What our review scores mean

We review hundreds of products in a wide range of categories each year, and our review process centers around how things perform for regular folks, not journalists in lab coats. Our goal to keep things simple extends to our review scores, as well. Below are our 10 different review scores and what they mean. Scores and awards are given out based on how products perform against other products in their class (price and type) at the time of review.

Figuring out what to spend your hard-earned money on is never easy, but we’re here to take as much pain from the process as we can. Check out our full How We Test guide for more info about each review category.

5 Stars: Exceptional

A game changer, or remarkable in some way

4.5 Stars: Amazing

Outstanding in every way, has no major drawbacks, and is at the top of its category

4 Stars: Great

Near perfect, with only minor quibbles

3.5 Stars: Very Good

A very good product held back by a few issues (or stiff competition)

3 Stars: Good

Competitive. It isn’t the best choice, but good qualities outweigh the bad ones

2.5 Stars: Adequate

Not always the best choice, but it can get the job done

2 Stars: Disappointing

Delivers on far less than it should, and needs some work

1.5 Stars: Poor

Persistently difficult and annoying to use

1 Star: Very Poor

Deeply flawed and barely functional

0.5 Stars: Garbage


Product Awards

In addition to our scores, we also hand out two different awards: Recommended and Editors’ Choice. Full definitions of each award are below, but here’s the lowdown: The best of the best receive our Editors’ Choice award, and anything we think is a solid purchase earns our Recommended award.

Editors' Choice AwardEditors’ Choice

What’s the ideal laptop for me? While no product is ever perfect, there’s one out there that’s perfect for you. Our experts hand-test the newest products in dozens of categories, compare them against each other, and with the help of industry-standard benchmark tests, score, rate, and rank them. From speakers to smartphones, only the best of the best receive the Digital Trends Editors’ Choice award.

Recommended Product AwardRecommended Product

Following thorough benchmark testing and real-world use, Digital Trends recommends hundreds of products every year that meet our exacting standards. Products that carry this stamp of approval stand out from the crowd, moving the needle in terms of price, performance, and quality.

Best Product AwardBest Products

A popular category may have dozens of products that are really good — good enough that we recommend them or even award them our Editors’ Choice. But which is the best of the best? Digital Trends keeps up to date dozens of lists showcasing the best products, explaining in simply language why we picked it, who it’s for, and why you should buy it — or why you should hold off.

Tech for Change AwardTech for Change

From 3D-printed prostheses to burgers grown in science labs to smarter mobility for the elderly or infirm, tech improves our lives every day in a million ways beyond simply making things more convenient. Tech can have a meaningful impact– that’s why we call it Tech for Change. Winners of our award represent the companies and people fighting to make a difference.