We’re not shills, we just get amped on geeky stuff


I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve been called a fanboy or how many times I’ve been told I was unwittingly paid by [insert manufacturer name here].

Seriously, if anyone knows the account number for the checking account holding the insurmountable back pay I never received for publicly plugging and recommending products (whilst also cutting others down to size), feel free to share. After all, I’m the fanboy who deserves it, right?

Joking aside, I’ve never known a fanboy who willingly and openly carried the operating systems he allegedly hates. I carry an iPhone 5, Moto X, iPad mini with Retina display, and Nexus 7 with me every single day. In fact, in the last year, I’ve carried and used all the most notable mobile OSes: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. Had a webOS phone launched or Michael not gotten dibs on the Jolla Phone, I would have jumped on those opportunities, too.

ipad-air-review-12I’m just as quick to go to bat for Android as I am iOS or Windows Phone. And when OEMs or developers make a mistake or fail to live up to their own hype, I’m there to point out flaws in hardware, software, user experience, etc. I love diversity and can’t stand the thought of only ever using one mobile OS.

In a nutshell, that’s my job description. Be critical when necessary, sing the praises of great accomplishments and products, and try everything under the sun.

The former half of that statement provides plenty of fuel for so-called fanboy wars. Recently, however, those put off by my swift criticism have been less vocal. Instead, the word “shill” has been thrown around, as well as insinuations that we’re on one company’s payroll.

People are genuinely upset that I find a product pleasing to use, simply because it’s not something they could personally jive with.

steelPebble Steel was easily the most interesting thing out of CES 2014 for me. We saw nothing breathtaking or mind-blowing as far as smartphones or tablets go, and the rest out of the wearables realm was … laughable, at best.

Steel fixes the only problem I’ve ever had with my Pebble: build quality. The original Pebble, visually, has more in common with the Casio calculator watch I wore as a kid. There would be nothing wrong with that, if it wasn’t priced at $150.

At $250 with a brushed steel or PVD finish and Gorilla Glass screen, it’s a much more sound investment, especially with the arrival of the latest software, Pebble 2.0 and the Pebble appstore.

And for Motorola, I received a review unit of the Moto X back in August. I immediately fell in love, despite the handset’s few shortcomings – namely, the camera. Its lack of stellar specifications never bothered me, nor did its size. (I generally prefer larger smartphones.) It was all about the user experience, plain and simple. It delivered.

The Moto G, even as affordable as it was and mediocre as it seemed, was also the recipient of my praise. For a fraction of the price, the Moto G offered a very similar user experience to the Moto X. That shouldn’t go unnoticed or unsaid, as most – if not all – other similarly priced and low-end Android handsets before it paled in comparison to their more expensive and more powerful counterparts. Such wasn’t the case with the Moto G. At all.

Yet these three products, among many, many others over the years, have been the center of wild and absurd accusations from readers, viewers, and commenters alike. We all get these accusations when writing or talking about the our favorite products, and especially about things we’ve seen or heard of that haven’t yet released.


A prime example of this happened a few weeks ago when I published a video of my favorite watchapps for Pebble on Android. A YouTube commenter, who quickly backtracked when I responded, said, “You guys must be getting paid by Pebble…” (I did him the favor of adding punctuation and capitalization.)

It doesn’t take too much digging to find this all throughout site and YouTube comments, as well as throughout comment sections all over the Web. If the world were exactly how some melodramatic commenters think it is, integrity would have died long ago.

I remember exactly how jazzed I was for the Nokia Lumia 1020 launch. I couldn’t wait. I was the same way over the Note 3 and even the Nexus 5. And I will continue to be over any product that excites me or appears to be disruptive – actually excelling in areas others claim to be – in the future.

This will continue to happen, not only from me, but from the entire Pocketnow crew, and hopefully you ladies and gents in the comments. This is what it’s all about – getting pumped for new, awesome products, and shrugging off the ones that miss the mark, not regressing to a primitive state and throwing low-blow lobs (that have already been used a million times over).

But it’s also about being honest and seeing the broader picture – calling stuff as we see it. If we simply praised everything or, likewise, bashed everything without justification, this whole site (or industry, even) would be boring and unhelpful. We’re here to take a broad, unbiased look at products, not to take money or incentives from companies to praise their products or bash its competitors’.

So the next time you want to take to the comments and flail about like the whiny kid who didn’t get a candy bar at the convenience store because the product you were dying to get your hands on or your favorite operating system isn’t flawless, take a minute to compose yourself and think objectively. At the very least, if you’re going to succumb to a anger-fueled comment, I challenge you to put some thought into it and make it original. It’s the least you could do.

“You guys must be getting paid by X because I disagree with you” is a little played-out.

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About The Author
Taylor Martin
Based out of Charlotte, NC, Taylor Martin started writing about technology in 2009 while working in wireless retail. He has used BlackBerry off and on for over seven years, Android for nearly four years, iOS for three years, and has experimented with both webOS and Windows Phone. Taylor has reviewed countless smartphones and tablets, and doesn't go anywhere without a couple gadgets in his pockets or "nerd bag." In his free time, Taylor enjoys playing disc golf with friends, rock climbing, and playing video games. He also enjoys the occasional hockey game, and would do unspeakable things for some salmon nigiri. For more on Taylor Martin, checkout his Pocketnow Insider edition. | Google+