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GadgetGuy Testing methodology

GadgetGuy is one of, if not the last, Australian-owned, publically accessible, lifestyle/tech ‘deep-dive’ review websites. To maintain our amazing credibility ratings we first develop a testing methodology for every product we review.

We wanted to explain what ‘deep-dive’ means and how we arrive at the testing methodology for a diverse range of products from hair stylers to complex IT equipment.

Do you charge for reviews?

Absolutely not, no, nada, nyet! Can we be any clearer? Reviews are 100% free of charge and we refuse to review any product where the vendor/PR insists on final review approval. You cannot buy our support – it goes against the journalist code of ethics.

We do not sell any products either. We also refuse to enter into affiliate marketing or click through schemes. All review URLs are tracker free and we do not receive income from them.

We will help a vendor to amplify the free review via a paid competition, special EDM or advertising on the site but these are not mandatory at all.

Where do the review products come from?

Manufacturers or their PR agencies provide these at launch. After two decades of reviews, we are well known and well respected by them. It is to their advantage to have a known independent review!

Our review eligibility criteria include

  • If it plugs in and/or there is some tech behind it we will review it
  • All items must be available locally for at least 90-days from launch
  • Ideally have an Australian vendors/distributors website and local pricing, distribution, brick and mortar retailers and support.
  • We will not support grey marketing or parallel import products
  • We no longer review products that are in the crowd-sourcing stage as the items may never be produced
  • Reviews are current until the next version is available.

Do we keep products?

As enticing as it sounds there is a limit to what our testers can use. Our review policy is that we must know up-front if the product is to be returned. It makes no difference to the review either way and most products are returned.

If we keep the product we will try to use it at GadgetGuy. We also try to obtain the best ‘tech’ to use as ‘reference’ tools. For example, we need to both subjectively and objectively compare headphones, speakers, phones, monitors, computers etc with the current best technology. So we have a few nice toys!

Where we cannot use the product we look for worthy charitable causes. We never sell them!

What are the manufacturers claims?

We analyse the product website and specifications to see what marketing and product claims are made. ‘Deep-dive’ means that we develop tests to verify those claims.

We call out any unsubstantiated claims such as the ‘world’s best’ or just cut through the market ‘BS’. You will notice an absense of hyperbole in our reviews – unless we get extcited!

Testing methodology

In a lot of cases, there is insufficient information available so we ask for it, search for the FCC ID or other regulatory filings to get ‘inside’ the product.

What should it do?

We have a broad consumer group that we ask “What are the ‘top-ten’ things this product must do and to what level to meet your expectations? We have long-term experts on Apple, Microsoft, Audio-visual, Home Automation (we have both a Google and Alexa testbed), cameras and so many more things. There is not much we don’t know about testing now.

Testing methodology

Then we use appropriate replicable testing tools and regimens applicable to real-world use. We have temperature probes, sound meters, voltage measurement, light meters and a suite of software that expose a lot of the inner secrets. Deep Dive means we test – not just regurgitate a press release!

And sometimes we have to invent tests and equipment like environmental humidity or temperature, actuation force, weight and wear and tear.

Testing methodology
I love the durability test!

Our testing methodology uses FAIL, PASS and EXCEED against the testing paradigms.

Ratings are out of five

Each device is rated out-of-five points for: Features; Value for money; Performance; Easy of Use; and Design. To a degree, these are subjective but generally reflect real-world use. If in doubt we ask other reviewers for their opinion.

Testing methodology
Anything over four is pretty good

Our ratings reflect the performance within a class. For example, a mass-market smartphone under $200 should never be compared to a flagship phone over $1,000. That is why a low-cost phone may score 5 out-of-5  where it may score 1-out-of-5 against a more expensive one. We call it the fit-for-purpose test.

The value test

This is the hardest test of all. Something is worth what people will pay for it so we avoid value judgements. After all, Apple has been extracting the maximum ‘ARPU’ from its sheep users forever. Then, to be fair Apple products have no comparison.

So if we have reviewed another product that offers similar or better value we will mention this and any mitigating reasons you may want to pay more. After all we don’t all drive Hyundai.

Testing methodology

And if it fails?

If a product fails to meet reasonable standards (above three-out-of-five) we generally don’t publish the review. Instead, we ask the manufacturer to address issues we have found.

Testing methodology

Fake Reviews

The web is littered with fake reviews. There are tens of thousands of fake review factories employing hundreds of thousands of fake reviewers to push out reviews to any site that will accept them. You can read more here

Our best advice is to be very skeptical of review sites that sell the product.

Testing methodology
Not having a go specifically at Amazon but there are websites like Fake-Spot set up to gauge the reliability of Amazon reviews!

Can you write for us?

Sorry no. Our testers have over one hundred years of cumulative experience and know what to look for. But we encourage you to use Disqus comment on reviews if we have missed anything you are interested in. And you are welcome to email us at [email protected] with any suggestions. Occasionally we may accept a guest review as long as its 100% orioginal content.