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Trust in every review: The Android Authority approach to product evaluation

Welcome to Android Authority. Here, we understand that you count on us for truthful and well-researched information about the latest products and services. Our reputation as the most visited independent Android-focused site (according to SEMRush data from November 2023) is something we’re proud of, but we don’t rest on those laurels.

While Android smartphones are a primary interest, our coverage doesn’t stop there. We take great care to also provide thorough and unbiased reviews of Apple products, smartwatches, audio gear, Chromebooks, laptops, and gaming devices, because technology doesn’t exist in silos, and neither do your needs.

Our experience comes from more than 12 years of analyzing and reviewing technology. In that time, we’ve built a foundation of trust with millions who have come to rely on our evaluations for their purchases. We maintain a set of consistent methods for testing and reviewing that we’ve honed over the years, ensuring the advice we give is both accurate and useful.

On this page, you’ll find an explanation of how we approach our reviews and product comparisons, giving you insight into the care and consideration behind each piece of content. It’s part of our ongoing commitment to keep you well-informed.

About our review team

samsung galaxy a54 using cameras
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Our review team is the backbone of what we do at Android Authority. This team is composed of seasoned professionals who bring together decades of experience in evaluating technology. Our reviewers work independently — their pay is not influenced by their opinions or the nature of their review content, allowing them to express their honest thoughts without restraint.

The way we evaluate products isn’t prescribed. Reviewers have the autonomy to assess and form their own opinions about the items they test. This freedom, however, is balanced with a set of internal guidelines to ensure that despite the diversity of voices and perspectives, there remains a consistent standard for fairness and thoroughness across all our reviews.

Our review team is the backbone of what we do at Android Authority

We also believe in the right match between reviewer and product. When assigning reviews, we consider who among our team has the most expertise with a certain category or brand, ensuring that products are evaluated by someone who knows them best.

Collaboration is key in our process. No single reviewer can be an expert on everything, so we lean on our collective pool of knowledge. By discussing our findings, challenging assumptions, and asking questions, we strive to provide balanced perspectives that reflect a broad range of experiences and backgrounds.

To learn more about the individuals behind our reviews, you can click on their bylines, or visit our About us page to get to know our entire team.

What goes into our reviews

Our reviews are crafted with the everyday consumer in mind. We focus on the fundamental question: “Is this worth your money?” Our goal is to not just review products but to guide you to the best choice for your needs, offering alternatives where appropriate.

We don’t rush our review process. Although we aim to be prompt, especially with products under embargo or those newly released, the quality and depth of our analysis take precedence over speed. We commit the necessary time to truly understand each product, ensuring that our evaluations are comprehensive and thoughtful.

Our commitment extends beyond the initial publication. We make it a point to update our reviews over time, providing current insights that reflect the latest software updates, market changes, and long-term usage experiences.

A variety of Apple Watches rest on a desk.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Products we review come from various sources; some we purchase ourselves, others are sent by manufacturers. Regardless of the source, our assessments remain unbiased.

We maintain a strict division between our organic content and sponsored content. Our reviews are never influenced by financial incentives or other benefits. Should we publish sponsored content, it is always clearly labeled to distinguish it from our regular reviews.

Like other outlets, we may include affiliate links, earning a commission if purchases are made via these links. However, these do not affect the substance of our reviews. Our priority is to ensure the trust and respect of our readers, and that means giving honest advice every time.

Our testing methodology

Our testing approach combines hands-on evaluation with rigorous objective measurement. By conducting structured tests, we collect data that helps us compare new smartphones against older models and competing brands in an impartial manner.

We understand the weight that numbers and hard data carry in purchasing decisions, so we approach objective testing with the seriousness it deserves. Our commitment is to only report on test results that we’re confident are accurate and reflective of real-world use.

We approach objective testing with the seriousness it deserves

To ensure precision, we rely on recognized industry-standard benchmarking tools, which are designed to measure performance consistently across devices. Additionally, we’ve developed our own proprietary testing methods to further guarantee consistency and to safeguard against any potential manipulation.

Google Pixel 8 USB C charging test
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

To arrive at the most reliable results, we often perform tests multiple times and use the average of those results, which helps smooth out any anomalies and provide a clear picture of a product’s performance.

We keep a database of all our test outcomes, which serves as a valuable resource for our team. This database empowers us to make informed comparisons, whether we’re looking at incremental upgrades in successive product generations or evaluating where a device stands amongst its competitors.

For those interested in the specifics of our testing processes, you can visit our dedicated How we test page for a detailed explanation.

How we score devices

Drawing Android Authority logo on the Moto G Stylus 2023
Adam Birney / Android Authority

In our reviews, we delve into the complexities and context of every device, encouraging our readers to engage with the full narrative to understand our perspective. However, we know some readers just need a succinct summary, which is why we provide a star rating system for a rapid assessment.

Here’s a breakdown of what our star ratings mean:

  • 5 stars: Exceptional in every aspect. The product delivers outstanding value and quality with no significant flaws and earns our most robust endorsement.
  • 4.5 stars: Almost perfect, offering significant value and quality with negligible drawbacks. It comes with a strong recommendation.
  • 4 stars: A solid product that delivers value and quality, despite some issues worth noting. We recommend it, but with certain reservations.
  • 3.5 stars: A competent product offering reasonable value and quality but weighed down by more prominent flaws. We offer a cautious recommendation.
  • 3 stars: Average, providing some value but also burdened with significant flaws. We neither recommend nor advise against it outright.
  • 2.5 stars and below: Fundamentally flawed, where any potential value is overshadowed by critical problems. We strongly advise against purchasing.

What our review awards mean

Beyond star ratings, we also grant awards to products that stand out. These are quick visual indicators to highlight items worthy of special recognition and consideration for purchase.

We present two types of awards:

  • Editor’s Choice: Our highest accolade, awarded to products that set the benchmark in their category, either through sheer excellence or exceptional value.
  • Recommended: Given to products that, while not groundbreaking, are reliable and represent a great purchase for most consumers.

While companies may opt to license our awards to be featured in their marketing efforts, it’s important to note that our decision to award a product is never influenced by such agreements. Our focus is solely on the merit of the product itself.