All reviews have a universal template which comprises of 6 sections. These sections are described based on the product category type and in many cases, may need extrapolation to create context for the product in question. In the end, it is important to cover any and all points that may arise in relation to the product must be covered as long as they are within the parameters of the review.
These sections are: Showcase, Technical Specs, Aesthetics, Function, Durability and Price Value.
Other than the context and structure of the review, there are other materials which need to be prepared prior to the release of the article. These are in the form of extra material which are advertised and marketed on social media prior to the release of the review. Please refer to the extra materials section for more information.
All guides and reviews require a feature image to be used as the main photo. This image is used throughout the website and social media as the main link to the article in question. Please make sure the image is visually catching and relevant to the article. This image must not have any watermarks or text on it.
The showcase comprises of a simple introduction of the product in review and any history or background that may be required to best present the review. This is a universal chapter of which does not require a title heading and can start the review off. Be aware that a segment of this chapter should be used as the excerpt for social media and summarised usage.
Technical Specs (which can also be called Features) is a detailed demonstration of all the features and specifications that are being advertised by the manufacturer and not. Each technical spec must be at least described and provided a visual representation from extra material such as branded pictures and/or videos. It is essential to ensure that all specifications are tested and do as described prior to performing any testing with the product.
The product being reviewed will have multiple specifications and features based on the type of product and its purpose. It is worth baring in mind that the specifications are normally matched with the features. If an optic has an FOV and a focus range with magnification, these specifications would be paired with the feature of the product such as distant target acquisition.
– It is at this time during the review that any issues with the product should be resolved prior to continuing with any usage of the product.
The aesthetics of the product to review is very much an analysis of not only how the product looks but also how it works with its given purpose. A good example is the analysis of a backpack that is meant to be used in covert operations. It is desirable for it to use a disruptive pattern and not large in order to assist concealment. Depending on the weight of the purpose, the backpack may compromise and allow snagging of branches due to excess webbing, or it could be an advantage to allow modularity. It is these factors that are taken into account in regards to the look and shape of a product.
Another valid example is the size and weight of a handheld optic. The optic may be small in order to allow for easy storage and ergonomic handling, but also may be heavy which increases the load weight of equipment being carried. Seeing the other end of the spectrum, a heavier optic would assist in stable operation and the size of the optic may be impeding the technology and function of the product itself.
– It is important to realise that viewing a property of a review item in multiple perspectives will increase the value of the review and in essence allow for a less opinionated and biased review overall.
The function of the product is the brunt of the product’s ability to perform its purpose. This section will cover whether or not the product can achieve its purpose based on the functions that have been advertised. This is similar to how Aesthetics section would work, however is focused on the actual function of the product in comparison to how it works aesthetically. Make sure that every feature of the product is tested and reviewed.
An example would be to test if an optic claims to have be fog, shock and/or water proof. The abilities of the product must be tested based on their purpose and not deviate (don’t test to see if a watch is capable of cutting paper). When it comes to providing evidence of testing, this is not necessary however it would help to ensure that extra material somewhat covers some of the testing that is performed on the product.
Some products may not require durability to be as relevant a section due to their purpose (consumables and disposables). Most products will have a very basic form of durability testing based on length of time, it is recommended to ensure that the product meets its purpose based on purpose only (Do not check to see if a biodegradable product can last a volatile environment). It is worth noting the durability of a product without physical testing based on the analysis of its properties compared to the environment in which it would be used in.
An example would be to test battery usage of a product that claims to last an extended amount of time, or to torture test mechanical components through prolonged usage (usage much comply with the purpose).
During the Function and Durability chapters, it is vital to test the product and make sure that the product is put through its paces. Testing is a key element of these reviews and hence should be performed in some way and included in the findings of the review.
Tests that are italic are only to be performed on products that advertise resilience to the test.
– Rain Test (5 minutes of torrential rain, test dampness of inner lining)
– Water Retention Test (weigh product dry, compare where product is soaked)
– Dryness Test (after product soak, test for dryness at one hour periods at room temperature)
– Elasticity Test (check stretch on stress points of seams and joints)
– Fray Test (choose a non disclosed area of the clothing and attempt a small incision with a light stoke of a sharp knife)
– Burn Test (soak surrounding area of non disclosed area or cut a segment of the fabric and expose it to flame, check if burn or flammable)
– Colour Test (take picture of fabric colour in control environment, wash 3 times, take picture and check colouration again)
– Battery Test (test longevity of battery usage in the product at hourly intervals)
– Magnet Test (run a normal magnet across the surfaces of the product and test functionality)
– Radio Test (run analogue radio next to product and test interference on radio and/or product)
– Weather Test (lightly rinse with water whilst product is on and check function)
– Hard Weather Test (heavily rinse with salt water whilst product is on and check function)
– Tamper Test (use rubber mallet and lightly bump product and check functionality)
– Heavy Tamper Test (use rubber mallet and heavily bump product and check functionality)
– Load Jump Test (add a weight load equal to functional load of product and jump a few times and check durability)
– Bend Test (try to cause the material to bend and analyse strength)
– Rust Test (splash water on undisclosed surface and leave to settle for 24 hours, check surface for rust and clean if necessary)
The conclusion of the product review should not be short, however it must be concise as it is very likely that a lot of readers will skip to the this chapter before reading the rest of the review. Make sure that all the most important points from the previous chapters are covered prior to talking about the price to value ratio of the product.
Be aware that the price bands are based on the most expensive and least expensive product type of that category and not the actual price of the product. If a product is £35 and the most expensive variation of the product type is £100, then the product being reviewed is in the 35% of the overall cost of the category.
You must bare in mind that due to price fluctuations, the price is deviated into ranges which will be described below.
– It may be necessary to iterate how the price value system works in each review as we must assume that each review is being read for the first time on the website.
This is the lowest tier of the product type where the most basic or cheapest form of the product may reside in price.
This is the mid range tier of the product type where the most basic however potentially higher quality products may be priced.
This is the high range tier of the product type where the higher quality products will be most commonly priced.
Much like the high range tier, this tier is probably identical, however the price is by far the most expensive and hence can potentially be superior.
You need to make sure that even though the product may not be testable in all possible situations, these situations must be simulated to the best of your abilities. An example would be with clothing, ensuring that water absorption is tested can be done by sprinkling a hose over the garment whilst being worn. This would also be a good opportunity for visual photography as well. With electronics, something as simple as torture testing with a mallet during operation would make sense compared to actually throwing it and damaging the exterior. Scratch testing can also be performed using a scalpel instead of the use of harsh and random methods.
Although we want to create a natural environment for the products to be tested in, we do want to create consistency across the board and hence will have to sometimes do artificial wear and tear to the product in order to get the most consistent results. Be aware, if a product says it can do something, test it. Extra brownie points if you can film it professionally in a short minute to be posted on social media.
All extra material comprises of visual elements which is used within and outside of a review for marketing and advertising principles. This ranges from watermarked photography of the review items and their functions to video clips of the review item in use. All photos and videos must be properly branded for the website and hence must abide by the templates provided below.