The difference between product and gadget testing

Product Testing

Product testers are used by companies to carry out market research on new items coming to market. Testers register with a website, and then they are either randomly selected for a trial, or when a trial becomes live they register their interest in taking part.

Products

Becoming a product tester requires no specialist skills, although the companies may want testers to be from a certain demographic in society. Once you have the product you will be required to give feedback, either through a one off questionnaire, or responding to questions over a number of days. Once you have been sent the product, it is yours to keep and companies will not charge you for taking part in the trial. The types of items product testers receive vary hugely from baby products to perfume.

There are a number of sites in the UK that offer product testing including Super Savvy Me, Toluna, Clix Research, Bzz Agent, and Pinecone research. Testers are free to sign up to as many sites as they like and doing so increases the likelihood that they will be selected for a trial.

Gadget Testing

Gadget testing is a very popular and specialised area of the product testing world. It involves people testing out the latest gadgets, such as mobile phones or laptops for manufacturers, and giving their feedback on the items. Companies looking for gadget testers typically want people who are very tech savvy as they will often be asked quite complex questions about using the product, which means gadget testing is not suited to everyone. Additionally, gadget testers will often need to set aside time each day to perform tasks on the gadget as part of the test conditions.

Gadgets

With a gadget testing role, testers do have the opportunity to try out the latest gadgets, but unlike product testing, they are often required to return the product at the end of the trial rather than keeping it. Understandably, there is a lot of competition for these types of roles so it can take time before you are accepted on a trial.

There are a number of sites that offer gadget testing; some are product testing sites such as Toluna which sometimes also offer gadgets for test. Alternatively, you can contact manufactures direct as they sometimes have their own dedicated test panels. These are especially useful for people who have an interest in testing specific products. Examples include Sony's frontline website, or the Microsoft research panel. If you have a high level of specialised IT knowledge, these sites also offer software beta tester roles. Most gadget testing sites only offer a few trials per year so it is unlikely that you will have a constant stream of new gadgets to try out.

How to Join a Site

To join a product or gadget testing site, the process is usually very simple. The first step is to register on the site itself and fill in a few details about your age and lifestyle. After that, depending on the site, you will either receive emails alerting you to the start of trial or you will need to check the site to see if anything new is available. Many of these tests are extremely popular and fill up very quickly so it is advised that you respond to emails as soon as possible and check sites daily if you can.

Unfortunately, there are many scam websites claiming to offer product and gadget testing opportunities, so it is important to make sure you choose a reputable site. No trustworthy testing site will ask you for payment to take part in their research, nor will part of the test involve you accepting or transferring money in any way. As with all scams, anything that seems to promise too much is probably a site you should be very wary of. If you are not sure about a certain testing website, checking online for reviews by previous users can give you a good idea of whether to proceed or not.

Will I be Paid?

It is very rare for product or gadget testing sites to pay you for testing the products. Essentially your payment is being able to use the item. Occasionally, in some specialised surveys, you may receive some payment, which is usually in the form of vouchers for retailers such as Amazon or large High Street shops. Some gadget testing sites may ask you to write reviews of their products for which you may earn some extra money. Again, this is usually in vouchers, however some companies will pay you in cash for this service, typically into a PayPal account once you have reached a certain threshold. If you are interested in earning money from writing reviews there are a number of sites online which offer this including Ciao, Toluna, My Lot and Dooyoo.

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