How We Assign Awards at Hardware Hounds

Clearing up Awards Confusion

In many cases, award systems are pretty confusing. It makes sense to hand out awards when you review products, but what does “Editor’s Choice” really mean? If a writer gives a stamp of approval, the reader could be discovering a quality product, or just learning about one individual’s personal bias.

We have two goals with our award system at Hardware Hounds. The first is to cut out as much personal bias as possible, and the second is to have awards that mean something to the reader. No one can be completely unbiased, but an award can help a reviewer be more extrospective than before. So without further ado, let’s explain what our awards are and what they mean.

The “Must Have” Award

This is our highest award and our only standalone one. In thinking about the typical editor’s choice award, we wanted to shy away from the personal opinion behind that. A reviewer will always have personal opinions, but the concept behind “Must Have” is that anyone would want to buy this product. A good example of this would be a great new graphics card release. Sure, not everyone can afford it and someone could certainly argue that nobody needs it. However, most buyers will gladly take a GPU upgrade if budget is no object. HWHounds Must Have Award

We use four main categories to judge a product. Naturally, great performance is one of them. We also have Great Style, Great Function, and Great Value. “Must Have” is for a component that does very well in all four categories. Minor exceptions could be a product that only does well in three categories, but in such a way as to still merit the award. For instance, a product could excel in performance, style and function, though not be considered the best value. A “Must Have” product is one that most everyone would be happy with buying.

The “Great Performance” Award

We’re sure this is self explanatory, but we’ll explain it anyways. The “Great Performance” award is strictly for raw performance. Whether it’s how well a CPU does with benchmarks, how well a GPU does with gaming, how well a cooler does with temperatures, or any metric that has a raw performance value. On the other hand, certain products have less of a performance metric and more of a function metric. For instance, performance is sometimes mentioned in terms of a gaming keyboard, but we would look at it more as a functional product. A “Great Performance” product scores well in benchmarks, whether digitally or physically measured.HWHounds Great Performance Award

The “Great Style” Award

Some products have to perform great, but others have to look great. Sure, many components need to do well in both categories, but the “Great Style” award focuses entirely on aesthetics. Obviously RGB lighting has the potential to add a lot of style to a product. However, even products that have zero lighting can earn a great style award. If a company has put clear, artistic attention to detail when designing a product, it will earn the “Great Style” award.HWHounds Great Style Award

The “Great Function” Award

Performance is a term used for almost every computer component, but sometimes the term function is more proper. The “Great Function” award is meant to fill, and differentiate, this niche in hardware reviews. A great example was a case I reviewed a long time back. It was the best build experience I ever had, but my high praises fell on deaf ears due to the plain design and cheap price. Another way to look at this is how easy a CPU cooler is to install, instead of how well it performs. Cases and peripherals can be hard to measure with raw numbers, even when deserving of an award. The “Great Function” award is designed entirely for the ease of use of a product.HWHounds Great Function Award

The “Great Value” Award

Who doesn’t like a great deal? The “Great Value” award focuses entirely on how much a product costs in terms of how much value it brings to a consumer. This could mean that a component isn’t the greatest performer, but has an amazing price. On the other hand, it could mean that a product has amazing performance, but also has a great price. Ryzen processors come to mind for the latter category. Regardless, a “Great Value” product is one that give a big bang for the buck.HWHounds Great Value Award

The Award Process

As mentioned earlier, the “Must Have” is a standalone award. If a component earns that many accolades, then the single award is enough to convey what we think of the product. Otherwise, a component can earn as many as 3 of the other 4 awards. (Assuming of course that if a product has earned all four of the great awards, it should simply have a “Must Have” award at that point.) The goal is to help you understand what categories a particular product has excelled at, which we hope you can use for comparisons when making your decisions.

So there you have it! That’s the basic rundown of how we’ll assign awards at Hardware Hounds. If you’re a vendor looking for larger sizes of the awards, simply click on any of the thumbnails below to bring up the full size image. From there you can right click and save the image, or even ask your contact from our site to send them over. We look forward to reviewing lots of great hardware with the hopes of handing out several great awards.

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