This article was inspired by a story that I read earlier today on Nairaland. And, no; this is not about any beef with YouTubers and other players in the gadget tech media. As a matter of fact, we also create unboxing videos and publish hands-on reviews both here and on our sister website. It is, however, imperative to point out certain factors that are inherent in unboxing videos and hands-on reviews.
The story is about a boy who had chosen a particular budget phone model because he had seen unboxing videos and hands-on reviews that spoke favourably of gaming on the phone. Weeks later, the boy was constantly complaining that the device was lagging terribly when he tried to run Call of Duty Mobile (that’s a game) on it. Any surprise? What was the problem? Let me explain it.
Why Unboxing Videos and Hands-on Reviews are inadequate for buying decisions
When a smartphone is new and not loaded with all the apps that the user needs on a day-to-day basis, any evaluations done in that state are unrealistic and not accurate. This is because the resources are barely stretched the way they would be after 60 apps have been installed, scores of photos snapped, and all that. Device performance drops as resources are used and stretched. This is a universal principle.
If I do not install all the 134 apps that I normally have on my phone on a device I am reviewing, setup my two email accounts, social networking apps, instant messaging apps, and all of the other services I use, and use the phone that way for an extended period, I am truly not getting a true picture of how well the phone performs.
This is why the standard period for our mobile phone reviews here at MobilityArena is 3 weeks. We put the devices to regular use for that period. In my 20 years experience of using and reviewing phones, it is the least period of time in which you can get reasonably accurate experience of a phone in order to make sound recommendations.
Sometimes, we have had a brand send in a phone for review and they ask that the review be ready in a few days. We proceed to explain to them that we would have to label such a review as a “hands-on, first impressions” review. It wouldn’t serve our readers, if we published a 3-day experience with a product as a proper review. Mobile phone specs do not tell the whole story, and neither do YouTube Unboxing Videos and Hands-on reviews. As a matter of fact, unboxing videos are better suited to product marketing, which is why most brands love and prefer them. They show off the shiny new gadget that has not been broken in. What does that mean?
To break in a pair of new shoes refers to that period after you start wearing a new shoe and it rubs against your tender feet, causing blisters and abrasions, until shoe and foot find a way to conform to each other in harmony. Unboxing a shoe is not breaking in a shoe.
It is the same way that unboxing a smartphone does not tell the full story of how it is in everyday use. Unless the unboxing video as includes a detailed review of the gadget after extended use.
Don’t Stop Watching Unboxing Videos and reading Hands-on Reviews
Does this mean that you should stop watching those unboxings and reading hands-on reviews? Not at all. Enjoy them all you want. They are great for showcasing a new phone and it’s accessories, and also often provide useful information about the specs of device. But if you are shopping for a new smartphone, they are often inadequate for telling you what to expect from using the device in every day situations. A more detailed review that is produced after weeks of daily use is what will provide the information that you need. And a long-term review, produced after months of usage, is even better for that.
Reference: 1. Nairaland article source.