Thanks for your thoughts.
I already am pretty selective about the products that are reviewed and tend to focus on products from top-tier manufacturers, with only occasional coverage of lesser-known brands with more limited availability.
That said, it's important to cover products that "don't have any significant likelihood of beating the pants off the current competition". Marketers continue to be creative about how they describe their products, using every subjective term they can think of to attract buyers. The only way to debunk the claims is to test the product. And this is especially important for products that buyers are most likely to find on store shelves.
The truth is that today's networking products are more alike than different and there isn't that much differentiation in performance. The real differentiators are reliability, stability and support, which can't be judged in the short time that we can devote to testing a product.
That's why it continues to be important that users share their experiences with products and buyers use every means at their disposal to vet products before spending their hard-earned cash.
My method for personal purchases is to buy and try, take advantage of no-restock charge return policies, keep products and packaging in like-new condition during trial and return them packed as closely as I can get to how I received them.