Blindly trusting smartphone reviews can lead you to a faulty device

Gadget reviews have lost their mojo as companies have started using them as a tool to boost the sales of their new devices. It's high time for you to be mindful while buying a new device as reviewers are facing cut-throat competition in attracting eyeballs.

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About 1.35 billion smartphones were shipped in 2021, accounting for around 17.1% of the world population. Everyone desires to find nothing but the very best smartphone that fits into their budget. And in a bid to do so, people trust smartphone reviewers to understand the essential enhanced features of the gadget.

But what if most gadget reviews are staged? What if the review you believed to be unbiased and perfect just highlighted the excellent features while completely neglecting the downside of it? It throws light on an unpopular yet essential topic, can we trust smartphone reviews?

The truth of smartphone reviews cannot be justified in a single sentence. Instead, it falls into a grey area where reviewers reveal the correct features but not at the right time. 

The blog post says that soon after the gadget’s first look is out, there’s a race among people willing to get the feel of the new product. However, there is almost no legal way to get the phone until it’s officially up for sale.

The limited time frame is a golden period for manufacturers where they can influence people by exaggerating that new features. At times, manufacturers use not-so-ethical tactics to make heads turned and boost early sales. 

Individual influencers try to be as positive as they can, but there are ways where manufacturers can indirectly or even directly influence those early reviews.

Imposed embargos lead to shallow reviews

JR Raphael talks about embargos in his review experience. He says every device is a new adventure and agrees that they come with embargoes that restrict him from a closer look at the product performance til a specific date. 

It’s a tactic by smartphone manufacturers that give them an unfair advantage. They highlight the best features in ads and put restrictions on reviewers to talk about performance – which matters the most for a prospective customer – to borrow time and boost early sales.

For example, you can reveal the outside look but cannot explain the internal issues in detail.

The shallow reviews leave a long-term impact on users’ brains where they think they already know everything about the product, but in reality, they only have incomplete information.

Until the ‘challenging‘ reviews appear, hundreds of units are already sold.

Most early gadget reviews lack extensive use of the device

Suppose you purchased a smartphone, and it worked fine for a month. But then it started to lag or automatically turn off. Who would you blame for your ordeal? The company, the reviews you trusted, or both?

Let’s accept it; No one can reasonably assess the worthiness of a device within a few hours or days of use. It needs a comprehensive evaluation to give an honest verdict.

However, most early reviews on popular social media websites lack extensive use. It’s impossible for reviewers to use the device for weeks in a scenario when the market is flooded with devices, a few new devices are introduced every week, and reviewers are facing cut-throat competition to attract views. If a reviewer is committed to post reviews worthy enough for your purchasing decision, others would have already posted the ‘unboxing’, ‘first-look’, and ‘first impression’ claiming it as ‘review’. It impacts their business. 

Smartphone reviews: A New feature isn’t always as great as it is promoted

The ‘coming soon‘ feature of any smartphone is highly debatable. Usually, most smartphones come with the same features. We all know that! 

But tech is a highly competitive niche where companies must continuously bring something new, or they will be out.

Manufacturers claim to provide a new feature in every new smartphone before launch. They release a small teaser that shows the enhanced ability. In most cases, it’s the camera, RAM, or screen resolution.

To evaluate the correct capacity of the new feature, anyone needs to use the device for at least a month, but that isn’t happening. We have seen considerable blunders in the past. Also, the features that look fantastic on screen aren’t always helpful in real life.

The bottom line 

There are pros & cons in every industry, and customers do not have any control over it. However, taking a conscious decision is in your hand.

But that doesn’t mean all smartphone reviews are biased or totally useless. There are many reviews and articles posted online by micro-influencers that are not staged. You can surely trust them. However, the process of filtering those reviews is time-consuming and one must be smart enough to label those.

The next time you read a gadget review, remember that it might be a ‘controlled’ one. Do your research and, if possible, purchase your new smartphone after one month of launch. Wait until the detailed reviews are arrived and don’t fall into the trap of being called ‘early adopters of technology’, a phrase smartly planted by gadget companies.

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