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Our Review Process

Deciding what to review

You may wonder: How does a tech blog that gets hundreds or even thousands of requests to review tech products every year, decide what it will actually review? 
 
The devices we choose are generally:
 
  • New, or within one year of launch
  • Of interest to a broad consumer audience
  • Readily available for purchase in the USA and Canada
  • Popular or a big seller
  • Flagship products from a major brand
  • Unique or otherwise interesting
We rarely review pre-production devices, Kickstarter projects  or other goods that are not yet ready for consumers to purchase. Why not? Mainly because we want to know the gadget is real, and already has infrastructure in place to ship to readers who may want it right away.
 
All reviews are done hands-on with the actual product, not pre-production samples. That’s because it’s important to us that we ensure the device we review will be the same one a consumer gets. If this is ever not the case, we will let you know up front.

What types of products do you review most?

 

We review gadgets and tech of all kinds and we love finding exciting new technology.  We find our audience is most interested in:

  • Smart home gadgets: smart lighting, digital assistant devices
  • Robot vacuums & floor cleaners
  • Mobile devices like smartphones, smartwatches, trackers and accessories
  • Camping, outdoor & van life gear
  • Health gadgets, beauty gadgets
  • TV & audio components, including TVs, soundbars, projectors and speakers

How we source gadgets

Because we need to be 100% hands-on with everything we review, we get gadgets in several ways:
  • Product loans, from brands, manufacturers, retailers, or Public Relations contacts
  • We purchase the products ourselves 
  • Borrow from friends
  • We are provided a sample by a manufacturer at no charge (most often the case with sponsored posts or personal care devices like in-ear headphones or hair tools or medical devices)

How much time goes into the review process?

Since we do only hands-on reviews, this takes considerable time. 
 
In most cases, there are many hours involved in a full review. There is the initial set up and installation of a device, then we try it out as a consumer would use it in their home. If it’s a vacuum we run it for hours and observe what it vacuums and what it may not. If it’s a speaker, we play music in many situations, both indoors and out. Whatever the promise is with a gadget or product, we test out to ensure manufacturers are delivering on their promises.
 
This means that in addition to product testing, there may be re-testing involved in a review.
 
All the features get tested in real world scenarios and depending on the complexity of the device or gadget this may take several hours.
 
After the testing phase comes the writing. We take copious notes about the testing process, as well as video and photos to document everything that’ relevant.  All that data becomes part of the written review (and the YouTube video too!)
 
Writing the review usually takes 1-2 hours.
 
When it comes to making the review videos, there’s often an hour of pre-production set up, an hour of hair/makeup/wardrobe prep, another hour of shoot time, an hour of videotaping b-roll, plus 2-4 hours of editing, plus the video processing and uploading time. Not to mention editing/proofing the blog post, and uploading/editing photos to the website too. Phew! 
 
All told, a review of a single device may take anywhere from 6-12 hours in total.
 
Providing balanced assessment—and a recommendation for you
 
Reviews shouldn’t be necessary, but the reality of commerce is that some products make big promises and may not fully deliver. That’s where we come in.
 
Erin’s journalism training taught her to be fair and balanced; get the facts first-hand and report back. All our reviews are designed to cover both the good and the bad; pros and cons, plusses and downsides.
 
We share the full story of what the product is really like to use, and we will always make a yes or no recommendation for you to consider.
 
Even if a product doesn’t get our recommendation, a consumer may still be keen to buy it, so we want to make sure you’re making an informed purchase.

 

FAQS

She sure does! We do have a couple of trusted freelancers who work on product research and running down background materials, specs and features, but Erin does all the gadget testing and review production. Yes, it’s a lot!

If you know a trusted, experienced product reviewer located in Canada or the USA who would like to work with us, please do reach out!

We research gadgets to see what’s new, interesting, or surprising. We look at what the product promises, then we get hands on with whatever it is to ensure it delivers on what it says it will do. After choosing a gadget, we place an order then it’s onto in-home testing. After testing is complete, we write the review, film the video and then share what we find wit the world.

The minimum time period we will spend testing a gadget is ideally about 2 weeks. If our testing period is shorter (perhaps we just got a few hours or a couple of days with something at a press event, or on a short term loan before a launch) we will let you know we only had limited time and share how much time that was.

So unless we say otherwise, you can count on the fact we spend substantial time with all gadgets before reviewing them.

Erin Lawrence Media may work with trusted brands on Sponsored Posts. A Sponsored Post is where we receive payment for our production/writing time, and often receive the device for free also. The Sponsored Post may consist of a blog, video, or social media post.
In all cases, we declare up front that these are paid content, both verbally and in any associated tags, or by using sponsored content tools provided by portals such as YouTube or Instagram.
 
We are also up-front when working with a brand and we make it clear we will not share any information we believe to be inaccurate or untrue, and we only share what our hands-on experience has shown us to be the facts.  That’s why we’re selective about which brands we will work with; we will either try the device before we agree to a sponsorship, or (most often) when we’ve had continually great experiences with a brand, we may agree to partner on future content.
 
While we may work collaboratively with brands, we are adamant that we won’t be told what we have to say, or what not to say about a product and we always reserve the right to test a device on our own terms. That’s why even if we are doing a sponsored post,you can trust you’re getting the facts.

Erin Lawrence Media is open to partnerships, sponsored content and more. Contact us and let us know what your budget is. Please see above to understand the hours of work that goes into a review, video or post to better understand our process and time involved.

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