Tech reviewers have a lot on their plates. A smartphone isn’t a “phone” as much as it is a catch-all mobile computing platform. Tech reviewers need to be multi-disciplined in their commentary. Of course, it’s impossible for an individual to be an expert in all areas, so we all rely on assistance for subjects we might be less well versed. Sometimes we’re guided by other reviewers. Sometimes we get good materials from manufacturers to help guide our coverage. Regardless, no reviewer is an island.
In experiencing numerous gadgets throughout a career, it’s also easy to fall into patterns. We’ve encountered so much data, and observed so many trends over time, that we might not always be rationally dissecting a product, as much as we might be intuitively or emotionally arriving at our conclusions.
Smartphone audio is an excellent example of a topic which is often overlooked. Worse, when it is discussed, it’s frequently considered in a subjective fashion. “I like the sound of phone A, but I don’t like the sound of phone B.” It’s not uncommon for a reviewer’s opinion of the phone overall to influence that opinion on the audio produced. “I like phone A, so I prefer the sound on phone A.”
Like most aspects of technology, when viewing a product subjectively, we’re more apt to appreciate the familiar, and grade a product based on that familiarity. We strive for objectivity, but hearing or seeing something different than what we’re used to will feel foreign. “I’m used to the sound on phone A, so phone B sounds wrong”.