The personal nature of mobile tech: Why I will not recommend any gadget

Summary:I get at least a dozen requests a day to recommend one gadget or another to someone. My response is always the same -- I do not make gadget recommendations.

Having covered mobile technology for years, I am often asked by readers to recommend (or not) a particular gadget. The dozen or so folks asking me to make such a recommendation daily are usually surprised to hear that I don't do that. I don't refuse to do so because I am not a nice guy, there are valid reasons behind my refusal.

Mobile technology is so personal in nature that no one gadget is the right one for everyone. There are simply too many factors that enter into the equation to determine if a very personal device by design is right for any one individual. There will never be the "perfect" gadget because we are all different, and it's also why there is no such thing as the "iPad killer" or "Android killer". What is right for one person can fall short in some areas for others.

The gadget that is special in most areas may fall short in the one area of utmost importance to an individual that disqualifies it from consideration. It doesn't matter how good a gadget or platform may be if it can't do the function that a person needs the most, and in the way that is required. The function is not always obvious, some folks don't realize a device doesn't work until they actually try it.

A gadget can be disqualified by one person for something as simple as a pet peeve. I recently spoke to a person who couldn't stand tablets that had a bezel bigger than a certain size. The pet peeve was so strong that this person couldn't fathom owning a tablet with a bezel that is too big. If I was making a recommendation for a tablet that served this person's needs perfectly but had a bezel that violated his feelings I would be in error and this user would be unhappy with my choice.

Not only does the type of work to be performed with a gadget factor into which one may be acceptable, how and where the work must be done is also significant. A device that seems perfect for an individual is inappropriate if size or sometimes even shape makes it less than ideal for how it might be used.

There are too many criteria factoring into an individual's needs for a gadget for me to ever hit a home run with a recommendation. I am not trying to avoid being wrong to protect my ego, I want to make sure that folks don't spend hard-earned money on a solution that is not adequate for their needs. This is why I prefer to cover devices from a hands-on perspective, explaining how I use them and how well they perform under defined conditions. The reader can hopefully make an informed decision whether the gadget being covered is appropriate for them given their unique situation, or if it falls short.

Mobile gadgets are personal on many levels, and each individual must determine if each one meets all of his/her needs, and in the way that it will be used. The user must be comfortable with a device on every level, and only he/she can know that. It would be presumptuous of me to step in and say that only gadget X meets those needs.

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Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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