/ Technology

Should products do what they say on the tin?

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.

Reality checks

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?


A simple of misrepresentation is the life expectancy of low energy light bulbs (CFL and LED). The lifetime is often quoted as many years, in large print, but the small print reveals that this is based on use for 2.7 hours per day. Before low energy lighting came along, we had incandescent lamps that had an average life of 1000 hours.

If it was one manufacturer misrepresenting their products I would complain to the Advertising Standards Authority but they are all playing the same game.


Wavechange till I broke it I had a Victorian Edison light bulb with carbon fillament . It was the illumination for a Victorian stone arch gate wall clock in a now destroyed hospital ,it gave off a coloured glow but worked until I broke it 35 years ago . Engineering in all its build quality aspects is rubbish nowadays .


Wow,,,,,,,,,,,I have already written repeatedly about our out of date place here
Now I know that Malcolm is just around the corner somewhere with his whiter than white bulbs and yes we all know that once a filament is pushed to that level life will shorten just like my great Uncle who like 50% of our family did not know when to stop
MY uncle more or less killed himself trying to be all thing to all men as in shining so bright only to be cut down before his time
His slightly older sister died of a now quite easily rectified problem
Later as a Doctor is Canada and having worshiped his sisters memory so later he paid his due’s to his sister and perfected a procedure that transformed the operation from a marathon to a minutes procedure.
He went on and on and on a bit like I did with work but he started to self med using the common substance of the day and ended up destroying his body
One of the things he liked was bright light…..bright ,,,,,,,,,,,,bright and brighter…….He said it made life so much easier
When he was back home and I just about remember him he would say that Granda Willie was so miserable he wouldnt turn the heat up on the bulbs..
Willie was saving the bulbs……..Willie would say,,,,I’m not operating Billy boy,,, Thats your job and thanks be to God I have never needed you……..
The moral of this story is that later I would learn that running 60v bulbs on a 48v battery system would mean that bulbs would almost last forever.
No they were not as bright but we could see where we were going and for much longer


Ye Ha, Yes Wave,,,,,,,,,,,Bulbs,,,,,,,,,,,,I have some that I think are going to outlive me whilst others out of the same box have been and gone maybe several times over
I’d have to say the majority fall into to the gone box or is it bin
I replace around 10 bulbs per year of various sorts but all 2D or CFL
The 2D bu ratio are buy far worse than the CFLs
One of my local suppliers always tells me that 4 pin 2D units are better along with all the reasons which I get the mechanics of but I have grown to dislike 4 pin.
We have 2 very big brand 4pin 2D in our washing machine area and I feel like throwing things at them standing in the dark waiting on the things
We have a total of 4 x 4pin 2D units here all the same. Pain in the eye or your butt if you go down in the dark
I have taken the two most infuriating ones back and watched them being tested to be told they are fine. Must be in a cold place. Cold will slow them
We then have 3 x 2 pin units outside and 2 more indoors and these light in literally a flash and where are the 3,,,,,,they are,,,,,,outside
All seem to need the occasional tube but never together and in summer when it is not really needed as would be in winter one cannot help but notice that one has been out the entire summer while two others have lasted the summer
Now these three come on with a photocell and remain on until daylight so its all night hours. From one end of shorter evenings via summer to the other is rather a lot of hours difference.
Consistency is not the name of the game with these little tubular marvels


I’ve a selection of halogen and CFLs from mainstream manufacturers and own brands. The halogen show 2 years 2000h and the CFLs 10 years 10000h quite clearly in the same box on the packaging. Perhaps some manufacturers make it less obvious?

2.7 hr is the average daily usage recommended to be used to calculate the years. The life of incandescent lamps is greatly affected by supply voltage, which can vary by up to 10%. An increase of 5% will halve the life. So 1000h was a bit nominal.

I’d like to see ink cartridges for printers warn when ink is low much nearer the time they would run out. I used to replace mine near that warning time until I found out I was being stupid. I probably get a hundred or more sheets of print until they actually run out, which is when I now change them.


Why not just be honest and give the lifetime in total hours? If someone wants to work out how long the lamp will run based on 2.7 hours usage, let them do it.

All the HP inkjet and laser printers I have used have given a warning but allow me to carry on printing. On the other hand, I had a Lexmark colour laser printer in my office at work that stopped printing when the predetermined number of pages had been printed, even though the last sheet was perfect. The three colour toner cartridges cost £100 each and a high capacity black cartridge was £140. I soon replaced it win an HP printer. The computer should show the amount of ink remaining in each cartridge and many inkjet printers display the supply levels.

An early warning will help those who don’t keep spare cartridges but maybe it’s something that could be turned off or adjusted.


wavechange -turned off and adjusted— in the cartridge yes by the makers.


Not so very long ago I seen a bit of software that circumnavigated this premature expiry of inkjet cartridges