Information about Phone Reviewing

Last Updated: 15-Apr-2004

I often receive email asking me if I'll be reviewing a phone. I don't normally make a point of reviewing any specific phone, since I have to rely on the owners of these phones to lend them to me. While I can never say for certain which phones I might be reviewing, there are a few simple rules to determine which phones I will not be reviewing.

1) If the phone does not support 1900 MHz or 850 MHz, then it won't work in Canada, and I cannot test it. This generally applies to GSM phones that operate at only 900 MHz and 1800 MHz, but also phones designed to operate in Japan.

2) If the phone is CDMA and is not sold by either Telus Mobility or Bell Mobility, then chances are exceptionally low that I'll ever get a chance to see one. There are exceptions, such as the Nokia 6385, but this is a rarity, in that someone in Canada had the connections necessary to get this phone set up on Telus. 99 times out of a 100, any CDMA phone not sold by Telus or Bell will not operate on their networks, and so no one in my area will likely own one.

3) If the phone is no longer in production I don't tend to pay any attention to them. I spend so much of my free time already testing phones and writing reviews that I have to draw the line, and I do so at phones that are no longer available at retail. I might make an exception if I personally want to test the phone.

4) If the phone is just a re-badged version of a phone I've already tested, then I'm not inclined to spend much time testing it. For example, if Telus were to market a version of the Nokia 3586i (say a 3588i) then it wouldn't be worth me doing a review of it, since it is probably an identical phone.


Many people have also wondered what the difference is between a full review and a mini review. A full review can only be written if I am loaned the phone for a period of time. This allows me to use it in various situations, and to live with it for a day or two. A mini review is written any time I see the phone only for an hour or two, usually in one location, and usually with its owner in tow. This is usually long enough to comment on RF performance and audio quality, but not long enough to say much about other facets of the phone. This type of review is usually much shorter than a full review.


Still others wonder why I say bad things about phones they believe to be of high quality. Remember that reviews are written based on personal opinion, and like everything else in one's life, opinion is based on previous experience. I like to think that after reviewing almost 100 phones I have a fairly good idea of what's possible. So when I say a phone has poor sound quality, I mean that it sounds poor compared to other phones I've had the pleasure of testing. That doesn't mean that phone isn't better than others, or that it's not acceptable to a lot of people.


Some people strongly disagree with what I say concerning RF performance of a phone, but I can only test the phones I'm given, and if those phones happen to be lemons, then there's little I can do about it. However, if you feel that I've tested a lemon, I'll gladly meet with you to re-evaluate any aspect of your phone that you believe might have been faulty in the original test phone.