PC Guide awards and badging

How our scoring links to the awards products can receive
Last Updated on May 10, 2024
PC Guide awards ©BGFG
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For our PC Guide reviews, and to ensure clarity when considering the products we cover in our buying guides, we use four award badges across content. Each of the awards directly shows our view of a product – and is informed by our first-hand, hands-on experience and in-depth lab testing.

PC Guide awards explained

When considering what products you should choose to buy, our reliable, repeatable lab testing of products and so awards and badges make for an easy marker of what we’d recommend. We clearly show if a product is ‘best in class’, while our review awards represent outstanding, excellent, and highly recommended products. Our awards are directly linked to the overall score a product receives, as below.

Best in Class

PC Guide Best in Class award ©BGFG
PC Guide Best in Class award ©BGFG

The Best in Class award is given to products that are, hands-down, the very best products available. This award isn’t really about value. It’s an indication of the ‘pinnacle’ option when it comes to looking at a product area. For example, the most powerful graphics card won’t be the best option for everyone, but if it’s the best across all performance metrics then it should qualify for the ‘Best in Class’ award.

Outstanding – score is 5/5

PC Guide Outstanding award ©BGFG
PC Guide Outstanding award ©BGFG

If a product is considered Outstanding, it’s scored a perfect 5 out of 5 stars in our hands-on review. This means that on the balance of cost and performance, we consider it a brilliant purchase, despite any minor concerns. Naturally, those minor points would be objectively outweighed for us by the benefit of the product as a whole.

A product that scores 5 out of 5 stars may be more of a standout for performance or value, but it will need a balance of both. If it’s just the pinnacle of performance, it would be a ‘Best in Class’. If the value or performance isn’t quite there, it could be an ‘Excellent’ (4.5 out of 5 stars) pick.

Excellent – score is 4.5/5

PC Guide Excellent award ©BGFG
PC Guide Excellent award ©BGFG

Our ‘Excellent’ award goes to products that score 4.5 out of 5 stars in our reviews. Such products are top options for upgrading to or picking up and are overall very strong buys. There may be a couple of points to consider with our ‘Excellent’ picks, but these are likely to be niche and not of much of an impact on our view of the product.

Overall, the ‘Excellent’ award goes to products that are truly worthy of note in their part of the PC and technology market. But they’re not quite at the ‘Outstanding’ recommendation level. As our second-highest review score though, we’re confident this award goes to a higher tier of products on balance than the Highy Recommended award. ‘Excellent’ products will offer top value, excellent performance, or a stand-out collection of features – or even a collection of these.

Highly recommended – score is 4/5

PC Guide Highly Recommended award ©BGFG
PC Guide Highly Recommended award ©BGFG

Products that are very good but don’t get our very top awards can still be highly recommended. This 4 out of 5 score is still a strong recommendation, speaking to high-quality and high-performing products that are well above average and worth the money.

We view these products as a net positive purchase, although there may be one or two considerations to keep in mind. It’s possible such a product isn’t right for you or your situation, but is still an impressive option.

Score is 3.5 or below

If a product scores 3.5 or below it will not receive a review award. This doesn’t mean the product isn’t good, but that we do not feel it stands out from competitors – or offers users enough – for recognition. It may be that a product scoring 3 or 3.5 is what you need for your needs, and it may do the job that you want.

However, we would not judge a product as award-worthy if there were significant caveats, or specific considerations that make it lower value or less than ideal for the majority of users. This would prevent it from getting a 4 or higher. To find out how we select and test products on PC Guide, head over to our how we test and review page.

Kevin is the Editor of PC Guide. He has a broad interest and enthusiasm for consumer electronics, PCs and all things consumer tech - and more than 15 years experience in tech journalism.