Best Sites for Tech Reviews
Finding legitimate and trustworthy tech review sites makes purchasing tech gadgets, computers and accessories far easier, as long as you find a good, reputable site. How can you tell if a product review is fake or inflated? In this article, we’ll be going through some popular and trustworthy tech review sites. We’ll also find out what makes these sites worth using.
Review Sites and When You Should Trust Them
Let’s say you want to buy a new computer and search for it on the shopping site where it’s being sold. It may have a 5-star review with a vague statement about how the computer is “good value.” You’re not sure if a real person wrote that review or the site put that there, because there’s no transparency.
Good tech review sites will have statements about their trustworthiness and transparency, so you know that the product is legitimately being reviewed. Whether it’s being reviewed by an employee from the site or customers who legitimately own the product, you want to know if the product is worth buying.
Take Trustpilot, for example. In this review of OneLaunch, our upgraded desktop experience app, you’re able to see a TrustScore that factors in several user reviews as well as how old the reviews are. There’s also an opportunity for the reviewed company to verify their account on the website, so they can address negative reviews and try to solve the issues that their users have. OneLaunch, for example, made a video addressing some reviews on TrustPilot.
Trustpilot also has a transparency report that details how they operate and safeguard their platform. It also details how they combat fake reviews, so you know that the score you’re seeing is legitimate.
Fake/Untrustworthy Reviews and Sites
Fake and untrustworthy reviews occasionally pop up on popular marketplaces for tech products. Although they can be annoying, they usually have a few different characteristics that can make you dubious about their legitimacy. We’ll be highlighting a few common signs that you can’t trust a review.
- Reviewer didn’t purchase the product – Some sites will let anyone review any product, even unverified purchasers. Try to filter reviews only by individuals who’ve been verified to have purchased the product.
- Poor grammar – Poor language or grammar may be a sign that a bot or scammer is reviewing the product. This alone isn’t a sign that a review is fake, but it might raise flags if the language makes absolutely no sense.
- Received product for free – Some influencers or individuals will receive products for free or even be paid to give a positive review of the product. This means their credibility is compromised, and you might not want to trust their review alone.
- First-party marketplace reviews – If you’re purchasing a tech product directly from a company’s website (rather than a marketplace like Amazon), you may see a few different reviews on there. Because the manufacturer controls the website, you might want to question whether these reviews are legitimate, as the publisher can easily delete negative reviews.
- Overly angry or focused on irrelevant detail – Some people may have their product damaged in transit or have a personal vendetta against the company. Whatever the reason is, if it isn’t focused on the quality of the specific product you’re purchasing, ignore it.
Beware of ‘affiliate’ reviews with links
Some sites may have affiliate links. This is a style of marketing where a business rewards a person or another site for mentioning their product/service/company in an article. It’s perfectly legal and ethical, plus it helps online content creators earn revenue.
If you, the reader, click a link to the business in the article, the parent company that created the article will earn a small commission. Therefore, sites with affiliate links may be incentivized to encourage you to click through to the business, so they can earn money. This doesn’t mean their credibility is completely out the window – a lot of tech review sites use affiliate links as a source of revenue, so they can publish helpful content – but it is a bias worth noting.
And, by the way, Amazon’s affiliate program requires that publishers disclose on their website that the publisher might receive a kickback for mentioning a product and using a link. This is another thing to look for when considering the usefulness of tech reviews.
How can you tell if there’s an affiliate link? This takes a little detective work. Hover over a link and note the URL in the lower left of your browser. Next, click the link. If what shows up in the browser differs from what showed up in the lower left of your browser, it’s possible that the publisher used an affiliate link.
Again, there’s nothing illicit about using an affiliate link, but you might question the legitimacy of a review if it contains an affiliate link.
So, now that you’ve seen what untrustworthy and trustworthy tech reviews look like, what are some good tech review sites out there to consult before making a purchase?
Best Tech Review Sites
In addition to Trust Pilot, these three sites are well known for being trustworthy.
This site is well known for testing smartphones, laptops, TVs, and more tech products. Tom’s guide has an editorial team that tests and rates products based on whether they think it’s a good choice for their readers. They’ll also detail if they think there is an alternative product that is better than what you’re looking at. Tom’s Guide is transparent about how they test and rate products.
This site is the home to pop culture articles, science, and more. CNET disclosed how they test everything while maintaining the best journalistic practices. CNET reviews in-house, meaning they have employees purchase the product and rigorously review it to see if a reader should purchase it. Furthermore, they hang on to the product in order to compare it with other competition.
For nearly a century, Consumer Reports has been a nonprofit dedicated to transparency for consumers and fairness in the marketplace. They buy and test products at their research facilities, and they take no kickbacks for their reviews. CR is very clear on its policies about what they test, how they test products, and how they’re funded, which you can read on their About Us disclosures.
Conclusion: 5 Things to Look For in Trustworthy Tech Reviews
In summary, here are 5 things you should look for in credible consumer reviews:
- The publisher fully discloses their methods for collecting, vetting, and publishing consumer reviews.
- The publisher allows companies to respond to consumers’ reviews, whether negative or positive.
- The publisher has taken action to identify and remove fake consumer reviews (such as TrustPilot’s Transparency Report).
- If the publisher is an eCommerce site, they take measures to match reviewers with verified purchases.
- If the publisher receives kickbacks for linking to products or companies, they disclose that in plain sight.
If you’re planning on buying a new laptop, TV, or tech gadget, you should always do your due diligence and research the product first. Evaluate a mix of consumer reviews and professional reviews. Consider downloading OneLaunch for the device to streamline your desktop experience. OneLaunch will let you or a loved one focus on the apps and services that they regularly use. If you have a good experience with OneLaunch, consider giving us an honest review on Trustpilot! If you have any issues with our app, please reach out to OneLaunch directly.