OLD Media Moves

The art of reviewing tech gadgets

October 13, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

Marni Usharoff of CoveringBusiness.com interviewed Gizmodo’s reviews editor Sean Hollister about what makes a good gadgets reporter.

Here is an excerpt:

Q: I’ve seen a top 20 list of cliché words you shouldn’t use when writing about food. Is there something similar with tech? 

SH: There’s definitely debate about certain words. A lot of folks can get rubbed wrong way if you’re personifying gadgets calling them attractive and sexy. They’re hunks of metal and plastic. The bigger problem is making language plain and straightforward.

The other thing I see all the time in gadget reviews is writing about the product in a vacuum, not comparing it to other things on the market. Readers want to know where this item stands. It’s a credibility issue. They’ll see you’re not comparing, and wonder if you’ve seen or spent time with other products. Why should I trust his opinion?

Q: When reviewing a product, how long ahead of its release do you get it and how long do you get with it before writing about it?

SH: That depends on the company that is sending out review units, the relationship we have with the company, whether they trust we’ll do a good job and be happy with the product or not. It depends on the time we’re willing to allot to it, how much value it has for the reader and what it takes to properly test it.

If I’m looking at a laptop I know I need to do extensive battery testing. It’s the most important thing to most readers. That means I need to spend an entire day using it and however long the battery lasts overnight running a test with a standardized load.

Read more here.

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