PCWorld : The 10 Most Overrated Products

An interesting slide show from PCWorld about the 10 Most Overrated Products against Underrated ones.

Hype springs eternal. Lots of technologies, products and services don't merit the praise heaped on them. Here are 10 tech items that don't live up to their billing -- and 10 that deserve respect that they don't receive. Worth a check out.

One comparision among the many : PCWorld feels XP is overated and Vista under-rated.

"Save Windows XP! is the rallying cry of Windows users dismayed by the needless bloat of Vista. But didn't everyone have the same critique of Windows XP when it first galumphed into public view like an unsteady rubber monster?

What did Vista get right? For starters, though the User Account Control feature is like an annoying little sister who constantly pokes you, it makes Vista more secure than XP. Vista also trounces XP in handling mobile de­­vices, networking, multimedia files and photos. On top of that, it has a cleaner, more navigable interface -- one eerily reminiscent of a certain Mac operating system."

Link: tech.msn.com

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42 Comments

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I agree only on a few points. The first, touch-pad interfaces, I am not impressed with nor do I see the real need for them. I much prefer a good keyboard to work on. I also disagree on Vista vs. XP, I have used both and I didn't see any benefit of Vista for me personally. Finally, though I own an iPod Touch, I do think that the Zune is a better device (see my first disagreement).

Photoshop CS4 versus Paint.NET rofl no seriously. Photoshop versus Gimpshop ok. Gimp is free and will do the job. But Paint.NET come on. Can't believe they did that. Wonder how much they get paid ...

iPod is overrated no doubt about it. I own an IPod Touch 8GB and i actually like the touch screen and interface but for the price it is a complete ripoff no doubt about it. But Zune is definately overrated too. If you don't want to be a sheep like me buy the Sansa or something else don't be a sheep to by buying the Zune. Sansa belongs to underated not Zune.

Wii is definately A LOT overrated. But PSP too. I remember when the PSP launched all the buzz about it. Playing PS2 quality games on the go, listening to music, cooking and brushing your teeth with it. The PSP just did not deliver. I guess PC World doesn't play games cause there's not much to play on the PSP if you compare it to the DS. I owned a PSP and sold it to buy a DS. You can't compare PSP to Wii. You need to compare it to the DS and the DS wins. More and better games. PSP is not underrated it's rated accordingly to it's quality. It's not bad just not as good as the DS.

(LaP said @ #1)
Photoshop CS4 versus Paint.NET rofl no seriously. Photoshop versus Gimpshop ok. Gimp is free and will do the job. But Paint.NET come on. Can't believe they did that. Wonder how much they get paid ...

I didn't really read this as Photoshop vs. Paint.NET. It was simply stating that Photoshop is overrated (which it is), and Paint.NET is underrated (more like almost unknown). It was not saying that Paint.NET > Photoshop, because that would obviously be totally ridiculous.

Oh, and I'll have to disagree with you about the Zune - it is definately underrated as most people brush it off as a poor clone of the iPod when in reality it surpasses the iPod in many respects. Especially when paired with the Zune software and Zune Pass like it was designed to be. When taken as an entire package the Zune wins, although I will agree that based solely on the device's price/features, better DMPs can be found from Sansa/Archos/etc...

I don't understand why everyone here thinks that the author of the article compared two items and concluded as one was better than the other one.

Overrated item can still be better than the underrated, but they still can be overrated and underrated.

XP is overrated? When it's selling to 80% of the Windows market share and Vista is less than 20%? XP was just given 6 months more life recently because of the demand. Considering all the buzz and marketing around it, Vista definitely seems overrated... PC World is just not considering the unprecedented fact that a near-8-year-old OS (closely based on an even older one) is still in high demand!

1. XP is not selling 80% - that is only the market share. Vista is selling far more than XP otherwise Vista would never gain marketshare like 20% in the first place. The 6 month extention is very limited and targeting small businesses (its only for Vista Business and Ultimate)

2. XP's market share after one and half years of its release was far less than Vista, and the articles of 2003 are about why people see no need from upgrading from Windows 2000, and why XP was a flop, and why businesses would never upgrade.

(ricknl said @ #21.1)
1. XP is not selling 80% - that is only the market share. Vista is selling far more than XP otherwise Vista would never gain marketshare like 20% in the first place. The 6 month extention is very limited and targeting small businesses (its only for Vista Business and Ultimate)

2. XP's market share after one and half years of its release was far less than Vista, and the articles of 2003 are about why people see no need from upgrading from Windows 2000, and why XP was a flop, and why businesses would never upgrade.

take a note xp share droped below 70% since two months ago

about 68% xp

vista around 18.3%
increasing aprox 1% each months
http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=11

I disagree with most of that to be honest. It's complete crap.

1. Touch Interfaces - Once you get over the initial confusion and stabbing the wrong keys, it's actually pretty good and if I lay my iPhone down flat (rather that holding it with one hand) you can almost get up to normal QWERTY keyboard speed.. admittedly it does depend on using the inbuilt error correction (which is pretty good 95%) of the time. I DEFINATELY prefer the advantages not having a standard keyboard brings over the supposed inconvenience of a touch interface.

2. Wii - yeah, it is overrated a bit but at the end of the day Nintendo were never about having the most cutting edge graphics - they were about having the most FUN games. I defy anyone to say that they didn't really have a good time the first time they played Wii Sports.. I remeber clearing my lounge and having four of us playing Wii Tennis, all leaping off the sofa and stuff - it was great. But the fun did wear off..

3. Disagree here. The lowest spec netbooks are CHEAP - the better spec ones are reasonably priced and what crack is the author smoking when he implies that 1.6GHz, 1GB of RAM and a 120GB HDD are somehow only suitable for 'basic' tasks?! WTF?! I just bought my girlfriend an Acer Aspire One and she plans to take it on the road with her for MS Office tasks, replying to email, etc - I'd wager that MOST computer users do that sort of stuff on their computers!

4. iTunes as a concept isn't overrated. Apple drove the electronic music market place like no one else and set out a model that worked. They even recently fought off the music industries who wanted to charge customers more for digital downloads. Why the hell do they cop so much flack for it? The Windows version is definately a bit flaky - but it works great on OS X. And I thought almost all music was iTunes Plus which is DRM free, so why the "that's locked down in DRM hell" comment?!

5. Facebook.. again.. it can't be overrated when it took a concept and made it many times better. It got popular because it did what it was supposed to, well. I don't use it often but I think it's a great idea that's well executed.

6. I suppose i'm biased here having owned many iPods and now an iPhone. I still maintain that they got where they were through making products that worked well, and making products people desired. I've never had ANY technical problems now with ANY of the iPods I've owned (2x shuffles, 3rd gen 20GB classic, 1st gen nano, 3rd gen nano, iPhone 3G) and I've had all of them for at least a couple of years. No one gives a crap about Zune as it just seemed like a "Me too!!" effort from Microsoft. Some stuff in there is nice no doubt about it (wireless sync, etc) but it just didn't do anything significantly better to make people want it more than an iPod.

7. I don't think Open Office is underrated. It's wonderful that a company / group is investing so much time in making an app like that for free but at the end of the day it isn't fully compatible with Office (not their fault I concede!) so it's no good. Google apps are a step in the right direction but again, if you've ever tried to do any serious work on Google Apps you'll know it's just not really possible.

8. Comparing Photoshop CS4 to Paint.NET just cost this article all credibility. One is a professional studio grade graphical editing application - one is a freebie technology demo for .NET - if all you do is resize images and adjust brightness than CS4 isn't for you!

9. Windows XP isn't overrated. Windows Vista is deservedly underrated. If a company has to invest millions of dollars in advertising campaigns to reassure people that the product "isn't as bad as they think" or "is better since SP1" you know they screwed up! Simple as that! Windows XP is popular because it works great, and it runs on modest hardware configurations. Just GET OVER IT. People will want to hang onto it as long as possible (I'm writing this on Vista BTW so I'm not being some bias troll - just telling it how I see it).

10. I don't agree that streaming video is underrated. Physical media (even something as good as Blu Ray) is of an era that we need to move away from IMHO. If we can get fast enough network connections and fast enough hosting to deliver HD movies on demand without the need to go and pick up or have delivered a piece of physical media, then surely that has to be a big step forward?!

I think I agreed with like ONE point in there or something..

xp work great as it is ? oh really

can you tell me then why it need "sp2" and 40~50% of it orginal RTM code got changed ? yea because it is overated crap

Meanwhile after a service pack, Vista still isn't catching on... Maybe after Vista gets its SP2, more users will be happy with it...

can you tell me then why it need "sp2" and 40~50% of it orginal RTM code got changed ? yea because it is overated crap

Um - so by your expert rationale, any product which needs more than one service pack is immediately overrated crap? I expect we'll see an SP2 for Vista (not to mention an SP3) later on down the line - does that mean Vista is overrated crap? And what about SQL Server - many many SP's for that... is SQL Server overrated crap?

Seriously - try engaging your brain before you come in spouting waffle.

The alternative music sites they named, Pandora and slacker... well slacker seems nice but Pandora cannot be accessed by users abroad, there is a message from the founder that due to bandwidth constraints it can only be accessed in the US... bummer

in general i think they have some of them right and some of them wrong.

#1 ... "Overrated: Touch Interface; Underrated: A Good Keyboard"

i agree with overall... cause even though im sure the Touch interface is 'cool' and all.... in terms of efficiency i think a 'real keyboard' is probably overall better... but i suspect once you learn how to use the touch screen it's probably better than using a real keyboard (cause it wont build up with dirt etc etc after years of use)... but initial learning i think is the main problem from what i can tell.

#2 ... "Overrated: Nintendo Wii ; Underrated: Sony PlayStation Portable"

i probably agree here to... cause even though i generally dont care for 'portable systems' (cause once you get quality consoles it's hard to go back to portable crap) i do think the "Wii" is definitely overrated... cause i used it... and it's "OK' but after you get over the initial 'coolness' it's not really that good of a system... PS3/XBox360 are FAR better system's overall for 'serious' gamers.

#3 ... "Overrated: Mini Notebooks; Underrated: Ultraportable Laptops"

as for this i dont have to much comment one way or the other here... but i will say whichever is overall better is the one i would choose.... so in other words if the 'mini notebooks' are more bulky but alot cheaper in price... i take those every time over a 'ultraportable laptop'

#4 ... "Overrated: iTunes Downloads; Underrated: Slacker and Pandora"

i dont have to much comment here... but i will say that iTunes is probably overrated (along with most apple products in the 'portable genre' as there overall good but way overpriced)

#5 ... "Overrated: Facebook; Underrated: Multiply"

i dont have to much comment here as i generally dont use these types of sites... but if anything i would say 'MySpace' is overrated more than anything as it's bloated and unprofessional looking in general.... where as Facebook is most likely much better in that area although i never used any of them myself but from what i can tell from briefly visiting MySpace here and there etc etc.

#6 ... "Overrated: Apple iPod Touch; Underrated: Microsoft Zune"

totally agree here... but i will say neither of them are as good as a digital audio player that supports running the open-source firmware called 'Rockbox' (www.rockbox.org) which just gives you more freedom in playing audio formats as it plays pretty much all audio formats out there (.ogg/.mp3/.flac etc etc) and it gives you alot of 'options' to and it's simple to use and efficient interface is nice and professional looking... but if you dont like it's default interface they do have skins for it to change it's look etc.... but i myself prefer the default interface.

also with stuff like Zune/iPOD is that they have a wheel that's based on 'touching' which learning it i think is less natural vs using a physical wheel like the Sandisk Sansa e200 series (that i have) has.... the Sansa is just easier to 'pick up and use' as it's wheel feels more natural vs the sensitive touch stuff that the ipod and zune's have. (i breifly used my cousins Zune and i immediately noticed it feels awkward using it's scroll wheel (cause it's touch based) vs the scroll wheel on mine and im basing this on "first use of each device" to so you cant say that 'no wonder this guy likes the sansa wheel better cause he owns it' sorta thing. ;)

#7 ... "Overrated: Google Apps; Underrated: OpenOffice 3.0"

i dont have to much comment here... as i dont really use them but OpenOffice (which i have installed but dont use much) does seem like a good alternative to overpriced software like MS Office etc.

#8 ... "Overrated: Adobe Photoshop CS4 ; Underrated: Paint.Net"

i dont have to much comment here... but it's like people said these products are pretty much totally different from one another.

#9 ... "Overrated: Windows XP; Underrated: Windows Vista"

overall i do agree Vista is underrated... cause people tend to bash it ALOT when it's not really that bad of a OS 'IF' you got a powerful enough PC to run it... cause even though i dont think Vista is worth the cost of the upgrade (probably $100-$200?) over XP since in general XP 'just works' , i do think the 'little things' are what make Vista overall better than XP.... plus i like the feel of Vista over XP (plus on a side note: i HATE XP's default look vs Vista's ... when i used to use XP i always went back to the 'classic' look)

#10 ... "Overrated: Streaming Video; Underrated: Blu-ray Disc"

i agree here.... but i never really knew video streaming was 'overrated', but in general i totally agree that 'video streaming' cant hold a candle to a quality TV running 1080p with a blu-ray disc if your looking at pure video quality.

Agreed, portable media players are definitely powerful enough to support a variety of formats, I don't want to have to convert files to work on a certain player, it should be able to handle anything. At least offer a "licensing pack" that licenses you a whole bunch of codecs for life when you purchase it... I can't count how many licenses I have to use mp3, wma, wmv, etc with all the various products and software that I have, and then there are free formats like flac and ogg. If I can get a copy of nero which handles all those formats bundled with a DVD-RW that costs $20, how much can it possibly cost to use all those codecs?

I also gotta say, after using Rockbox, I'm not buying another player that doesn't support it. That software is fantastic. Plus, playing emulated Tetris for Gameboy on my MP3 player rocks.

(HalcyonX12 said @ #18.1)
Agreed, portable media players are definitely powerful enough to support a variety of formats, I don't want to have to convert files to work on a certain player, it should be able to handle anything. At least offer a "licensing pack" that licenses you a whole bunch of codecs for life when you purchase it... I can't count how many licenses I have to use mp3, wma, wmv, etc with all the various products and software that I have, and then there are free formats like flac and ogg. If I can get a copy of nero which handles all those formats bundled with a DVD-RW that costs $20, how much can it possibly cost to use all those codecs?

I also gotta say, after using Rockbox, I'm not buying another player that doesn't support it. That software is fantastic. Plus, playing emulated Tetris for Gameboy on my MP3 player rocks.

i totally agree there ... heck, i even use Tetris (a little) on the gameboy emulator although the sound acts up and the control layout aint the greatest (for games) but other than that it's solid... but at the end of the day Rockbox is for "AUDIO" (as you already know, so anything else like emulators etc is just a bonus) and it does 'audio' really well ;)

and like i was saying the .ogg support alone is enough to make me like Rockbox over the stock firmware.... cause i pretty much converted all my mp3's etc to .ogg (@ 45kbps avg bit rate , which sounds quite good considering how low the bit rate is) so i can fit alot more onto my 2GB of space i have vs using 128kbps+ MP3's, cause in general 128kbps is about the minimum you can use for MP3 without sound taking a nose dive in my opinion... and i pretty much got all my music into about 1GB which is 806 audio files with the avg 45kbps .ogg files.

plus i also recommend using a program called 'mp3tag' to label all your .mp3 or .ogg etc files so that they appear with artist/track name/year/ etc etc properly and that Rockbox can organize all your files correctly and professionally.

p.s. in case you did not know... about a week or two ago they released the first stable release of Rockbox ( which is v3.0 ) in over 3 years... and according to there site there planning on doing stable releases about 3months apart.

Some are fair... others I don't agree with.

Seems like now a days you need to bash and bash things until the point where they are so outraged, they feel the need to post it.

Wow, reading those was the biggest waste of time. They're reasoning is absolutely stupid! They don't consider that everybody has different WANTS.

Did anyone look at page 9 slowly and go:

"Ahh yes. Overrated, Mozilla Firefox. Underrated, Windows Internet Explorer 7. Let's see... (scrolls down) WTF?"

Not to start a flaming war but...

Photoshop vs. Paint.Net - This is stupid. You can't compare these products. The only thing that makes Paint.Net better is the fact that is free and it costs less space. (respect to the developers, I actually use both)

iPod vs Zune - I'll go with Zune on this one. I have seen both in real-life and Zune seems to suit my taste.

XP vs Vista - I'll go with Vista on this one. If you let the system to optimize itself during the first week of use and you don't use a ten-year-old then Vista is better. (at least for me)

Streaming Video vs Blue-Ray - Blue-Ray all the way. Watch some movie in streaming quality and then watch it on a blue-ray player with 1080p TV, and you'll know what is better.

(sin-ergy said @ #8)
.... that was awful. just..awful. i pretty disagreed with the whole thing.

That doesn't make it "awful"...

"On top of that, it has a cleaner, more navigable interface"

I disagree. I tend to use the keyboard for navigation rather than the mouse and I find Vista changed navigation shortcuts that didn't need to be changed. Too many hyperlinks and not enough file menus. Or multiple hyperlinks that link to the same option box like the System Properties window does. And I have a hell of a time finding the "Hide underlined letters for keyboard navigation until I press the Alt key" option to turn it off! I want my underlines!

My biggest frustration with those changes was that in explorer they linked the backspace key with the back button instead of linking it with "up one level" like it's been for so long.

It seems they keep wanting to make each new version of Windows "easier to use" but they alienate those familiar with the last version by unnecessarily moving stuff around.

"What did Vista get right?" the article bravely asks. I'd say the ability to still format your computer with another os. ZING!

Wow. Very one sided. It's almost as if this site was hosted by Microsoft.... oh wait.... it's an msn.com. Explains it all really.....

"Overrated: Apple iPod Touch; Underrated: Microsoft Zune" oh man, that is gunna start a WW3 of flaming. I'm gunna go post it on an Apple Tech site *mrburnsexcellent*

(Sam Symons Live said @ #3)
"Overrated: Apple iPod Touch; Underrated: Microsoft Zune" oh man, that is gunna start a WW3 of flaming. I'm gunna go post it on an Apple Tech site *mrburnsexcellent*

True though, I own both (actually my wife has the iPod Touch now), and while the touch screen is cool it doesn't add much to the music player experience. My Zune is perfect for what it is and the Zune software is orders of magnitude better than iTunes.

of course the IPOD Touch (and IPOD's in general) is overrated cause you can find stuff just as good (if not better) for a much cheaper price.

cause anything that can run Rockbox (www.rockbox.org , FREE Open-Source Firmware for Digital Audio Players) is better than anything that cant in terms of 'playing music' cause that's what most Digital Audio Players are for... plus not to mention it gives you alot more options to play around with vs stock firmware.

with rockbox you can play just about any audio format out there (i.e. .mp3 .ogg .flac etc etc)

main reason i run Rockbox on my Sandisk Sansa e250 (2GB) player is for .OGG support as .OGG sounds noticeably better than .mp3 does at low bit rates (i.e. under 128kbps)

Vista Biz is great on laptops. I don't think though even with Windows 7, people are going to make the jump. The hardware requirements were harsh and Windows 7 doesn't fix that problem does it? I prefer Vista Biz SP1 to XP Pro SP3

Another problem, people who actually really thought Vista is really great, why would they jump to Windows 7?