I’m a review junky. I will read reviews on anything, when I am buying something I will read every review I can find. One of the issues is that when you Google ‘product X review’ you will find 30 pages of price amalgamation websites that have nothing to offer. Most of the time if I am really interested I will check three places.
Those three places will give you a gamut of ideas of how things perform. CNet reviews seem to lack depth, and certainly lack longevity testing. They will give you the best idea of what features obvious problems a product has. AVSForum gives you tons of geeks pouring over everything, the only problem is that you get hundreds of pages of banter to go over, useful if you are looking for something specific. Amazon.com seems to tend to be my review of choice, you get a wide range of user calibres and both positive and negative. The most important thing to remember is that you are reading reviews from people who are passionate about whatever they are writing about. This means that you will get people who adore their purchase or who have had problems, and it somewhat lacks the middle ground. So in short, you need to read with a grain of salt.
Perhaps the best reviews to look for when deciding on a major purchase are the wife approval reviews:
It seems like I’ve been waiting forever to pick up a 605, but I finally got one this week and got it all set up (along with two additional speakers). I put in 3:10 to Yuma and jumped to the finale. Even my wife had a smile on her face as we listened to the 7.1 track and noticed all of the little details coming from all around us.
I knew I was going to be in trouble for spending the money if it wasn’t an obvious improvement, and I think I’m safe after watching select scenes from Yuma, Cars, Pirates, and Harry Potter. I’m having fun going through my collection and checking out all of the uncompressed audio I’ve been missing.
So I thank all of you who have contributed to this thread, which has been a valuable resource as I researched my purchase!
Wife approval is very key, it basically means that you don’t need to be an (audio/video)phile to get enjoy it and deem it a good value, of course again you need to filter out whether the review is more pertinent to the device or the wife. (If they are discussing $5000 speaker cable, I can guarantee that a wife approval review is more of a comment on the wife than the cable.)
When reading reviews for books/movies then you definitely want to spend more time reading negative reviews rather than positive reviews. You get things like:
I don’t get this movie at all. People say it’s so great, but I’m always like, “what’s so great about it? It’s like Stir Crazy, but without Gene Wilder.” And, I’m sorry, but Gene Wilder is great in that movie. Stir Crazy, that is–not Shawshank Redemption, which he is not in.
Hmmm… Yes Shawshank would have been better with Gene Wilder… Nothing against Gene Wilder, but based on the fact that this guy hates Shawshank because it doesn’t have him in it, probably means that I’m going to like it. Ah hell, it may not tell you anything about the movie, but reading negative reviews is damn funny. All hail the internet as a constant source of humour.