There’s pretty much a product out there for everything, and plenty that claim they can do everything too. But what we often find is their claims don’t add up. So, should we expect a product to do exactly what is says on the tin?
I’ve just returned from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where I heard enough fantastical claims about new products to last a lifetime. But, the problem is that when we test out these fancy features in our lab, often the claims crumble like the sands of the nearby Mojave Desert.
Manufacturers are in business to get you to buy their products. They know that just one eye-catching claim could be the difference between you buying their goods or a competitor’s – but sometimes I feel that they’re pushing their luck too far in the pursuit of your cash.
Putting the claims to the test
Our testing is all about using products as you would do in the real world. We employ labs and technical instruments, but our approach always centres on real consumer scenarios. This testing often exposes that what’s claimed on the box just doesn’t stack up in reality.
You may be wowed by a printer that can supposedly print 1,000 sheets on just a single black ink cartridge. Yet in our testing we’ve found it could actually manage around 60% less than what was claimed.
Maybe you’ve spotted a fridge with a supposedly huge capacity to hold your groceries, yet we know that this has been taken with all the internal shelves and bits taken out. Our size measurements keep them all in, and in some cases that may actually give you 25% less usable space than you were expecting.
Our research has also revealed that some tablets, even from big brands like Apple and Microsoft, actually give you almost half the usable storage for your pictures, photos and music than was advertised.
And then when it comes to an energy rating, you’ll see official energy labels associated with products that give you an idea of how energy efficient they are. But we’re not convinced these are accurate. We’ve found that many Samsung TVs are being shipped with a poorer picture, which uses less power and gets a better energy rating.
In all these cases, manufacturers aren’t doing anything overtly wrong. They’re meeting the legal standards and requirements of them. But we feel that claims about products should reflect how you would use them in real life.
In sum, products shouldn’t only say what they do on the tin, but they should actually do it too.
So have you had any experiences with false fancy product claims?