This entire post seems to be a sort of convoluted response to my complaint a couple days ago that most tech reviewers don’t have the balls to pick their favorite product and stick by it.
Here, Chris Ziegler notes that when most people ask him what phone to buy, he resorts to “laziness” and gives a stock response:
"You know, honestly, just buy an iPhone."
He doesn’t own an iPhone, mind you, and prefers the Galaxy Nexus. But he seems concerned that giving that recommendation will ultimately piss people off or require too much of an explanation.
That thought, in and of itself, is interesting. He’s recommending a phone he doesn’t actually think is the best because he thinks others will think it’s the best. (Which itself suggests that their reviews are subjective — more on that in a bit.)
Obviously, he’s right that everyone has different tastes, so it would be tough to recommend the right phone to everyone. But that doesn’t really address what I brought up. Ziegler only does that at the end:
Coincidentally, that’s why The Verge will never simply say “just buy this phone.” It’s not that simple, it never is. We can recommend you great phones by platform, by carrier, or even by specific need. But there’ll never be a one-size-fits-all answer. In fact, more often than not, the phone that’s right for you probably isn’t the phone that’s right for me.
Okay, but I don’t care if The Verge as a whole recommends one phone — how could it? The publication consists of several authors all with different tastes. The Verge itself is not a sentient being.
I care what the authors themselves recommend. At TechCrunch, I’d often hear “I love your posts but hate X’s” or vice versa. Increasingly, with Twitter and other syndication means, readers gravitate around the authors they like, not the sites in general. They learn to trust those authors and value their honest opinions — or the opposite, they learn that they hate their tastes and make decisions based on that.
Again, I’m not saying The Verge itself has to recommend one phone — which would be weird — I just saying the authors should man up and say which phone is their personal pick. Ziegler does in this post, which is great, but in the reviews themselves, they’re often summed up with vague, kumbaya bullshit about the ecosystem having many impressive players.
Or, if The Verge truly thinks their publication shouldn’t feature posts that take a stand on one phone from the writer’s perspective — that is, they’re trying to be oddly and unnaturally objective — perhaps they should remove the author names from their posts.