after reading the review.
Do spec sheets or tables help? Or are you happy to visit a vendor's website for that?
Do you like to see lots of product picture, or would you rather see only the salient features snapped?
Games reviews - good or bad, more or fewer?
Let us know your thoughts.
Please bear in mind some realities. Reviews of Apple products are hugely popular and are not going to go away, no matter how politely (or not) you ask. Reg reviews - or those of any other publication, for that matter - rarely have kit on hand for long-term testing.
We review products as users, not as procurers or engineers - though perhaps we should. And so, over to you. The comments section awaits.
When I go reading reviews, it's generally not because I want to know if something is worth buying, but because I want to know *which* something to get. So, for me, comparisons with other similar products are important (especially in the introduction/conclusion paragraphs, which are often the only parts I read).
Doesn't apply so much to game reviews, but I don't care much about those, because modern games all suck anyway.
Quality writing (i.e. better proof reading), evidence for opinions and statements, more balance.
As per the title.
A number of reg articles recently have had very poor writing. Either in a grammatical sense, or simply typo's misspellings and repeated words. It's not hard to get this right, just get one or two other people to read it before publishing, I presume there must be at least 1 grammar nazi among the reg team.
If not I'll happily take the job, for an extortionate fee of course.
Secondly, opinions and statements given about products should be backed up by fact, and quality facts at that.
A review a short while back of Google Drive for iOS is a prime example, the "screenshots" provided were fairly poor quality photos of the phone screen taken with a camera (or another phone?).
Additionally there seems to be a tendency for the writers opinions to be stated as fact. The Google Drive review (apologies for focusing on one article (but it was so dire it provides a myriad of examples of fail) stated in somewhat factual way the Captcha used was unreadable when this was clearly not the case as I and many others could read in the poor quality images used in the review, not to mention the many people who have successfully used the app.
Overall, less bias please and less writing in the style of a guy showing of his latest toy to his mates down the pub. More writing in the style of a balanced, unbiased quality technology publication (since that is what The Register purports to be).
For examples of quite good reviews The Register has done, I would point you in the direction of:
All of which helped convince me to buy the particular device, and were fairly well written and were nicely balanced in pointing out the good and bad in the products.
Fix the scoring
Do you never review bad items? What is the point of percentage points if nothing scores below 50%? In fact I reckon 80% of stuff come ins between 70% and 90%. Just have 5 stars and be done with.
Apart from that, the comparisons are always good to read and you could do with a few more, and the other reviews are a good balance.