Phone reviewers: No dark secret for Mister Mo

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The world of mobiles

I ran into a link to an article titled “Phone reviewers: Our deepest darkest secret revealed.” Naturally, I was interested and clicked through. The writer, Mulika Mwizi opens that blog post very dramatically with the following lines:

I can’t hide it any more. My conscience cannot allow me to go on with this charade.

All bloggers who review phones have one deep, dark secret. I’m going to get in trouble for this. But I feel its time the public knew.

We don’t buy phones.

That’s right. We do not spend even a shilling purchasing the devices we advise you to buy every day.

Any reviewer worth his salt will get review devices for a specified period of time to use and hopefully give their honest opinion on.

The writer has attempted to speak for phone reviewers and has painted everyone in one broad stroke of the brush. Phone reviewers do not buy the phones that they write about. Let me cut to the chase:

Since 2001, I have owned over 88 phones, out of which I have purchased 86 with my own money or a trade-in of some sort. I have also been sent review devices by manufacturers, and have received a total of eight phones as personal gifts till date. My present phone was purchased. I have owned it for about four months now. I intend to replace it with another purchase. I do not have a dark secret weighing down on my chest. I buy my phones.

Because I purchase the huge majority of my phones, I am able to rant and rave about them exactly according to the value that they deliver to me in everyday usage. If it isn’t working for me, it isn’t, and I say it. I would love to think that makes me a very reliable reviewer. You get to read about the highs and lows of each device that comes my way. Thankfully, manufacturers who send me review devices and gifts know this well, and none of them try to influence my reviews. I believe that they are all honourable people and I have enjoyed our good relationships, especially the fact that they pull no strings to influence me. I know that I have frazzled them with some of my reviews. Recently, a rep of an OEM told me that they haven’t been getting much love from me in recent times. We laughed over it. That’s it with me. I write about my experiences with the phones I use, and state the good, the bad, and the ugly. OEMs who send in phones have respected my right to publish my experiences with their phones without any sugar-coating. Still, it must be said that it cannot be easy to bribe a man who has purchased over 86 mobile phones with a phone gift. I buy my own phones anyway…. If something about a phone frustrates me, I say it.

This is in part why Mister Mo’s phone reviews are trusted. They are reviews according to mister Mo’s experiences and from Mister Mo’s perspective. A user perspective. I am not a geek. I don’t want to jailbreak or root a device to get the best out of it. I once was enthusiastic about doing such, but soon gave it up. The mass of users don’t know what jail breaking and rooting are, and will never do. They worry about gluttonous data consumption, poor battery life, ease of chatting, sending and receiving email, and not the stuff that geeks will gush over just because they are enthusiasts. Most users are not enthusiasts. They just want to buy a phone and get on with their lives. For the most part, I use my phones the way they use theirs. End of.

You want to know how a certain smartphone OS handles 2G and 3G connections on Nigerian networks? Read Mister Mo’s reviews and features. Want to know how well the display of a phone works in the full glare of the tropical sun, or how the battery fares in our horrible public power situation? Read Mo. I really don’t care about how many cores power a phone; I care about performance. I don’t care to have the largest display; I care about how comfortable it is to carry the device about daily, and that varies from person to person. I deliberately buy different types of phones so as to have a feel from as many perspectives as possible, after all one just never knows what lies on the other side.

I spend my hard earned money purchasing most of the devices that I recommend to you or tell you to stay clear of. That has to count for something. To be honest, I am not much of a geek or a phone reviewer. I am a phone user who shares his experiences with the phones he uses. I am not out to talk about every phone on the planet. Just the ones that I use. Like the vast majority of people on this planet, I am an everyday person who just happens to cycle through phones faster than most others do. I have no dark secret to hide or to confess. I buy my phones.


  1. Great comeback! You also have very valid points. Not everyone can afford to do what you do. I respect you for that. Keep doing what you do!

    When it comes to the tech, you are right. People don’t care. It just needs to work. I use the analogy of an ATM machine to illustrate this, people don’t care whether the ATM has a colour screen or is monochrome, whether its backhaul is Point-to-point microwave or fibre, they care about the fact that when you put in your PIN money comes out, period!

    That’s why I don’t write about cores 🙂

    Most of my reviews are painfully simple. Focusing on the issues you raised. Does it feel good in the hand? Battery life, etc

    I’ll most definitely swing by to have a look at what you’re up to. Which device do you have now?

  2. Most of my reviews are painfully simple. Focusing on the issues you raised. Does it feel good in the hand? Battery life, etc


    Excellent. Good to see you here too. I currently use a Sony Xperia P.

  3. Now, we know, Oga Mo.

    Attempting to be a GSMArena, pursuing the method of buying phones for review can only do one thing.. PAUPERIZE, and PULVERIZE, financially!

    So, that Blogger was predominantly correct in his assertion.

    By the way, while we tend to say that most users are simple and just want their device to work out of the box, how do we explain 50 billion apps having been downloaded by the duopoly (Android and iOS)?

    It really does blow that assertion to smithereens, does it not?

  4. Attempting to be a GSMArena, pursuing the method of buying phones for review can only do one thing.. PAUPERIZE, and PULVERIZE, financially!


    Sebi that is for those who are attempting to be a GSM Arena? Certainly not me 🙂

  5. I would have to ask, in the light of Mulika’s opening gambit – is this true for the majority of African mobile phone reviewers? How many freebies do they get when they want to review phones?

    Somehow I doubt this is the case for the average African mobile phone reviewer.

  6. I would have to ask, in the light of Mulika’s opening gambit – is this true for the majority of African mobile phone reviewers? How many freebies do they get when they want to review phones?


    I don’t have statistics, to be honest.

  7. Hello bankelele,

    1. How many phones do you own/move around with daily?
    Answer: Usually, just one. Sometimes, when it cannot be helped, two. I really dislike carrying stuff on my person.

    2. What do you do with your old phones?
    Answer: I sell them and plow back the money into purchasing the next device/s

  8. Great self-defence from Mr. Mo. But you can’t escape some strokes of indicting brush. For one, you are a geek. You may not be indulging in such technical habits as jail-breaking or rooting, but you know HOW to do them if your help is sought. Also, a normal phone user won’t have such a highly giddy turnover of phones – 88 so far – as you do. Since you buy these phones essentially to use and REVIEW with in-depth analysis, you are not an ordinary phone user; YOU ARE A GEEK.
    And lastly, there is no phone reviewer – Mr. Mo inclusive – who is TOTALLY immune to some snippets of subjective perspective judgements on the phones they review. You don’t have to be INFLUENCED or BRIBED; as long as you a HUMAN BEING reviewer imbued with natural tastes and predilections and sentiments LIKE EVERYONE, your reviews will be tainted with occasional subjectivity that sub-consciously comes to play.
    That’s why I don’t support the idea of readers or prospective buyers of phones RELYING ENTIRELY on expert phone reviews to make purchasing decisions. Folks should define what and what exactly they want and need a phone for, and then go out to stores to ACTUALLY SEE, HANDLE, FEEL AND EXPERIENCE the phones that suit their needs, themselves.
    However, I’m not saying that expert phone reviews are not useful. They help, including some of Mr. Mo’s.

  9. Our whistle blower up there is just a drama queen, it’s no secret that reviewers are given review devices for free, not all of course, but it’s no big deal, you can call it the perks of the job.

  10. Emmanuel,

    Of course, it is no secret. I enjoyed his article and actually wrote my response with some drama in mind too. It was all a bit of fun, I’m sure.


  11. Spot on, Mr. Mo! And that’s why us un-geeky, gadget-crazy types love your non-tech user-friendly articles.

  12. Well done Mr. Mo. You really said it as it is. I wonder why a guy would decide to generalize and say such things. More so in Africa where the manufacturers rarely give a hoot as to what one says about their phones. They feel our voices do not count. But this is a blessing in disguise. If they give out phones for review and influence the bloggers in the western world in the write-up about the phones, this rarely occurs here. We buy our phones, we use them and we review them on our blogs. We tell it as it is. I have had the pleasure of reviewing few phones on my blog. All bought with my money. All given reviews from my perspective and rated on how they perform while I use them.

  13. Good one MM, I read an extensive review of Q10 e days ago on one “tech” blog, it was exciting and sounds interesting. But most of all I read were the high points of the devices, I was then wondering, isn’t there a low point for the device. But when I read that it was a review package, I just moved on. The point is, it very difficult, (necessary not impossible) to make an honest review of a device given to you free. I think this is one reason I look forward to review on MB, cos bloggers here share from experience without any outside influence.

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