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Consumer Reports declares Apple's new MacBook Air top of class - Page 2

post #41 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Same purpose, how? Being a laptop?

No, they don’t have the same utility because the either MBA will far outperform any Atom-based netbook in raw computing power.

That’s even before we get into the shrunken keyboard and other cheap components that are pretty much dictated to sell that machine type. Or that the CPU and GPU in the MBAs cost more from Intel per 1k units than most netbooks cost retail.

The bottom line is the MBAs are ultralight ultraportable notebooks, just like all the other ultra-light ultraportable notebooks in its class.

Same purpose of being an ultra portable laptop, i.e., the main purpose of these machines.
post #42 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

Same purpose of being an ultra portable laptop.

Some of the purposes are the same or similar, but not all and certainly not the ones important to those that would buy an ultralight notebook with a viable computing power, good display, and full-sized keyboard.

Quote:
i.e., the main purpose of these machines.

I thought the purpose was to meet a certain need for certain users. Being smaller AND lighter are just two functions of that goal. Other such functions are a keyboard one can use all day AND worthwhile processing power.

There are a reason they were termed netbooks, not notebooks.
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post #43 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

Same purpose of being an ultra portable laptop, i.e., the main purpose of these machines.

Right, so, back to the car analogies, by your reasoning, it would make sense for Car and Driver to lump, say, the Kia Rio into the same category as the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG, because they are both sedans. Car and Driver has enough sense not to do this in their comparisons. Consumer Reports apparently does not. I'm surprised they don't categorize cars by windshield size, or wheelbase.
post #44 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Some of the purposes are the same or similar, but not all and certainly not the ones important to those that would buy an ultralight notebook with a viable computing power, good display, and full-sized keyboard.


I thought the purpose was to meet a certain need for certain users. Being smaller AND lighter are just two functions of that goal. Other such functions are a keyboard one can use all day AND worthwhile processing power.

There are a reason they were termed netbooks, not notebooks.

The point I am trying to make is that if you make the categories too specific, there is absolutely no point in reviewing, comparing or scoring any devices at all. It would be like saying the MBA scores 100% in the category of ultraportable laptops that natively run OSX. And because CR are apparently saying something negative about the MBA, some people are trying to discredit the categories they have used to compare machines and instead propose different categories which would coincidently minimise or alleviate these negatives. It's a classic case of switching or fiddling the figures to tell a different story.
post #45 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

The point I am trying to make is that if you make the categories too specific, there is absolutely no point in reviewing, comparing or scoring any devices at all. It would be like saying the MBA scores 100% in the category of ultraportable laptops that natively run OSX. And because CR are apparently saying something negative about the MBA, some people are trying to discredit the categories they have used to compare machines and instead propose different categories which would coincidently minimise or alleviate these negatives. It's a classic case of switching or fiddling the figures to tell a different story.

Then what are your qualifiers for this category of notebook? That all smaller and lighter than normal notebooks are netbooks, regardless of their processing performance, keyboard size, etc? I think I clearly stated mine and why I don’t count any ultra-light notebooks as netbooks.

I also don’t get why there has to be a huge number of products for a category to be valid. Going back to automobiles, I don’t think we should add BMW and Mercedes to a comparison to Rolls Royces and Bentleys and Maybachs simply because we need to more product to make the grouping relevant.
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post #46 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

The point I am trying to make is that if you make the categories too specific, there is absolutely no point in reviewing, comparing or scoring any devices at all. It would be like saying the MBA scores 100% in the category of ultraportable laptops that natively run OSX. And because CR are apparently saying something negative about the MBA, some people are trying to discredit the categories they have used to compare machines and instead propose different categories which would coincidently minimise or alleviate these negatives. It's a classic case of switching or fiddling the figures to tell a different story.

Actually, I think their entire methodology for rating everything is fundamentally flawed. We just happen to be discussing that here in the context of portable computers, where they categorized them by screen size, which is an entirely meaningless way to categorize computers. (Do they categorize desktop computers by screen size?) It's also particularly stupid of them to ding the MBA on price when the category they put it into consists otherwise of total junk. Of course it's more expensive, just like the Mercedes is more expensive than the Kia. The bottom line is that CR has no idea what it is doing rating computers, or anything else. Sometimes, something is a category of one, and cramming it into a category with totally dissimilar items, just so it fits neatly into your review structure is one thing, but pretending that it's arbitrarily more expensive and criticizing it on that basis is either demonstrating profound ignorance, or dishonesty.
post #47 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Actually, I think their entire methodology for rating everything is fundamentally flawed. We just happen to be discussing that here in the context of portable computers, where they categorized them by screen size, which is an entirely meaningless way to categorize computers. (Do they categorize desktop computers by screen size?) It's also particularly stupid of them to ding the MBA on price when the category they put it into consists otherwise of total junk. Of course it's more expensive, just like the Mercedes is more expensive than the Kia. The bottom line is that CR has no idea what it is doing rating computers, or anything else. Sometimes, something is a category of one, and cramming it into a category with totally dissimilar items, just so it fits neatly into your review structure is one thing, but pretending that it's arbitrarily more expensive and criticizing it on that basis is either demonstrating profound ignorance, or dishonesty.

See this is just it; because you disagree that the price is quite high, you're discrediting the categories used to compare the device to others. I'm not saying their categories are the best way to compare things, but just because you don't like what they have to say doesn't mean their comparison and ratings are invalid. You're just going to have to accept that Apple devices do have cons when compared to other things out there in any given category, and for this category that is price, and it's a perfectly valid con. I'm sure CR have researched the main reasons as to how people buy laptops and for all you know, screen size could be the most important factor.
post #48 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

See this is just it; because you disagree that the price is quite high, you're discrediting the categories used to compare the device to others. I'm not saying their categories are the best way to compare things, but just because you don't like what they have to say doesn't mean their comparison and ratings are invalid. You're just going to have to accept that Apple devices do have cons when compared to other things out there in any given category, and for this category that is price, and it's a perfectly valid con. I'm sure CR have researched the main reasons as to how people buy laptops and for all you know, screen size could be the most important factor.

No, I'm discrediting the categories because it's utterly stupid to categorize portable computers by screen size, which, for example, causes them to put the 13" MBA and 13" MBP into the same category as each other, along with the Toshiba mentioned previously, and a pile of netbooks. Now, you could possibly make a case (although, I don't think you can make a strong case) that the MBA should be reviewed together with the netbooks, but, if you make that case, then you cannot then justify that the MBP and the aforementioned Toshiba are also in the same category. Stupidly lumping these all together, based solely on screen size, and evaluating "features" (such as price) without context results is entirely stupid stupid reviews, and stupid criticisms -- such as the criticism of the MBA's price, which is only "high" if you pretend that all the junk they threw in the category is of equal quality and performance.

(As I said before, how do you objectively rate the MBP higher than the MBA? They serve different purposes and they serve them differently. By rating one higher than the other, all you have really done is reveal some of the biases built in to your rating criteria; biases that produce results on their own before the rating process even begins.)

The point is that CR reviews, all of their reviews, are completely worthless -- and by this I mean that CR's claim that the MBA is the best computer in it's category is entirely worthless; they may be correct that it's a great computer, but the process by which they arrived at that conclusion is entirely invalid -- because they don't understand the products they are reviewing, and they build heavy biases into the review process just by the way they've defined that process.
post #49 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

No, I'm discrediting the categories because it's utterly stupid to categorize portable computers by screen size, which, for example, causes them to put the 13" MBA and 13" MBP into the same category as each other, along with the Toshiba mentioned previously, and a pile of netbooks. Now, you could possibly make a case (although, I don't think you can make a strong case) that the MBA should be reviewed together with the netbooks, but, if you make that case, then you cannot then justify that the MBP and the aforementioned Toshiba are also in the same category. Stupidly lumping these all together, based solely on screen size, and evaluating "features" (such as price) without context results is entirely stupid stupid reviews, and stupid criticisms -- such as the criticism of the MBA's price, which is only "high" if you pretend that all the junk they threw in the category is of equal quality and performance.

(As I said before, how do you objectively rate the MBP higher than the MBA? They serve different purposes and they serve them differently. By rating one higher than the other, all you have really done is reveal some of the biases built in to your rating criteria; biases that produce results on their own before the rating process even begins.)

The point is that CR reviews, all of their reviews, are completely worthless -- and by this I mean that CR's claim that the MBA is the best computer in it's category is entirely worthless; they may be correct that it's a great computer, but the process by which they arrived at that conclusion is entirely invalid -- because they don't understand the products they are reviewing, they review features such as price with no context, they create misleading categories of products that lead to skewed results -- in short, because they really have no idea what they are doing, and subscribing to CR is a complete waste of money.

That's fine, you can have whatever categories you like, just don't complain if there's another con when it's compared against machines in another category!
post #50 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

That's fine, you can have whatever categories you like, just don't complain if there's another con when it's compared against machines in another category!

Well, if there were rational categories used by CR, there actually wouldn't be any other computers in the category with the MBA. That might be inconvenient for them, but at least it would be honest.

However, the entire, CR absolute ratings, this product is best approach is so entirely and fundamentally flawed -- flaws compounded by the apparent ignorance of their reviewers -- that no one should pay any attention to them, and subscribing to them is a complete waste of money.
post #51 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Well, if there were rational categories used by CR, there actually wouldn't be any other computers in the category with the MBA. That might be inconvenient for them, but at least it would be honest.

However, the entire, CR absolute ratings, this product is best approach is so entirely and fundamentally flawed -- flaws compounded by the apparent ignorance of their reviewers -- that no one should pay any attention to them, and subscribing to them is a complete waste of money.

It is hard to make precise categories without making them too narrow. Clearly the categories need to be based on intended functionality. Screen size is often a good indicator, but not always.

But my original complaint was really a reaction to the score card. I have nothing against comparisons, generally speaking. But once qualities get a score they get an absolute comparative value and this is where the whole thing falls apart. A machine that is perfect for its intended purpose may score lowly because it lacks a quality that isn't part of that purpose. Scores are absolute and therefore they should only be used in extremely narrow product categories. Lets say you are comparing 30" monitors and apply scores to the various qualities. I'd argue that you'd have to subdivide the monitors according to their intended purposes. There would be no point in comparing high level pro style monitors intended for graphics artist that require absolute true color reproduction, to consumer level monitors intended for office work even though they are both 30" monitors.
post #52 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

It is hard to make precise categories without making them too narrow. Clearly the categories need to be based on intended functionality. Screen size is often a good indicator, but not always.

But my original complaint was really a reaction to the score card. I have nothing against comparisons, generally speaking. But once qualities get a score they get an absolute comparative value and this is where the whole thing falls apart. A machine that is perfect for its intended purpose may score lowly because it lacks a quality that isn't part of that purpose. Scores are absolute and therefore they should only be used in extremely narrow product categories. Lets say you are comparing 30" monitors and apply scores to the various qualities. I'd argue that you'd have to subdivide the monitors according to their intended purposes. There would be no point in comparing high level pro style monitors intended for graphics artist that require absolute true color reproduction, to consumer level monitors intended for office work even though they are both 30" monitors.

Yes, the absolute score thing is essentially bogus. Just setting up the items that get scored is unavoidably biased. Combined with nonsensical categories, it just compounds the problems inherent in their approach. But, the real problem is that CR foists this image of objectivity and "science" on the public, as though their testing is entirely pure and unbiased. That, combined with the fact that their reviewers so often don't seem to understand the products they review and what you have is essentially garbage masquerading as the authoritative word on product quality.

Quite simply, no one should bother to consult CR reviews. Even if they sometimes get it right, it's only accidentally, and, if you don't know much about the product, you have no way of knowing if their review is sensible or not. The probability, however, is that it isn't.


EDIT: It may be hard to create precise categories, but, yet again, that points to fundamental problems with their entire approach to product reviews and recommendations. If you can't create precise relevant categories, the answer is not to just create categories for the sake of having them. If it's inconvenient that a product is in a category of its own, the answer is not to just cram it into some category for the sake of categorizing it, or, worse yet, defining your categories so you can pretend to avoid the issues of uniqueness, and then pretending they don't exist.
post #53 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Yes, the absolute score thing is essentially bogus. Just setting up the items that get scored is unavoidably biased. Combined with nonsensical categories, it just compounds the problems inherent in their approach. But, the real problem is that CR foists this image of objectivity and "science" on the public, as though their testing is entirely pure and unbiased. That, combined with the fact that their reviewers so often don't seem to understand the products they review and what you have is essentially garbage masquerading as the authoritative word on product quality.

Quite simply, no one should bother to consult CR reviews. Even if they sometimes get it right, it's only accidentally, and, if you don't know much about the product, you have no way of knowing if their review is sensible or not. The probability, however, is that it isn't.


EDIT: It may be hard to create precise categories, but, yet again, that points to fundamental problems with their entire approach to product reviews and recommendations. If you can't create precise relevant categories, the answer is not to just create categories for the sake of having them. If it's inconvenient that a product is in a category of its own, the answer is not to just cram it into some category for the sake of categorizing it, or, worse yet, defining your categories so you can pretend to avoid the issues of uniqueness, and then pretending they don't exist.

You'd imagine they would find a better way to review products. It would not be that hard to create a number of qualities (categories) for instance and give each a score. They could then list those scores along with the review and even let users filter products by these scores. The one thing they shouldn't do is create and overall score (and proclaim that as the best). If a user ticked boxes to see the best laptop in all the categories - say mobility, speed, battery, screen size and weight, they would end up with a whole bunch of laptops scoring just over 50%. But at least those would be user selected categories that determined the score. If a user ticked just screen size and mobility, they would get a different score. This way the reviewer would be able to write a review of the machine at hand for its intended purpose, highlighting its strengths whilst pointing out the areas where it would be weak.
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