Lon Seidman and Douglas Black of Notebookcheck and UltrabookReview talk laptops and the tech review process
Lon Seidman is a popular YouTuber known for his high-quality laptop and tech reviews. Notebookcheck is a popular website known for its high-quality laptop and tech reviews. What happens when you stick the two together? You get an informative podcast between two champions of the review world that dives into the process behind tech reviews and the state of the laptop market today.
Full disclosure: Douglas Black, who spoke with Lon Seidman on the latter’s most recent podcast, is currently the Chief News Editor for Notebookcheck and UltrabookReview. That said, the podcast was an interesting conversation between Lon and Douglas that discussed the process behind the reviews you read here on Notebookcheck and on UltrabookReview.com, another site with which Douglas is involved.
Douglas and Lon talked about the immense amount of work and passion that goes into each review during the opening segment. If you’ve ever wondered what goes into each and every review we produce, this podcast will give you a better idea. In essence, each review takes between 40-60 hours of intensive technical measurements, benchmarking, comparison, and writeup.
Lon and Douglas also spoke on the state of the laptop market as a whole. Douglas bemoaned the commoditization of the laptop market with Lon mourning the loss of modular portable systems in favor of beautifully engineered closed devices. The slimmer, sleeker laptops we’ve grown to love came at the cost of restricted upgradeability and reduced functionality, a trend that Lon says started with the MacBook Air in 2008. Douglas echoed this statement, saying that he is horrified that the soldering trend is making its way into Lenovo’s storied ThinkPad line, once the bastion of “function-over-form” (the recent ThinkPad X1 Carbon and X280 both have soldered RAM modules).
In the last segment, the duo discussed the low-end laptop market. Both agreed that most lower tiered notebooks seem to be moving to Chinese OEMs while the bigger players (HP, Dell, etc.) are trending away from cheaper devices. Douglas speculated that larger manufacturers aren’t seeing any value in the low end, where profit margins are razor thin. Lon mentioned that Intel’s bottom shelf CPUs (Apollo Lake, Gemini Lake, etc.) have seen some huge performance gains over the past few years, to which Douglas responded that he thinks that’s the segment to watch.
All said, the podcast was incredibly informative and highly entertaining. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a tech reviewer or want some expert opinions on where laptops are headed from a critical point of view, give this one a listen.