First off, I'd like to just say hi. Long time reader of TH, but first time poster. I also hope this doesn't break any rules...
So I'm in a university course on Program and Policy Evaluation. I've been given a final project and I've decided to evaluate some laptops in terms of specs & performance for what you pay for. Mostly mid level stuff nothing too fancy.
I've come here because I was wondering if anyone can give me any points or tips on how someone involved in the reviews industry determines what products to review. I guess what I'm saying is, how do computer magazine editors/writers determine what PCs they are going to feature/review in their magazine, and why?
If anyone reading this has any experience in this area, I'd greatly appreciate your input, and anyone who is interested could be mentioned within the paper if they like, or remain anonymous. (I have to reference, academic dishonesty and the sort..). I'd also be willing to share my review with anyone interested via PM or external link.
Hey, North Bay. I lived there for a couple months. Welcome to the forumz.
Okay, I'm not an editor and I've never reviewed PC hardware, but from what I've read, there are two ways that an editor gets a hold of hardware, and thus "decides" to review it. :wink:
1) They ask for it. "We're doing a piece on the best boutique PCs in the $1000 range. Send us what you've got."
2) The builders just send their products in, for advertising and outside opinions, I suppose. "We have this new line of HTPCs and we'd love for you to test them out."
For the first, the editors usually look for big names (Dell, HP, Falcon Northwest, etc). If they've never heard of the company, they aren't likely to bother asking for review units. The same is generally true for manufacturers. They look for big name review sites/magazines (THG, AnAndTech, Maximum PC, etc.) to feature their stuff. But some are willing to send hardware to start-ups. I don't know if they'd do the same for students...
Is that what you're asking, or did I completely miss the point?
Yeah North Bay... you can only live here for a few months at a time before... well you know... lol
Anyway, what you said helps yeah. I was once a reviewer for a computer mods site about 3 years ago, just as the market was getting big. What you said is true but I'm not about to ask people for free stuff just for this project.
I'm looking more for the side of "We have these 10 products, we can only review 3 in this edition. Which ones should we choose?"
So far I've run into a couple articles that made their decisions based on editor's choice. However, even though I am an avid computer hardware follower, I don't feel I am an "expert" by any means so it would be hard to justify a decision based souly on my opinion.
So far I have Dell, Compaq, HP, IBM and Acer computers on my list...
Anyway, any other input anyone has would be greatly appreciated!
First I'd decide of how they will be used, e.g., business, multimedia, gaming, whatever. Then a price point trying to keep them within $100 of that point, $50 if lower end. Then what you'll bench mark. While I read some computer magazines, generally I prefer comparison reviews of cars, e.g., Car and Driver. Not only do they compare performance but appearance, build quality, ergonomics, etc. Might be interesting to try with lap tops dealing with things like how heavy are they, how sturdy are they, subjective but what do they look like people will see them as well as performance
So far the Acer Aspire AS5 100 is winning, but its running with an AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core Mobile TL-50... so I'm leaning towards the Dell with its Inten Core 2 Duo processor.
Couple of things. The Lenovo, I don't think it's part of IBM any more, is pretty pricey compared to the rest so you'll have to have a good reason to include it. Not saying you don't but you'll have to be very clear as to why, e.g., are these others just as good for less money or whatever. Not sure what you mean by "leaning towards the Dell". If the Acer is out performing it, then the Acer has better performance. If there are other reasons you think the Dell is better, it would have to be for reasons other than the CPU given that's included in performance, e.g., it's lighter, sturdier, ergonomically better, more attractive, maybe a better chick/guy magnet. You'll have to say up front what you mean by the best, if it's purely performance and the Acer wins, that's it. If there are other variables, you'll need to make these clear up front.
The reason I included the IBM was because it fit the hardware profile while I was looking for laptops. I put it in because I wanted to show that for what it had, it was disgustingly overpriced compared to the others I'd found.
I've got to admit though, that the type of review I'm doing isnt as in depth as you guys think, and as much as I'd like.
The reason for this is because my professor told me straight up "no technical jargen, I want an evaluation on which to buy and why, nothing super fancy"
So... I've gotto admit, I dont physically have the PCs either. What I've done is found 2 online and 3 locally (Acers + Toshiba). I've created a chart with their specs and prices and graded them on each then totaling the score for each and comparing it to the price. What it came down to was the processors of each laptop, so I looked at the TH Mobile Processor review. Based on the information I got from that review, I figured out what laptop had the best processor and basically recommended the one that was the best balance of price and performance.
Had I been given the opportunity to actually benchmark them myself, I would have definitely done an aesthetic review as well. I did include battery types and their Watt Hour rating as well as each laptops weight class. In my recommendations I did make sure to mention that any laptop someone is looking to buy should be tested and looked over by themselves first too. Just to be sure its a chick magnet...