is a PC advisor "best buy" always a good buy ??

  bnorth 09:15 18 Feb 2008

It is not universally appreciated that the PC Advisor reviews are based purely on the PC and not on other issues such as reputation of the company.

For example this month Eclipse Computers Eclipse Crucial Supreme n685n88GTS-0C is rated 3 (so not a "good buy") although a google will reveal large numbers of less than "sunny" (geddit ?) Eclipse customers alleging poor product reliability and poor customer service (far more than found googling most other companies).

Its worth remembering that the whole package is not reviewed and in the absence to a review of customer feedback its essential to google for feedback on PC and consumer boards.

I know this will be obvious to some people but I don't think its universally known that PC Advisor doesn't review the "whole package" as another poster described it.

  wee eddie 11:07 18 Feb 2008

The Review is, done, on the piece that they have before them and the information given them by the Seller.

For the Reviewers to make allowances for factors that were not measurable would be rash. I have always assumed that other Reviewers do much the same.

The decision to purchase must be yours and if you discover sufficient negative comment to dissuade you, then you need to consider other options.

  bnorth 11:26 18 Feb 2008

of course you're absolutely correct, wee eddie,
the reviewer can only base his/her review on the PC that has been sent.

Presumably the company will have made sure that PC works well and the reviewer can have no knowledge, without further research, of whether the PC that Joe Bloggs gets is likely to work well or if there's a problem how helpful the company will be in fixing it.

So my point is, as you say, a buyer shouldn't rely soley on a PC Advisor "best buy" award but should google for more gen.

There are PC owner feedback surveys though - I think PC Pro has one and presumably "which computing" does too. I'm not sure if PC Advisor snu such surveys that they could refer to in a review.

  jack 11:52 18 Feb 2008

Can only ever be 'Best' of the bunch of samples submitted that month and in subsequent months if retested against new examples.
As already stated the device will always be a good example from the suppliers inventory and in tip top condition when delivered - how could it be anything else?
Always very subjective

  bnorth 09:18 05 Mar 2008

thats true, Jack.

As an aside tts interesting that comparing the reviews from PC Advisor and, say, PC World reveals a different set of best buys.
While some companies eg Chillblast and Zoostorm feature in both, PC World, as far as I can see, never feature Eclipse.
Presumably Eclipse just don't submit PCs to PCW or PCW don't offer to review them.

I see PCW also give a "average user rating" entry - obviously this is blank for new PCs so not 100% useful !!! but its additional info, it'd be useful to look at user rating for previous PCs by a particular company.
Though you can argue how representative it - or any survey - is, I'd be interested in that info.

PC Pro also plug Eclipse a lot - they have an owner satisfaction survey last available with the Feb issue.
I missed it so I don 't know where all the various companies fared (Medion were top for desktops I think).
PC Pro don't cite the position of the companies in this poll on their reviews.
In fact its posible that, like PC Advisor, PR Pro/Computer Shopper etc reviews don't consider the company and its general reputation/customer service at all.

  crosstrainer 11:36 05 Mar 2008

It's true that PCA, or any other magazine / journal conducting a review, can only do so with the equipment they are supplied by the company in question.

It would be hard to review customer satisfaction on a new machine, as few have reached the consumer.

Also (and I'm not saying this goes on today) Many years ago I was a manager for a (no defunct) computer manufacturer, who would submit a spec to the magazines for review, gain a few stars (numerous occasions) and then "Down spec" the machine, whilst retaining the "stars" or accolades won by the "Review" machine.

It is to be hoped that this practice has now stopped, but it was rife years ago.

  spuds 12:58 05 Mar 2008

Remember also that the review opinion is based on the reviewers opinion, and not necessarily of the particular magazine.

Always best to do a number of reviewer checks via Google or similar search engines perhaps, before spending your hard earned ;o)

  bnorth 09:04 19 Mar 2008

incidently COmputing Which in Feb do a poll of owner satisfacton based on ending questionnaires to their customer base,
some of it is obtainable free on the web I think.
they give the numbers for each brand and % happy
and top is Apple then Dell.
they only give the top 10 though.
Mesh is 2/3 down the list (that'll be 6th or 7th then)

unfortunately there are only 10
and they don't show the bottom performers.

brands often reviewed in PC Advisor and elsewhere such as Zoostorm, Chillblast and Eclipse don't feature.
I'd be particularly interested in where Eclipse feature given the terrible terrible feedback on many PC and consumer boards such as pC aAdvisor forum itself, hexus, ciao, dooyoo ....

PC ADvisor must have loads of owners of those brands in its customer base given the number of "recommended"'s they award. It'd be good if PC ADvisor conducted and published a similar owner satisfaction poll. I think PC Pro has one but again only published the top brands.

  bnorth 09:07 19 Mar 2008

incidently Which also has "don't buy" awards for some products.
that'd be nice to see more widely too.
then again Which is not-for profit, takes no advertising and buys its PCs (rather than getting "special" review machines for free) so can afford to offend the PC makers but giving them bad marks !
the downside is the Which mags are v expensive - but then again they are cheap compared to a PC !!

  techie4me 17:56 19 Mar 2008

When a pc is being rated it's how it works with test software.
It does not take in to account poor customer service & support, sadly offered by some pc makers these days!

  wee eddie 18:01 19 Mar 2008

So long as Brits shop by "value for money", then those Companies that offer high levels of Service will fall by the wayside.

For example: Evesham.

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