It's been some time since I've written a a review about a Linux distribution, in fact the last one I wrote was back in September. The reason I have taken a step back from writing these is because with my status as head of Bodhi Linux I feel I am no longer an impartial source for these reviews. That being said, since I am so involved in the Bodhi project I've been reading more reviews of the late and I've been astonished how many "reviewers" don't really even look at the distro they are reviewing!
Whenever I took the time to write a distribution review, I always made it a point to actually install the distribution on my system and use it as my main operating system for a minimum of a few days. Sure this takes a little bit more effort, but it is necessary if you are going to write an informed article. I amazes me how many people that write reviews simply boot a distribution in virtual box (some don't even install it!) take a few screen shots and then call it a day. Some don't even load any of the default applications or even look at the project's website. Sure it is OK to load the distribution as a virtual machine, but this should not be the only method of testing it for the purposes of a review.
I believe that if you are going to do something then it is worth doing right. I've been approached by distributions before to write reviews and if I didn't have time to write something of substance I just wouldn't write anything at all.