Consumer Reports does it to Apple yet again

“You can bet that, when reviewing smartphones, Consumer Reports magazine appears to have a blind spot towards Samsung; maybe a few blind spots,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “There’s a story from Seoul, South Korea touting the fact that, ‘Samsung’s Galaxy S8 tops U.S. consumer review.'”

“This story no doubt originated from Samsung, even though a manufacturer is theoretically prohibited from quoting a CR review,” Steinberg writes. “So the article mentions the conclusion, not the contents, so even if it was originated from Samsung, the company is off the hook.”

“According to the latest CR report about smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus gained top ratings,” Steinberg writes. “Number three, peculiarly, was last year’s Galaxy S7. Really. So where did the iPhone 8 end up? According to CR, fourth and fifth.”

“The Galaxy S8 versus the iPhone 8. The former is rated 81, the latter is rated 80. So despite the implications of the article from that South Korean publication, the scores are extraordinary close,” Steinberg writes. “In short, [with Samsung’s Galaxy S8] you have a breakable smartphone with two biometric features of questionable quality being judged superior to another smartphone [Apple’s iPhone 8] that’s rugged and has a reliable fingerprint sensor. But maybe it has somewhat shorter battery life than the competition.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Consumers Reports never has known how to accurately rate electronics. It’s a joke. Consumers Reports gives too much weight to some factors and too little to others. The same goes for vehicles and many other products.

As we’ve often said, Consumer Reports is an anachronism for geriatrics to use to reassure themselves that they ought the right vacuum cleaner (even though they didn’t unless they bought a Miele – which they almost certainly didn’t since they’re a Consumer Reports subscriber).

We don’t think Consumer Reports is shady or on the take. They’re just not very good at rating complex products. Not very good at all. As Hanlon’s Razor states: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

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How Apple and facts killed Consumer Reports – March 29, 2012
Consumer Reports was no iPhone killer and they’re no iPad killer, either – March 28, 2012
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Expert: iPad heat claims overblown, not a real issue – March 22, 2012
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Consumer Reports’ bombshell: New iPad runs hotter than predecessor but ‘not especially uncomfortable’ – March 20, 2012
FUD Alert: Consumer Reports to ‘investigate’ reports of iPad and ‘excess heat’ – March 20, 2012
Consumer Reports hops off free PR gravy train, officially recommends Apple iPhone 4S – November 8, 2011
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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
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Android sweeps Consumer Reports’ rankings as iPhone 4 is omitted – November 17, 2010
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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 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
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  1. I’ve noticed this about consumer reports for years, on appliances their methodology seems sound and is usually correct. But when it comes to electronics? They’re wrong more than 50% of the time and flawed methodology can easily explain this.

    1. … And you are too lazy to do the simple math to re-weight the calculations in a way that matters specific to you?

      Calling objective product testing to be stupid is more telling about the bias of the reader than the testing organization. It is so easy to accuse others of bias when MDN is the poster child of data cherry picking and selective reporting. No wonder the usual fanboys here are so thin skinned and ignorant. They refuse to look at half the data or more.

  2. Stupidity is a bit harsh; it’s more like ignorance. You don’t ask someone who can’t or doesn’t cook to rate cookware. Likewise, one should leave an analysis of electronics to engineers who have an understanding of how the device will be used. Evaluating a smartphone by weighing edge cases like how well it survives being run over by a car doesn’t make sense.

  3. According to the latest CR report about smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus gained top ratings

    Devices running the single most dangerous and least security updatable operating system available today, Google’s Android.

    Oh, well done Contemptible Repugnance (CR).

    Meanwhile, IRL:

    Up to 50% of Android devices impacted by WPA2 vulnerability

    Krack Attacks break WiFi’s WPA2 security, here’s why Android users should care

  4. Yes, CR is extremely unlikely to be on the take on this, but they are just incompetent. The incompetence goes back almost 30 years.

    Back in the late 80s they compared Macs with DOS/Windows PCs. In order to “make a level playing field” they defined that certain tests had to be done with the DOS/Windows version of the Microsoft Office suite elements. (If all machines run the exact same version of Microsoft’s products it has to be a fair test, right?) This required things running on the Mac to be done in VirtualPC (back before MS bought them). CR’s results? Everything ran on the Mac much, much more slowly than on a DOS/Windows machine. Therefore, CR published that the Mac was much, much slower than a DOS/Windows machine — even a DOS/Windows machine with inferior hardware.

    Anyone with any knowledge of virtual machines of the day and the real test configurations implemented by CR understood that the CR tests and resulting reports were biased.

    But what did the average CR reader get out of it? The average consumer got that CR was doing an apples-to-apples comparison (exact same software running) and thus was doing the best test possible. And, the consumer got that the Mac was much, much slower — even for such simple things as scrolling through rows in an Excel spreadsheet.

  5. CR are the first two letters of ‘CRUD’.
    Coincidence? …I think not.

    Anyway, I cancelled my subscription years ago with just too many obvious biases, not just against Apple.

  6. Apple is nothing but a patsy of a company. There are no companies or publications that are scared of Tim Cook and Apple. They all know Apple never fights back, so they might as well take advantage of the situation. No one would ever go up against Amazon or Alphabet like they do Apple. Apple is like that guy who used to get sand kicked in his face at the beach and there’s no Charles Atlas to help him out.

    Apple has gotten the reputation of being a loser and most big investors don’t want anything to do with the company. I can’t really blame them. It appears even Google’s Pixel 2 has been praised more than the iPhone 8 from most reviewers. Most reviewers certainly rate any of the Samsung Galaxy 8 and Note 8 smartphones over the iPhone 8/8 Plus. People should be used to the iPhone coming in second place. Apple can’t really defend itself as the odds weigh heavily against Apple in many ways.

  7. Consumer Reports is the only publication that purchases all the products it reviews. They make the purchase at the same stores where the general public shops.

    They own no allegiance to any company. Even when they preview a car prior to release, they pay a fee. And when the car is released at dealers they anonymously buy the car.

    I’m a big Apple fan. I have many of their products. But anybody who says CR is not legit or is “shady” has ZERO proof. None. Not an iota of information to make such a ridiculous claim.

    They actually gave the new iPhone and Apple Watch a very good review. The Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, reported problems with the watch and did not recommend the product. Are you going to attack WSJ?

    CR has been around for decades and is highly respected by their millions of paid subscribers. I am one of those long-time subscribers.

  8. love your site and articles normally however you seen to be confused about consumer reports. Whenever they are negative towards apple the are either on the take or just incompetent and can’t judge tech products. Yet whenever they are anti anybody else you link to them just as fast as possible. If they are as bad as you claim you should ignore the all the time otherwise the mdn take seems to be they are incompetent to judge tech products unless they agree with us then they are totally trustworthy and you should all listen to them and buy apple

    1. Audio speakers more than any other electronics are a matter of personal taste. No matter what any test lab does, some people will be disgusted. I can name half a dozen dedicated audio magazines that are even more full of shite.

      If CR conducts scientifically perfect Objective testing to show what speaker reproduces signal most accurately, placing the test units in anechoic chamber and removing human bias entirely, it would identify an accurate speaker that most everyone would dislike because it would reveal how poor the input signal is from your compressed harsh source file and wildly imprecise amplifier. If you divide by price to attempt to indicate value, you will piss off those who are proud of their status symbols as well as the cheapskates who thought they were getting a good bargain but ended up with cheap disposable plastic shite.

      Even some of the most die hard audiophiles prefer smooth distortion over harsh accuracy. Almost all modern music is very high in distortion and synthesized sounds. That makes a generation of people who have horrid ability to discern sound accuracy when they hear it. The average stereo buyer ranks price and looks much higher than sound no matter what they claim.

      I would not blame CR. It is aimed at consumers, not audiophiles.

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