Post title courtesy of @gerard3797
I very nearly started this blog post by suggesting that “it’s tough being a tech YouTuber”.
It isn’t – that’s utter tosh. It’s one of the best jobs in the world – if you’re into tech (if you’re not, it would probably be the most irritating way to spend your week, surrounded by countless smartphones, laptops, and tech accessories you’d be disappointed to find in a Christmas cracker).
I wouldn’t swap my job for anything. Having spent countless years doing stuff I never really enjoyed, finding my happy place in the world of work has been transformative.
However, it is, sometimes a bit irritating. Imagine spending days passionately crafting a piece of content – from conception to blog post, to YouTube video, and countless short form snippets – only to be informed by some knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing Neanderthal in the comments section that “your just doing this for the clickz bro – stop it wiv the stupid faces on ur thumbnailz lol”.
Or my personal favourite: “Shut up boomer and stop being a sheep lolz. And try and get your facts straight before making a video – the iPhone is 230 microns wider than the phone you compared it against lol”.
That was irritating to write. Imagine reading it. Regularly.
The truth is, I don’t really fit into the tech review community. And before you whip out that violin and start serenading my pitiful existence, I am absolutely cool with this. It’s my favourite thing about being a tech YouTuber.
Here are five things I do regularly that really irritate the you-know-whats off some of the tech community.
1. I don’t do (proper) benchmarks
I’ve made a bit of a thing out of the fact that I don’t do ‘proper benchmarks’. I’m not even sure what they are, to be honest – or how one would go about undertaking them.
All I know is that it takes a biblical amount of patience and technical know-how: two things I have no interest in developing. I have immense respect for those who do undertake such benchmarks – I think they are genuinely serving a very important role in this industry. I just don’t care about the minute performance differences between two chips or the exact amount of battery life you can extract from one phone against another.
I’ve added the word ‘proper’ to the subheading above because I do have a little benchmark test of my own. It’s about as back street garage as you can imagine and serves no purpose other than to give me something to talk about when Apple releases another chip that offers only marginal gains over the generation it replaces. And, in some cases, that content achieves incredible success on YouTube.
This is how I discovered my niche in tech reviews. As it turns out – and as I suspected – there are plenty of people who gain value from my ‘how does it make me feel’ take on tech reviews. That’s all I ever wanted.
2. I don’t always fact-check
Shock horror, right?
I’ll let you into a little secret. As tech reviewers, we rarely get an abundance of time with a new product. When it comes to brand-new stuff, this is particularly challenging, because review units are sometimes sent out just a couple of weeks or so before the embargo lifts. Sometimes, we don’t even enter the review unit seeding, which means we have to wait in line with everyone else and rush out a first-impressions video – just to ensure our channel catches the wave of views and engagement (if we didn’t… we wouldn’t be here).
This doesn’t give us enough time to put certain devices to the test. My decision not to dive deeply into specs and performance exacerbates this challenge and means that, sometimes, I get stuff wrong. A misquoted device dimension here, an incorrectly stated feature there. I’ve done it countless times, and the audience always spots it.
If I had more time to fact-check and ensure every single listed feature, quoted number, and historical fact was spot on, I would. I think. Although, once again, sometimes, I just can’t be arsed.
This is ok. As I often note in my videos, you should never take my opinion and overview of a product as the only guiding light during your buying process. Thorough research is required before parting with your hard-earned. Trust us tech reviewers, but don’t over-trust us.
3. I won’t give technical reasons for liking something
My smartphone of the year for 2023 was the absolutely brilliant Honor 90. This confused a lot of people (admittedly, mainly on TikTok, where the average IQ of most commenters is about seven). How could I call a mid-range smartphone that doesn’t possess stereo speakers my device of the year when the iPhone 15 Pro Max and S23 Ultra exist?
The same goes for my thoughts on the S24 Ultra’s display. I still think, just like its predecessor, that it is the best smartphone display on the market. That statement also baffles people. I’ve been called an outright ‘liar’ for suggesting it was the case. Better still, several people have asked how much Samsung paid me to utter such nonsense. One guy even decided to list all of the technical reasons the… oh, I genuinely can’t remember which device he was referring to, possessed a better display than the S24 Ultra.
I. Don’t. Care. I just really like the S24 Ultra display and I have never experienced the ‘washed-out colours’ people speak of.
My favourite is the level of backlash I’ve received about my BENQ PD322OU review. In the video, I revealed why I’d decided to ditch the Apple Studio Display for BENQ’s seemingly inferior panel. What follows is a selection of the feedback I received.
“i cannot believe i’d struggle to see the difference between 218ppi and 140ppi. those are big pixels”
“You must not have looked beyond what your sponsor offers.” (fun fact: the video wasn’t sponsored)
“I am puzzled by how many channels are hyping this monitor for its color accuracy, but NONE of them mentioning the lack of A-TW polarizer layer.” (nope, I have no idea, either)
“You got paid by Benq to do this, right?”
“This sound <sic> like a BenQ ad.”
“Dude. How is a 4K monitor a competitor to the Apple Display?”
“Your reviews are great but this one makes no sense.” (well, there’s a half-made shit sandwich, for you)
“300nits in hdr LMFAO that’s not even sdr, 60hz, no bt2020 coverage rating, delta e <3 is avg today.” (eh?)
“You can spot stupid YouTubers easily.”
There’s more. A lot more. But the fact remains that I just really like that BENQ monitor and, yes, it is still my main production display in the studio. I can’t explain why.
Sometimes, your love of something can’t be explained or justified – and that’s just fine.
4. I don’t jump on ‘disaster’ trends
I referenced the S24 Ultra’s ‘washed-out colours’ earlier. If you’re unaware, this relates to claims made by owners of the device that the display suffers from dour colour reproduction and is a shadow of its predecessor.
I haven’t bothered to look into this, because I can’t be bothered. Equally, my S24 Ultra is as bright and vibrant as I’d hoped – as was every single review unit I got my hands on during the lead-up to the launch (which was a lot). It strikes me that the issue people are referring to is probably a batch manufacturing problem. It’ll get sorted by Samsung.
It was a similar story with the reported overheating issues on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Mine never got hot enough to melt through the table or singe my man vegetables, yet the internet was seemingly awash with people struggling to pick up their brand-new iPhones due to the searing heat emanating from the titanium casing. Once again, I didn’t bother researching it, and the noise died down after an iOS update was issued.
Disaster trends follow practically every big tech release. Whenever Apple or Samsung launches a new product, Reddit is immediately injected with countless threads from people who have experienced the same not-fit-for-purpose issue. And you know what? Every single time that happens, the furore quickly dies down to nothing more than a brief and insignificant blot in the device’s history.
I can’t make videos quick enough to cover this stuff before it becomes irrelevant.
5. I don’t compare apples with apples
Oh, this is a favourite of the Mark Ellis Review Hate Club.
I once compared the iPad mini against the Kindle Paperwhite. The fact I noted it was a questionable comparison and made it abundantly clear that each device had a very defined user base made no difference. Several people pointed out that I was unfit for purpose as a YouTube reviewer – it was that stupid to compare two such devices.
That did not go down well.
Then, there’s one of my new favourite past times – poking Sony Headphone People. If you’ve never come across them, they are a bunch of blindly devoted fans of Sony’s headphone division who will not accept anything bad said against the XM series. So, you can imagine what happened when I said that the Beats Studio Pro are better than the WH-1000XM5.
That really did not go down well. At all.
Once again (and I appreciate I say this a lot) I really don’t care. Whenever I compare two tech products and reveal my favourite out of the two, my conclusion is genuine. It won’t always make sense to you, but it always does to me.
Wrapping up: why I don’t care
I’m not being facetious when I say that none of this stuff bothers me. I’m fully aware that accurate benchmarks serve a purpose, and that facts are undeniably important. I also appreciate that if you’re impacted by a known issue with a new product it is hugely frustrating (I’ve been there myself more than once).
However, as a tech reviewer, I have little interest in commenting on this stuff. I get involved occasionally (the M2 NAND chip issue is the most obvious example), but I stand firm by my desire to offer real-world reviews. As we know, the ‘real world’ is often far more normal and dull than the trouser-fire-inducing depths of the tech niche.
If you’ve stuck with my take on tech reviews thus far – thanks for coming along for the ride. I promise I won’t change.