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Anonymous

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I read in another thread about the lack of comparison tests in GWW.

Can't find the thread so I'm supporting the criticism here.

Have just seen their latest magazine and in particular the Bandsaw tests.

Several are tested but all different sizes. IE, no direct comparisons.

Fine if you are looking to buy the models they have tested but pipper all good if you want to find out comparative strengths and weaknesses of similar size machines and how they rate up against each other.

I criticised WW magazines previously, saying they could not be expected to be entirely independent.

I stand by that.

Though the Bandsaw test is marginally helpful, its a long way from what we really need.

Ive heard the excuse about Magazines finding it difficult to get hold of the kit for testing, how about they ask their readers to allow some tests on their machines ( for a small fee :wink: ).

I just don't believe this cannot be done.

Just like in everything else we are getting stuffed again.

..... but is it any surprise when so many of us accept the status quo ?
 

gidon

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Bilzee
I have to agree. I was looking forward to the review of bandsaws in this "150th" issue. I've been after one for some time. But this review didn't help me one bit. Compare it to a review in FWW of bandsaws last month and quite frankly it's shameful.
Who exactly was it aimed at? It's unlikely anyone out there has such a flexible budget (for anyone not having seen the review - 4 machines ranging in price from £100 to £800!)
The main reason I subscribe to GWW (the only British mag I subscribe to) - is for the reviews - since this is one thing area the American mags don't help much. The rest of the mag looks quite good by the way (not all moans!!)
A while back GWW did a review of precision table saws which was useful. Strange this format wasn't repeated for another popular machine. I know GWW will never please everyone - ie if they review £500 machines some will complain that they are after a cheaper machine etc - but better that than please no one!
Sorry Andy/Pete if this sounds like a moan - I for one really appreciate your input here and understand that a lot of our criticisms are out of your control.
Sunday night rant over ...
Cheers
Gidon
 
A

Anonymous

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Oooh, here we go again - reaches for his keyboard!

Having tested pretty well everything on the market it's getting increasingly difficult to find new stuff (apart from the constant output of rebadged Chinese stuff) to test. And because we're still being read by people who have taken the mag since day one, it's not very easy to repeat tests of older machines without them complaining that we're just repeating what they already have.

I agree that comparison testing is what cuts it, in most cases, and we'd prefer to do far more of it. Perhaps UKW posters would let us know their thoughts on this - would they like to see more comparisons, even if it means repeats of previously tested kit? It's beyond our facilities to do, say, a giant test of every bandsaw for sale under say £500, but we can do more tightly focussed tests such as the table saw one mentioned (certainly one of our favourite reviews in the last year). We're always keen to listen to constructive criticism so tell us what you want. I can't guarantee you'll get it just so, but we'll do our best.

Pete
 

Philly

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Pete,
Yes, I love to see comparison testing, and yes I don't mind seeing the same old faces being tested in comparison. Technology is moving along all the time and it would be good to see new tools tested alongside old favorites. Tastes do change over time!
keep up the good work,
Philly :D
(a Subscriber)
 

gidon

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Pete

Thanks for your reply.

I don't like seeing recycled material either personally. If you're comparing against a machine already reviewed I think it should still be brought back in for comparative testing - you'll surely miss important factors otherwise. And the reviews need to really test the machines - to full capacity. I really liked in FWW recently they tested bandsaw blades and actually devised a real-life ripping time test based on pulley weighted bits of wood being cut under controlled test conditions.

OK - my recommendation for a (small) group test would be 8" Bandsaws
1: Record BS300 £350
2: Axminster(/Jet?) 3501 £500
3: Startrite 301E £700

This for me is a real choice a woodworker will have to make at this price / capacity point. And to see the real differences in the Record vs the Startrite for example would be very helpful.

Cheers

Gidon
 
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Anonymous

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I agree that comparison testing is what cuts it, in most cases, and we'd prefer to do far more of it.
Thats the crux of it.

BTW, within the reservations concerning reviews/testing I am happy with the mag.

Edit: Positive words by Pete Martin, lets see if anything materialises.

Whats that saying, 'actions speak louder than' .... and all that :wink:
 
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Anonymous

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Gidon
Unfortunately we've just done the Record so that's unlikely appear again for a while. However, your request has been duly noted.
Pete
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi

Forum users have been given the oppurtunity here to make our voices heard regarding comparison testing of tools in GWW

Apart from two posters and myself, few seem to be interested. :(

Maybe there are some who feel they have most of the tools they will need so don't care.

.... or maybe its just the general apathy we seem to suffer from in this country which allows us to be charged some of the highest prices for some of the shoddiest goods.

Genuine comparison testing would I am sure, help to improve standards and inform customers ( us).

Buying tools can be a very expensive business.

Any info which can help us avoid those expensive mistakes which we all make has surely to be a good thing.


............. but hey, what do I know??

Best just leave it I guess. The forum has spoken :roll:

I mean, we wouldn't want all those crappy and expensive so-called tool makers going out of business cos we were better informed would we?

I mean, no more disappointment after paying £xxx's for a machine, a day to put it together, to find out its a load of rubbish. The great fun of pulling it apart repacking it and trying to get a refund.

These companies must just love us here.

Top prices for lowest quality.

...and who can blame them when those who should know better sit on their hands.

Cheers

Billzee

Edit: Rant over, please vote in the comparison tool testing thread. Don't let this oppurtunity pass us by
 

woodshavings

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I certainly would like more comparisons - but also comments about the aftersales support.

In a given catagory, many machines appear to be produced in the same factory but have different cosmetic differences dependant upon the importer. Are the machines the same - does one importer offer better value for the identical machine? What about aftersales support - is there a difference here?

John
 

Alf

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Billzee,

Somehow I don't think I'll get anywhere asking for more hand tool comparisons... :( I dunno really, the whole reviewing thing is so subjective anyway, one reviewer comparing all the alternatives still might well give the nod to a machine that you, the reader, wouldn't like. Whatever their limitations, the GWW reviews still beat the rest hands down, to my mind (PM me for where to send the cheque, Andy...). I think I'd be a bit more interested in endurance tests, come to think about it. Now if the "Best on Test" of the bigger round ups could then go for a 6 month endurance test in the GWW workshop, that'd be interesting. Would its rating go up? Or down? Any little wrinkles in everyday use would be more likely to turn up too. Plus it'd be an incentive to manufactures to produce good products, 'cos the best one would end up getting twice the coverage. Just a thought, but probably logistically a nightmare.

Cheers, Alf
 

kityuser

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My personal opinion is that frequent round-ups are very useful. Is a full review needed of each product if it has already been reviewed in past mags, NO

I hate to keep going back to it, but guitar mags have it sussed!. Round ups are frequent, and relevant...... yes they sometimes round up VERY expensive bits of kit, but MOST people I think you`ll find will want a round-up review of SIMILARLY priced and targeted kit.

normal format:
beginner kit
intermediate kit
pro kit

normally around 3 or 4 examples of the target group, with an extended look at the "star" or "suggested" buy.


the example given in a previous post of 3 or 4 bandsaws all of different price ranges/target buyers may well be useful to somebody wishing to see "what you get for you £££" but very unuseful to somebody wishing to buy a bandsaw in a specific price range.

12 or 13 issues a year, surely a round-up every other mag is`nt going to hurt.


heres an idea, how about the mags let US produce an article, I`m sure we could all do a good round up of our bandsaws with charley as the article editor???????????
 
A

Anonymous

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Alf and kituser, I take your points regarding endurance testing and roundups.

Alf says..
.......the whole reviewing thing is so subjective anyway, one reviewer comparing all the alternatives still might well give the nod to a machine that you, the reader, wouldn't like .........
If that were true Alf then the reviews as they are now would suffer that also and given your next line of that quote
..... Whatever their limitations, the GWW reviews still beat the rest ...
its not something that would seem to hold a lot of creedence for you

Also, TBF, we all generally know when we are using a decent bit of kit, hence the success and general aggreement about such companies products as Makita, Festool, etc.

Like most things, reviews are subjective, but we all know a good tool when we use it. I'm sure GWW does also, we just need them tested together.

Its not the earth we are asking here, is it??
 
A

Anonymous

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Morning all!!

Well, where do I start?
Whatever their limitations, the GWW reviews still beat the rest hands down, to my mind
Cheers Alf! Now where do they keep the bigheaded icon?:D
Actually, I do try as often as not to get a focussed group such as professional pullover saws, budget biscuit jointers etc, but it is increasingly difficult to come up with fresh ideas.
I agree that comparative testing is the way to go, but with a pretty loyal subscriber and reader base, if for arguments sake we do a group test of jigsaws, then in the next couple of months test a couple of new ones on the market, would the readership be happy to read another group test on the same tools, but including the new ones within such a short space of time or would they see it as 'read that already' and go elsewhere? This is where it becomes difficult to us trying to second guess the mood of the readers.
Again I agree that group tests should be catagorised as stated by Kityuser and Gidon, but to be honest, the catagories can be difficult. Gidon's request for example may clear up the 8in bandsaw market, but with such vast price differences, is this a true comparison?
Testing to a budget within a size is probably fairer, so maybe 8in bandsaws from £300 to £500 for instance may give a better reflection, and this is what I normally try to get.
Obviously this isssue is an exception, but with three saws out there that we hadn't looked at, we felt they warranted a look at them.
As for comparisons, readers will hopefully be aware that we are group testing 18volt combi drills for issue 151. Again, I have tightened the criteria by limiting it to professional tools, ie, those from recognised independently designed professional branded tools, so the inclusion of the 'same as everyone elses but a different colour' Homebase/P Devil/Argos etc machines don't fit the bill.
This is what my colleague Pete was referring to in an earlier post.
It is in this budget market that we find it difficult. For example, with our mag selling for £2.99, would the readers want pay for a review of ten drills that each sell for less than fifteen quid, with each one practically identical as they have all appeared from the same Chinese factory?
It may be a comparison, but to be honest, the price the tools sell for should be indication enough without having to spend money to read about it...
Is the 18volt test a fair one or do you think 18v combis should be across the board, including the cheap Chinese ones?
Personally, I think it is right as it is, but as usual, I am open to, and will take on board any criticisms you may have.
Incidently, with each drill having at least 2Ah batteries I am up to my knees in MDF from drilling holes to try and run them down as a comparison of stamina. Unfortunately, with no spinach to hand, my own is waning fast!
I wait with bated breath!!!
cheers,

Andy
 

gidon

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Hi Andy

Fair response as ever! Thanks for taking the trouble.

Andy King":m0k0ua2n said:
Gidon's request for example may clear up the 8in bandsaw market, but with such vast price differences, is this a true comparison?
But you would have to agree one of your most appreciated recent reviews on precision table saws ranged in price from £400 for a basic kity to £1050 for a fully equipped Scheppach. I for one read this review and spent (far too much!) on the Scheppach. But I really appreciated having an insight into what I was paying the extra for.

I agree that a review of 15 similiar priced cordless drills would be boring (no pun intended). And I think it's different when it comes to reviewing hand power tools - most people can afford one. And you can easily upgrade if you find the tool not appropriate for your use. Machinery is a different kettle of fish: more expensive, delivery awkward, tricky assembly and setting up etc etc. Not something you want to repeat too often!

Have GWW considered adpoting the American model of 7 issues a year and perhaps charging more? Would these mean we could get some more comprehensive reviews more reguarly?

Cheers

Gidon
 
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Anonymous

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Personally I'd love 6 or 7 issues a year - can I take the rest of it off? Seriously, it would be goodbye to any market we had. There's simply not enough buying public out there to warrant that sort of thinking. Just look at Home and Leisure recently.

Pete
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Gidon,

Correct, it was a big price range, but the criteria for that test was for a small table saw that can be bought as a standalone, and then retro fitted with carriage side extensions etc as budget allowed.
Admittedly, each one was tested as a package, but the idea of the test was to give the smaller workshop, or lowish budget user the option to get a decent, accurate machine that could be upgraded as required.
As for our working on 7 issues a year, I think Pete is posting back on that one, but I would imagine it's based on what we would like to do compared to what Future Publishing expects of us!
Incidentally, going back to comparative testing, I thought a while back when our rival publication did a comparative test of 14.4volt drills, I thought the inclusion of the Metabo 15.6volt would have been met with howls of derision from this forum, but it seems 99.9% of everyone here accepted it.
I found it amazing that it was included, I had to check the cover to make sure it wasn't an April fools stunt! When it came out as best on test I couldn't believe it was being flagged as a comparative test on not only the cover, but throughout the article. If anything, it would mislead the readers rather than inform them as you have a winner that shouldn't be in the catagory to start with.
Just my tuppenceworth!
:D

Cheers,

Andy
 
A

Anonymous

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Well, where do I start?
Hmm, a good place to start would be to take the criticism/request seriously.

On reaching that heady level, stop trying to tell us why things are so complicated and difficult for you, and just get on and do it the simple way.

Find the tools/machines that the majority of serious users use and then test em.

IE Cordless drill/drivers, 4 or 5 in say 9.6v, 14.4v and 24v

Jigsaws

Bandsaws, medium and large

Table Saws, medium and large

Jointer/planers

Thicknessers

Planer/thicknessers

Sanders

etc, etc

...same for hand tools.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive or even accurate list but you should get my drift.

As I say, its not rocket science........... and trying to make it so does know one any good.

I agree that comparative testing is the way to go, but with a pretty loyal subscriber and reader base, if for arguments sake we do a group test of jigsaws, then in the next couple of months test a couple of new ones on the market, would the readership be happy to read another group test on the same tools, but including the new ones within such a short space of time or would they see it as 'read that already' and go elsewhere? This is where it becomes difficult to us trying to second guess the mood of the readers.
There are enough tools out there not to need to return so quickly to one. An annual roundup and update should be sufficient.

Obviously everyone cannot be pleased all of the time and no system can be perfect, but boy, there is stacks of room for improvement.

A genuine attempt to establish comparison testing would be much appreciated

As for other points made regarding several simialr budget tools, and their testing, common sense would dictate testing one with a reference to other similar models.

As has been mentioned FWW can do it, why not GWW?

Incidently, whenever I have asked someone to do something for me and they spend the majority of the time explaining the difficulties they will face I take it as red they do not want to do it.

Maybe I'm wrong!!
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Bilzee,
Hmm, a good place to start would be to take the criticism/request seriously.
If you feel I am being flippant, or that I do not take either my own job, or the postings I make on this site seriously, then you are mistaken, but I will apologise anyway.
As I see it, the problem is based on opinions. We have to tread a fine line in keeping readers, publishers and advertisers happy, so with your request
IE Cordless drill/drivers, 4 or 5 in say 9.6v, 14.4v and 24v
Picking 4 or 5 out of probably 10 or 15 available from small handheld powertools will have readers screaming where is the XXXXmodel, and likewise, the manufacturers would do the same. Advertisers may feel that because their model wasn't in there, it's pointless advertising.
Big machinery can only be done in small batches as we don't have enough workshop space to get them all in, but in this case I try to get it within a tight criteria to make it a more fair comparison.
I appreciate you comments and as usual, I will take them onboard, but I disagree with
Incidently, whenever I have asked someone to do something for me and they spend the majority of the time explaining the difficulties they will face I take it as red they do not want to do it.
I asked a few questions and answered a few within my posting to try and get some positive feedback not to try and make it seem that I was shirking my duties. I take my job very seriously.

Andy
 

Alf

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Sorry Billzee, I think you are wrong. I believe GWW do their best in the face of many, many obstacles. In other words, give them a break. :wink:

Cheers, Alf

P.S. Sorry, forgot. About reviewers' opinions not agreeing with your own being contradicted by saying GWW's are the best. No contradiction at all - Andy and I seem to have worryingly similar tastes in tools! :shock:
 
A

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As I see it, the problem is based on opinions. We have to tread a fine line in keeping readers, publishers and advertisers happy, so with your request
Ahh Andy, therein lies the problem. Serving more than one master is a dance thats fraught with difficulties.

Some would say its an impossble 'Jig' ( 'scuse the pun) :wink:

This maybe a bit starry-eyed but it shouldn't be: When I read a comparitive tool review I need to feel that the reviewer is keeping Me and me alone happy.

Without Me, the magazine and tool buyer, all of you, are Nowhere

Who else should be important?

Anything else is a waste of my time and money.

If more people voted with there feet mags would be compelled to offer totally unbiased opinion, with their readers the only consideration.

As for the 'cordless drill' question,( it could be any tool mind you) its up to you to make those decisions.

This should be part of your expertise.

You cannot test everything that moves so pick the ones that are most popular, most commonly needed and used.

I appreciate your frankness but I still think a lot more could be done even accepting the 'restraints' you mention.
[/b]
 
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