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Dear PA commenters: let's talk about bias

0. phoneArena 27 Nov 2012, 19:59 posted on

We here at PhoneArena can have something of a thankless job, but it is a job that we love, and one that we attempt to do as well as we can. We try our best to present you all with news, reviews, and analysis in an honest, thought-provoking, and (if possible) entertaining way. But, it seems about time we directly address our comment community, because many of you seem to have a skewed idea of the word "bias"...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 09:09 2

171. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

The comparisons are good though. People want to see those, because they want the help in choosing what to buy. We just need to be careful to frame the comparisons as "if you like this, buy this. if you like that, buy that" rather than "this is flat out better than that, end of story"

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 18:06

214. jtech (Posts: 100; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)

Agreed, Thanks you for seeing eye to eye with all of us

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 13:23

200. TylerGrunter (Posts: 782; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

On defence of PA I remembered I read that article, so just in case you wouldn´t belive it i searched for it myself:

Next time you´ll ge a link to:

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 01:01 3

131. Sniggly (Posts: 6489; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

The only writer I've seen who has been consistently pro Apple or anti Google has been Ray S.

The people randomly accusing you of bias are full of s**t, Michael. I think you've roundly trounced them with this article.

As for me, I'll keep commenting whenever I find the time and let you guys know what thoughts I have. Phonearena has become a really good website over the past couple of years I've followed it. Hell, you guys are now being sourcelinked by other tech and news sites. That takes a lot.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 13:25

201. TylerGrunter (Posts: 782; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

I can´t agree with that, I can mention at least another pro Apple writer and one pro Android at least. Both clear cases of that, nearly as much as Ray.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 01:42 1

132. lkjhgf (Posts: 9; Member since: 14 Sep 2012)

when people react with a comment, you need to accept the fact that is how people perceiving the content...if one say you are biased then you can ignore, but many people saying you are biased mean you run a story completely out of touch with market. the good news is people do say you r biased and still come back to to PA mean you are not 100% baised.....take it easy....

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 02:08 1

134. bencrypted (Posts: 9; Member since: 27 Sep 2012)

I have largely found Phonearena to be unbiased, compared to some other similar websites.

But when a gadget is reviewed, the reviewer sees it from his/her point of view. And almost everyone has a preference when it comes to gadgets. It's quite natural for the reviewer to give his point of view which will seem biased for the readers. Since the reviewer is influenced by his/her preference and he/she is likely to make comparisons to his/her favourite model, either openly or in an indirect manner, knowingly or inadvertently.

PA does give an in-depth review. From a reader's perspective, it is better to ignore the personal opinions of the reviewer and concentrate on the technical aspects alone. And if you are really interested in a product, read as many reviews as possible before going for it and list out your priorities and the features that are really required and features that could be compromised on or not required at all.

One thing PA can do while reviewing a product is to avoid comparing that product to a similar product by another manufacturer. Instead they can compare it to the predecessor (if there is one) of the same product and list out the improvements. You can't just compare a Nokia to an Apple Product or a Samsung to HTC product (even if they are on same version of Android). Different companies have different philosophies, and different approaches, Don't they?

Also, a review should be informative and educating and it should not be done to influence the readers.

PA does comparisons too, and when doing comparisons, leaving the conclusions to the readers is a better option. Doesn't matter which one you choose, there will always be a few disagreeing readers, and they will lambast the writer.

And the reviewer should be ready to face the keyboard warriors and the excessively loyal fanboys (who think that they will be paid for their efforts and loyalty by the technological giants they are supporting) out there, and if the reviewer want to crib about it, Internet is not a place for you.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 02:42

137. tiara6918 (Posts: 1242; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)

We might not agree with some of PA's reviews but I wouldn't call this website biased because we all have our personal opinions and perspectives.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 02:42 1

138. Nikolas.Oliver (Posts: 1340; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)

the most biased phone news site : 9to5mac and crackberry

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 03:32

140. devon613 (Posts: 38; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)

i feel pa is bias in the point system for example i dont get how you review the note 2 and then in cons put big size phone that makes no sense because everyone know that is the plus about the phone is its size. the rating has to change just i feel some of the reviews are not subjective.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 03:43

142. speckledapple (Posts: 877; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)

I have PA in the top three sites I visit because of the news and information. The flame wars are part of life there are even worse ones on Engadget. I just appreciate the content and love to put forth a little rebuttal every now and then.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 03:48

143. Droids-R-us (Posts: 12; Member since: 17 Sep 2012)

I agree completely, I have found these articles to be very fair and detailed. Well done phonearena keep up the good work. I check your site nearly every morning. Its true Apple does some things better than Android while Android does some things better than Apple. I want the best gadget/hardware with the most free of restrictions, customizable and advanced operating system, at the moment its Android. If it was Apple I would buy Apple, I only hope that one day Android would have the smoothness and looks of Apple OR Apple changes its way of doing things to the Android philosophy.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 03:55

144. Edmund (Posts: 645; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

"because Google has the most server power in the world, and should have expected that everyone and their mother would want a top-notch $300 unlocked smartphone."

Need I say any more. From the many reviews I've read, the nexus 4 is anything but "top-notch"; Yet somehow I'm supposed to interpret this as not "biased"? Let's just shorten the word and call it BS.

Here is another way of framing the sentence without showing "bias":

"because Google has the most server power in the world, and should have expected that there would be lot of interest in such a cheap smartphone "

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 04:16 1

148. Edmund (Posts: 645; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

P.S. Having said that, I do find that Phone Arena present news on a broader range of topics than other so called tech sites.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 07:43 3

157. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

Edmund? do you own the Nexus4? I do. It's anything but cheap. Please explain to me how its cheap. It has the most powerful quad core processor available in the world, the best screen other than the DNA, 2 gigs of ram, NFC, bla bla and more features. It falls a little short on camera quality but I bet money thats software related more than hardware.
What exactly makes it cheap? Sure as hell isnt the build quality.

Your statement reeks of "bias". Your speaking from a position of ignorance and taking an extreme viewpoint on a subject.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 09:15 2

172. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

You're supposed to not interpret that as bias because almost every source on earth has rated the Nexus 4 as a top-notch phone. I'm not saying it's the best, or that it's better than everything else, or even that you should run out and buy one. I didn't exclude any other devices, I simply made a statement on one device. All I said was that it is in the top-tier of smartphones on the market right now.

Oh, and your way of framing it to "not show bias", is more biased than what I said because you call the phone "cheap". Much better to say "inexpensive".

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 17:02

213. Edmund (Posts: 645; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

LOL.. I apologize if my terse language offends you Michael.

Without getting into the semantics of modern English, I'd say the only bias in my sentence is your interpretation of the word "cheap".

The literal meaning of cheap as defined in the Cambridge (online) dictionary is:

"costing little money or less than is usual or expected".

posted on 30 Nov 2012, 15:32 1

216. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I'm not really concerned about the literal meaning, I'm concerned with the fact that the word can be confusing because it has two functional meanings.

Taking directly from your source of Cambridge online dictionary, another possible meaning of "cheap" is "low in price but of poor quality". The best way to avoid accusations of bias is to be careful with word choice and choose words that can't be misinterpreted, like "inexpensive" rather than "cheap".

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 05:14 1

149. neurobiologist (Posts: 65; Member since: 07 Nov 2012)

To be not biased, you should stop considering apple as a magic, as a Lord Voldemort whos name is forbade to pronounce and speak negative about. You should review the fails fair, not like "well, s**t happens, but it'll be ok", companies are competing to make best products for us people, so be then an objective and cold reviewer. Until you caring about hurting someones feelings - you are biased. Please do write objective reviews, show us all troubles and fails. Not only apple's, who had thouse so much, but the rest companies as well. Otherwiese you just supporting wrong decisions. Just try to prevent people's suffering from the wrong decisions, by showing them objetive problems, not "wow effects".

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 05:19 1

150. sadaivadai (Posts: 156; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


In this artcile read the first paragraph in "Design" segment . Sometimes that's what i don't like . While reviewing and comparing sometimes you should forget your favourites .

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 06:07 2

152. gazmatic (Posts: 502; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)

I love this site because it is objective and gives honest reviews. I've tried hard but I've yet to find a bias opinion. I have nothing against apple or apple products except them being ridiculously overpriced. That doesn't make them crap. I personally wouldn't buy apple products but that doesn't mean I wouldn't use apple products. Same goes with google products. My first android phone bought with "MY" money was a galaxy s3 and I plan on buying a nexus 4. Doesn't mean that android is without faults. It is buggy but feature rich. My personal preference is nokia. I loved the n900 and the n9 and I'm trying my best to buy a red lumia 920 unlocked version but without paying an outrageous price. More than $800 for a phone is unjustified regardless of brand. Plus it doesn't help that I have to pay VAT and customs. Equal to 80% of the cost price! I'm looking forward to jolla devices. But I appreciate technology. Give credit where credit is due. Lots of companies make amazing phones but they are not perfect. Plus everybody has a personal preference. I for one wont give a phone 10/10 if it is missing a qwerty keyboard. But that is MY personal preference. People just need to stop blindly coveting a brand and respect others. Thank you phonearena for saying what I've said all along. "being unbiased doesn't mean being free of opinion."

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 06:19 1

153. gazmatic (Posts: 502; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)

If I were to offer a suggestion... Even though it might be time consuming and maybe even contradictory at times I think every device should be reviewed by at least 5 reviewers and a consensus reached. Highlighting the differeces reached by each reviewer and giving it a sort of "weighted" review. One might find the design ugly, another gorgeous. Others might find it too big, some too small, some too heavy, etc. To me that is the best way to do it because each reviewer has their own preference. Just a suggestion

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 10:44 1

179. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

It is far too time consuming to do that with reviews, but you may have noticed we have started doing that when it comes to major announcements. We have the editor reaction roundup for the iPhone 5 and new Nexus devices. I can only assume we'll continue doing that for other major announcements.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 07:46 3

158. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

There is bias on the site by the writers. However it is nowhere near as pronounced as it once was. I still call it out when I see it. For instance, I was not enthralled by the nexus 4 review article. It just read as a very negative piece the way it was written. I catch Ray here and there letting his Apple love slip out though he's a lot better than he used to be. I also busted (a long with others I saw) whomever wrote the "worst phone" article for lack of fact checking the devices and their features. That's not bias though, that's just lazy writing.
You cant escape "bias" of some degree. You are not robots. People interject their own feelings into writing. Bias should not be called out unless it tilts the needle far out of the "OK" zone, however.

I dont think we needed an article chastising the community about it though.. kind of like grandma finger waggin at the kids.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 09:45

173. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 807; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

Great article! Now if you could do the same about how careless people are with the word innovation lol

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 09:46

174. THETECHTEAM (Posts: 82; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)

I think PA is Bias everytime something APPLE launches the whole website is flooded with 10 different stories about it however When the GN2 by Samsung launched in the US i can count on one hand how many stories i have seen on here about it! So YES PA is BIAS

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 10:42 1

178. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

The market dictates the amount of coverage. Far more people are interested in, and own iPhones than Notes. That's not our bias, that's just the way it is. Try a more reasonable comparison, like the coverage surrounding the iPhone vs the Galaxy S III, and things are far more even.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 11:39

193. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

the dude also must have way too many fingers on his hands. He's gonna make the 6 fingered man jealous... and Inigo Montoya confused.

The N2 just announced what.. 5 million in sales so far? The i5 has done what.. like 20 million? The scales are a lil off. There would be bias if there were more Note2 articles than i5 articles based on sales... well unless there was a major controversy like antennagate goin on.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 09:56

175. mrllano (Posts: 87; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)

I believe that every site like PA is being called bias...

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 11:13 3

187. Jyakotu (Posts: 813; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)

You want to know who's really biased on this website? Android users. God forbid you choose to use a different OS that's NOT Android without being insulted. How can you stand behind a platform that's all about "choice," yet bash others when it's not your CHOICE! I have a Galaxy Nexus and Android is nice and all, but honestly, I'm actually wanting to try something new. I'm looking at Windows Phone 8 because I'm enjoying Windows 8 and I want to see what it'll be like to have a unified ecosystem like most of the Apple users out there. The writers here, IMO, are not all that biased. They may favor one platform over the other, but the commentators here take the cake. There's so much Android bias here it makes me sick.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 11:41 1

195. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

not all android users are like that. I've said multiple times that If I gave up my hacker ways and untied myself from google's sync services (google music owns me! lol), windows phone would be the first place Id go. I really enjoy the platform and think people are silly for not giving it a chance.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 12:05 1

197. REYNER (Posts: 187; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

in terms of reviewing gadgets i have to say phonearena makes a thorough review and unbiased opinion writer have qualities of keeping out of the safe zone when reviewing phone or tabs. which is good BUT there are instances that makes the site looks bias because most of the news involving apple products are so often to the point that even for example an big announcement related to android,BB,WP and so on are out shined by those articles even the small details related to apple never lost out of sight in a sense that MOST of the time exposure of apple products a more frequent compare to other os or products.. i notice it because i also consider other sites when looking for some news related to gadgets i have nothing against phonearena or even the writers but sometimes small news related to other os like android,bb,wp are as important as in iOs news.. accessory products of devices such as sony,moto,samsung and others are as important as apple enabled products. thats all. im sorry for my english.. have a good day everyone

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 12:23 1

198. NokiaFTW (Posts: 769; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

One question phoneArena ; Why r u not comparing the Lumia 920 with the other high end devices such as iPhone 5 , S3 or Note 2 or even the htc 8x ???

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 14:31 1

203. TylerGrunter (Posts: 782; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

Personally I think that the complains about BIAS is coming from four places:
1 The number of news of one phone against others.
2 The love/hate and inherent bias of every user.
3 The rating system in PA
4 The opinionated tone of some articles.

The first one can’t be really managed as it depends on the interest created for every brand/model and the market share. So the BB and Windows users will keep complaining for now till their systems get better share and their numbers grow.
The second one offers even less possibilities to be managed, as it’s inherent to each user and asking for moderation I’m not going to say it’s futile, but at least tiring and not really effective.

So let’s start with the rating system. Contrary to what JeffdaBeat thinks, a review is not an opinion, or at least I don’t think so. A review an evaluation of an expert over a certain subject, and while it can have some amount of opinion, they all have in common one thing: the people reading it expect it to be OBJECTIVE. So let’s check the rules of the site for the reviews:

You start defining something called a class, but that class is never defined, nor listed in the reviews. So, how do you expect people to know the “class” of the phone? By reading your minds? So of course it is still pretty obscure what class each phone is and it’s normal that people don’t agree with the rates. A good example is the Nexus 4; did you consider it a Flagship? I know the answer is yes, but based on what? Was it even fair when it has the price of a mid-range?
So, as my managers say: you have A LOT of room for improvement there. Clearly defining what classes you have, what makes each phone go in each class and including them in the review are just some of them. In fact it looks like most of the things are left to the subjectivity of the reviewer, which obviously tend to show the bias of each one of them. Same goes for every aspect of the review: camera, design, CPU, GPU, screen, browser performance, communication etc
You could give some kind of excel sheet with numbers for each one to the reviewer where he has to put a number in each one of the parameters and a some comparison to make, but that just one idea as it could be done in many other better. Then he can add some subjective measure based on his preferences, but AFTER being aware that he is doing so. (continue)

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 14:33 1

204. TylerGrunter (Posts: 782; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

For the strongly opinionated articles, I mean things like this one:

With sentences like: “This comes to show that smartphone users appreciate the quality design solutions - devices which not only pack the latest bells and whistles, but also have a premium look and feel to them”. That’s just the writer’s opinion, but he presents it as a conclusion and a FACT, when it is not.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind about writers having an opinion and sharing it, but I DO mind them presenting them as facts as if there was not possible to have a different opinion. In this case the HTC and LG phones did not only had a better design as suggested, they also had better hardware than any phone in their time, so it could have been argued the other way around too, and the writer is just showing his bias about phones with a premium feeling to them.
That goes in a lot of articles, where what is merely subjective opinion is presented a fact. And of course that lack of objectivity (yet again) is what infuriates some of the readers.
All in all I think you are doing a good job and I don’t find THE SITE biased, but I do find several of THE AUTHORS clearly so. I don’t really mind because after reading the site for more than 4 years I know most of the authors and what makes them tick. Also the site has improved a lot and with the new set of writers both the number of articles and the tone of them have leveled a lot.
You in particular are one of the ones whose articles I find more neutral and with hardly any bias, even I’m sure you are and Android supporter.
So keep the good job and I hope you found the feedback interesting.

posted on 01 Dec 2012, 04:09 1

217. rusticguy (Posts: 2811; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)

But why should any site go to the extent of trying to defend what they are doing? For me it's like "guilty conscience pricks the mind" that leads to such explanations. Sorry but that's what i feel.

Why does PA feel bad about certain comments which contain the word "Bias". Isn't it a known fact that majority of digital/print media is baised in some form or other?

posted on 08 Dec 2012, 11:43

218. padimatt (unregistered)

Just joined this site ONLY to be able to post a comment for this article. GREAT ARTICLE!!
I have been looking at this site for about 2 years. I always found the comments to be hilarious. All the hate in the world: religion, economics, politics..and we now have a new category: Cell Phones!! LOL.

I am fairly new to the smartphone world..I had a Samsung Infuse, the Iphone 4 and now have a Nokia 920. Let me tell you, all have their advantages and disadvantages. For android, I think a younger user who loves to "play" with their phone a lot(no offense) it is perfect..you have more flexibilty. For a user like me (I'm 47, male), the iphone is nice and simple and has excellent quality. samsung stuff tends to be a bit too "plasticy" for me. HOWEVER, that being said, I dropped my iphone 4 (with case) and still the screen broke.

Now I have been with the Nokia 920 and so far I really like it. For me, I could care less about 500,000 apps or whatever. Every app so far I have wanted I have found in the windows market..but then again, my needs are very simple. I also actually like the "heft" of the phone...it feels well-made like the iphone but more durable. I have only had it two weeks, so I'll keep you posted.

I also have to admit I am rooting for the windows platform. android/apple democrat/republican. it is nice to have a third party ;o)

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