The YouTube Celebrity Tech Reviewer “Problem”. UPDATED just a few hours later…

The Problem With Celebrity Tech YouTubers

“Problem” is a subjective term and the following definitely falls into that category of first-world problems. However, things still irk me!

There are literally thousands of people on YouTube reviewing all manner of technology and gadget items. It’s a saturated market, which might make you wonder why I personally bother doing it. I’ll come to that question later, but the reason for this post is to look at the issue of the “big” channels doing more harm than good.

There is a small clique of extremely big YT Tech reviewers, followed by a much larger group of medium sized channels, followed quite far behind by the other 95% of people including myself with a very small audience.

The ‘clique’ I refer to right at the top of YouTube’s subscriber count and trending frequency include the likes of “UrAverageConsumer”, “MKBHD”, “Austin Evans”, “Unbox Therapy” and so on. They have millions of subscribers and therefore get the most viewers.

So, on to the ‘problem’ that I’ve been seeing. It’s not a problem of viewership. I personally subscribe to both Unbox Therapy and UrAverageConsumer as I enjoy watching their videos. The problem I’ve been noticing more and more is the lack of usefulness of what they’re posting and the fact that a lot of people listen to their opinion to influence their spending. These products aren’t usually cheap, so why spend your hard earned cash based on the view of someone who isn’t worried about how much it costs?

This problem really hit home to me when I was watching some videos on a much smaller tech channel by the name of JohnXanderTech (link below). I like his videos because he is a genuine consumer. Maybe he should be called “UrAverageConsumer” instead. He’s enthusiastic about what he is buying, and is giving a clear unbiased opinion on the products. It’s not as slick as some channels, but that’s not what I want when I am interested in spending money on something. We have other channels to watch for that.

On this occasion he reviewed a TV that he’d just bought, and gave it a glowing recommendation. It was full of enthusiasm as normal, and I’m sure he was delighted with it. However, after a while of using the product he noticed issues with the sound and – to cut a long story short – ended up returning it and explaining to the viewers why. This, for me, is the perfect tech channel simply because it really gives us a view of products from the point of view of someone who is actually using them. The viewer gets honesty because the reviewer isn’t reviewing the product for a sponsorship, he wasn’t given it for free, and he has a real interest in the product because he’s losing out personally if it’s a bad purchase.

This doesn’t happen on the big channels. I can’t remember the last time MKBHD actually gave us a review worth listening to. His videos are slick, hi-resolution, well-edited, but don’t actually offer anything that should sway a purchasing decision. I wouldn’t buy or avoid something based on his recommendation because he has nothing to lose when he plays with a product for 5 minutes then puts it in a box full others never to be seen again. Unbox Therapy is in a similar position, but at least Lewis is fun to watch and is genuinely enthusiastic and charismatic. He’s an entertainment channel more than a reviewer these days, and that’s fine because that’s 90% of what watching YouTube is all about.

I’d like to see more of these guys do follow up videos to highlight real world use feedback, or clearly tell the viewer how long they have been testing the products for and if they’ll continue to use them.

Monetization is something that’s big news in the YT world at the moment, which some of these channels have started talking about. It’s not something that really affects me as I spend more on tech than I get back from YT. However, those big channels complaining about monetization issues also seem to be getting their products for free, which is a form of sponsorship and therefore shouldn’t really be eligible for monetization anyway in my humble opinion.

At the beginning of this article I mentioned the question of why I do it when the market is already saturated and I won’t make money from it. Well, it’s a simple answer really: I enjoy it! It’s not a job for me, or a money issue, but I simply love tech and like reviewing things. I buy what I like the look of and show you viewers (the few of you) what I think of it. It’s a hobby that might last years or just a few months, but as a result of this hobby I’ve really started to spend more time on YouTube and notice some of the issues (such as cliques, integrity, etc) that I mentioned earlier.

Simply put, be careful who you listen to. Ask yourself if it’s a genuine review, a sponsorship, a 2 minute play around with a freebie, or something just for viewing entertainment. If you’re going to buy something based on YT reviews then watch as many as possible.

Happy YouTubing.

 

I heartily recommend the following channels. I watch all of them regularly and genuinely enjoy their content:

Unbox Therapy: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsTcErHg8oDvUnTzoqsYeNw

UrAverageConsumer: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9fSZHEh6XsRpX-xJc6lT3A

JohnXanderTech: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGhM1WxFtrRi7u7T77s_jw

JerryRigEverything: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWFKCr40YwOZQx8FHU_ZqqQ

Linus Tech Tips:                 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXuqSBlHAE6Xw-yeJA0Tunw

You can see all of my subscriptions here: https://www.youtube.com/user/tpr007/channels?view=56&shelf_id=1

 

UPDATE:

As if to prove my point, despite all of the public Google Pixel 2 issues over the past few days, which any tech reviewer should know about, MKBHD puts up a video on his channel supposedly being his in-depth review of the phone, yet gives it a glowing thumbs-up and says nothing of these major problems which could be of interest to those about to spend their hard earned $$$!

It’s actually easier to make a video than type it all up:

 

Leagoo Kiicaa Mix (Xiaomi lookalike)

Another low-priced Chinese brand with almost no bezels. 90% screen to body ratio. Very similar in look to the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 which costs far more.
Specs in the video, but full listing here: (On Sale at the moment!) https://www.gearbest.com/cell-phones/pp_681619.html?lkid=11571281

Subscribe, like, comment, and I will be really grateful!

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New emojis on iPhone with developer beta 2 iOS 11.1

Apparently there are a ton of new emojis, although I didn’t notice that many.

Did any make an appearance that you’ve been looking forward to?

Note: Other new Emoji entries include Breast-Feeding, Face with Monocle, Shushing Face, and Genie. Of note – when I say NEW, I mean they’ve got new Emoji code points, as listed by EmojiPedia. They might look fairly familiar in some cases, and entirely new in others.

3D Touch multi-tasking has also been added to the iPhone update.

I’m a prisoner: Trapped in Apple’s Closed World.

I’m inside Apple’s ecosystem.

Deep, deep inside.

Every day, I take my bag to work, and alongside money and keys I stow away my iPhone, AirPods, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and MacBook. I clip my Apple Watch to my wrist and walk out the door. Each device seamlessly linked to the other through the cloud and always-on Bluetooth.

It didn’t always used to be like this. I was a Windows user for most of my life, and never used to wear a watch. I had other companies’ phones and tablets, so what happened?

For me, the’cloud’ and the Apple Watch closed the door that could let me out of Apple’s world and made me feel like I really couldn’t leave. My Apple watch won’t work with any other phone. In fact, it NEEDS an iPhone to be fully functional. I don’t remember most of my passwords because Apple does it for me. My music is all through Apple music (it’s cheaper in Hong Kong).

I watched, with a little bit of envy, the YouTube videos of people unboxing the Samsung Galaxy s8 and other recent phones like the Xiaomi Mix, with their super-AMOLED screens and almost bezel-free faces. I wanted one. I still want one.

But… Then I thought about everything I’ve spent so much hard-earned money on. The Apple Watch, again,  is the best example. I love it. I don’t know why, but it’s the only watch I’ve consistently worn after the novelty has worn off. Other watches quickly got left on the bedside table, but this one has me walking back to my apartment if I ever leave without it. But, is a watch really that important, when I could in theory buy another one from a different company?

My AirPods slot into my ears every morning and sync automatically with my iPhone, my MacBook, or my iPad depending on which one I’m using. Is that ease of use really something that will stop me getting a different brand of phone?

On the table in front of me are the contents of my bag. My keys, obviously, and then my devices, which I take to work every day. I use all of them. Whatever you think about Apple as a company or their products, in my experience everything really does work beautifully. It’s so easy just to move between them, buy an upgrade and never lose anything. It’s too easy. Or, maybe, I’m just lazy.

So, let’s say I don’t get an iPhone X. Let’s say I get one of the other equally powerful, cheaper devices, which also have beautiful screens and sleek curves. How hard will it really be? Can we leave Apple’s glossy, shiny, user-friendly prison of an ecosystem, or have I become institutionalised like an inmate at the Steve Jobs version of Shawshank?

Let’s take a look.

First, the phone. I don’t need face unlocking. In fact, I’m not that keen on the idea, so no problems missing out on that ‘feature’.

Then there’s the music. Yes, Apple Music is convenient, but so is Google Play or Spotify. They work on pretty much any device, too. What about the audio files I’ve got downloaded and already paid for? No problem there either. Just transfer the files manually using anything other than the official Android File Transfer. Really, that’s a terrible bit of software. Just use AirDroid or Handshaker instead.

What about my passwords? Am I going to have to start remembering them? Not really, there are plenty of cloud based apps and services to do that job. From what I’ve seen “1password” seems to be one of the best.

OK then, what about those AirPods? I really like them. I don’t care if they look like replacement heads for my toothbrush. They’ve replaced my Beats Studio set as my primary headphones.

No problem. They’re just bluetooth. Apple calls them magical, but in reality they’re perfectly compatible with any bluetooth phone. You can even activate and use Google Voice with them, if you’re one of those people.

Next, cloud storage. I already use Dropbox, and there are plenty of others to take the load from off of iCloud; You could pick Google Drive or Microsoft’s One Drive, to name just two.

I want to keep my iPad and MacBook because I just love the way they work, but it really wouldn’t be much of a pain to go back to a Galaxy Tab or a Windows Desktop. Microsoft Surface also looks pretty sweet these days if you want something that could replace both.

Finally, my watch. It’s a bluetooth device, so surely I can just synchronise it like any other bluetooth watch? Unfortunately not. This is one sacrifice I’m going to have to make if I want a sleek Android no-bezel beauty as my daily driver. I guess I could get a FitBit or Galaxy Gear. Or, maybe, just a normal watch. I’m not exactly an athlete making use of that heart rate monitor.

In conclusion then, it really seemed to me that I was stuck with Apple. Whenever anybody mentioned a different brand I would instantly say, “Well, I’ve got so much Apple stuff already. I’m pretty much tied in!” and move the conversation on. But now, with the price of the iPhone X at an almost out-of-reach 10,000 HKD, I’m seriously considering the alternatives, and those alternatives are very nice indeed.

What do you think I should do? Comment below, click subscribe, and let me know what you’re planning to do.

Links for the applications mentioned in the video:

AirDroid https://web.airdroid.com
Handshaker (formerly “SmartFinder”) http://mac.softpedia.com/get/Utilities/SmartFinder.shtml
Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/
Google Drive https://www.google.com/drive/
OneDrive https://onedrive.live.com/

Samsung s8 http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/galaxy-s8/

Xiaomi Mix http://www.mi.com/en/mix/specs/

 

Patreon

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A share, a dollar, a gadget donation, or just a kind word; anything will be a big help in keeping the motivation to do this to the best of my ability 🙂

https://patreon.com/HKTech