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  1.    #1  
    I have a very good relationship with PC Mag and was in their offices the last few days. I had one of my buddy's introduce me to Sacsha, the guy who's their mobile phone tester. He's a very young guy, but pleasant to be around.

    Anyways, I told him that I've been a treo owner forever, am a frequenter of this site (which he knew not of), and that I was upset about the lack of editor's choice and 1/5 stars on multimedia.

    We engaged into a 15 minute conversation and here's what came out of it:

    - He was unaware the Treo could play MP3's and Video.
    *I told him about mmplayer and ptunes and he immediately said, well it doesn't play industry standard formats. I replied, MP3, AVI, MPG aren't industry standard formats? He was interested and eventually fell to the "well it doesn't play it out of the box." comment. I informed him that I bought the Treo600 the first day it came out and when I went to their (handspring's) web site they gave my ptunes as a 'free gift'. None the less, his edition did not have it.

    - Why the lack of editor's choice?
    *Handspring/Palmone received an editor's choice almost a year ago in their last major round up. I think he was a bit frustrated that they didn't supply him a Treo650 so part of the reason I feel was from that. He did say, "Well they already won an award a year ago, this technology is old and I wanted to give a new guy a taste. Also, hopefully they'll get the 650 out sooner." He did say the cummulative score was equally as high between the editor's choice and the treo 600 (counting in the 1/5 mistake on multimedia). He basically said, the treo600 was editor's choice material but it already won so he didn't want to give it another award, especially since the hardware is over a year old. That's actually a testament to its superiority right there. A 1yr old product still beats the new guys.

    - He had an NDA with PalmOne on the 650 and wouldn't say a word
    *He was REALLY surprised that I knew about all the features/rumors. I informed him is way ahead of the game.

    Additionally, for the past 6 months PC Mags staff, at least their publishers, sales managers, and marketing people have used Sprint Treo 600's. The Chief Editor, Michael Miller uses one in pride, as do the publisher and associate publisher. I actually was beaming all of them the trial version of ptunes yesterday after the associate editor asked me, "What the hell do I do with this SDCard?" In his defense, it's not his job to be technical; he's a hell of a sale's guy.

    Just wanted to clear that up. I know the guys who test networking equipment as PC Mag are amongst the best in the industry. I don't have a professional relationship with this Sacsha guy, but from everything I've seen at PC Mag over the last 18 months, they are the most reputable magazine out there. You should see some of the stuff I've seen from competitors.

    Please don't open this up into a flame war; the guy's points were legitimate. If I was an editor, I don't know if I'd give editor's choice to the same product twice; frankly no cell phone should be out for a year and we all know there's things to be improved in the Treo; thus the reason a 650 is around the corner.

    Just thought I'd share this with you.
  2. #2  
    Doesn't instill much confidence in PC Mag to me.

    Basically, you're saying some young punk with little knowledge gave the editor's choice to another phone (which was in beta and could not even be fully tested!) because of ignorance (no knowledge of Treo capabilities) or arrogance (didn't get his 650!)

    I remain unimpressed!
  3.    #3  
    He didn't say it like that (the not getting the 650 part).

    None the less, an editor has like 2 days to learn 10 products and provide an analysis; they're not going to get everything. Frankly from an out-of-the-box standpoint the Treo is extremely unimpressive in multimedia. Most treo consumers (not members on this board) but corporate users (like people in my company, pc mag, etc) just use the included apps (biz connect, wireless sync and the included apps). Some of the newer phones have better included features. However, the main benefit of the Treo is that it uses PALMOS which allows you to basically find or write just about any program that you want, but unfortunately most users use things as is.

    If you don't have confidence in PC Mag then I recommend you not read any print-based magazine, as everyother tech magazine out there uses freelance editors who get paid miniscule amounts who have no formal knowledge/education in a product line.

    This guy did know a lot about phones, especially about different cellular technologies. I don't think he owns a Treo though because then he'd know about the options out there.

    Think how you will, I was a bit disappointed, but now that I think about it, from an out-of-the-box standpoint the ratings were pretty dead-on. The phone qualified based on its score for an editor's choice, but so did two other products and three's a crowd with editor's choices. They don't liberally give them out to just anyone and the Treo already has an award from them.
  4. #4  
    How do you explain the fact that they gave editors choice (small caps on purpose) to a phone that was a pre-release beta version which could not be fully tested!

    Basically, they gave the BB 7100 "editor's choice" for smartphone but in the article said they couldn't test the smartphone features because it was a pre-release version.

    In reality the BB 7100 should not have been included as it was not a real shipping product (a sidebar would have been more appropriate).

    Your description of how some junior phone tester seemingly made the editors choice decision makes me wonder what Michael Miller and the other higher up PC Pundits are up to (guess they're too busy watching Windows Media TV). Maybe they should call it the "junior reporter's choice"

    BTW, why are you such a PC Mag Apologist? They are just another commercial rag trying to make a buck, with their own agenda, which I feel is generally geared towards the corporate world. Their main goal is to keep their advertisers happy.
  5. #5  
    Hi. This is Sascha Segan, from PC Mag. I thought I might jump in and correct some of the inaccuracies I saw here.

    First of all, I'm flattered that Brian thinks so highly of my baby face, and no, I'm not old enough to have kids in college or remember punch cards and room-sized computers. But I've been covering tech for several years now; my first Palm OS device, incidentally, was a PalmPilot Professional, which I used with a wired modem to cover the 1999 presidential elections in South Africa. My official title is Lead Analyst, PDAs and phones.

    For phone Editor's Choices, I generally make a few nominations. They're then discussed at a meeting with me, Labs Director Rich Fisco, Executive Editor Stephanie Chang, and editors Jenn DeFeo and Erik Rhey. Finally, the EC agreed upon in that meeting is approved (and often changed) by editor-in-chief Michael Miller and, if it goes into print, First Looks editor Jamie Bsales.

    drrjv, you do hit on an accurate point: many PC Mag stories are geared towards the small to medium corporate buyer. We've always canted a little more towards the business market, while PC World is a hard-core consumer pub.

    Advertising, though, doesn't affect my decisions. I don't even know who's advertising in the magazine, let alone how much. I just know the phones and PDAs coming through, I know how to test 'em, and I know the results I get.

    On Monday I'll take another look at my notes and at the 97-point spreadsheet I used to score smartphones and give you more details on the decisions that led into the smartphone feature, if you like.

    But I'm a little amazed at the virulence of the posts around here considering I gave the Treo a glowing, four-star review. It's a great device. But it's also an old device, it's had the EC for quite a while, and rumors say it's being replaced very soon - as in real soon - as in nailbiting soon - with the next generation. So we decided to spread the EC around to another couple of devices we loved.
  6. #6  
    There are users on their 5th, 6th even 7th Treo due to questionable quality and all to common of problems. It's important for those who lend strong creedance to reviews/ratings to keep in mind that there like first drives. They provide a inital impression and not much more then that (aka. the moniker aphoneaweek).

    Frankly, it's at TC were the reviews come with strong field testing , passion and unabashed opinions. People shouldn't put too much weight or vinegar into those inital impression folks and their writings. They tell a story, but no where near the whole story.
    Last edited by JTREOB; 10/17/2004 at 03:33 AM.
  7. #7  
    I met Sascha this past Thursday, at the Digital Life expo here in NYC, and he was kind enough to give me a demo of the Dell x50v, even though his cell phone was ringing.

    We had some email discussion about VoIP on handhelds, so I'd be the last to suggest that a virulent attack is warranted. I also felt that PC Mag should be continuing its EC designation with the 600, even with the 650 release approaching. The essential design and flexibility is still noteworthy, IMHO. And, for a device that has the depth of the Treo compared to the somewhat shallow BB 7100 (which I also tried out at the show), it's important to listen to the dedicated user base to appreciate all of its capabilities.

    I also wonder if the 650 will be judged harshly if some feel that not enough new features were added. Again, the basic design is a winner.

    BTW, welcome to the TC community, Sascha.
    <a href="">Wireless Doc the blog</a>
  8. #8  
    I stand by my prior comments, which I do not consider "virulent"

    Sasha - I would like an explanation of how PC Mag gave 'editors choice' to a phone that was in 'pre-release' and could not be fully tested.

    In reference to your comment re: not knowing who are the major advertisers in PC Mag, I would counter that Michael Miller and the other 'editors' do.

    Lastly, I too appreciate your comments and welcome you to the TC community.

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