Opinions and Writing Good Reviews

Harry Marks has some… things to say about The Verge’s review of the Surface Pro:

[G]iving a below-average product an above-average grade forces readers to question the credibility of every review prior and since this one. This isn't an "It's not for me" situation. This is just a bad device. Why is it so difficult for The Verge to just come out and say it? Why are there so many "but ifs" instead of one definitive opinion?

I give the Surface Pro a 4/10. I give The Verge's reviews a 2/10.

I think a lot of large news organisations find it incredibly difficult to say negative things when given a product to review. That’s bad practice. If someone asked me to review something and I thought it sucked, I’d say so.1

Publishing a review containing many negatives coupled with a lot of “but ifs” with an overall positive score gives me, the reader, an impression that the reviewer is unable to have a bold opinion.

Covering up flaws in products or dampening your own view isn’t healthy, isn’t interesting writing and isn’t as helpful to your readers as having a honest and critical attitude.

Go on, take a stand. Have an opinion.

1: I’d probably initially tell the person in question, rather than writing several hundred public words trashing the product. (Unless it’s a really fun several hundred words.)