When it comes to tech, Consumer Reports falls down on the job

“For several years, I have written at great length about the problems that arise when Consumer Reports tackles tech gear,” Gene Steinberg writes for TechNightOwl. “When it comes to such personal tech gear as smartphones, tablets, and particularly personal computers, CR falls down on the job. “Way down.”

Steinberg writes, “A notable example is the curious way in which they handled the alleged ‘Antennagate’ scandal, involving the original iPhone 4 and the possibility that you could kill reception with what became known as a “death grip.” Despite all the visual evidence that a similar phenomenon could be easily duplicated on other phones when held in somewhat different ways, CR decided that only the iPhone 4 was at fault and, despite getting the highest numeric rating in a smartphone feature, still wouldn’t recommend the product. CR was even oblivious to manufacturer warning labels and printed documentation that also cautioned against holding their mobile handsets the wrong way.”

“When CR reviews personal computers, it’s not at all clear how closely they try to match the various specs, or whether the basics, such as display size, hard drive capacity, and memory, are sufficient for them to put products in the same overall category. Although CR is aware of the existence of Mac OS X and Windows as separate, distinct platforms, they do not actually compare the two in any meaningful way, so you can decide whether to go Apple or with one of the Windows PC models,” Steinberg writes. “Now what’s unfortunate about all this is that CR seems tone deaf to the problems with their reviews. They aren’t asked the hard questions by a fawning media, and thus have nothing to explain. But with all the resources at their disposal, they should do a better job than anyone. Too bad they haven’t figured that out.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we’ve been saying for many years, Consumer Reports is a garbage publication. If you subscribe to Consumer Reports, stop wasting your money and cancel your subscription immediately. Nobody should read it for anything to do with tech and, if they make such blatantly obvious mistakes in their testing methodology with tech, it should make you wonder just how badly they’re failing at rating vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and toasters, too.

Related articles:
Consumer Reports hops off free PR gravy train, officially recommends Apple iPhone 4S – November 8, 2011
Why does anyone believe Consumer Reports? – April 6, 2011
Consumer Reports on iPad 2: We didn’t notice any significant speed improvement – March 15, 2011
Consumer Reports was wrong on Verizon iPhone 4; so-called ‘death grip’ fixed by Apple – March 2, 2011
Consumer Reports: Verizon iPhone 4 has antenna ‘problem’; not recommended – February 25, 2011
Consumer Reports continues laughable vendetta against iPhone 4 – January 14, 2011
Android sweeps Consumer Reports’ rankings as iPhone 4 is omitted – November 17, 2010
All of Consumer Reports’ ‘recommended’ smartphones suffer attenuation when held – July 19, 2010
Consumer Reports: Apple’s free Bumper case does not earn iPhone 4 our recommendation – July 16, 2010
Consumer Reports: Apple’s Bumper case fixes iPhone 4 signal-loss issue – July 15, 2010
Consumer Reports continues harping on iPhone 4 attenuation issue – July 14, 2010
Electromagnetic engineer: Consumer Reports’ iPhone 4 study flawed – July 13, 2010
The Consumer Reports – Apple iPhone 4 fiasco – July 13, 2010
Consumer Reports: Oh yeah, almost forgot, Apple iPhone 4 is also the best smartphone on the market – July 12, 2010
Consumer Reports: We cannot recommend Apple iPhone 4 – July 12, 2010
Consumer Reports: Apple Retail Store is the best place to buy a cellphone – May 11, 2010
Consumer Reports: AT&T dead last in service survey; 98% of iPhone users would buy iPhone again – December 01, 2009
Consumer Reports does their readership a disservice, says viruses target Apple Macs – December 13, 2005
Consumer Reports: Apple’s new iPod screens scratch-prone like iPod nanos – October 28, 2005
Consumer Reports dubiously finds 20-percent of Mac users ‘detected’ virus in last two years -UPDATED – August 10, 2005

27 Comments

      1. Now that’s a big leap of faulty logic, bjb. CR’s reviews of paints, stains, hand tools, power tools, ladders, etc. have been useful to me over the years. To a somewhat lesser extent, I also utilize CR’s reviews of home appliances – particularly for reliability ratings. I also appreciate the data that CR regularly provides on cars and trucks – reliability, ratings, etc.

        But I decided a long time ago that CR did a poor job with computers and various other forms of consumer electronics. Since I apparently know a lot more about Apple products than the CR staff, I just ignore those reports. I am not going to buy a Wintel PC or a Samsung phone, regardless of their ratings.

        1. I missed the memo that stated use is replaced by an inane utilize.

          So, we are to utilize utilize rather than utilize use? See how stupid that sounds. You do not sound smarter utilizing utilize rather than use, you sound uneducated, a rather pompous person.

      2. It’s entirely possible their methodology works just fine for strictly hardware products, but falls flat on it face when it comes to anything with software. In fact, it sounds like they don’t even consider software as a factor at all:

        Although CR is aware of the existence of Mac OS X and Windows as separate, distinct platforms, they do not actually compare the two in any meaningful way

        This seems like a logical outgrowth of a hardware-exclusive methodology which sees software as a non-factor. Which is why they’d fixate on a hardware-related issue such as the iPhone antenna.

    1. They’ve always sucked with technology, from VCR’s to computers to washing machines. I have a nightmarish GE front-loader they rated no. 1- not a lemon, I should’ve read users’ comments first. I’ll look into some of their ratings, but areas in which I’m most knowledgeable- Apple, coffee, food- NOT MY FATHER’S CR! They lose more credibility as time goes on. And they don’t have a clue about software, particularly Mac OS.

  1. Sorry but CR does a lousy job with appliances. I bought a Kenmore Dishwasher based on their recommendation. Its drying and heating element on the bottom burned through the bottom of the dishwasher (which was plastic), and leaked through the wall for weeks, causing $8,000 in damage to a finished basement below. I cancelled my subscription . . . and their auto suggestions suck too.

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