Health warning on PC Advisor Reviews

  Ralpheus 19:08 04 Jan 2003
  Ralpheus 19:08 04 Jan 2003

Having read the thread concerning difficulties between a customer and a computer manufacturer, it becomes clear to me that:

a) Reviews in PC Advisor depend entirely on information supplied by the company and on a short experience with that particular system being reviewed. Reviewers do not appear willing to offer opinions based on their experience of the company or previous performance in terms of hardware or customer support.

b)A lot of people are not happy about this!

Personally, I would expect a professional reviewing anything to have the courage to write into a review everything that they themselves would consider before buying something.I was quite shocked and disappointed to discover, through reading in this forum, that PC advisor do not operate this policy.

I would expect that if reviewers are going to restrict their reviews to a brief experience of that particular piece of hardware; if they are going to refuse to either refer to other highly relevant information or to stick their necks out and offer some subjective advice based on their professional and historical knowledge, then the least they could do is tell us about it.

It is frankly absurd, for example, for a reviewer to highly recommend a product based on the customer service offered, when they know that they would'nt buy from that company because they've seen and heard of severe and chronic problems with the service offered by that company over the last year.

If it isn't going to happen that way then why doesn't PC Advisor state something like that:

previous, or other current, products and performance of manufacturers is not taken into acount when reviewing equipment.

I don't mind if PC Advisor are going to restrict their reviews in this way, but I do mind that I nearly bought a computer based on those reviews, not knowing that past irresponsible or exemplary behaviour by the companies concerned did not inform those reviews.


  Andÿ 19:20 04 Jan 2003


click here

What do you want the reviews based on??? The threads of a few unfortunates that have had problems or their own limited experience with the PC and Company?. They can't run a PC for a year before they review it.

Who are the 'lot of people????'

Oh dear, hear we go again...

Ralpheus, no offence to you and I can quite understand your concern (As you did not eventually purchase the system, that is all it is, a mere "concern").

However, a magazine such as PCA will have heard many hundreds of thousands (Literally) of comments from people with either good or bad experience of a company. To try to encompass this in a review of EQUIPMENT is quite impossible. The reviewer simply gives his opinions on the equipment that he has received and used and there ends the matter.

For every single company that has a "Good" review or comment made I will wager my entire years income that there are three "Bad" comments made! FACT, you always here more bad comments than good - people rarely express praise when it should be part of the service anyway!

Lets concentrate on the equipment which , after all, is what the review is about. If you want the lowdown on the company, better speak to Anne Robinson!

  Andÿ 19:26 04 Jan 2003

"It is frankly absurd, for example, for a reviewer to highly recommend a product based on the customer service offered, when they know that they wouldn't buy from that company because they've seen and heard of severe and chronic problems with the service offered by that company over the last year."


What makes you say that?? If you are going off the threads posted in here then you may need reminding that the problems posted are (usually) a very, very small percentage of the customer base of any given company. All the PC manufactures have had negative threads posted so do you want to be told not to buy a PC at all by PCA reviews???

  microswift 19:33 04 Jan 2003

A review about any product is not going to be comprehensive. Before I buy any computer related equipment I read as many reviews as possible from as wide a source as possible and check out forums like this. As for after sales support even those companies offering the best will still get many complaints. I've found PC Advisor reviews to be balanced.

  Ralpheus 19:46 04 Jan 2003

I expect a level of background knowledge, context, history and professional judgement to inform a professional review. I think that is a reasonable and widely held expectation.
If it is the policy of PC Advisor not to meet that expectation, then it would seem reasonable, honest and helpful for the publication to say so.


  GANDALF <|:-)> 19:48 04 Jan 2003

You obviously have never written reviews. As I have written too many I am able to enlighten you slightly.

You cannot review service or reliability as there is too much variation and NO standardisation. For example I have spent over £12k at 3 PCWorlds last year and have had excellent service and advice. However you will see many complaints about their service. Who is right and what % of their hundreds of thousands of customers complain? Just because someone complains does NOT mean that the company is at fault. You would be surprised at the number of people who break an item by negligence and then go marching in pompously demanding a refund.

When I am given a car to review it is that car supplied that I am reviewing, its performance, comfort and value for money (sometimes). I am not reviewing how many complaints it gets or how many new car faults it has (Rover, 110 faults per 100 cars;-) ).

Personally I would buy a new computer from ANY supplier that I thought had the best spec/price. I would pay by credit card in case of disaster. You really need to put things in perspective and realise that EVERY firm has complaints and there is no way that you will be able to rate the percentage of complaints in any logical manner.

If Gandalfs' Naff Computers PLC., made 10 rigs and had 2 complaints and Gandalfs' Soopa Computers made 100,000 but had 1000 compalints who is the worst supplier, the one with 20% returns or the one with 1%?

The vast majority of consumers enjoy excellent products and service (even Rover owners); to allow yourself to be influenced by a minority shows lack of self-determination.


  Sir Radfordin™ 19:51 04 Jan 2003

To be fair PCA have in the past stopped certain suppliers from having a place in the charts because of known problems with customer service.

The review of a piece of kit is just that, the item on its own as supplied. You cant have it any other way if you want it to be objective.

  Beep 20:20 04 Jan 2003

Good reviews are comparisons of like for like wherever possible, so to stick in what each reviewer is personally looking for is a nonsense. If you want to get reviews, you have to do the work, PCA should be a part of our toolbag in researching new kit not the bible. I posted a thread about 2 MFDs the x75 and psc750 but only after having looked thu my last 12mths PCAs, and other sources for user reviews. That informed me about the products, and the company, but thats 2 separate strands of research - and thats only for 90 quid!
Yr other point about prev experience of the company, cannot of necessity be meaningful. Just because previous products may have been crap iffy or brilliant doesnt mean that the product you are looking at will be the same. I grant you that some knowledge of the company's track record is of use, but it isn't the place of the product review to comment unless there are serious problems not minor % complaints.
Bottom line is look at product review to say it does x y & z to a certain standard and for more real world info look for real world user reviews.

  Ralpheus 21:04 04 Jan 2003

I would expect a review to make reference to service and reliability, and have read many product reviews, of many different types of products, which do refer to service and reliability.

Reading the responses here, it does seem that there is a particular difficulty with making such references regarding computers, with any degree of accuracy. Computers are deveoping fast all the time, computer companies are developing fast all the time. It seems that people are suggesting that a professional subjective review of past performance, service or reliability has no place in the reviews of PC Advisor.

Well, thats fine, but given that many readers of PC Advisor are likely to be less familiar, experienced or confident with comparing computer systems than contributors to this discussion, and are likely to depend on reviews from a reputable source such as PC Advisor, then they should be informed that past company performance, service and reliability are not part of the subject under review.

It seems there are good reasons for not including such matters in reviews. What seems unreasonable is the expectation that readers already know that:

"Those matters will not influence the reviews, and there are good reasons why not."

when nobody is telling them.

If the task in hand is to inform, and there are limits to the information being provided, for reasons which the readers are likely to be unaware of, why not tell them?


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