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

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Consumer Reports, the organization that caused a stir by not recommending Apple's iPhone 4 due to alleged antenna issues, has taken the opposite stance on the new MacBook Air, giving it top honors.



The consumer advocacy group this week revealed that the new 11.6-inch $999 MacBook Air and its larger 13.3-inch model are the best notebooks in their respective classes. Access to the full report, including scores, requires a subscription.



Digital Daily revealed that the new 11-inch MacBook Air earned a score of 67 points out of 100. That was well beyond the next highest ranked notebook, the Toshiba Satellite, which garnered 51 points.



The larger, more powerful 13-inch MacBook Air earned 78 points, edging the 76 points assigned to the Toshiba Portege. Consumer Reports reportedly found the performance, display and ergonomics of both new MacBook Air models to be the best features on the thin-and-light notebooks.



On the negative side of Apple's new ultraportables, Consumer Reports said the versatility of both models is "fair," while the speakers on the 11-inch model were said to be substandard. The new MacBook Airs were also dinged for their prices, which came in more than double that of their competitors' comparatively less-powerful hardware.



The MacBook Air's high marks from Consumer Reports are a stark contrast from the iPhone 4 controversy earlier this year, when the publication reversed its initial recommendation of the iPhone 4. The company conducted independent testing in a controlled environment, where it found that the iPhone 4 was subject to signal loss when held improperly.



Despite its change of stance, the organization still ranked the iPhone as the best smartphone available. The company also criticized Apple for ending its free case program for new iPhone 4 buyers, suggesting that the Cupertino, Calif., company was "putting the onus" of a "design flaw" on consumers.



For more, see AppleInsider's own positive take on the new 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch MacBook Air models in our extensive review, published in October. Readers can also find significant discounts on the new notebooks in the AppleInsider Mac Pricing Matrix, included below:



«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... The consumer advocacy group this week revealed that the new 11.6-inch $999 MacBook Air and its larger 13.3-inch model are the best notebooks in their respective classes. Access to the full report, including scores, requires a subscription. ...



    Aren't they the only notebooks in their "respective classes"?
  • Reply 2 of 55
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,227member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Aren't they the only notebooks in their "respective classes"?





    "The new MacBook Airs were also dinged for their prices, which came in more than double that of their competitors' comparatively less-powerful hardware."



    imo that sounds like the netbook class to me. Macbook Air are much expensive but they dont run on intel Atom cpu's and the 320m graphics is not even in the same league as netbook graphic.
  • Reply 3 of 55
    It's Consumer Reports again... Who cares?
  • Reply 4 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post


    It's Consumer Reports again... Who cares?



    Well, yes, that was sort of my point, CR doesn't even understand the nature of what they are reviewing.
  • Reply 5 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post


    It's Consumer Reports again... Who cares?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Well, yes, that was sort of my point, CR doesn't even understand the nature of what they are reviewing.



    I'd say - just let's love CR again!
  • Reply 6 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Well, yes, that was sort of my point, CR doesn't even understand the nature of what they are reviewing.



    Well they talk about the Toshiba Portege so I assume they look at that as the same class as the Macbook Air. Not sure how that can be because it has a weight of 3.3lbs. Some models are 2.4lbs and 1" thick. Price is really high on the R600 series.
  • Reply 7 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by herbapou View Post


    "The new MacBook Airs were also dinged for their prices, which came in more than double that of their competitors' comparatively less-powerful hardware."



    imo that sounds like the netbook class to me. Macbook Air are much expensive but they dont run on intel Atom cpu's and the 320m graphics is not even in the same league as netbook graphic.



    Well, the Toshiba Portege is not a netbook, but it's not half the price of an Air (the 12" is ~$1300), nor is it at all comparable to the Air in any way. So, basically, it would seem that CR just lumped a bunch of totally dissimilar computers into a "class" convenient for their review process.
  • Reply 8 of 55
    Flip, meet flop. You guys should get together
  • Reply 9 of 55
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,820member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The new MacBook Airs were also dinged for their prices, which came in more than double that of their competitors' comparatively less-powerful hardware.



    I came from being a fan of Vaio laptops, to owning my first Apple notebook (1st gen MBA), to now waiting for my new 13" MBA to arrive in the mail to replace my trusty 1st gen MBA.



    Consumer reports - like many Apple bashers - that continue to criticize Apple's MBA solely on the basis of price simply do not get it, and from the sound of it, will never truly understand.



    While all the Vaio's I've owned in the past were great machines, NONE of them, including all the current crop of Window's notebooks come even close the to fit, finish, high-quality construction, and attention-to-detail that Apple places on their notebooks. Couple that with OSX and the machines become more of the tools that they are supposed to be compared to their competitors.



    There's a reason that the MBA's cost more. I appreciate my current MBA every day I use it considering the abuse I give it in my very-mobile professional occupation. My Vaio laptops would begin to start cracking (as all plastic laptops do) within a year of purchase due to the environments I have to put them through each day.
  • Reply 10 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post


    It's Consumer Reports again... Who cares?



    Exactly. Why even bring up CR?

    They should be rating condoms or handguns or dishwashers or something. Leave computers to computer & technology mags. Seriously.
  • Reply 11 of 55
    My opinion of CR has nothing to do with whether they bash Apple or not. I mean, you might as well ask Cosmopolitan to review the MacBook Air.
  • Reply 12 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Exactly. Why even bring up CR?

    They should be rating condoms or handguns or dishwashers or something. Leave computers to computer & technology mags. Seriously.



    I don't think there are really any products they understand. Certainly none that I've ever had any knowledge of.



    EDIT: So, it seems their "categories" are based strictly on screen size, as though all computers with a certain screen size are basically the same, and as though that's the most relevant factor in choosing a computer. Makes it even more ridiculous that they discuss price as a factor.
  • Reply 13 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    My opinion of CR has nothing to do with whether they bash Apple or not. I mean, you might as well ask Cosmopolitan to review the MacBook Air.



    Cosmo would be more likely to do an article titled, "10 Things Your Boyfriend Wants To Do With Your MacBook Air (And Why You Should Let Him)"
  • Reply 14 of 55
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,678member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Exactly. Why even bring up CR?

    They should be rating condoms or handguns or dishwashers or something. Leave computers to computer & technology mags. Seriously.



    Rating condoms? Great job.

    I don't know who checks CR but they did list both the 11 and 13" MBA's as the best, so its not all bad. What I find interesting is that they came in at number one yet they only scored 67 and 78 out of 100 respectively. Mostly things are judged by today's standard i.e. the best available today would score top grade, but CR must have created a metric based upon goals not yet technically achievable. I wonder if one day when this imagined standard is achieved - you know, the 300 gram 15" super fast laptop with a one week battery - if then this amazing machine will score 100, or if the standard will move with the times and it will still only score 75?
  • Reply 15 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Consumer Reports, the organization that caused a stir by not recommending Apple's iPhone 4 due to alleged antenna issues,



    Alleged? So now AI doesn't think...whatever.



    So if the MacBook air is top of the class, does that mean all the others have logic board problems too?
  • Reply 16 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    My opinion of CR has nothing to do with whether they bash Apple or not. I mean, you might as well ask Cosmopolitan to review the MacBook Air.



    You haven't got a clue what you're talking about... Go get an education kid, you sound like a failing 3rd grader..



    No one really cares if little Apple Fanboys have any respect for Consumer Union, who is a professional, unbiased, testing organization (made up of professionally, not little Fanboys). I'm sure they are really worried what Little "Suddenly Newton", the Apple kiss-ass blogger thinks...



    You sound like a complete idiot AI has really gone down the drain. Nothing but mindless fanboys who are incapable of thinking rationally.
  • Reply 17 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    Rating condoms? Great job.

    I don't know who checks CR but they did list both the 11 and 13" MBA's as the best, so its not all bad. What I find interesting is that they came in at number one yet they only scored 67 and 78 out of 100 respectively. Mostly things are judged by today's standard i.e. the best available today would score top grade, but CR must have created a metric based upon goals not yet technically achievable. I wonder if one day when this imagined standard is achieved - you know, the 300 gram 15" super fast laptop with a one week battery - if then this amazing machine will score 100, or if the standard will move with the times and it will still only score 75?



    Well, it doesn't necessarily work like that. They probably rate a max number of points for a bunch of individual factors. So, if you rated "excellent" in all factors, you would get a 100.



    Of course, if one of those things is a DVD drive, worth, say, 5 points for excellent, does the MBA get 0 because it doesn't have one, or 5 because the best DVD drive is the one you don't have to carry around with you. Likewise, if they rate Ethernet performance. And so on, and so on.



    And, how can you say that the 13" MBA is objectively better than the 13" MBP? Doesn't it depend on how you intend to use it -- i.e., a bunch of subjective factors that they can't possibly capture?



    This is the basic problem with CR reviews. They break things down into arbitrary factors that may or may not be relevant to you, to someone else, to anyone, and then pretend they are doing Scientific ratings of products. In reality, all they really do with any product, in the best case, is provide reviews that reflect what the reviewer thought was important (which is often very much at odds with what a knowledgeable user would consider important) and which one he would have picked. Their reviews amount to nothing more than rationalizations of their reviewers biases, masquerading as objective fact.
  • Reply 18 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Consumer Reports, the organization that caused a stir by not recommending Apple's iPhone 4 due to alleged antenna issues, has taken the opposite stance on the ne][/c]







    Consumer Reports has no credibility whatsoever.
  • Reply 19 of 55
    kubekube Posts: 40member
    A not-surprising, really useless evaluation from Consumer Reports. But its interesting to consider the nature of the failure.



    As I see it, there are two ways to review a computer. One is functionality. In this case, you take an individual's needs and see how the device measures up in terms of cost and performance. For example, from a student's perspective, how good is a Macbook air? How does it compare to other computers that might fulfill a student's needs?



    Or you could analyze the device on a components perspective. Consider things like the size of screen, or solid-state drive, and see how the design choices affect overall cost-performance functions.



    But consumer reports does neither. It lumps computers based on an almost irrelevant criterion, screen size, and then tries to compare them. While screen size is important, its one of about 10 things that might put a computer in a particular class.



    Statements like "the macbook air is expensive" and "hard drive capacity is small" are just silly. The principal reason that the macbook air is 'expensive' and "hard drive capacity is small" is that Apple chose to use solid-state components to replace the hard drive. This was a clear design decision based on costs and benefits. But consumer writes as if Apple chose to make a computer with high cost and small hard drive independent of the trade offs. As if it were a marketing decision.



    So, its not just that the writers are incompetent. Its also that the structure of the article, the structure of comparison, is idiotic.
  • Reply 20 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post


    It's Consumer Reports again... Who cares?



    I care. They have a reputation for providing unbiased and honest reports.





    Edit: I will add that I got to use a new 13" MacBook Air a couple of days ago and I really think it is one of the best products I've seen from Apple. Once I picked it up in comparison to the other bulkier MacBooks I really wanted one. The downsides for me were: no antiglare option, high price. The 2GB default configuration also leaves a bad impression with me, I know that Apple could provide 4GB as default across their entire product line without much of a hit to their bottom line.
Sign In or Register to comment.