Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wisdom of the Crowds?

I've been hunting for a new mobile phone - having lost my old one - and have discovered, to my chagrin, that finding something that hits that sweet spot between price and functionality isn't as easy as I'd hoped. I'm not one of those people who is happy with a basic mobile that just does calls - I actually use some of the nifty little utilities like calendars and to do notes (a decent screen makes using these things easier as well!), and I like having a camera in my phone (hey, it's come in handy on several occasions!), so I have some basic requirements.

The thing that I've found off-putting is that every time I read a review for a phone, the comments section or the user submitted reviews are often all over the place. Once you read a few, you learn that the phone has great / mediocre battery life, has a good / crap screen, has an excellent / rubbish keypad, etc... it's amazing, because after reading such verbal diarrhea you end up being less sure about the damned thing than when all you had were an image and the specifications to go by! The fact is, user reviews or reviews by the masses seem to only be good at identifying when things fall into extreme categories - i.e. things that are either brilliant or absolutely rubbish. Things that fall into the grey area in between those extremes tend to have reviews so all over the place that they are often next to useless.

And then there are the so called 'expert' reviews, which are fairly good at presenting the facts but sometimes forget that certain products are targeted at consumers who aren't too concerned with having the best of everything. So, all too often a reviewer will talk about a low or medium end phone and criticize it in the way a guy who drives a Porsche might criticize your Toyota - these reviews will usually have pearls of wisdom like 'for a little bit more you could do better!'. Sadly, that argument applies to pretty much anything; while I'd surely like to get the best of the best, the constraints of this little thing I like to call reality dictate that I settle for something optimal. Unfortunately the genius advice of the type given by some spoiled reviewers is, like the wisdom of the crowds, quite useless when applied to reality.

Having said that, I'll still take the informed expert opinions over the peanut gallery ones nine times out of ten! At least real reviewers tend to be relatively literate!

2 comments:

Miedy said...

How about I-Phone or what it's the new one from Google?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Okvj35WajAU

I know nothing about phone, to be honest, but seemed the one from Google kinda looked great.

Antimatter said...

Well, for one thing neither of those is available where I live, and I suspect they'd be outside of my budget if they were... The iPhone is cool, but the Google phone has had somewhat mixed reviews.

Thanks for the link btw, that was interesting! :) I'm sure there'll be several new Google Phone's out soon to choose from!