Writing a review is an art and it is not easy to do if you want to do it well. Reviews require testing, knowledge of the product, knowledge of the reader and patience.
A review should do the following:
- Give the reader an idea of what the product is, how it works and what is good about the product.
- Be as unbiased as possible putting the needs of the buyer/user first.
- After reading the review, readers should have an understanding of the product and be able to decide whether the product is for them or not.
- In the case with technical reviews, it is really important for the reviewer to use the product for a long enough time and to discover the little quirks in the product that can be annoying and also find any glitches.
A glitch finding example occurred when I reviewed Android Auto. It became apparent that the weather forecast was not real-time because I was sitting in the car testing Android Auto with the weather icon showing it to be cloudy. Meanwhile, it was pouring raining for at least 20 or 30 minutes until the weather icon in of Android Auto showed that it was raining in my area.
Another important thing for reviews is to offer ways to improve the product but not bash the product. Often with technology there is the possibility that the product could be improved. Case and point, Android Auto allows for appointments to automatically launch Maps when the address is in the appointment. However, Apple CarPlay requires that the user input the destination into the Maps app to get directions to the destination.
In my review of CarPlay for GearBrain I suggested that it would not be difficult for Apple to program an easy way for an appointment to launch directly into Apps such as a Siri command that would say Siri navigate to my first appointment.
Sometimes I was surprised when I tested things for reviews such as when I had a review of the Chevy Volt with Wi-Fi hotspots from AT&T. I used several methods to test the speed of the Wi-Fi on the freeway on the side of the mountain and in areas where there are traditionally aren’t very good signals. I found that for the most part the Chevy Volt and OnStar Wi-Fi hotspots was excellent with download speeds as fast as 18.69 mbps for download.
I learned the hard way that I should have saved my information. I was trying to write the entire article while using the Wi-Fi in the passenger seat of the car. The signal dropped out and my CMS system lost a few paragraphs of the article I was writing . Therefore I recommended that when you are driving using Wi-Fi hotspots it is possible that a signal may drop as you pass from Tower to Tower and you should backup your documents or use a method of that doesn’t require a constant connection. I could have written the article on my notebook computer using Microsoft Word and then import into the publishing software.
— A Connected Car News (@AConnectedCar) February 3, 2015
Some of the products, I have reviewed in the past, people hated. I think a poor review is someone saying “I hate this product.” Well, I hate tuna fish. Tuna fish salad is not a bad product. I just don’t like the taste of it. Who cares if a review or hate something or not? There used to be on Living Color skit called “Men on Films” with everything reviewed from a gay perspective. This hysterical comedy shows how arrogance and prejudice in reviews happens.
It’s not that you can’t can fun with the material you learned while writing a review. When I wrote the Android Auto review, I discovered crazy things you can ask Google while driving which turned into 17 Practical Crazy Ridiculous Things You Can Ask Android Auto and
Apple CarPlay Road Trip: What you can and can not ask Siri while driving.
I’m currently working on a review of ways Waze. I thought I would set a timer with the real times versus the time that Waze reports. When a runner is running a race, it helps to know the correct time.
There are several places I go on a regular basis and in my mind, I know the approximate time to get to places. They’re not very far away and I usually take surface streets or try to speed things up on the freeway or take my own shortcut.
One of the places I go every day is the gym. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes to get there. The reason I know it’s 5 to 7 minutes because when I was writing the review of Android Auto I realized that in my head I generally estimated arrival times in 5 minutes intervals when in fact it could be a 7-minute trip.
In preliminary testing, I looked at the times it would take to get to the gym from Waze that estimate was 4 minutes. What? So I took my time with me.I did not count the minutes or so it takes to go to my driveway and my separate garage.I counted the time in minutes on the timer the original estimate was 4 minutes and it took 5 minutes 38 seconds to get to the corner before the gym and there is another minute or so to get into the garage and park.
On the home the same thing happened it estimated that it would take me 5 minutes to get home I counted the time I left the driveway and after the road by the gym when I reach the corner by my home it took 6 minutes and 8 Seconds
I am going t to test the Waze time with a stopwatch for at least a week.
I think I will find it interesting to see how far off the estimates are when I go to longer and longer places that are further away using Waze.
Many people love Waze because they think it is taking them less time than it ever did before to get places. If Waze is estimating all the times and showing less than it actually takes since users don’t have a stopwatch in their heads they may be assuming that it is taking less time to get to their destination.
As a former school teacher, I learned it is really important to check the facts and make sure that everything is correct.
I am also now tracking what Google Maps says is the estimated time of arrival. For instance, in the destinations, I have planned later today Google Maps is showing that it will take me two minutes longer to get there than Waze estimates.
One of the things that I noticed while testing Android Auto was that instead of showing me how many miles away something is, it showed the amount of time it took to get there. The fact that Android Auto kept announcing my time to arrival was annoying. After a while, I was so obsessed with what time I would get somewhere it was bothering me if I was 2 minutes later than the original estimate.
At one point, I was driving home from the market I realized it took me 3 minutes to get out of the market parking and instead of taking me 7 minutes to get home it took 13 minutes. Then I was really pissed normally when I don’t know how much time it’s supposed to take to get home I get home when I get home
I think it will be interesting to see how far off the estimates are when I go to longer and longer places that are further away.
Personally, I have a map of the County of Los Angeles in my head and I have the shortcuts that I think get me places faster. While testing Waze, I will find out if my instinct and my own routes are faster. I can tell you right now before I even complete the review is that I know it’s better to be driving in peace and quiet without worrying no matter what is on the road or where I’m going.
The best reviews I’ve read give me the essence of what the movie or the product is without revealing everything but letting me know the little problems I can expect as well as if it is worthwhile reading 800 to 1200 word review could save you 5 minutes on every trip you take and if you take 3 trips a day, you would save 91.25 hours a year or 38 days in 10 years.