Nexus 5 Review - Not biased, just negative
OK, the Nexus 5 have a 5/10 in it's camera score. Googlers responded by asking the fair question: How did the Nexus 4 get a 8/10 and the Nexus 5 get a 5/10? Doesn't that imply one is better than the other? Of course we got the canned answer of "it's the score of the device AT THE TIME the review was made." Have smartphone cameras progressed that much in a year? Have we really gotten to the point where unless the performance doubles year-over-year, the camera is a wash?
And it's not like they were reviewed by different people: Josh reviewed both of them. And compared to the competition, going from the Nexus 4 > Nexus was a much bigger bump in performance than GS3 > GS4, or One X > One, or iPhone 5 > 5s. And shouldn't price enter the equation at some point?
So why the discrepancy? Why the inconsistency? If the scores do not follow logic under these circumstances, under what circumstances do the scores have any relevance or comparability? Isn't that the point of scores in reviews? An attempt to numerically assign ranks to attributes that are otherwise subjective in nature so the readers can understand how and why one device is better or worse than another?
The scores have even less meaning when you weight things differently and have different reviewers with their own interpretations. I think it's unfair to call The Verge biased, but they sure are negative and play to stereotypes. And depending on what they are reviewing, they will weight things differently. When it's an Android phone, it's the camera that they focus on and if it shows even a bit of weakness they'll slam it. When it's a Windows Phone, they'll unapologetically toot the ecosystem horn. When it's Samsung or LG phones with good cameras, it's software. Is the Nexus 5's camera as bad as Samsung's software? Or Blackberries ecosystem? What's the point of numerical scores if they are weighted differently depending on what you're reviewing?
I understand the need nowadays to have a good all-around phone, but it just seems like the strengths of the device will never overcome its weaknesses, and that's an objectively negative outlook. The Podcasts (especially the mobile show) have turned into complaint-fests. I don't like listening to Nilay bash every single Android device because of it's screen, I don't like Vlad bashing every single phone because it's big. I thought we were all supposed to be excited about technology? Not high-handed and pretentious.
I think the reason The Verge is getting so much flak is not because every other publication offered the Nexus 5 higher praise, but because The Verge is overwhelmingly negative. That's why I like reviews from MKBHD and Anandtech. Even when they don't like something (or something is straight up not good) there's something more constructive about their criticisms compared to The Verge. I always leave their reviews still feeling excited about technology and where we are headed, I can't say the same about The Verge's reviews. That's the difference between having every tribe call you biased or having every tribe think you're a fair and honest source.
And it gets even more frustrating because it seems The Verge went into this review knowing that the camera/performance/battery life would be bad, as seen from Dieter's hands-on. I'm not saying that's what happened, I'm saying that's what the perception is. It appears like the scores are weighted to support reviewers preconceived notions. That's the reason people are calling bias.
And I don't know how long The Verge has had review units, but I certainly hope it's been longer than a few days. Big claims require big evidence. Their battery life and camera claims aren't consistent with other reviewers. I'm not saying that clearly makes The Verge wrong, because if I didn't want different opinions, I wouldn't read The Verge. But I certainly hope that page-views and "going-against-the-grain" isn't clouding The Verge's judgement and objectively.