But how do you make sure you’re getting the best available, and value for money? The trick is to benefit from the experience of other consumers, and that has been the aim of Which? ever since it was conceived back in 1957.
Everybody’s heard about Which? Reports, and savvy consumers have been checking out the experience of their researchers in our libraries for as long as I can remember (you really don’t want to know how long that is…). But the magazine format imposed some fairly obvious restrictions on those reports. Each topic had to fit into no more than half a dozen pages or so, meaning that the variety of models of any given gadget on test was severely limited. The May 2014 magazine reviewed 22 tablet computers and 40 kettles, which seems like a good range. But the Which? website covers 72 tablet computers and 218 kettles. Each report gives every item a percentage score so you can compare with other items, and scores each feature out of 5 in a rigorous test process. Best Buy recommendations are flagged up, as are the more negative Don’t Buy recommendations, and there are detailed specifications for every item on test.
It’s entirely possible that you’re only interested in seeing the Best Buy recommendations, but if you’re interested in a particular feature you may find it useful to have access to the full range of information available for each before making your choice.
The online Which? database is a remarkable development from what was already a really useful service, and it’s free to subscribers at no extra cost. Several of Westminster’s libraries are subscribers, and thanks to a clever piece of software customers are able to make use of the database on the libraries’ computers without having to type in any passwords. Once logged in, you will have full access to the site, and you can use the features which you need.