To pay or not to pay? Reading review sites for money.

To pay or not to pay for reviews?

  • Yes, I will pay

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • No, I will read reviews when they are available for free

    Votes: 47 92.2%

  • Total voters
    51
  • Poll closed .

albovin

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
1,653
A couple of internet review sites have started to charge money for "early preview" of their reviews.
Prad.de has been doing it for a while.
TFTCentral has recently followed them.

Can internet reviews be trusted to the point of paying for them?

Facts first.
Let's see.
Just one example. Just one (although we can continue).

Have you guys heard about the NEC 2490WUXi?
Ask anyone more or less informed of LCD technologies on this forum about the single most important feature of this IPS monitor.
The feature for which many of us have been dreaming about this monitor (now discontinued) and still looking for it on eBay, etc...
Yes, it's A-TW polarizer.

This is what prad.de says about the NEC 2490WUXi:


TFTCentral:


So, according to prad.de, the A-TW polarizer is not worth mentioning.
According to TFTCentral, A-TW polarizer introduces slight white tint.

Feel free to comment this in perfect English.
My English is a second language so it may sound too harsh in this situation.

Now my opinion.
This is not the first mistake I have come across on prad.de.
But after this one I wanted to put them into ignore list.
I did not because the right method remains the same: gathering facts from different sources.
Although one has to dig through ads and useless info (reviews are heavily overloaded by calibration for calibration, playing with tools while visual comparisons are neglected), it's still possible to get some useful facts (skipping "verdicts").
TFTCentral (although not free of mistakes, not the best source for video support info) seems to be more real world and more user-friendly reviews thus more useful.

What I would do:
1. Use different sources for facts and comparisons as usual.
2. Look at reviews when they are available for free.
3. Not even a penny for pay-per-view.
 
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tk-don

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Messages
324
Hmm, I don't really see the huge issues in either review, but I get what you're saying. I don't think I have ever seen a conclusion that told one everything about all the achieved results, pros and cons as a conclusion normally would (i.e. summarize all the investigated features of the monitor). So surely the conclusions could be made longer and more boring to read.

And as to paying for the reviews: Reviews are opinions. You can measure all you want, but you'll have to interpret the measurements somehow. With monitors you even need to add the new "spice" called product variance.
It's all a bit like audio gear or car magazines. They have existed for decades and always provide the opinion of the reviewer. It can generally be trusted, but not down to the last detail.
With free reviews, biased persons can keep on reviewing all they want and keep on praising their preferences and mislead people. With paid reviews you can show your disapproval by refusing to buy their magazines/reviews and let others know about this. This could end the career of a reviewer in a few years time, if they aren't serious about their work.
 
Joined
Aug 3, 2004
Messages
611
Although one has to dig through ads and useless info (reviews are heavily overloaded by calibration for calibration, playing with tools while visual comparisons are neglected),
These informations are of course not useless (btw. not not even close) when determined with care - even if you are not using the device for photo editing/ softproofing tasks. I think there is problem in transporting this information to the "normal" user but we will publish our criteria and extensive background information soon. The whole structure is undergoing some kind of homogenization to such an extent that there will be 3 different types of reviews (2 can already be seen). I must admit that there was definitively a need for improvement regarding this - the reviews "exploded" in their extent and complexity (and contained therefore to many explanations redundant in every review). I will also gladly admit that we are referring to well known standards for the graphic industry (for example published by ugra or fogra) but that doesn't make us to nerds that don't have a broader persepctive. With reference to the initial criticism again: Please keep also in mind that we not using some kind of profile validation to create some coloured bars - this is often done in a wrong context: In this case your are right because the information gain is small or wrong conclusions can be drawn.

while visual comparisons are neglected
I have explained why this isn't usefull (apart from colorimetric constraints). All attempts to try to find an absolute reference will fail - and no: The 2490WUXi does not fit in such a pure hypothetical construct (such as any other screen). This doesn't mean one shouldn't compare with other screens and their advantages/ disadvantages.

But after this one I wanted to put them into ignore list.
No offense meant but I think that's the way to go in your case. I don't think that we will find a common ground.That's regrettable and I'm not fingerpointing at anyone. But I think that we have reached some kind of "dead end" at whose end there only is humiliation and frustration for all sides.

Best regards

Denis
 
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albovin

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
1,653
I don't think it's fair to threaten me this way.
Glad to see you admit "that there was definitively a need for improvement ".
I am most willing to share "a common ground".
What is it?

Best wishes
 

D65_D50

n00b
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
22
Hmm, it's hard for me to decide yet, but my initial gut feel is "aww man I used to read all that free as soon as they published it".

Between TFTcentral, Prad.de and Albovin's website, and this forum I can pretty much get a good idea what to expect from that cross-reviewed monitor.

It helps to know what to take from each site. For example, TFTcentral takes the PixPerAn program quite seriously and use it almost as a benchmark for response time analysis. In the LCD2490wuxi's case, TFTcentral says the Overdrive setting should be left off because it shows more color errors than they like. Just looking at PixPerAn, I would agree, but overall use of that monitor with various movies and games have pushed me to leave Overdrive on because I can deal with the occasional color errors I see in motion rather than have a subtle overall ghosty blur that I notice with Overdrive off.

Don't really have anything specific to say about Prad.de except I find it useful to crosscheck them with TFTcentral.

And lastly I find Albovin's website very helpful because he has lots of photos of the monitors under test and he covers certain things that TFTcentral and Prad do not, and vice versa. It also helps that (and this is a current bias of mine) that I am also using the LCD2490wuxi as a general gauge to compare other monitors to.
 
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chrcoluk

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
1,214
reviews in my view are always questionable when the reviewer has not brought the product out of their own money.

If eg. dell send me a free monitor to review, I am likely to gloss over negative points and make a point about the good points, as after all they gave me some free kit.

If on the other hand I spent my hard earned cash on the monitor and its gave me issues I am going to vent my anger in the review which is what the reader wants to see. The vast majority of reviews I have read do not say much bad about products and appear biased.

The other problem with free hardware reviews is the sample given is likely to have superior parts and quality control over what someone will buy in the shops, this seems defenitly apparent with motherboards and I think is also the case with cpus and graphics cards. The reviewers tend to also have a direct line to someone who can give them a fixed bios for example.

I would maybe consider donating to someone who buys what they review, but thats as far as it goes.
 

albovin

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
1,653
Thank you D65_D50, but I need to make something very clear.
Although my reviews have been published earlier than others, I am not competing with major review sites and I wish all of them much of success.
I am not in business, I am not paid.
It's my hobby.
Major review sites are doing a great job testing numerous models currently being sold.
My "role" is different.
I review only "milestone" models. All are from stores, never from manufacturers.
Besides well illustrated factual info on particular models, I offer a "method" of understanding monitors. If you get it you can distinguish the wheat from the chaff.
It's half info site, half tutorial site with the emphasis on practical aspects.
There will be a long break as I cannot see anything "milestone" coming in the nearest future.
 

D65_D50

n00b
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
22
Thank you D65_D50, but I need to make something very clear.
Although my reviews have been published earlier than others, I am not competing with major review sites and I wish all of them much of success.
I am not in business, I am not paid.
It's my hobby.
Major review sites are doing a great job testing numerous models currently being sold.
My "role" is different.
I review only "milestone" models. All are from stores, never from manufacturers.
Besides well illustrated factual info on particular models, I offer a "method" of understanding monitors. If you get it you can distinguish the wheat from the chaff.
It's half info site, half tutorial site with the emphasis on practical aspects.
There will be a long break as I cannot see anything "milestone" coming in the nearest future.
I think it's great that you are doing this on an occasional basis with "milestone" models. It would be too much to handle (not to mention uninteresting) if you were to review every halfway house monitor to be released.

Although this forum was really helpful when I started browsing here in 2009 in search of a monitor replacement for my Dell 2007wfp, it was your huge thread and eventually blog that really helped put together almost all the materials I would find useful in considering that monitor. Fast forward to 2011, and I have 3x LCD2490wuxi, lol.
 

XoR

Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
834
@albovin
I see what you are doing here: you try to make competition look bad + advertise yourself + advertise NEC ;)

but I gotta admit: A-TW just is "rulez" feature :cool:
 
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