There are two basic components to writing a product or software review. One is to look at, and then state, the obvious (and sometimes not-so-obvious) in great detail. The second is to put a bit of personality behind it.
Point in case: John’s recent article on the new MacBook Air. He didn’t say anything groundbreaking nor unearth any deep secret about Apple’s new notebook. He simply looked at the stats, put them into two comparative unordered lists, gave his opinion and that’s it. The end. Great article.
Think about it for a second. John’s opinion articles and reviews are great, not because he tells us all secrets, but because he tells most of us something we already knew but hadn’t thought about yet.
For example, my favorite DF article of all time: Full Metal Jacket. It contained no new information, but had 5,000 words of detailed observations about the 15″ Aluminum PowerBook. It’s the only DF article I’ve read more than once, and it made me love my own PowerBook all the more.
A great review is one you can relate to.