Friday, March 14, 2014

"Things a product or app review needs" by Trevor Hicken

This is a basic guide or layout and suggestions to writing a great product or app review. It is not all encompassing to all types of hardware or apps. Feedback and correcting this is welcome as always. I have written with mobile devices and apps in mind, but can be used for any type of hardware, computer, or software.

First of all, a good product/app review should include an overview of what it is it you are going to review. The different aspects and parts of the product.
First impressionsThe purpose of starting with the first impressions to give an idea of how it is to experience the device hands-on and your thoughts.  For a device or gadget, A great review includes the initial unboxing with the first impressions. Pictures and videos are worth a thousand word. (Tell that to your professor ) (The higher the quality the better.) First impressions means your initial reaction and response at first use and open.For example, for a phone you might want to tell about:
  • the form factor (candybar, slider, flip, etc)
  • how it fits in your hand. (Can you hold it firming?)
  • the class of phone it is.(Does the material used feel like quality?)
  • the weight felt in hand. (Not the exact weight but what it feels like)
  • the texture (rough, glossy, matte, sharp)
  • whether it has a keyboard (three, four row, or five row layout) and physical buttons. How are they? (Clicky or mushy)
  • Stylus?
Tell us what you think! Tell us as if we are your friends, because we are!

The description of the hardware: Next up, A good review includes a extraordinary description down to the tiniest details. Personally I read reviews to know if the product is right for me. The smallest things make the biggest difference and is usually the deciding factor, the make-or-break in a device. Within the Description of the hardware or in the end of the review it’s a nice to know the technical specifications. These are the:
Weight and dimensions (164.5 x 82.5 x 10.29mm- height, width, depth)
Internal capacity ( 8GB, 32 GB, 64 GB etc.and if it;s expandable with external memories)
The components (the processor: quad-core 2.1 GHz snapdragon 800, ram, etc.)
Camera (Type, ex. 4MP UltraPixel, 8MP, 13MP...)
You get it.

We usually carry our devices in our pockets or bags. I want a comfortable phone.Tell us about the aesthetics of the device i.e.:
  • The curves or edges
  • thinness
  • The material used
  • Placement of the ports and keys ( power button, microUSB, volume buttons, headphone jack and anything else)
  • Include any resistances it has also, waterproof, dustproof...
In a complete review of a device, the hardware can be further broken down into five categories:
Sound/Audio- Let us know what you thought. We want to know if our beats or shows will be heard the quality it is streamed or downloaded.
  • Does it have stereo speakers?
  • Are they front facing? How do they sound; clear, loud, muffled, quiet?
  • Where are they located, can they be easily covered or obstructed?
We want to know if we will be able to hear our loved ones and if they will hear us.
  • Is the microphone's sound perceptible? Is the phone ear piece loud enough?
Screen- A great review has a good look at the display. Readers want to know if it will be visible at night, in daylight, and if their friend can watch on the next music video in full HD. If the photo they took will appear accurately on screen.
  • What type of display it is? (IPS, OLED, AMOLED)
  • Resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels)
  • How are its viewing angles?
  • Are the blacks black or lit up?
  • How are the colors? Vibrant, or do they look washed out?
  • Does it turn bright
  • Is the touch input precise? Capacitive, resistive?
Battery- We love to use our devices, some of us would us it all day if we could but energy depletes.
  • Does the battery store enough to last all day with normal everyday use?
  • Is it removable?
Tell us about your experience over a period of time. Maybe a week
Connectivity-  Transferring files over a cable is always a hassle so please provide details here.
  • Does it have the latest Bluetooth technology?
  • Is it 4G/LTE compatible?
  • Does it have NFC or Qi wireless charging?
Camera- This might be one of the hottest topics in the phone industry and the most important to us the readers. I’m not too knowledgably about cameras, but I would like to know if any videos or pictures I take at a rock concert will come out clear. Show a few examples for us to see.
  • Does it have real zoom? How far?
  • How is the flash?
  • Does it have Optical Image Stabilization?
  • Is it sharp?
  • Can it take good macro?
I know this can be an entirely separate post depending on the reviewer, but give us your best shot.

The description of the software/app: Thirdly readers want to know if the phone’s/device’s software is worth the buy. A tablet might have all the best specs, but stuck on a ancient version of Android or Windows Mobile. People want to know if the OS is powerful enough to run a intense videogame, yet simple enough to navigate to the picture you downloaded on the internet and set it as a wallpaper. Most devices being reviewed are running a version of Android so let us know what!
  • What version of Android is preinstalled? Is it actively receiving updating? (Very you’re really geeky, can it be rooted and does it have good developer support from the MIUI community or XDA?)
  • Does it include a lot of bloatware, ie. carrier specific apps,a custom UI.

    • If it does have a custom UI is it easier or prettier than stock UI or clunky and unnecessary.
    • Does it improve upon base stock UI or features (example: a la tinted statusbar, improved recent apps, better lock screen, feature rich core apps.
    • Is it gimmicky?
User Experience (UX)- So we’ve told about the hardware and software what more can be said? The most important is last. The user experience. You’ve bought the phone, gadget, tablet, device. We want to know how it’s working for you.
  • Is it fun to use?
  • Does it have many apps in its market?
  • After weeks or months has your experience maintained to be fun, or has it deprecated?
If it lacks anything, what? If you could change anything about it what would you change?

App review- If it's an app its sightly different and shorter. It despends more on your taste. Some people favor the “holo” design”. Please tell us about it
  • Does it use the "hamburger slide menu?
  • Immersive mode? Transparency?
  • What versions of Android can it be installed on?
  • Are the menus logical?
  • Are the buttons reachable (differs in hand size and device?} Is there a tablet UI?
  • What do you use it for?
Include high quality 

screenshots and/or videos 

if possible.

Thanks and hopefully this helps people write great reviews and inspires readers to become reviewers and make MIUI better.


Anything else? Let us know. We want to make this the go to site for your reviews. I'm learning everyday and I love criticism.

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