Karaoke Machines: Ratings of Sources
Amazon.com sells a wide range of karaoke machines, from kids' toys priced around $40 to professional-quality systems costing over $1,000. Machines in the $50-to-$100 range receive the most positive feedback from users, however. Among those, we found three karaoke players, two from Memorex and one from Electrohome, that receive 4.5-star ratings (out of a possible 5) based on reviews by more than 250 users.
148Apps.com publishes reviews of apps for iOS devices. Only a few karaoke-related apps are covered, and some are no longer available. Some apps that get positive reviews at other sites, such as Sing! Karaoke, earn so-so ratings here. Reviews vary in length and include ratings for iOS integration, user interface and reuse/replay value, as well as an overall rating.
Kit Eaton, the App Smart columnist for The New York Times, recommends three apps (available for both iOS and Android) that can turn your smartphone into your personal karaoke bar. All three apps are free to download, but only a limited number of songs are available free of charge. Additional songs can be purchased one at a time or through a monthly subscription. Eaton briefly outlines the costs, features and ease of use of each app.
In this slideshow, Nathan Meunier of MacLife magazine presents eight karaoke apps for iOS. Only some will actually turn your phone into a karaoke player, however; others have related functions like finding karaoke bars in your area, creating set lists or playing games. The write-ups for each app are just a few sentences long, and Meunier doesn't list his criteria for recommending these particular apps over others.
BestBuy.com's selection of karaoke machines doesn't overlap much with those sold at competing stores. The top-rated players here are from brands like GPX and VocoPro, which receive few reviews elsewhere. The Top Rated link isn't very helpful, as it leads to a single model with only a handful of reviews. However, when we sorted the reviews by rating, we found two machines with 4-star ratings from 50 users or more.
KaraokeMachineCritics.com is a site by an unnamed karaoke fan who offers reviews of karaoke machines, along with singing tips and general buying advice. Reviews appear to be based on hands-on testing, and include ratings for features, portability, durability and versatility. However, we're inclined to take the ratings with a grain of salt, given that no machine covered here gets less than 3.5 stars overall.
The selection of karaoke machines at ToysRUs.com is small -- fewer than 50 machines -- and naturally runs toward low-end units intended for kids. Finding the best-rated machines is tricky, as the main page shows only the overall star rating and not the number of reviews it's based on. We found just two karaoke machines with strong overall ratings from 25 users or more. However, the site provides a handy summary of pros and cons for each machine.
This site has reviews for about 20 karaoke machines, as well as a roundup of five recommended karaoke machines for kids. The reviews indicate that the editors tested the machines personally, but they don't discuss specific methods or rating criteria. However, the ratings range from 3 to 5 stars, so the editors are exercising some discrimination.
GeekSugar.com is the tech-oriented subsection of the popular-culture blog PopSugar.com. In this article, assistant news editor Laura Marie Myers presents a roundup of seven karaoke apps for iOS and Android, all priced at $2 or less. She includes a brief one-paragraph summary of each app's features, but she doesn't explain why she recommends these seven out of all those available.
Walmart.com sells about 60 karaoke machines, most priced at $100 or less. Most machines have few or no reviews from users, but a few have 50 or more ratings and reviews with overall scores of 4 stars or better. Individual reviews tend to be fairly short, but contain ratings for value and how well the product meets expectations, as well as an overall rating.
A search for "karaoke app" on the Google Play store turns up hundreds of apps, many of which have received thousands of reviews from users. Unfortunately, there's no way to sort the list to find the top-rated apps. Thus, we've relied on this site solely as a backup source of reviews for karaoke apps that are recommended elsewhere.