Why Walt Mossberg should never review PC’s

Wall Mossberg has just posted a review of a PC’s on his blog called Dell Goes on Ultrabook Diet With Slimmed-Down Laptop. But not surprisingly he also mentions the MacBook Air no less that 8 times in comparison. Granted he did not give a a totally bad review with comments such as:

“I found it to be solid and well built, speedy and with a good, backlit keyboard, a bright screen, and good looks.”

But just as in his review of other Ultra books such as the Samsung Series 9 he is quick to point out the weak points but then only glosses over any of the strengths when compared to the MacBook Air such as USB3, better specs, or bigger screen.

Then queue that the standard “battery life is not as good as a MacBook Air using his standard test” statement (not verbatim) that he uses for all Ultrabook reviews. With his non-scientific test which “use full brightness, disable power-saving software, leave on the Wi-Fi, and play a loop of music”. Really!!! Let me just list the ways this is a completely wrong way to use it…

1. He complains about the out of the box Bing bar being installed but he customises the out of the box power setting and then does his test… If you are going to complain about out of the box software then you should not customise out of the box settings as well.

2. He turns the power features off and then plays a loop of music. Who in the world deliberately does this? Who would ever say “I want to listen to music in the most power wastefully way possible”… No one… I would also like to know if his music loop is playing using that most in-efficient software called iTunes using far more CPU than other programs and probably far less optimised for audio playback in Windows then on OSX.

3. Running a power test with power saving turned off means that the CPU would un-necessarily be running at full clock speed without any reason. This is like running a MPG test on a car after you have removed all the full saving features from the engine then refusing to use 5th gear as the other car you tested before did not also have a 5th gear… Essentially you are using the computer in a un-efficient and very un-typical configuration for anyone who uses their laptop on battery often.

4. At the top of his article he has a two word saying “Ethics Statement” when you click on this link Walt in his own words says “I am a subjective opinion columnist”.

He can’t have it both ways… If he is going to test the battery life of any computer then they should be judged on the out of the box setting of the device OR stop complaining about the out of the box software install in the OS. Why? If a person is knowledgeable enough change the power plan of a computer they are probably also smart enough to un-install pre-loaded software.

5. Price. He also points out that this computer is about $300 less than a MacBook Air but the the Dell comes with Office which is NOT included with Air so makes no compensation for the fact the Dell has more value in hardware AND software.

Until he puts an end to these “Subjective” reviews and becomes a little more scientific the PC industry just has to stop give this guy any attention…