TestFreaks: the ultimate review site?
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If you are about to spend a lot of money
on a new gadget, you might well want to check out a
review first. But where do you go? After all, there
are a lot of review sites out there and it can
all be very confusing.
is a new approach that attempts to combine all
the reviews it can find on one site and then come up
with a "Freak Score" to show how good it is.
Review are gathered from "expert" sites, end
users, forum threads and even YouTube with a brief
snippet.. users can then click through to the original
site for more.
There's a wealth of information available
here, but TestFreaks have gone to some effort to arrange
it in a meaningful way. A browse through the site indicates
that it has been quite a mammoth undertaking, covering
dozens of categories and probably thousands of products.
TestFreaks has been developed by the
same people who founded the PriceRunner
price comparison site, and it works on a broadly similar
principle. Information is aggregated from thousands
of sources and more than 60 countries. Of course,
TestFreaks is financed through advertising, but the
ads are very discrete and don't overwhelm the user.
site is clearly in beta still, and not everything works
properly. For example, the page on the Panasonic
X300 proudly boasts a picture of an Lenovo Thinkpad
X300 which is not really the same thing. And, at
the time of writing the front page boasts "new"
expert reviews of the Nokia 6100 and the Siemens MC60,
both launched in 2003. And perhaps not all website owners
will be pleased to see their content used by a potential
rival (although the people at TestFreaks do seem very
nice and approachable if there's a problem). Also, some
of the "user reviews" don't seem very relevant,
although this varies from product to product. Oh.. and
it's a little bit slow too (but then so is Mobile
Gazette from time-to-time).
There's also a gadget
blog and a lively
forum, and overall TestFreaks have made an effort
to find a home for those who are geeky about gadgets,
parts of the site also incorporate Wiki technology so
visitors can write their own comments and descriptions.
On one hand, TestFreaks is amazingly
comprehensive, covering categories as diverse as binoculars,
cameras, phones and PC components, and it has localised
content for the UK, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil,
France and Belgium as well as a global site. On the
other hand, you could probably find all the information
yourself, and you won't have to worry about mobile phones
from 2003 confusing the issue. On the whole, we definitely think
that it is worth a try next time you are looking to
buy a gadget.