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How we test, review and rate on TechRadar

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review
Our expert reviewers love technology and want you to love it too. (Image credit: TechRadar)
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Our mission is simple: to be the source for tech-buying advice, offering everything you need to buy and enjoy the tech you love.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are constantly updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

We have assembled a global team of some of the finest technology journalists on the planet, who are not only experts in their field, but are the same people we write our reviews for: those who want to know about and use the latest and best technology.

Our editorial independence is backed by the weight of one of the world's largest technology publishers, Future Publishing, which means we can tell you what we think of a product, without fear or favor. 

Visit our About Us page to learn more about TechRadar.

Our reviews guarantee

A hand dunking an iPhone in water to test its water resistant capabilities

If a manufacturer makes a claim, we'll make sure we put it to the test (Image credit: TechRadar)

This is our promise to you:

  • We do not take payment for product reviews. Ever.
  • We select products for review based on what we believe our readers would want to know.
  • We'll tell you what we think, not what advertisers want you to hear.
  • We say it as we see it. Our expert reviewers love technology and want you to love it too. If it's garbage, we'll warn you off.
  • If a product doesn't meet our high standards, we'll tell you why. 
  • We'll test products in real life, with a minimum acceptable number of days of testing required before we write our reviews to ensure every product is thoroughly tested.
  • If you think we're not living up to our promise, please email the editor in chief and we'll endeavor to put it right.

Our review scoring system

We use a familiar five-star scoring system, in order to keep things recognizable and simple: the more stars, the better. 

We rate our products on a number of criteria depending on the specific attributes of a product type, and we add a score out of 5 for each, for instance:

Design - How does the product look and feel? Is it well built or cheap to the touch?

Features - Does it have the features and functionality that we expect/want?

Usability - How easy is it to use and get the most out of? Are the controls in the right place and is the interface logical?

Performance - How well does the product work? Do all the features perform as they should?

Value - Is the launch price good value when weighed against the other criteria?

Testing scorecard

You'll be able to find a scorecard for all the sections at the end of each review. The scorecard will look similar to the one below, and while these scores help inform our final star rating for a product, they will not always match.

EXAMPLE
AttributesNotesRating
DesignWith a sleek, premium style the [EXAMPLE] offers up a design that's in-keeping with the competition, and the price point.4/5
DisplayIt's simple. This is the best display we've ever tested on a [EXAMPLE]. If screen quality is important to you, look no further.5/5
PerformanceSlick and smooth in its operation, the [EXAMPLE] has enough power to keep it competitive, but it doesn't break any new performance barriers4/5
CameraThe [EXAMPLE]'s weakest area is still a solid offering, it just lacks the additional features and pop of color of some rivals3/5
BatteryIf you don't like reaching for a charger more than once a day, the [EXAMPLE] has you covered with a solid 1.5 days of battery life4.5/5
ValueFor the price, the [EXAMPLE] is packed full of features often found on rivals at a higher price4.5/5
Average rating:Disclaimer: these scores help inform a product's final star rating, but the nuance of every review means the final rating can vary4.2/5

Overall review ratings

Our expert reviewers will take into account the scorecard ratings, as well as the nuances the individual product to determine its final star rating, which is display at the top of the review.

TechRadar's star rating system is design to give you a brief indication as to whether we'd recommend the product or not, however we'd always advice reading our reviews to find out if a product is right for your particular needs.

The final star rating is out of five, and reviewers can award half-star ratings if they fell a product falls between two of the ratings.

A table detailing the different star ratings used for TechRadar reviews

TechRadar's five star review rating system (Image credit: TechRadar)

Our review awards

TechRadar has four product awards:

Four award logos which can be assigned to TechRadar reviews

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Great Value award

The Great Value award is given to products that represent excellent value for money are thus worthy of consideration. This is not awarded alongside an Editor's Choice or Best in Class award, as excellent value for money is part of the criteria for those awards.

A product that scores 4-stars or above is eligible to be considered for the Recommended award. While the product may be lacking in certain areas to stop it being awarded five stars, it still demonstrates enough quality to be wholeheartedly recommended.

Editor's Choice award

The Editor's Choice award goes to any product that gets a 5-star TechRadar review in accordance with our reviews guarantee.

Best in Class award

This award goes to the best product in any major reviews category.

Our hands-on reviews

We headline two different types of article with the word 'review' - 'hands-on reviews' and 'full product reviews.' It is important to distinguish between them.

Hands-on reviews are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. 

The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. 

We use the word 'review' here partly because we are giving a real opinion based on using it, and partly because readers increasingly use the word 'review' in searches when looking for these early views about a product.

However, hands-on reviews are not the same as full product reviews. Our full product reviews are always based on the finished release product, which has been thoroughly tested and benchmarked and will always contain a full verdict and score.

Our reviewers

Images of Swider and Beavis

We hand test all the tech to go beyond reviews into features, analysis and opinion too. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Our reviewers are specialists, each with expertise in a particular technology. With decades of combined experience reviewing technology under their belts, our team has consistently lived, breathed and reviewed technology since TechRadar's conception in 2007.

Our Global Editor-in-Chief, Gareth Beavis, has been with TechRadar since the beginning, our US Editor-in-Chief, Lance Ulanoff, has more than 30 years experience as a technology journalist at a number of high-profile outlets, and our Global Managing Editor, John McCann, has been with TechRadar for over a decade.

However, that just scratches the surface of a diverse and far-reaching global team which spans four continents, 14 countries and 11 different languages. 

The result is a team with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the areas they cover, ensuring our reviews not only give you an in-depth experience of each product, but also the vital wider context, providing you with the exact information you need when it comes to making a buying decision.

Specialist expertise

Because our writers are specialists, they are constantly in touch with the communities they report on. That means our experts are able to rate products against others of the same type. 

TechRadar commissions our reviews only from those with the requisite level of expertise: from our own team of writers to other external experts when needed.

What this means is if you see a review of a home theater system on TechRadar, you know it's been reviewed by an expert in home theater, not mobile phones.

How we test

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Our Global EIC about to take on elite athlete testing to see if fitness trackers really are that accurate. (Image credit: TechRadar)

We emphasize real world testing over labs, because that's where products get used. However, we benchmark every product that sells on the basis of specific performance indicators.

Find out more about our testing procedures: