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How we test and review products on Android Central

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Camera Lenses
(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

The team at Android Central is comprised of tech enthusiasts who eat, sleep, and breathe all things Android. Our ranks also include experts in several related areas, including Google apps and services, mobile gaming, PlayStation, AR/VR, smart home, wearables, audio, and much more.

We love the products and services that we write about, and we spend countless hours testing and evaluating everything from smartphones to smartwatches, wireless earbuds to security cameras, and Chromebooks to games. We want to share that enthusiasm with our readers while conveying our expertise and authority around the devices and services we cover. As such, we take the responsibility to provide accurate, honest, and reliable reviews very seriously.

Our efforts are backed by our parent company, Future PLC, one of the world's largest technology publishers. The resources and support that Future provides help assure that we are able to give our readers content they can trust and believe in.

To learn more about the Android Central team and their areas of interest and expertise, visit our About Us page.

Razer Anzu Review hero

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Android Central's guarantee to our readers:

  • We do not receive compensation for reviews, nor do we allow brands to have pre-publication access or input into our review process unless specifically marked as SPONSORED CONTENT.
  • Like our audience, we love the Android ecosystem, so we know what our readers want to learn about. This shared passion drives our strategy for which products and services we choose to review.
  • If a product or service is sub-par or should be avoided, we're not going to pull the wool over your eyes — we'll tell you! We won't shy away from being critical when it's warranted
  • Similarly, if we give a product or service a high rating and/or our endorsement, we will tell you exactly why it earned that distinction.
  • Each product or service we review has been handled, including in everyday and intended use, and thoroughly tested by our staff. Occasionally, we may recommend a product in a buyer's guide that, for whatever reason, we were unable to get our hands on. In these cases, we have a strict process for researching such devices using multiple trusted sources.
  • If you think we're failing at any of these promises, we want to know (and so does our boss). You can always email our content director Al Sacco directly with your concerns. Al reads each and every message from our readers and takes them very seriously.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 mocked up to look like a possible Pixel Fold

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Our ratings, explained

Android Central rates the products and services that we review on a star scale from one to five, with one being the lowest rating, and five being the highest. The ratings combine objective data and performance with the subjective context of the product in its wider ecosystem, as well as the personal experience of the writers.

  • 1-1.5 stars: We cannot recommend this product or service in good conscience. Save your money!
  • 2-2.5 stars: We don't recommend this product or service either, but it has some redeeming qualities that set it apart from something you absolutely shouldn't purchase. For these cases, we often recommend waiting for an update or new release before considering making a purchase.
  • 3-3.5 stars: These products are firmly middle-of-the-road. This rating is perfectly average, and while we aren't overly enthusiastic about the product or game, the reader may find enough good in it to justify a purchase.
  • 4-4.5 stars: These reviews are for products and services that are above average and should be considered for purchase. Often these will earn our Recommended badge (more info below).
  • 5 stars: These are the best products or services in their respective categories, and we recommend them without hesitation or reservation. These reviews generally will receive our Best badge. Your money will be well-spent on a product or service that Android Central rates as 5 stars.

Android Central award badges

(Image credit: Future)

Android Central's awards, explained

Our Best badge honors go to those rare products and services that set themselves apart, head and shoulders above the competition. These may not always be the most expensive or high-specced devices, but they generally tick all the boxes for things we’re looking for from that item. Best badges are only awarded to five-star rated products or services.

Products or services that earn our Recommended badge do so because they are among the best in their category. They are a good value and are an option that we can comfortably recommend to our readers based on our evaluation criteria and experience with similar devices or services. Recommended badges are generally awarded to 4-4.5 star rated products or services.

Games that earn our Must-Play badge are the best of the best. Whether it’s revolutionizing a genre or perfecting a tried and true formula, these games provide a gameplay experience that people won’t want to miss out on. We evaluate games based on a number of criteria like their story, gameplay, performance, and more. Games that typically earn our Must-Play badge are awarded 4-5 stars.

Android Central's all-star review team

Bunch O Fitbits

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Android Central’s team of writers brings a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm to the reviews they put together. With decades of combined experience, each writer approaches new reviews with the same degree of excitement and skepticism our readers have come to expect.

Jerry Hildenbrand has been taking apart gadgets to see how they tick for over a decade, and Harish Jonnalagadda has had his hands on nearly every Android phone to come out of Asia since 2010. Nick Sutrich has been reviewing Android devices for the North American market for almost as long, and Andrew Myrick digs into Chromebooks and Chrome OS like nobody else.

Michael Hicks and Jennifer Locke are fixtures in the Android, AR/VR, and PS5 communities, and Chris Wedel has quickly made a name for himself reviewing smart home devices and kids and family tech. News editor Derrek Lee and Editor-in-Chief Jeramy Johnson share an affinity for smartwatches and wearables and haven’t met a pair of smart glasses they won’t try.

The core team is also supported by a number of contributors who regularly review products, including Jay Bonggolto, Namerah Saud Fatmi, Ted Kritsonis, Samuel Tolbert, and Charlie Wacholz.

Android Central reviewers focus on products and categories in which they’re industry experts and bring their own unique personalities and perspectives to complement the objectivity expected from one of the top Android blogs.

Again, you can learn more about our reviewers on our About Us page.

Find X5 Pro

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Our testing methodology for products, apps, service, and games

Backed by years of experience and by our parent company, Future PLC, we have a well-established set of processes, ethics, and standards we follow for all reviews and recommended content on Android Central. 

The specific processes may vary from one product or category to another — whether that be flagship, mid-tier, or entry-level Android smartphones, the latest Chromebooks and tablets, smartwatches and earbuds, smart home devices, or apps, services, and games — but the underlying values remain the same. 

We strive to take our time to truly understand and evaluate the products and services we review so that our readers can feel confident in and trusting of our recommendations. 

We will not recommend any product or service that we wouldn't recommend to our friends and family or purchase for ourselves. This is our promise to you.