Quick. Name the best smartphone money can buy. If you chose an Apple iPhone, why? What criteria determines the best of anything? Total sales? Number of satisfied owners? The results of an independent panel of qualified testers?
Quick. Name the best smartwatch money can buy. Did you choose an Apple Watch? Or, one of the Samsung-whatever products? Or, some kind of fitness band that tells time? The problem here is that we humans don’t do a very good job of defining terms.
Here’s a good and recent example. J.D. Power’s new 2016 Smartwatch Device Satisfaction Report.
Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartwatches, and Samsung ranks highest among manufacturers of fitness band devices… The reports measure overall satisfaction with smartwatches among customers who purchased a smartwatch device within the past 12 months and satisfaction with fitness band trackers among customers who purchased a fitness band device within the past 12 months
J.D. Power’s report then listed some criteria to establish the satisfaction ratings.
- Smartwatches (listed in order of importance): ease of use; comfort; battery life; phone features; price; strength/durability; display size; styling/appearance; reliability; apps available; and customer service
- Fitness band trackers (listed in order of importance): reliability; strength/durability; ease of use; battery life; price; variety of features; comfort; styling and appearance; display size; apps available; and customer service
Fair enough, right? Granted, the results represent merely a cross section of smartwatch users, but let’s go with the flow. Satisfaction.
fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this: he smiled with satisfaction | managing directors seeking greater job satisfaction.
• Law the payment of a debt or fulfillment of an obligation or claim: in full and final satisfaction of the claim.
• [ with negative ] what is felt to be owed or due to one, especially in reparation of an injustice or wrong: the work will come to a halt if the electricity and telephone people don’t get satisfaction.
Now, let’s compare the above with this recent headline and summary on a popular technology website:
Apple Watch is the best smartwatch, but not by much
J.D. Power’s Smartwatch Device Satisfaction report concludes that the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch, but competitors are snapping at its heels.
Anybody see a problem with that?
J.D. Power did NOT say Watch was the best. But in this endless need to compare and contrast and gin up competitive controversies, best is what was regurgitated by the hapless writer.
noun (usu. the best)
that which is the most excellent, outstanding, or desirable: buy the best you can afford | Sarah always had to be the best at everything | this year’s event will cover the best of both domestic and international manufacturing practices.
• the most meritorious aspect of a thing or person: he brought out the best in people.
• (one’s best) the peak of condition; the highest standard or level that a person or thing can reach: this is jazz at its best | try to look your best.
Best is not Satisfaction. J.D. Power measured a variety of responses to determine the level of user satisfaction, which may or may not have anything to do with a product being the best, but conflation being what it is, ipso facto and alakazam, satisfaction becomes best.
Ergo, Apple Watch is best because its users are more satisfied than Samsung’s customers.
Both best and satisfaction are related, but I would prefer to see a different criteria for each.