Some of you might recall Google making an announcement (opens in new tab) last August, which promised Google Play would start displaying reviews tailored to specific Android devices. That feature was originally announced for early 2022, but we saw no sign of it. Until now.
The Verge (opens in new tab) noticed that this change has been quietly rolled out, with the Play Store now confirming that people won’t be seeing the same reviews. “Ratings are based on recent reviews from people in your region who use the same type of device that you use.”
This disclaimer lives at the very start of an app’s review section, right above the average score. I also had a couple of Tom’s Guide colleagues check reviews for the YouTube app, to see how different they were compared to my Google Pixel 6 Pro.
A Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 featured different reviews, as expected, alongside a slightly different average score — 4.1 compared to the Pixel’s 4.0. A Google Pixel 6 featured the exact same reviews and score as my own Pixel 6 Pro, as did a OnePlus Nord 2T.
That’s interesting to see, and it’s worth emphasizing that this feature is all about what type of device you have, not what physical model you carry. That's important, because flat screen phones don’t behave the same way as foldables, tablets, Chromebooks or whatever other platforms Android apps will appear on in the future.
However, The Verge notes that there are some caveats to be aware of. For instance, the original announcement confirmed that tablets and foldables are part of the same category. That makes sense for the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold range, but less so for something like a Z Flip or a Motorola Razr. After all, just because those devices fold, it doesn’t change the fact that their screens have the same basic size and shape as a regular non-folding phone
There also appear to be some minor glitches in the system that need to be addressed — for instance, the fact the Nord 2T’s YouTube reviews page lists a much higher review count than both Pixels, by an order of around 10 million. This is odd to say the least, albeit hardly a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.
The major benefit here is that Google Play users will be able to see reviews that are more relevant to them, and that's useful because an app that’s poorly optimized for a large screen isn’t going to get poor reviews from smaller devices like smartphones.
Likewise, an app that struggles with folding displays shouldn’t be lumped in with non-folding devices. The nuances of those devices are different, and people expect their apps to behave in a certain way. There’s little point in being fed reviews that are essentially irrelevant because they're for a different classification of handset.
Of course, it would be better to be fed reviews for your specific device. After all, there are countless Android devices out there, each running different flavors of the operating system — and not all of them are going to function the same way.
Thankfully you can filter Google Play reviews to see what other people with your device have said, and it's incredibly easy to do so.
Simply hit Ratings and reviews > tap the three-lined filter bar on the right > Select This Device Model
There — you now have reviews specifically relevant to your device and therefore even more helpful than Google's already made them.