1. Rule9's Avatar
    We've ALL seen the following type of statement almost daily on sites like this:

    "It doesn't matter what enthusiasts think, because the average user who doesn't follow tech are the majority"

    Usually statements like this are made during debates on the success or failure to sell of a new or upcoming phone. People argue that if techies don't like it, it has little to no impact on that phone's success. I would argue otherwise. When people spend a fairly significant amount of money on electronics they don't just rely on advertising alone. They will fire up their browser and search reviews. Where are reviews for smartphones usually found? Tech sites like Engadget, The Verge, Cnet, etc etc. The people who write those reviews are techies. I don't think I need to point out to you the fact that a great many of these reviews tend to echo each other. But more importantly they spend a good amount of time talking about precisely the things that people claim the average user doesn't care about. Specs and performance. Unfortunately there's also a lot of bad reviewers who don't actually properly review the phone, but rather they just regurgitate popularized opinions for click bait.

    If a new smartphone has last year's CPU, or a non-HD display you can almost be assured to see a comment something along the lines of "While this phone has decent hardware, people looking for the latest snapdragon 600 processor or 1080p display should look towards the Samsung or HTC instead" Comparisons are mentioned and the reader is now discovering other brands and models that have more current specs. And god help them if they scroll down into that cesspool knows as reader comments! As soon as that happens they'll be bombarded with obnoxious posts like "This phone sucks! last years specs! Fail!!!!"
    07-13-2013 07:27 PM
  2. abazigal's Avatar
    The only question is "how much".
    07-13-2013 08:02 PM
  3. trivor's Avatar
    Actually, the non-techies don't even know what the tech sites are. If they look at reviews it is more likely they get it form the Wall Street Journal, NY Times or Consumer Reports. I would state with a high level of confidence that the average consumer doesn't even know what Android Central, Engadget, the Verge, etc. are. They will either defer to a tech knowledgeable friend or a mainstream news site as mentioned earlier. Let's not overinflate the influence of these sites.
    07-13-2013 08:10 PM
  4. Rule9's Avatar
    You're assuming they're specifically navigating to those sites. More likely is that they're googling the name of the phone followed by the word review.
    07-13-2013 09:34 PM
  5. abazigal's Avatar
    Personally, I read tech-sites like this quite often just to keep abreast of what is happening in the tech-industry, though I don't really consider myself tech-savvy. It's interesting to read about the "techies" think, but I wouldn't base my purchasing decision off their reviews.

    The main reason is that they lack "context". Which is sad because I find that many tech sites try to sound neutral or impartial so as to avoid being branded as an Android or Apple supporter. However, context is important because there are many things which aren't readily apparent by looking at specs alone. For example, Acer has a history of products with shoddy workmanship and crap durability. My friend's acer laptop broke down after 2 weeks. These are things you will never see mentioned on a tech website.

    For one, I find that many tech reviews tend to focus on areas which while relevant, aren't really meaningful to the average consumer. The latter are going to just want to know one main thing - How suitable is this device for me, and they appreciate if it can be spelled out for them in the simplest terms possible. They aren't going to wade through scores of benchmark tests and technical jargon.

    Or the reviewers harp too much on the technical aspects. For example, I remember when the ipad came out, and was routinely criticised for lacking what many perceived as key features, like multitasking, flash support, low storage, lack of productivity tools etc.

    In reality, what happened was because the ipad ran a phone OS, it could get away with packing rather anaemic specs (anaemic by laptop standards at any rate). And it ran a phone OS because it had been coded to run properly on a touchscreen, without any legacy desktop baggage. Those aforementioned limitations turned out not to matter for the target demographic - the consumers who were going to buy them not for work, but for leisure, and so would be using them in a more relaxed and laid-back setting anyways. In a vacuum, each of these features would have sounded the death knell for any computing device. But put them together, and they actually end up complementing one another very well.

    In short, they overlooked the big picture.
    07-13-2013 11:16 PM
  6. gollum18's Avatar
    I would say that the recommendations for samsung and htc devices come from the fact the they make phones for all 4 carriers. They aren't heavily biased towards one carrier or another like Sony, or a few other OEMs.

    Even though I'm a techie myself, I still find these reviews very helpful, when purchasing a new device. Namely I only read reviews from here, as the reviews here are the only ones I trust. Plus Phil and Jerry and the several other reviewers really do a good job, not to make it sound like gibberish to the average user.

    I mean if you purchase a device simply from the marketing for it, you shouldn't be buying anything at all really, as you're a misinformed consumer. OEMs will both lie about their own products (hence the s4 active), as well as lie about each others products. It's foolish to buy a device based on marketing alone.

    One more thing. You should really read reviews before you make a purchase in store, if your buying online you'll be okay. The reason being is that sales reps will see you are uninformed and they will take advantage of you. To try to sell you the phone they think you should have, or the device that earns them the most commission. Even if it is the one you want.

    Sprint GS3 Running TN's Msg and Chubbs
    07-14-2013 11:16 AM
  7. dkhmwilliams's Avatar
    I'm not sure if the average consumer looks at tech sites for reviews but I do know that a lot consumers purchase smartphones and other electronics based on popularity. My own father showed me this. Not to say most consumers are like him, but he chooses phones based on popularity. He feels that if a lot of people are using it then it may be a good product. He was due for an upgrade recently and when I asked him what he wanted, he said either an iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S3. He never mentioned any of the newer devices because most of the people he knew had an iPhone 5 or a Galaxy S3. I wonder how many consumers go into a phone store and say "my friends have this phone do you sell that phone?" I can't tell you how many Note 2 sales I'm responsible for (on my third go around for the Note 2, long story). People say "that phone's screen is huge, what is it?" I tell them that is a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and that's what they go into the phone store with. They have no other knowledge about the phone other than it had a huge screen. And I think that that's all they care about at the time. Specs mean very little to the masses I would imagine. They want to know that their device can do what their friends' phone can do.
    07-14-2013 10:24 PM

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