Audio is one of the easiest categories to test because we all like music, podcasts and the like. This means we can quickly put in a decent amount of testing time simply by using devices while working on other things.
We don’t just sit at our desks though, and will make sure headphones and speakers in different rooms and situations including commuting and out-and-about. This is particularly important for noise cancelling headphones which aim to cut out the ambient sound that’s going on.
Like a pair of new shoes, audio products need 'running in' (or breaking in), so we’ll use them for plenty of hours to make sure this is done. Essentially the drivers need a bit of time to loosen up before they will sound their best.
Many hours of testing time means we get a great idea of how the device sounds, whether they’re comfortable (for headphones) and also ensures we can see if the battery life figures given by the manufacturer (where applicable) are true.
Our reviewers will test using a range of different musical genres and will have a number of tracks they are very familiar with in order to notice differences between devices.
We also test any features that might be available such as companion apps, controls, microphones, digital assistants, sensors and the like. If it's supposed to do something, we make sure whether it can or not.
Once we’ve used the device for long enough, we then write our review and give it a score based on a range of factors and with the context of the wider market. We consider value for money, performance, features and build quality.
We may also then give a Tech Advisor Recommended award for products that stand out in their category.