Mother’s Day just passed in the US, and it is expected that you got mom a gift. Many people buy flowers, but what if you want to get her something that she really wanted or needed? What if you do not really know much about those types of products? You can get recommendations from friends, or you can look towards the internet. What follows are a few product review sites that take different approaches to the product review game. If you still need a gift for mom, maybe you should check out these sites and figure it out.
From the site:We admit it: CNET editors are obsessed with technology. CNET Reviews editors are your personal guides to tech. We give you in-depth reviews and video reviews of the latest gadgets and tech products.
Pros: They are completely tech focused, so there are no concerns about reviews for an LCD TV and a beach chair from the same person. Navigation is simple and there are extensive product filters. The editor reviews are extensive. They have been doing this for a while, so they are not going anywhere.
Cons: They do not have many customer reviews, and experts may be looking at different things than an average user. Because of the number of products in their catalog, it gets difficult to determine what is different. Due to how long CNet has been reviewing products, some of the products are out of date, i.e. one of the LCD TVs is from March 2006.
From the site: We do the research, we compare each model, we balance performance, ease of use and price for you. We pick products that we find to be the best value. We cut through the crap. These are the products that we would recommend to our family and friends if they asked, ‘What digital camera should I buy?’ or ‘We are thinking of getting a new HDTV. Which one should we get?’
Pros: Well, they do the research so you don’t have to! Plus, you are getting a personal recommendation from the Kallow team. They provide links so that you can buy the product immediately from Amazon.
Cons: They have a short list of products (24 currently). They recommend a product without knowing what my required specifications are. For example, they recommend a 46″ 1080p LCD TV, but what if I am looking for a 32″?
From the site: TestFreaks collects product information and reviews from over 60 countries and several thousand sources to give you the best possible advice.
Pros: As an aggregator of product reviews from experts and consumers, they are getting a good cross-section of opinions. They have a large number of products in their database, almost 1500 LCD TVs alone. They give products a Freak Score which is a weighted index of all reviews taking into account the age of the product. There are customer forums and Q&A sections as well.
Cons: The large product database may make it a little intimidating to find an appropriate product. The search filters could be more detailed for some products. Going back to the LCD TV example, not having a size filter is definitely painful.
From the site: We simplify the complex. 1. Collect the best reviews. 2. Analyze their picks. 3. Recommend what to buy.
Pros: It is an About.com company. They do analysis of several reviews in order to find the best products and recommend them. They have links to various ecommerce sites if you want to buy the product. They include their analysis on the “Full Report” tab, so you can see what they were thinking, and there is a “What To Look For” tab that contains tips on how to buy the product.
Cons: It is an About.com company. There are no filtering capabilities, so once you pick a section like LCD TVs you have to go through their picks to figure out what is best for you.
From the site: Unbiased reviews by real people.
Pros: Epinions has been around forever, so they have a large review and product catalog. They have links to the stores for purchasing products, as well as store ratings and reviews. They have their own reviews from users, as well as links to the reviews at places like Amazon.com. Their product segments are fairly detailed.
Cons: Epinions looks like it has been around forever. The design is definitely old, and it makes the navigation somewhat difficult to use. The only aggregation or summary is in the 5-star rating system that comes from the reviews on their own site.
From the site: “Decide what to buy”. Our reviews are genuine. We only publish reviews written by customers of our retail partners, and they have all definitely bought the product.
Pros: The reviews are approved by the company and you must have purchased the product. Navigation starts on the home page with “top products” links. Has an aggregate review score so you can see the general opinion based on all of the reviews. Shows prices of various stores for your product. They have a lot of information available.
Cons: The product detail pages are very busy. The reviews, product comparison prices and similar products are all on the same page as the high-level review and the product details. This makes the product pages hard to use.
From the site: “Matching people and electronics”. Our goal is to give you answers for all your electronics needs from before you buy to after you’ve had the product for years, and everything in between. Retrevo is the place to help you enjoy the experience of electronics products.
Pros: They have popular products and popular searches to make things a little simpler. The “Retrevo Value Map” has a map of good value products, with descriptions of the products beneath the map. The list of filters is also extensive, making your product list very configurable.
Cons: The main page has a large graphic which hides the actual product links at the bottom of the page. If your screen resolution is small enough, you may need to scroll to see them. The pages are graphic intensive and load fairly slowly.
From the site: Verified buyers. Millions of reviews. Meaningful recommendations.
Pros: Navigation is fairly simple after the home page. There are a lot of filters, including things like where you would use the product, user personality and “pros”. The “review snapshot” is an excellent summary of the average 5-star rating, and a list of pros, cons and “best uses”. For LCD TVs, the “best uses” are things like “bedroom” and “home”.
Cons: Although there are many interesting filters, the main product filters are limited. For LCD TVs, there were only price and brand filters.