This post was inspired by a review of the Z10 posted at CNN Money. You can read it here and leave a comment if you want or jump in on this CrackBerry forum thread, which has been running crazy with action. After all, the author basically called 80 million people luddites.
The CNN Money review is a perfect example of the general tech media doing a complete crap job of putting any effort into a review. From the lack of specifics to immediate judgmental attitude, it’s clear that this review was written just to get it written, not to actually help anyone by adding value to this planet.
So with that said, here are the tips that we’d like the media to keep in mind when reviewing the Z10.
First, realize that it’s a brand new operating system and platform. You’re not going to get a solid handle on it in one or two days. And you’re certainly not going to get a handle on it by using it as a secondary device during those one or two days. That won’t cut it. Many tech reviewers don’t even bother putting their SIM card in the new phone they're reviewing. They will use it on Wi-Fi only and stick to their main phone for actual work during the period they’re supposed to be reviewing the product. You know what that does? It just makes you complain about how things are different on the Z10 versus whatever you’re using now.
Put it this way - I remember getting my first Mac. It was really my first time using the MacOS (Tiger, at the time), and had no clue how to find files. I had to call my friend to ask him how to install an application. I didn’t realize you just drag the app to the applications folder and it’s done. Those are just two examples of the hundreds of other little things I didn’t understand about Mac early on.
Whoever thinks you should just be able to pick up a new phone and master it in a day or two is out to lunch
Would you ever catch somebody reviewing a Mac after being a PC user all his life and toying around with a Mac for a couple days? Of course not. And while the Z10 isn’t as complex as a desktop OS, it sure is a different beast. You have to give it a couple of weeks of actual full time use and then judge it. Just look at Kevin and the gang, who wrote the best darn Z10 review I’ve ever seen. Those guys looked at every possible angle of the phone from the perspective of different users. Then, after publishing, we all still figured out there were more features we didn’t even realize existed initially.
Whoever thinks you should just be able to pick up a new phone and master it in a day or two is out to lunch. Maybe for a revised version of an existing OS, fine. But a totally new platform like BlackBerry 10? Not so fast.
When you honestly review the phone over a period of one to two weeks you’re going to notice that the things that initially bugged you stop bugging you. They become habit and you may find yourself even understanding why certain design decisions were made. I challenge you to use the phone for two weeks and not become addicted to the BlackBerry Hub and the whole Flow experience. It’s awesome.
For the US media, also consider that when you first saw the device on the back of the January 30th launch the software was the first public release. BlackBerry issued a fairly major OS update earlier this month. One major improvement has been in battery life. Considering this was a weak spot in many initial reviews, it is worth going back and having another look. You’ll be surprised. The battery life is darn good now.
On a final note, I’d like to say that Mobile Nations, as a whole, is not always the first to get a release published. But I think the guys doing these reviews at our family of sites does the best job in the industry. We’d rather be accurate and complete than fast and sloppy. Our mission is not to get as many clicks early on and satisfy some quota. Our mission is to help YOU, the reader, get the most out of your device. We aren’t going to accomplish that by mirroring the garbage that comes from folks like CNN Money.