Consumer Reports ‘Jumps Shark’ over iPhone

When Consumer Reports “couldn’t recommend” the iPhone 4 (AT&T) because of antenna problems arguably the non-profit was doing its job: alerting consumers to an “issue” with the handset. However it was already a known issue and CR didn’t add any new information to the discussion. Rather it sought to inject itself into what was a very hot and high-profile controversy.

Unfortunately CR tried to “milk” that controversy for exposure and PR rather than merely expressing its opinion about the handset. And by doing so it partly discredited itself. Now CR has come out again and said the same thing about the Verizon version of the handset:

The Verizon iPhone 4 closely resembles the original AT&T iPhone 4 in many positive respects, including offering great multimedia functionality, a sharp screen, and the best MP3 player we’ve seen on a phone. Unfortunately, it also shares with its sibling the possibility of compromised performance in low-signal conditions when used without a bumper or case.

Strangely the magazine’s Verizon iPhone review contradicts other reviewers who celebrated the coverage and lack of dropped calls (even explicitly tried to recreate antenna problems and couldn’t). Here I also smell an effort to get some new PR, which CR appears to successfully be doing. However it’s PR that ultimately suggests CR is irrelevant.

As a heavy EVO owner (for a year) who generally likes his Android phone I can tell you that the iPhone is still, overall, a better device. Android has closed the gap that existed in the beginning but there are still many things about my handset, its OS and UX that are inferior to the Apple device. There are also a couple of great things about Android that the iPhone doesn’t have.

It’s fair to call out the issue but failing to include the iPhone in its recommended list, when it is overall still the best device on the market, reflects CR’s tone deafness, wooden sensibilities and weird judgment. And by again seeking PR for itself with a not-recommended rating, the publication has for me “jumped the shark” — at least around consumer electronics.

If you need a dishwasher review, CR is fine. But if you want information on which handset or laptop to buy CNET is a much better bet.

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3 Responses to “Consumer Reports ‘Jumps Shark’ over iPhone”

  1. Jeremy says at

    CR’s desperate second attempt to make some noise…

  2. Greg Sterling says at


  3. Chuck Reynolds says at

    Agreed… all the haters jumped on the consumer reports review too… fairly annoying honestly. ConsReport is kind of like the BBB in my eyes… there making noise for the ignorant ears that actually listen.

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