Prepare for the next The Lab edition with these tips and tricks!

  1. Daniel D.
    Community Team Staff Member Mar 15, 2022

    Daniel D. , Mar 15, 2022 :
    Hey all,

    Yes, the next edition of The Lab – our review contest – is just around the corner. In our latest survey, we noticed some of the comments are related to the selection process. This thread aims to prepare you by providing you with an insight into how the process happens while also highlighting some tips I feel can help you go through the multiple rounds.

    About a year ago, @YRJ put together a very well-crafted guide which you can find here; The Lab 101 | A Beginner's Guide! Below, I'll complement that information by covering generic Do's and Dont's suggestions and sharing the selection process's different steps.

    In addition, we will have two complementary guides from our Writers' Club friends coming up very soon, focusing on Product Photography and Writing. Check the index below and jump to the part that you feel helps you the most!


  2. Daniel D.
    Community Team Staff Member Mar 15, 2022

    Stickied Post
    Daniel D. , Mar 15, 2022 :
    These Dos and Don'ts are based on our past selection experience, through the multiple editions of The Lab. It is by no means a complete list, but it should give you an idea of the common mistakes present in most reviews and, hopefully, can help you avoid them.

    • use free proofreading tools such as Grammarly and Spell-checker, as recommended by @SoniaB. These tools are user-friendly and serve as an extra layer to make sure your entry is free of typos and faulty sentence structures.
    • submit photos of the product you're reviewing. Product shots matter, they do! We must understand how you can capture the product you are reviewing.
    • make sure your links work. Please double-check if they work when you provide a shared link (e.g., Google Drive or YouTube Link). I have an easy method to ensure that the link is viewable. Try to open the link under Google Chrome's Incognito mode or an equivalent function in your browser. If the link opens up for you on Incognito, 99.9% of the time, the link is functional for us as well.
    • structure your entry. Structure matters - If you include a bunch of disconnected topics, it will be difficult for anyone to follow. Use a structure, Introduction, Body, and Conclusion do wonders.
    • make basic typos; Mistakes cost dear - it spells laziness (unless you are trying to make a pun).
    • rush your entry. You have time, review your entry as if this were a college application to your dream school
    • spell OnePlus wrong. Spelling OnePlus as oneplus, One Plus, or Oneplus shows either a lack of polish or knowledge of the brand
    • spell products names incorrectly. Spelling OnePlus 9 Pro as OnePlus9Pro OnePlus 9pro also makes your entry look less polished. Same thing goes for other brands' products.
    • send me just pictures of landscapes or selfies. Adding photos to illustrate a camera review and your photography skills is fine, but we also need to understand the visual part of your review. Don't forget Product Photography.
    • just list device specifications in your application. If your review entry just lists out the device's specification and provides no other insights, what difference is your review to a specification sheet? YOU ARE NOT A WALKING BROCHURE!
    • PLAGIARIZE; we have a solid team of detectives who smell the P-word if you do it. Don't test our limits. It won't get you a place in our reviewer squad. It frustrates us and gets you banned from contests.

  3. Daniel D.
    Community Team Staff Member Mar 15, 2022

    Stickied Post
    Daniel D. , Mar 15, 2022 :
    Imagine getting 10,000 application entries, and you had to review these entries in less than seven days. What would you do? I learned the hard way during the latest Nord 2 and Buds Pro Edition. How would you efficiently review these entries? Read the steps below if you would like to know how I do it. I will walk you through the process. If there is one thing I want you to take away from this Tutorial, it is the Transparency in the Selection process.

    Round 0 - Prepare the list

    • Step 1 - EXPORT NOW
      I export the entries as a .excel file.
    • Step 2 - Select objectively (AKA no favoritism/nepotism)
      In the excel file, "Username" and "Email address" columns are hidden to ensure entries are reviewed objectively based on content.
    • Step 3 - Start with the selection rounds
      Step 3 is broken into four different selection rounds. Depending on the number of entries, we may ask our closest core user groups (e.g. Moderators and Experts) to help out in the intermediary round. I create 3 columns that represent the first three rounds of review.

    Round 1 - Content Word Count
    I create a word count column that corresponds to the number of words in the review; If your review is a four-word such as "OnePlus 9 Pro awesome", it will not have a Y on Round 1 and will not make it to Round 2. That means, no matter how strong your visuals are, they won't even be reviewed. Essentially, in this first round, I will not read word by word but instead filter out the entries that are closer to a tweet than to a review. Don't worry, links are excluded from this rule.


    Round 2 - Visuals
    You know the saying: "An image is worth a thousand words." Going through the photos you sent us gives us a quick way to weed out low-quality entries. Much like Round 1, this step is more about validating your entry than selecting winners. In this round, I check to see if product shots are valid. I will check if your pictures that are entirely unrelated to your entry or if they are considerably worse than the average.

    By the time we get to Round 3, eighty to ninety-five percent of the entry would have been weeded out from the main shortlist (Having a Y mark on Round 1 and Round 2 Column).

    Round 3 - Attention to Detail
    This is when I start to review the entries word by word. I am reviewing how well the narrative is put together. As mentioned in Do's and Dont's above, I am looking for insights into the devices, not just cold specifications.

    We are now at the most time-consuming part of the selection process, actually looking into the quality of your application, weighing in factors like the quality of your written entry, how engaging it is, whether your review is detailed enough, and so on.

    Round 4 - Sudden Death
    Once we have la crème de la crème, it's now time for the hardest part of the selection: deciding between several great entries. In the case where the Round 3 shortlisted users exceed the amounts of devices prepared for that edition of The Lab/Lab. I will then look into the following factors and elements:
    • "(Optional) Is there anything else that you would like us to know?" besides the standard review question, we will also try to find differentiation in the finalist's entries from this question.
    • Refer back to Step 2 on Round 0 - we hid the Community username to shortlist entries objectively. However, at this point, we will "unhide" the username to have a better perspective in evaluating your accomplishments in the Community.

      While choosing between entries that are similar in quality, we believe we should prioritize those that have contributed the most to the growth of the Community. We do so by accessing your profile page to check for stats to evaluate contributions to the Community by looking into things like Best Answers, the number of posts, and warning points.

      This will be the ranking of preference:
      • Active users, with a regular presence on the forums and a helpful attitude
      • Users that have limited participation on the forums, are inactive or only aim at contests
      • Users with no participation or no account

    Bonus Round - Crosscheck
    With the final list of users, it's now time for the detective work to begin. We'll look for
    • Plagiarised entries. As mentioned in Do's and Dont's, plagiarizing would just put everyone in an awkward position.
    • "Youtubers" and "Tech Influencers." I do not have anything against "Youtubers" and "Tech Influencers," but given that The Lab is a product review program that is geared towards Community, we will prioritize "real users." However, we sometimes open exceptions to this rule when there are exceptional good entries or feel a particular entry might benefit the Community.
    • Recent Lab Reviewers. Even though there are no concrete rules stating that Lab Reviewers cannot be on The Lab Reviewer Squad for two consecutive editions, we try to stay away from this situation as much as possible as there are limited spots. We believe everyone deserves a chance to participate in The Lab.

  4. dsmonteiro
    OnePlus Community Team Staff Member Mar 16, 2022

    Stickied Post
    dsmonteiro , Mar 16, 2022 :
    A nice Tips and Tricks thread on creative writing has just been posted by @Cheetosdust. This thread contains a plethora of small tweaks you can include in your reviews to really make them pop. Don't miss it, it's right here!

  5. Daniel D.
    Community Team Staff Member Mar 17, 2022

    Stickied Post
    Daniel D. , Mar 17, 2022 :
    In addition to the guide on writing by @Cheetosdust, a Tips and Tricks thread on Product Photography has just been posted by @Starcommander. This thread will help take your Product Photography game to a next level. Don't miss it, it's right here!

  6. luigimario
    The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Mar 15, 2022

    luigimario , Mar 15, 2022 :
    Wow! Thanks for the insight Daniel. That's a very comprehensive guide! I think this will be helpful to many people, me included. 👍

  7. camohan
    Assistant Head Moderator Assistant Head Moderator Mar 15, 2022

  8. McJader
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Writers' Club Mar 15, 2022

    McJader , Mar 15, 2022 :
    Really liked this bit.
    Thanks for the guide, genuinely;)

  9. dsmonteiro
    OnePlus Community Team Staff Member Mar 15, 2022

  10. McJader
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Writers' Club Mar 15, 2022

    SATHISH.D.S, obakesan, SoniaB and 6 others like this.
  11. Starcommander
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Writers' Club Mar 15, 2022

    Starcommander , Mar 15, 2022 :
    So no chance of getting into 10 pro lab? 🥺

  12. Cheetosdust
    Community Consultant Staff Member Writers' Club Mar 15, 2022

    Cheetosdust , Mar 15, 2022 :
    Many thanks for starting the conversation about this, @Daniel D. - some really useful tips & tricks already shared.

    The segment about the selection process is important and I do think you did a solid job explaining how it is done.

    Let the celebrations begin. :cool:

    So it's not going to be very, very soon™? :D

  13. dsmonteiro
    OnePlus Community Team Staff Member Mar 15, 2022

  14. AlienEye
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 10 Pro 5G Mar 15, 2022

  15. SJBoss
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 10 Pro 5G Mar 15, 2022

    SJBoss , Mar 15, 2022 :
    Isn't it ONEPLUS now? :rolleyes:

    tsk tsk, lack of polish or knowledge of the brand indeed. I'm afraid this is where your journey ends, better luck next time.

  16. AlienEye
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 10 Pro 5G Mar 15, 2022

    AlienEye , Mar 15, 2022 :
    Well, I was thinking Shenzhen lockdown might have delayed the launch. Thanks for preconfirmation.;)

  17. G_plusone
    Nougat Mar 15, 2022

  18. dsmonteiro
    OnePlus Community Team Staff Member Mar 15, 2022

    dsmonteiro , Mar 15, 2022 :
    Logo ≠ brand name.

    The logo has always been all caps BTW.

  19. SJBoss
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 10 Pro 5G Mar 15, 2022

    SJBoss , Mar 15, 2022 :
    And that's two. :rolleyes:

    Lack of knowledge of the brand, try next month maybe? (since we dropping phones almost every 15 days now).

  20. northbay5566
    Jelly Bean Mar 15, 2022

  21. northbay5566
    Jelly Bean Mar 15, 2022

  22. the_o2
    OnePlus 9 Series Expert Community Expert Mar 15, 2022