New Ranking System
This new ranking system applies to all articles written _after_ 11/15/2012 and goes as follows:
We give one of these stars for looks. Shallow as it is, we all know we love good looking products. If a product is ugly, more than likely we aren’t going to give it this star. The good news is… we compare the look of the product with other products in its category. So ugly is measured in different light if you will.
We give a second star for functionality. How well does the product perform? Does it do what the advertisements say it can do? Is it fairly straight forward or is it overly complicated (not to be confused with necessarily complicated)? This star also covers tests that we conduct in a formal test bed, lab, etc…
We give a third star for price. We measure MSRP, with actual market value, and used value (how well a product retains its value). These numbers generally paint a picture of the quality of a product. A product that is released with an MSRP of $1,000 USD that goes on sale immediately by distributors for $400 and is sold used for an average price of $75 is generally not a good investment. This type of price hyping is designed to create an illusion of value where there is none (most of the time).
We give a fourth star for build quality. If a product feels like it is put together right, is put together right, made out of quality materials and designed well… you know what I’m talking about… the designer actually sat down and put some time, energy and thought into the everyday use… when that happens… we give it this star.
Last, but certainly not least is support and warranty. Does the company stand by the product? Is support available? When is it available? Do they speak the language of the countries they are sold in well? Are they knowledgeable or do they just read rebuttal cards or look questions up on the knowledge base and read them back?
Each one of these stars can be cut in half if you think about it. However, we won’t do that. You either “bring it” and do it right or you fail. In this economy, half-assed is not good enough. So if a product doesn’t do what it needs to do in one of these categories they definitely don’t get a full star and they won’t get partial credit for “almost”.
The way we work with manufacturing companies is pretty straight forward. We make a request for a product to test. If there is a problem we are fair. We give them the opportunity to respond, to switch out a product, and to fix a situation. Everyone has a bad day, and we don’t want to give you the consumer information that is wrong. We don’t want to tell you something is bad merely because we happened to get the 1 in 4500 that had a problem. So that is why we give the manufacturer every opportunity to show us their product works, even if they have to swap it out. So if you see one of these stars missing… it’s because they had every opportunity to do something to fix the situation and failed. This could mean we contacted them and they swapped out the unit… and the new unit didn’t perform either. It could also mean we contacted them and they didn’t care enough to do anything about it. Either way it is what it is and the star is gone.
HOWEVER, when we award a product it is because the manufacturer deserves it. We are cutting our awards down to just two (for the most part). An Editor’s Choice Award and a Best Buy award. If you see those awards you will know that the manufacturer exceeded our expectations and really performed well under pressure! If you see a Reviewboard Best Buy or Reviewboard Editor’s Choice Award on a product you know you can buy that product and it is going to work well and be supported.
Clearly for things like movies, services, rentals, and various other reviews this system will be engaged differently and be left up to the reviewer. However, the 5 star system will always remain in place, and we will not be serving ‘half’ stars.
If you have any questions about our new ranking system please feel free to contact us by clicking the contact link at the top or bottom of the website.