Okay then, let’s look at the confusing graphic a wee bit closer. Toshiba and Archos are listed in the fourth and fifth positions in the “ranking”.
Pity, this rank position is severely skewed, despite PC World using, how did they say it, “We used methods of statistical analysis to determine which companies were significantly better or worse than the average, based on all responses about a certain product type.” This description is rather sophomoric.
Simply put, the statistics as displayed in the graphic do not explain how two manufacturers with three out of five categories omitted from the ranking, that’s a 60 percent omission, still make positions four and five.
Do the math. Let’s take 60 percent of the basic data from any of the manufacturers, and you can rank them anywhere you so desire. This blatant omission aside, one only has to assign a numerical value to each of the fields to see the holes in the graph.
Frankly, I’m insulted at their final result, not solely from the rudimentary display, but from the horrible graphic and their elitist aire, claiming that the respondents are “tech-savvy” and above the general population. Calling the respondents tech-savvy means no more that they had responded to a PC World “inquiry” or survey; it has little to nothing to do with general qualification to summarize their collective experiences fairly, or shall I say, objectively.
There isn’t enough clarification of what kind of problems the respondents experienced. Without clarification, minor issues get subjectively lumped in with large ones.
Take into consideration the category, “ease of use”. I have personally sampled every manufacturer listed in the graphic, and after a few moments with any one of the units, I had a good idea of the controls and interface. Simply put, every manufacturer has a design and production team, comprised of industrial design (the overall package, display and controls), engineering (implementation of controls, touch screen, wheel, buttons, and user interface), and production (building the device to specification, and quality control). They all have the same basic objective: retrieve a music file and begin playback. So, as each device has a different design of control and display, we cannot compare them in an entirely objective way, as we all have our own preferences and needs. Depending upon the individual, they choose the device based upon looks, feel, size, capability, affordability, and their familiarity with operation.
If a user is asked about the Philips player that he hates, because it has a quirky control scheme compared to the Sony he previously owned, the Philips gets a bad rating. Yet another use has purchased the exact same player, is quite used to it, and finds it to be superb.
Just what constitutes a “severe” problem with the audio player? Wait a moment before you answer that, because your response will be based upon an earlier page in the article. A severe problem was only clarified, roughly, in the survey of laptop computers. There isn’t any clarification of this ominous category regarding audio players.
Indeed, the manufacturers listed all have a right to voice their anger at this ranking, unworthy of publication even in a high school newspaper. Even in this environment, I’d bet the instructor would demand more of his pupil. Yet what we see here is the final product of a commercial publication! I am insulted on behalf of all of the manufacturers who were inaccurately and unfairly represented in the article, and this means every one of the manufacturers listed in the list.
The manufacturers at the top of the list are simply giving a sigh of relief at not having been torpedoed by this drivel.
PC World should leave such graphics to the folks at Consumer Reports. Though I find such rankings rather two dimensional in any venue, I see things in a far wider field of view than this exceedingly myopic one. Frankly, I have a far greater sense of responsibility to the manufacturer, and the reader, than demonstrated in this case.
If a manufacturer deserves to be savaged in this list, they deserve a precise description of why they are ranked as such, especially if two manufacturers listed got a free ride for 60 per cent of the survey results.
Yet the manufacturers undoubtedly suffer as a result of schlock journalism. Well done, PC World, well done indeed.