Buy us guides.
If you’ve ever purchased an expensive piece of technology you probably ran into “buyer’s guides” in some form or another. Because surely you didn’t purchase a $300 pair of headphones without doing a bit of research first? There’s compilations of comparisons and general “if you need X, but this or this” lists for all kinds of products these days. You’d be silly not to at least look at them before making a major purchase. But should you be following the things like the Bible, or should their advice only be taken very broadly?
Of course the people who work on those guides know their stuff. They wouldn’t be able to pull a gazillion barbecue brands out of thin air otherwise! They’re usually the real enthousiasts, sometimes even the folks who work with the subject product on a day-to-day basis or make their living by researching the things. And that’s good! A broad knowledge on what’s available and how product differences tend to play out is great.
But then some writers have trouble looking at the bigger picture. Yes, these $500 headphones are better than those $100 ones, but would every user need that upgrade? A young kid who rips his MP3’s from YouTube would be plenty fine with the cheaper pair, but a professional DJ may require the benefits that come with a more expensive pair.
And that’s exactly my problem with buyer’s guides. The information is all fine and dandy, but the reader needs to know what they want. Not everyone can say “I’m looking for something that does X and has Y”. Not everyone can let go of the idea that just because something’s reviewed as “better” doesn’t mean it’s what you need.
There’s also some very well-written guides that pay special attention to this though, that’s always good to see.