“I’ve got a few problems already with Consumer Reports claim that Apple’s new HomePod system sounds less good than the Sonos One and Google Home Plus,” Jonny Evans writes for Apple Must. “‘According to the expert audio testers at Consumer Reports, the Apple HomePod does deliver very good audio performance. It’s just not the best-sounding wireless speaker in our ratings—or even the best-sounding smart speaker,’ they claim.”
“I’ve been able to listen to the HomePod in action in a direct listening comparison test with a Sonos One, Amazon Echo and Harman/Kardon Invoke. Apple’s product clearly delivered a highly superior presence and a much more pleasing sound stage across every sound frequency than either the bass-heavy Harman/Kardon or the weedy sounding Amazon product,” Evans writes. “The Sonos One certainly competes, but I felt (anecdotally) that it lacked some of the presence the HomePod provides. I loved that HomePod bounced sounds of the walls behind me to create a real 360-degree perception of sound, and having heard what it sounds like I know that when stereo pairing is introduced it will deliver even better sound.”
“It is interesting that despite claiming to be running full tests, Consumer Reports isn’t testing Apple’s most technologically advanced HomePod feature at all. Apple has developed really smart technology that empowers its device with the capacity to adjust audio output in real-time for better results in whatever space it happens to be in,” Evans writes. “‘Apple says that every time you move the speaker, it senses the motion, then automatically adjusts itself to its placement in the room using a series of test tones and complex algorithms to minimize reflections from nearby walls or other objects. That’s not a feature we evaluated,’ they say.”
Much more in the full article – recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: Consumer Reports‘ “expert audio testers” need to get their hearing aids tuned.
As usual, there’s always some buried condition that conveniently skews CR‘s conclusion (“That’s not a feature we evaluated.” Gee, big surprise.). Once again, the hit-whores at CR are simply trading on Apple’s name in order to generate page views.
Steve Crandall: Apple’s HomePod is the next big step in home audio – February 13, 2018
Apple HomePod: The audiophile perspective plus 8 1/2 hours of measurements; HomePod is 100% an audiophile-grade speaker – February 12, 2018
Apple’s HomePod is actually a steal at $349 – January 26, 2018
Digital Trends previews Apple’s HomePod: Impressive sound coupled with strong privacy – January 26, 2018
Hands on with Apple’s HomePod: Attractive, ultra-high-quality speaker, an excellent Siri ambassador – January 26, 2018
Consumer Reports does it to Apple yet again – October 18, 2017
Consumer Reports’ deck-stacking, or incompetence, exposed – January 11, 2017
Consumer Reports’ weird MacBook Pro battery test results due to use of obscure Safari developer setting – January 10, 2017
Consumer Reports stands by its weird MacBook Pro battery test results – December 29, 2016
Consumer Reports says do not buy Apple’s new MacBook Pro, citing erratic battery life – December 23, 2016
Consumer Reports evaluates iTunes Store movie streaming, confusion ensues – August 13, 2012
Is Consumer Reports having its revenge against Apple? – July 10, 2012
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
Tests prove Apple’s new iPad heat levels comparable to Android tablets – March 26, 2012
Expert: iPad heat claims overblown, not a real issue – March 22, 2012
What’s the deal with Consumer Reports and Apple? – March 21, 2012
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
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 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
I wouldn’t trust any review from Consumer Reports. They sound like a bunch of people who don’t know what real audio sounds like. They only know table top radio quality and not real hi if audio.
Consumer Reports is a dino-publication, relies on negative click bait headlines to survive.
MDN armchair experts bring no specific evidence to support their visceral hate of anything that disagrees with the cherry picked data MDN aggregates to establish its slanted view of the world. Other than personal attacks on Cook, when does MDN do anything other than slam all brands without a fruit logo? BIAS MUCH?
On average, opinions expressed on this site are far less valuable than the general product testing houses, but the simpletons here with their extreme black/white divisionism turn every discussion into a mud pit of haterade.
Why are there are so many people who would choose to dismiss a valuable service because they personally have different weighting preferences? If a publication doesn’t score a complicated multifaceted review like you feel it should be, you can easily adjust the scores to your needs!!!! Read CR before joining the politicized MDN haterade parade. CR presents data and methods. MDN presents juvenile hate filled rejection, c’est tout.
Nice try crapper reports! Editor. Haven’t bought your dead tree magazine in 20 years and have NEVER been to your website.
Just have a look at a serious review such as those by Reddit. Audiophile oriented.
I was just about to agree with you (concerning MDN’s obvious bias, but it IS an Apple site, after all) UNTIL you decided to insult everyone by calling everyone here ‘simpletons’. At that point everything else you said was moot.
Your selective hearing. I agree with him, not you. MDN is pure fanboy fodder and political kool aid these days.
Sent this email, will report any response:
I have read several news articles on the web, including the AppleInsider one, and your article on smart speakers. I am perplexed as to the discrepancy of the results of the initial evaluations between Consumer Reports and the high majority of the other reviewers.
Do you perform any of your “subjective” testing with your experienced testers in a blind situation? In the medical fields, to eliminate any bias of the investigators, we use double-blind studies for more truthful results. I would be more inclined to trust your results in your listening tests (of any product) if they were conducted under double-blind testing methods.
I do not own any of the products you have evaluated in the article.
I am only marginally interested in the Apple HomePod as a purchase.
I do own Apple stock.
Received from James McQueen today:
Did you happen to read David Pogue’s review on Yahoo? You can find that here:
Note what Apple did when they demoed the HomePod for reviewers. Another good one was by Geoffrey Fowler at the Washington Post:
Both did the kind of blind tests you’re talking about. And the results were interesting. Worth a read.
Thanks for the response. I will certainly check them out.
Thank you for your reply.
I read both articles. The results show that listener bias (how they like their sound-personal preferences) does contribute greatly to the various responses of the listeners. But it is good to know that researchers/investigators/reporters are doing these kind of tests. So, I am assuming that your initial research does not include blind testing.
I would suggest that Consumer Reports do a final listener test for any product that involves sound as a primary function (ie speakers, phones, tvs, etc). The final test is a double-blind “which device do you like best-period.”
What is your thought on that?
Yours truly again
Disclaimer: I have a mild tinnitus condition (ringing of the ears) so I can’t qualify as a worthy judge of the quality of speakers. Rats.
PS I will post this to one of the web sites that I frequent.
Quick! Someone call a whambulence or curl up in your safe space, you pu$$ies.
I always liked Consumer Reports, especially for the things I don’t know much about. I kind of felt like their top-rated products would at least get me in the ballpark of a decent product. And, I loved looking at their ‘best buys’ since saving money makes me smile. However, their evaluation of almost everything Apple seems to miss the mark. It’s like Apple designed a product in a way that their regular testing and look-up tables can’t make sense of it.
I still use Consumer Reports, but have become skeptical of some of the reviews of companies like Apple and Tesla. I admit that I’m skewed in one direction, but they seem to be skewed in the other direction. They are more ‘spec’ and measurement oriented which hinders their abilities to see (and hear) other qualities that simply make a product more human and usable and ultimately better.
It’s easy to pick apart CR’s reviews of the Apple products that we know well but why trust them with reviews of products we don’t know well? Truth is, if you dig into the parts of the internet where washing machine and vacuum cleaner experts lurk, you’ll find that they have the same dismissive, even angry, opinions of CR’s reviews of those products. The unfortunate truth is that CR and their product reviews are incompetent at best and, most likely, negligently deceptive in reality.
Translation: Anyone who disagrees with your personal biases and misconceptions must be wrong.
Consumer Reports revealed their true colors way back when the Remington Razor thing played out.
CR praised it, gave it top marks. Remington, despite CR’s objections, advertised that fact. Wonder of wonders, next year the razor was at the bottom.
Both Consumer Reports and even the BBB
(Better Business Bureau) are outdated and have outlived their usefulness. Online reviews do a far better job. The “mind of the hive” so to speak. If you want to buy a certain product, read Amazon’s actual purchasers reviews 1st. Before you decide on a service or a restaurant or some other business, read the Yelp reviews 1st.
Confirmation bias is great, huh? To put is simply so you will understand, anyone who agrees with you is always correct.
It’s also possible that CR tested with older recordings. I’ve noticed my HomePod sounds great with most modern music, less so with certain older recordings. If all I listened to was older stuff, I would not “get” HomePod.
I’ve been a follower of CR for years and find the vast majority of their reviews to be spot-on. Yes, they make mistakes, but compared to outfits like MDN, a lot less.
MDN needs to get its head out of the sand and move up to the 21st century where facts are important. Otherwise they sound like a mouthpiece for Google or Microsoft – “Ignore the facts behind the curtain and only gaze at the smoke and mirrors I show you”. Really MDN you are so like Jr. High students at times.
All of their electronics reviews have been suspect for at least 15 years, televsisions are somehow worse that their phone and computer reviews amazingly. Not worth reading at all when it comes to tech.
The car I drive was always panned by Consumer Reports and I almost didn’t buy it, but because I liked it I did buy it. Then later CR did a regular owner survey of cars by category…. the car they panned and I purchased came out on top of the list for its category, picked by people who own and drive the car! I no longer read CR.
After UPS screwed up and didn’t get my Homepod to me until Monday evening, I have to say I love the sound and the ease of using Siri. It’s fabulous for me as a writer as I sit before my 27″ Mac. But it lacks one thing: stereo. Right now it’s too directional to immerse me in sound, much as I enjoy it. I want a second one to balance the sound. I have one other comment, and that’s about setup. The stupid little pieces of paper Apple include are thoroughly ridiculous. I brought my phone near my Homepod, said I didn’t have internet connection. Bullshit, it’s never off on my phone. Finally, after multiple attempts, it recognized it. Then it said I needed two-step authentication. I have that on my iPhone and Mac. Round and round I went, each time no luck. I tried searching online, no one seemed to have this problem. Finally I went to the Apple front page, under Homepod, and a link there gave me the full works–and after sorting a few things out on my phone, I had great sound. Apple, wise up! Either put a link to the online instructions in the box or print them. Yeah, you bunch of geeks, not all of us know ALL the steps needed on the iPhone. And guess what? I wrote TECH in the satellite, cable, and music TV industries for part of my career. But I don’t live on my iPhone, I live on my two 27″ Macs, MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, Apple TV. So don’t say “just bring your iPhone near the iPod,” when in fact you have to make sure a BUNCH of settings are correct on the iPhone first. Big waste of time, rise in blood pressure, but at least good sound to soothe. Oh, and I do know good sound. My 73″ TV is accompanied by 14 speakers.
CR playing an 8 track Tape or 78RPM record on a Mono Speaker will sound better to them than a HomePod. lol
Just a couple of days ago, right here on MDN, Consumer Reports was praised for beating on Samsung.
After comparing countless vacuum cleaners, maybe CR expects most everything to suck.
“comparing vacuum cleaners [for geriatrics]”
Oh, wow, MDN!
You are either behind the time, or showing the type of people who are making up MDN. Be careful…