Everyone needs to calm down about review scores.


What is the purpose of a review score?

Today I noticed several posts here with titles complaining about the fact that the Chomebook Pixel scored around the same score as the Surface. The score? 7.5, a very respectable score. Granted it's not a high 8 or a 9, but does it need to be?

via the 'How We Score' page:

7. Very good. A solid product with some flaws.

8. Excellent. A superb product with minor flaws.

This means that both the Chromebook Pixel and Surface Pro are rated somewhere between a very good and excellent. It's not like when you were in grade school and a 75 was a bad grade because a 60 was a failing grade. The curve is different. 7.5 is a good score. Does the Surface have issues? Yeah, short battery life for a tablet, it gets hot, and you can't use it easily on your lap. Does the Pixel have issues? Totally! Short battery life for a chromebook, and for a pro machine with that price its utility is lacking. But neither of these are deal-breaking issues. Overall they're both solid, well made, and not to mention, cool products.

This isn't the first time this has happened either. Back when the Lumia 900 got a 7.0 everyone also got all up in arms about it, and started pointing out when devices with more perceived weaknesses got higher scores. The Verge's critiques of the device weren't completely ridiculous, but the forums caught on fire with claims that Josh and The Verge were being paid off by someone to keep Windows Phone down.

Which, I mean... come on.

The first phone I ever bought got a 7.5 (on Engadget, but it was reviewed by Chris Ziegler, so it's basically the same thing) and I freaking loved that phone. I used it for more than a year and a half until it fell out of my pocket on a tall flight of stairs and broke forever. I miss it every day.

BUT it did have some problems, despite how much I loved it. It was running Motorola's bloaty Blur skin, the camera was terrible, and it never got updated past Android 2.3.3 (Not that I didn't fix that with some custom roms.) But even with those flaws, the hardware itself spoke to me. I loved the feel of its soft touch frame, and the (for its time) high-res display and powerful processor. I was between the Droid X and the iPhone 4 when I bought it, but I picked the lower rated device because I liked it more.

I guess my point is that you don't need a review score to validate your buying decision. They're just guidelines. If something is in the 3.0-5.0 range, maybe thing twice before you go out and buy it. If something is a 7.0 or above, that's definitely a recommendation. If you really, really, want a Surface Pro, or a Surface RT or a Lumia 920, or even a Chromebook Pixel, you're not going to buy something else instead, so it shouldn't need to get an 8 or a 9 in order to make you happy. The device itself should just make you happy.