Buying Tech Products: Fact and Fiction

Shopping in store for tech gadgets
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Depending on how deep you dive into technology, you will have seen just how difficult it is to separate good advice from bad advice. Tech topics can devolve into a pile of information where some are good, some are completely wrong, and some sound just good enough.

Simple advice on the best smartphone to buy as complex advice on specific parts to buy for your own PC, but spotting what good information to follow is a critical skill in the modern age. Follow this guide for some of the most critical things to look for to find reliable reviews.

Any kind of content, such as videos, articles, or reviews, where the product owner pays for promotion is sponsored content. 

Sponsored content, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, and many creators make a point of negotiating contracts when they are under no obligation, only to praise the item or service in question. It works in a spiritually similar way to sports stars wearing branded equipment; yes, the sponsorship is there, but it doesn’t detract from the quality of the information around it.

With sponsored reviews, it is worth watching or reading several previous reviews to build up an idea of how they operate. As we’ll look at later, bigger factors tend to have a much greater influence on how valuable a review is than any sponsorships attached to it. If there’s any doubt, don’t forget you can always corroborate the information through other independent reviews, like our Elora Ontario restaurant review, which was done entirely off our own backs.

Amateur vs Professional Reviews

In theory, anyone can write a review about anything, and there are no real standards or rules about who can publish what and where. At the most extreme end, there are rare cases out there of reviews created on information only taken from other reviews and not actual tests of the product or service.

One thing that can help is finding dedicated review sites that cover the product or service in question. For example, if you’re looking for reviews or PC components and builds, groups like LinusTechTips have an incredible reputation for insider knowledge and detailed insight. Similarly, for those looking into online casino sites, whether to check the games list, payment options or site safety, finding a site like CasinoReviews, which actively tests out all the features of the sites they review, is important to know isn’t just someone taking everything at face value.

Multiple Sources

No matter how objective and professional a reviewer is, and no matter how they present their research, one person’s opinion is still only one opinion. That isn’t to say that a reviewer would intentionally skew or bias a review, as it can be an entirely unconscious decision in, for example, the details they choose to include and omit. Someone who reviews a music platform that has an exclusive license with their favourite artist may be inherently pushed towards a good review without realizing it.

That’s why it’s always important to check reviews from multiple sources where possible, especially with more expensive items. For instance, while we mentioned LinusTechTips earlier as a great example for PC parts, there are plenty of others to cross-reference with. The other one commonly brought up is Tom’s Hardware, an all-in-one site for computer builders which gets early access to new hardware thanks to a huge number of inside lines with production companies.

The key takeaway of this is that, just like researching the product or service you want, you should also be willing to do a little bit of research on the reviewers themselves. In many cases, instincts can help guide you, especially if you’re used to how the Internet works. If a site or a creator looks suspect, then there’s no harm in checking up on them or just taking what they say with a pinch of salt. It could be an obviously sponsored ad that isn’t clearly mentioned, it should be poor presentation quality or any number of other things. Be vigilant, take the time to look twice, and you’ll be getting lots more value out of your research.