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How We Test Digital Cameras

Ever wonder how Reviewed.com tests all those cameras? Find out in this video detailing the process. It stars TJ Donegan, Editor in Chief of Imaging and Mobile, along with yours truly. The process is really quite amazing. We collect tens of thousands of data points to cover all important aspects of each camera. Check out our methods and labs to see just how we do it.

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TAGS: how we test digital cameras camcorders

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How We Test Refrigerators

The video team put together this great video about how we test refrigerators, starring Keith Barry, Editor-in-Chief of Home Appliances and yours truly. If you ever had a question about how we test refrigerators, I highly recommend checking it out!

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TAGS: refrigerator science how we test video

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Upscaling: The Science of Bigger

Have you ever tried watching a VHS tape on your HD TV? How about a standard-def cable channel? If so, you've probably noticed just how awful video looks when it's not played back in its native resolution.

It's not a problem that will go away any time soon. Even the latest disc-based technology, Blu-ray, can only provide up to Full-HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels). That's only a quarter of the pixels the latest generation of 4K UHD televisions are capable of displaying. 4K TVs are likely to hit the mainstream before native 4K content is widely available, so what can you do to prevent your collection of full-HD content from looking like crap on your shiny new UHD set?

Well, you have two options. You can display the content at its native resolution (i.e., only using a quarter of the screen), or you can upscale the image from HD to UHD. No one in their right mind would choose the first option—it simply defeats the purpose of buying a big, high-res TV. Upscaling is the short-term future of UHD, so here's an in-depth look into the science behind it.

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TAGS: tvs televisions television display quality upscaling

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Illuminating the Science Behind OLED Televisions

OLED is the latest and, some might argue, greatest technology to hit televisions since the introduction of LED-backlit LCDs. In fact, it appears that OLED technology is poised to do to LED televisions what LED did to LCD: eclipse them entirely.
But how different are OLED panels from LED? As it turns out, the only thing these two technologies have in common are three letters.

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TAGS: Television howitworks OLED LCD LED

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DIY: Make Your Own Enzymatic Laundry Detergent

In a previous article, our man Tyler investigated the efficacy of various DIY laundry detergents. What he found was that none of them performed as well as the store-brand, or our standardized testing detergent. But that was to be expected, since they lacked one very important component: enzymes. In this Science Blog post, we rectify that oversight by making our own enzymatic laundry detergent, and find out whether it's worth the effort.

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Staying Safe After Thanksgiving: How Good Leftovers Go Bad

Though the days of cooking, mountains of dishes, and hours of food coma gave you doubts, you make it through Thanksgiving. If your Thanksgiving is like mine, your family of vultures only made a tiny dent in the bounty, leaving you with the best part of all: leftovers. Some things, like chili, pasta sauce, and fine wine are known to taste better as they age, but how does turkey fare? To answer that question, we delve into the science and see how cooked poultry spoils, and how long you can safely brown-bag those homemade turkey sandwiches.

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TAGS: refrigerators

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The Tastiest Reactions: Cooking Chemistry

Cooking may have been our first great leap forward as humans. Besides killing off harmful bacteria, cooking our food made nutrients become more easily absorbed, which allowed our brains—our number one consumer of energy—to considerably increase in size. Besides the safety and nutritional aspects, cooking has one more major advantage: It makes food taste much better. Most foods, particularly meat, undergo a series of chemical reactions when exposed to certain temperature ranges, resulting in the synthesis of endless compounds that make life taste sweeter.

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TAGS: Cooking ovens ranges

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Nature's Nano-Machines: Enzymatic Detergents

Look at any dish detergent, and it'll probably boast its ability to "cut through grease." To dispose of grease and oil, detergents use surfactants—chemicals that make oil and water miscible, so they can be rinsed out. But surfactants are at best half the story in modern washing machine and dishwasher detergents, and definitely the less interesting half at that. To break down organic stains, most modern detergents recruit nature’s nano-machines to help: enzymes.

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TAGS: laundry washing machine dishwasher

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Blood, Sweat, and Cocoa: How We Test Washing Machines

You've probably never had blood, sweat, cocoa, wine, and motor oil on your clothes at the same time—unless you happened to be present at the 1988 Nakatomi Christmas party. However, it's certainly not unreasonable to expect five of the toughest and most persistent stains to occasionally show up in your hamper. After all, we do encounter stains like these all the time. Since each of these substances represents a different genre of stain, we use fabric strips with each stain to evaluate washer performance.

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TAGS: how we test laundry

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What are Liquid Crystals and Why are They in my Television?

Picture a crystal. Unless you're a television manufacturer, you're probably imagining something like the image above (maybe we did introduce a little bias there). Generally, we think of crystals as clear, stony, possibly valuable, and—most of all—solid. So solid, in fact, that crystals can be some of the hardest substances on earth. While most people understand the meaning behind the LCD acronym—liquid crystal display—and the words therein, surprisingly few notice the apparent paradox: How can something be liquid and crystal at the same time?

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TAGS: HOW IT WORKS television

What Your Tax Dollars Bought: NASA Technology in Your Daily Life

NASA has fielded a lot of criticism over the recent past. With no Space Race to transfix our nation (with all our distractions today, could it if there were one?), a significant portion of the American public doesn’t know what NASA’s contemporary activities are, criticizing it as an extremely expensive toy for America’s scientists. But while NASA's activities can seem pretty obscure and far removed from the general public, they probably do more for you than you realize.

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TAGS: space home

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OLED Televisions Leave No Room for Improvement (Almost)

Since televisions became commercially available in the ‘20s, picture quality has steadily improved. But as flat-CRT, Plasma, LCD, and LED technology sharpened our displays, there has always been technological progress to make. Color, black levels, brightness, contrast, sharpness, resolution, viewing angle, motion—TVs have a lot to do, and they can’t seem to do it all. But last week, our evaluation of the new Samsung OLED technology showed something we never expected: perfect black levels. This is a conquered test, and it has some awesome implications.

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TAGS: television how does it work

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How Dryers Destroy Clothes: We Delve Into the Research

There's an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that tumble-drying does irreparable damage to clothes. Such is the price of convenience and lack of clotheslines. But how exactly does a dryer hurt your clothes? There are three distinctive ways dryers could hurt fabric: shrinkage, color transfer, and actual tears to the material. To fully understand how a dryer can negatively affect clothing, we researched some scientific studies detailing these effects of tumble-drying.

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TAGS: How it works laundry home science

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What is Plasma, and Why Is it in my Television?

If you can recall your high school physics or chemistry lessons, you may remember learning about the three phases of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. But there's actually a fourth fundamental phase of matter, plasma—a word you might recognize from your TV. Though it might sound like a silly marketing term, plasma TVs actually utilize this obscure fourth phase of matter to pry out television display panels with incredible contrast and color. Panels that often out-perform their LCD or LED counterparts.

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TAGS: how does it work television

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Don’t Worry, Saving Water Doesn’t Hurt Washer Performance

People have been blaming the government for poor washer performance for quite a while now. In the ‘90s, top-loading washers reigned supreme as relatively mature technology until the Department of Energy’s efficiency standards took them to task. Though they were popular with consumers, the top-loaders guzzled water like Hummers and Suburbans went through gas. To meet these new standards, the washer industry began to focus on front-loaders, which generally use less water since they don’t need to fill up the entire cavity to clean. The golden age of top-loaders was over.

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TAGS: energy home mining the data

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Meet HATS, Our Headphone Tester

In the audio community, you sometimes hear about people with a set of golden ears who can determine the frequencies and sound quality with machine-like precision. But here at Reviewed.com, we think it’s sub-optimal to hope for machine-like precision when you can have actual machine precision. It’s always a good idea to calibrate the scoring and criteria using expert opinions, but for the actual testing? We'd rather avoid opinions and instead have a system with accuracy and repeatability. So instead of our own ears, we use a special pair on "HATS."

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TAGS: how we test audio headphones

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How We Score Almost Everything: The S-Curve

Everyone knows how fast technology evolves. In the ‘60s, Gordon Moore coined “Moore’s Law," declaring that that processing power would double every year. He thought that pace would last ten years, but it's showed no signs of letting up. While speedy evolution is great, it can make it a challenge to review products in a context that makes sense. After all, that "context" is a moving target. And though it's not always that tricky to identify the criteria for scoring or the lab tests, navigating scores in a mercurial climate presents certain challenges. But fortunately, some elegant math has given us a fantastic tool to deal with these scoring challenges: the s-curve.

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TAGS: scoring math how we test

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Do You Know How an LED Works?

You’re probably familiar with the light-emitting diode (LED) as the light source that isn’t a flame, Edison bulb, fluorescent tube, or firefly (yes, there are more too, of course). Besides being responsible for so many inventions we love: displays, remote controls, high-speed internet, and (green) traffic lights, the LED has been getting increased press from new usages for household lighting, bendable screens, and extremely thin televisions. As their name suggests, the LED is a special type of diode. So how do they work?

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TAGS: how does it work electronics

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How We Test Washing Machines: Stain Strip Spectroscopy

A washer's job may not be easy, but its primary goal is simple: It just has to remove stains. So to test any given washer's performance, we have to run stained fabric through the machine and see how much of it is removed. That may seem like a straightforward process, but the scientific techniques involved are quite complex.

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TAGS: how we test home laundry

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Don’t Get Played by Your Own Brain: The Confirmation Bias

Human beings may be the only animals capable of reasoning, but we still suffer from the occasional gap in our logic. Since our job at Reviewed.com is to critically evaluate products, it’s necessary to constantly remind ourselves of some widespread errors in human thinking so we can avoid these pitfalls. There’s nothing like a long list of common cognitive biases, fallacies, and misconceptions to crush some misplaced hubris in your decision making or opinions. Even without having to navigate a sea of marketing propaganda, the conscientious consumer still has some hard decisions to make. So we’ve decided to illuminate some common errors in thinking to help you make the big moves.

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TAGS: brainstorming caveat emptor