Like Cool Tools, The Wirecutter is a website that only points to stuff worth knowing about. Specifically, consumer electronics in most every major category: laptops, cameras, TVs, tablets, smartphones, etc. Unlike Cool Tools, they don’t post reviews based on experience. Instead, they’re written by knowledgable gadget writers who have surveyed the field, read all the review and comment threads, and talked to experts to make an educated judgement call. There’s no jargony hairsplitting. No biased fanboyism. No product bashing. Only: “Here’s the one you want.”
All reviews feature labels like “What I’d get,” “Good Enough” or “The Wi-Fi Router You Want.” The reviews themselves are succinct and clear enough for a layperson — which brings me to how I use the site…
Being labeled a “gadget guy” is both a blessing and a curse. It’s an ego boost to receive emails from friends and family asking for my input before any purchases. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t know everything about everything. Of course, I do know how to read between the lines (and hype) and search for a solid recommendation. That’s exactly what The Wirecutter does. Hence, it’s now the first site I turn to before recommending anything to anyone, including myself.
This week, I bought a portable bluetooth speaker for our kitchen. l settled on the Jawbone JAMBOX, which I actually reviewed for Wired one year ago. I do know that space pretty well, but hadn’t been following it closely. So I assumed something better had come along. I was wrong. Go figure.
[Disclosure: The Wirecutter was founded by Brian Lam, formerly the editor of Gizmodo. I mention this for two reasons: 1) He knows his stuff. 2) He's a friend of mine. That said, I'd recommend the site regardless. The conceit is so simple and pure and useful, it's a wonder no one (ahem, Consumer Reports) did this until now.--SL]
[An illustration of what separates the Wirecutter from the rest can be seen in their recommendation of external Hitachi G-Drives. They not only aggregated all the pertinent reviews but also interviewed network storage professionals and data recovery experts to identify the drives with the lowest failure rates. I heartily second Steven's recommendation of the site.-- OH]
With headlines like “A Fast And Reliable Hard Drive” the Wirecutter avoids the pitfalls of other gear review sites, and manage to provide useful, straightforward recommendations.