Everyone is entitled to an opinion. After all, God gave us free will, and unfortunately for some of mankind, we exercise it far too much in age of the internet and the information highway that has become the misinformation highway.
Let’s take Top 10 Lists as an example. We humans love lists that compare this or that and declare a winner and losers. Sometimes we forget that whatever makes up the details in those lists is seldom considered. Here’s an example.
Use It First
This week I spit up coffee on my Mac’s keyboard after reading yet another Top 10 List. This one is the Top 10 Best Smartphones. Guess who is on top? Samsung’s successor to the Exploding Note 7, the Note 8. Why? Because. What’s #2? Apple’s iPhone X. Why? Because. Just because.
We have hands-on experience with all of these phones, except for the new iPhones. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are incremental updates, really 7s models, but the iPhone X is new and we based our pick on the hands-on experiences posted by various press outlets after the launch event.
No hands on experience for the new iPhones? Instead, the so-called reviewers based their reviews on other reviews; most of which were not hands-on, either. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 made it to the top of the list because hardware. Screen, RAM, CPU, USB port, headphone jack. There was not a shred of a mention about how crummy face recognition is, how lousy Bixby works, how much of a shameful copycat Android remains, how stupid it is to have a fingerprint sensor on the back. I could go on, but you get the idea. There’s not a shred of analysis here and no real comparison at all.
What happened to iPhone X? Wouldn’t a comparison of Face ID to whatever Samsung uses be nice to read?
It’s the first unique iPhone design we have seen since the original iPhone launched 10 years ago. It has a large 5.8 inch front display with minimal bezels and no front home button. A Samsung OLED panel is used for the first time on an iPhone. There is a dual rear camera setup with specifications just a bit under the leading specs we see on the Galaxy Note 8.
And more hardware specifications. Remember, we use software to get the hardware to do what we want. Any mention of how well the camera functions? How about Face ID? Does that work?
Somehow these technology websites have dispensed with fact checkers or editors. Maybe both. “It’s the first unique iPhone design we have seen since the original iPhone?” How about iPhonve 3GS vs. iPhone 4? How about iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 6? Those massive changes in design don’t count?
Next on the list is Samsung Galaxy 8 followed by iPhone 8. Whatever follows on the list after those doesn’t matter much because you can’t walk into a mall to order one, and chances are you don’t know anybody who owns one. Oh, wait. There’s a BlackBerry on the list. Goodbye, credibility.
I don’t mind lists. It’s a good way to check a writer’s credibility, experience, and to determine whether a particular website is worthy of a visit now and again. But let’s stop it with all the hardware bullet point lists. We use software to make the hardware work. Is software all the same? Is hardware all the same? Then why bother with a Top 10 list at all? Does usability count for anything?
Apple recently announced the new 2017 iPhone lineup, but even its best can’t knock off Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note.
It might be nice to have some kind of comparison list of features and functions, but iPhone X is too new to try, so let’s just go with our and some online hearsay. How’s that face recognition working on the Galaxy Note 8?
We will see some more movement in this best 10 list when the Huawei Mate 10 and next Google Pixel phones are announced in the next month or two.
Huawei? Do they have a store in the mall, too? Is there a Genius Bar? Why bother with those also-ran phones? Who buys them? Where are they? Google Pixel, I’m looking at you.
We have hands-on experience with all of these phones, except for the new iPhones.
If all a reviewer is required to do is list hardware features to make up a Top 10 list, then why bother with a hands on review?