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Electronics and Computer Reviews

amazon - Review

Zippy's Review of Amazon: Amazon is another retailer that’s done a good job getting their customers to review products they’ve purchased. Because Amazon lends itself to such a broad-reaching audience, their reviews many times aren’t as detailed or specific as on other sites.

The Good: “Amazon verified purchase" = they bought it. Consumers can now submit video reviews, however this hasn’t really caught on yet it seems.

The Bad: Amazon does not offer ANY editorial/expert reviews. Amazon has other users/consumers define whether a given reviewer is good, with "helpful" or "unhelpful" distinctions. Unfortunately, Amazon does not require a user to have purchased the item to provide a review. As such, certain users mystically have submitted over 26,000 reviews. While Amazon has amazing breadth and review coverage, some consumers have a tendancy to drag on their reviews and they can be a bit unstructured at times. Lastly, Amazon does not allow users/consumers to rate using 1/2 stars, which limits flexibility for scoring.

Wearable - Review

Zippy's Review of Wearable: Most everyone has been to CNET at one point, so it shouldn’t be a shocker they made our list. They offer great breadth of coverage (just about every electronics category and any PC/Laptop/Mac ever made) and they also offer concise reviews that are useful to a consumer that is an expert or a layman on the subject topic.

The Good: They offer video reviews with their editors talking about products and what they like and what they don’t.

The Bad: I strongly believe that CNET never really “slams” a product, due to advertising dollars. They offer premium ad inventory to MANY top manufacturers. Some products that they review simply aren’t very good, but yet the editor score is much higher than the consumer(s) score.

AudioREVIEW - Review

Zippy's Review of AudioREVIEW: A FANTASTIC site that offers detailed information about audio equipment. Most consumers offering reviews here are more audiophiles than on most other sites. While they do offer “editorial reviews,” the site is really focused on the consumer reviews.

The Good: A very savvy user community that writes concise reviews that are detailed. AudioREVIEW is great particularly to find reviews for audio speakers. If you’re having a hard time finding reviews for an esoteric pair of speakers, this is probably your best bet!

The Bad: The site is not sexy looking at all. Also some of the navigation is a bit clunky. I find that their search doesn’t work great and would suggest navigating through links on the site to get the content you’re looking for instead.

Laptopmag - Review

Zippy's Review of Laptopmag: Great content and reviews make this site very appealing to users with all levels of expertise. They do a particularly good job in their editorial reviews of comparing features to other products in the same class. On the downside...are they really going to show you an ad that you have to "skip" before getting to any page on their site when you first arrive? Well yes... yes they are! I included the site in spite of the annoyance because of the quality reviews. The graphical display of benchmarks for a tested machine are nice, although quite common on computer review sites. Where a review ends and other site navigation begins is not very cleanly designed and as such, navigation on the site could be better and more intuitive.

The Good: Good clean and seemingly honest editorial reviews. On the first page of a review they shoot straight with an easy to consume summary of their thoughts on the product.

The Bad:Free content on the internet is great and I get that businesses need to make money with ads, but they place them in annoying and inconvenient places significantly degrading the overall user experience (that's YOU). No consumer reviews available for products.

PCMag - Review

Zippy's Review of PCMag: Good editorial reviews, consumer reviews are decent however they are very limited in number. The editorial reviews are solid with detail, but are quite verbose and aren’t segmented into different sections. It makes it tough to find the exact information on the product you’re interested in.

The Good: Good summary section of reviews at the beginning of the review

The Bad: They need more consumer reviews.

CNET - Review

Zippy's Review of CNET: Most everyone has been to CNET at one point, so it shouldn’t be a shocker they made our list. They offer great breadth of coverage (just about every electronics category and any PC/Laptop/Mac ever made) and they also offer concise reviews that are useful to a consumer that is an expert or a layman on the subject topic.

The Good: They offer video reviews with their editors talking about products and what they like and what they don’t.

The Bad: I strongly believe that CNET never really “slams” a product, due to advertising dollars. They offer premium ad inventory to MANY top manufacturers. Some products that they review simply aren’t very good, but yet the editor score is much higher than the consumer(s) score.

dpreview - Review

Zippy's Review of dpreview: Digital Photography Review is a highly specialized site that only reviews digital cameras and digital camcorders. Their content is geared toward users that are at the “prosumer” to professional level. If you’re looking for a point-and-shoot simple camera you may feel overburdened by the amount of data and level of detail they offer. Interesting fact… dpreview is owned by Amazon.

The Good: Their staff reviews are fantastic and offer graphic detail about the features, functionality and performance. They have great pictures of the product that they are reviewing to almost give you the essence of holding the camera or accessory in your hand.

The Bad: dpreview’s reviews can be a bit bloated - reviews that go on for PAGES!!

engadget - Review

Zippy's Review of engadget: A great site for people who are gadget lovers. The information that they offer is extremely brief and reads well on a mobile device (even if you don’t download an app for the smart phone of your choosing). It certainly is a sexy looking site. This is the ultimate 21st century representation of an A.D.D. review site.

The Good: They are cutting edge with what’s the latest and greatest and its very concise data makes it easy for anyone to stay on top of new "toys." It’s usually one of the first sites to talk about new and/or up and coming products.

The Bad: Don’t expect to get enough information from here to make an intelligent buying decision… it’s just not in the cards.

GIZMODO - Review

Zippy's Review of GIZMODO: GIZMODO is a site similar in concept to engadget, which is very familiar with Apple’s legal team after the lost iPhone prototype debacle! We might as well refer to this site as an electronic and gadget news feed compilation. However, it is a unique and fantastic way to offer some personal information on products they play with or test. Most of the time the site is lacking technical specifications, but simply offering human insight into the usefulness and success of the products/devices and what they are designed to do. These electronic reviews are all written by the editors/professionals. Consumer reviews don’t exist on the site. However at the end of the editor’s review/opinion there are hordes of user comments. Unfortunately a lot of this turns into cross-talk, but occasionally you’ll find a gem that offers useful information

The Good: Easy to read electronics reviews, short and to the point.

The Bad: Lack of technical specs many times, reviews are more like a running commentary rather than a structured list of items you might want to see for a given product type.

GSMArena - Review

Zippy's Review of GSMArena: GSMArena is a fantastic site to offer breadth of information about all phones that are reasonably modern (and some that aren’t). The best aspect of the site is the technical detail they offer which is extremely comprehensive for each phone. Also of note: they refer to reviews as “opinions.” This is probably because an “opinion” has no guaranteed structure and usually is VERY short.

The Good: The ability to find detailed specs on almost any cell phone that could possibly still electrically function. Also it’s cool how they allow you to compare multiple phones.

The Bad: Reviews from consumers are nearly worthless because of lack of detail and poor formatting.

HardOCP - Review

Zippy's Review of HardOCP: Building a computer yourself and you’re a super-geek? Look no further! Their site isn’t the sexiest looking (and the black on black theme isn’t real soothing), but their information is blunt and honest. It is a good site to find specialized things such as water cooling kits reviews, CPU fan reviews, case fan reviews, or PSU reviews (power supplies). Navigation on their site isn’t great and their search leaves much to be desired. The review section of their site offers only reviews from editors/staff. Their forum, however, has many super-geeks that frequent it and offer advice and information on products as well. The information isn’t very structured as it’s a forum.

The Good: Honest reviews, with detailed information.

The Bad: Their site is not user-friendly and needs some color to cheer it up a bit. They don’t seem to ever do “product roundups,” where multiple products in the same class are directly compared and the editor stack ranks them.

Newegg - Review

Zippy's Review of Newegg: While this site clearly represents that of a retailer, there are a huge number of product reviews on the site. Newegg's user reviews can only be provided by consumers that have purchased the item with Newegg. This lends validity to the reviews since that user owns the item personally. Once you get to a product page, click on the “Feedback” tab and you’ll be able to read through the reviews.

The Good: Reviews are usually abundant for any reasonably popular product. They are, however, usually relatively short. Also it’s great that Newegg provides manufacturers a way to interact with consumers buying their products. It shows that some manufacturers are highly engaged with their customer base and helps to provide a reality check if a reviewer is just having difficulty getting something to work and venting their frustration.

The Bad: Newegg offers extremely limited staff reviews of products (they just started doing this).

notebookreview - Review

Zippy's Review of notebookreview: They have both editorial reviews and consumer reviews. However, the consumer reviews are few and far between. The site doesn’t organize its content in the best way, lots of whitespace all over, and their reviews sometimes are on a single page, instead of being able to jump to a specific part of the review (i.e. battery life or cpu benchmarks). Their reviews are fairly detailed and seem unbiased by their advertisers.

The Good: They provide another opinion in the notebook review world.

The Bad: Tough to get to the parts of reviews you want to see and their review summaries aren’t great. Tough to find any consumer reviews, perhaps because the site doesn’t get a lot of traffic.

pcworld - Review

Zippy's Review of pcworld: Offering both consumer reviews and staff reviews, this site has the basics covered. Unfortunately it seems their user community isn’t very active as many popular/common products have very few consumer reviews. Like c|net though, this site has reviews for almost anything with an electronics circuit. They do a lot of great product comparison reviews and buying guides that makes it easier for you to make a quicker decision on which product is right for you. The main/first page of each review offers a great summary of information including the user reviews, editorial review score, and some pros and cons.

The Good: Well organized and easy to consume laptop reviews, tablet reviews, and other electronic product reviews.

The Bad: They need more consumer reviews.

Phone Scoop - Review

Zippy's Review of Phone Scoop: This site offers specifications on phones similarly to GSM Arena, but it doesn’t cover nearly as many phones. However, their consumer review data is more detailed and better formatted for readability. I’m only going to assume that their traffic hasn’t built up yet, but it seems many popular phones still don’t have that many consumer reviews.

The Good: They offer detailed specifications on phones, and consumer reviews are fairly useful.

The Bad: The site is not well organized… the navigation to get to reviews is entirely by search or by manufacturer. They really need to add attribute driven navigation. They’ve instituted this a little differently with their “phone finder” technology. We’ll let you be the judge if you like that as well.

Steve's DIGICAMS - Review

Zippy's Review of Steve's DIGICAMS:Steve's DIGICAMS is a slick site that offers only editorial reviews. The site, of course, focuses on digital camera reviews, digital camcorder reviews, and some smart phone reviews. The site is clean and easy to navigate and the reviews are well summarized. However, I find that reading through the entire review is a bit jarring as they intermix pictures with the text in a way that makes it tough to read. Their conclusion or summary is also far too big. It’s an entire page in itself. If you’re a moderate camera user I’d read the first page of their review and scan through their conclusion, if you’re a professional photographer or have it as a serious hobby, reading the full article/review may be refreshing.

The Good: Easy to navigate site, sexy pictures of the item (in multiple angles – ooo la la) and detailed information.

The Bad: Too much information. I get analysis paralysis from this site. You can’t find reviews by camera type (point and shoot, ultra compact, DSLR, etc.) in their navigation.

tomshardware - Review

Zippy's Review of Tom's Hardware: A techy site that is geared toward people who build their own computers. The information is plentiful within their reviews. Keep in mind, because computing technology is ever-changing, a review that’s 2 months old may not be particularly useful for searches like “best intel cpu.”

The Good: Very detailed information.

The Bad: The information they provide isn’t written in a way to make a concise point/conclusion.

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