Consumer Reports praises Apple's iPhone 5, but dings disappointing Maps

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Consumer Reports has called the iPhone 5 a "notable improvement" over its predecessor, but criticized Apple's new Maps application in iOS 6 as not up to par.

The GPS navigation team at Consumer Reports has been testing the iPhone 5, and determined that Apple's new Maps application in iOS 6 has "much maturing to do" before it can compete with other turn-by-turn services. Still, the consumer advocacy group's initial impressions of the iPhone 5 have been largely positive following last Friday's launch.

The organization has found that the iPhone 5 is a worthwhile improvement over the iPhone 4S "in spite of a mapping app that's disappointing, at least so far." Though iOS 6 Maps were highlighted as the "biggest drawback" of the iPhone 5, Consumer Reports also said the software is "likely to improve over time."

Still, Consumer Reports did have a few positive things to say about Maps in iOS 6 ? namely the simple interface designed by Apple.

The organization also praised the larger 4-inch display of the iPhone 5 with reduced glare, and the lighter weight as compared to the iPhone 4S. Their testing also found that the new 4G LTE radio is speedy and the A6 processor helps to load content faster.

The camera, however, was found to be just a "modest step up" from the iPhone 4S. They found that still shots and video look crisper and sharper with the iPhone 5, but did not find any apparent improvements in low lighting footage.

iPhone 5


Consumer Reports made waves in 2010 when it ranked the iPhone 4 the best smartphone available on the market, but later changed its stance and stated it couldn't recommend the iPhone 4. The group tested the iPhone 4 inside a controlled radio frequency isolation chamber, and found that covering the bottom left corner of the handset with one's bare hand could reduce reception.

The group took a more favorable view of the iPhone 4S when it was released last year, stating that any reception issues were addressed with the updated handset. And this year, it tested the new iPad and found the device could reach temperatures of 116 degrees Fahrenheit, calling it "warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29


    "Because we can't comprehend the idea of a product not being 100% perfect, we cannot recommend the iPhone 5 at this time. We'll let you have a Galaxy, though."

  • Reply 2 of 29


    indeed, check out the full story at their website: www.consumerist.com


    best website ever for consumers.


     


    /*cough*

  • Reply 3 of 29


    Originally Posted by Mugzy View Post

    indeed, check out the full story at their website: www.consumerist.com


    best website ever for consumers.



     


    Looks like they really care about their readers!






    We'd like to take the opportunity to update you on our current technical difficulties and what we plan to do going forward.



     


    So… no actual update on the status, just… still down. Not telling us what they're doing, just… 




    Even AI wasn't taken down for duration of the Huddler transition; it was just down for a few hours when the forums were finished and then pushed out later that day.






    We are working (day and night) on an interim solution that will allow us to keep the content coming.



     


    It's called a backup server, where you have a copy of the site stored. You use that… and it's back up.






    Our readers are the best, and anyone who says otherwise probably does PR for Bank of America.



     


    Oh, yeah, these guys are certainly unbiased in their reviews.

  • Reply 4 of 29


    And CONSUMERS have just handed Apple over 5 million units in sales. 


     


     


    Everything comes out in the wash when the Consumer Satisfaction reports start rolling in. Where the rubber meets the road. Guess where the iPhone5 will be?  The usual . . .


     


    Just like the iPhone 4 that CR couldn't recommend. 

  • Reply 5 of 29


    Used the turn by turn directions over the weekend - they're awesome!  Only problem I had - the voice is waaaaay too loud when you're playing music.  It mutes the music - which is great - but then screams at you at full volume, "TURN RIGHT IN 2 MILES!!!!!"


     


    If I hadn't been expecting it, it would have scared me half to death.  As it was, it was terribly distracting.  Apple needs to fix this so that the volume of the voice is no louder than the volume of the music you're currently playing.

  • Reply 6 of 29


    As long as maps.google.com works this whole thing is overblown


     


     


    Also I was surprised to see the walking directions still in maps this past weekend. I thought Apple said that those were going away

  • Reply 7 of 29
    @sunspot ...you can change the map volume in Settings>Maps. Maps work great for me too.
  • Reply 8 of 29
    sunspot42 wrote: »
    Used the turn by turn directions over the weekend - they're awesome!  Only problem I had - the voice is waaaaay too loud when you're playing music.  It mutes the music - which is great - but then screams at you at full volume, "TURN RIGHT IN 2 MILES!!!!!"

    If I hadn't been expecting it, it would have scared me half to death.  As it was, it was terribly distracting.  Apple needs to fix this so that the volume of the voice is no louder than the volume of the music you're currently playing.

    You can change the volume in Settings.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    Johnnyb0731, can you show me Street View on maps.google.com on the iPhone? How about public transportation information? I didn't think so. Apple Maps has low res images and far less features than the Google Map app that it replaced. The negative reports are valid, they are not overblown. It is an embarrassment that Apple released a competing app that can't compare to the one it replaced. The flyover feature is pointless eye-candy that no one would find beneficial, unless you fly a helicopter to wherever you go. Thankfully, another AI member pointed out that there is an app called Streetviewer that provides the Google Street View data for those that need and use the feature.
  • Reply 10 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hillstones View Post



    Johnnyb0731, can you show me Street View on maps.google.com on the iPhone? How about public transportation information? I didn't think so. Apple Maps has low res images and far less features than the Google Map app that it replaced. The negative reports are valid, they are not overblown. It is an embarrassment that Apple released a competing app that can't compare to the one it replaced. The flyover feature is pointless eye-candy that no one would find beneficial, unless you fly a helicopter to wherever you go. Thankfully, another AI member pointed out that there is an app called Streetviewer that provides the Google Street View data for those that need and use the feature.




    The web app has everything but street view including public transportation. I guess I just never really found the need for streetview on the phone

  • Reply 11 of 29
    Sure maps failed to wow and street view is a major loss but we'll just have to be patient and in the meantime Google will release an app to get us through but all this crying about the new dock connector perplexes me. Really, it's innovative, easier to use, so much better in every way. The old one is clunky by comparison. Ok I admit the cost of the adapter is a bit rich but it's technology and not just some plastic clip. In 6 months this will all be forgotten.

    You have to wonder is Samasung are releasing all the negative press about scratches etc. questionable if you ask me.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    I agree with Consumers Report that the map app sucks.
  • Reply 13 of 29


    Originally Posted by Rodent View Post

    I agree… …that the map app sucks.


     


    I am thoroughly shocked and struck dumb at the sheer surprise of learning this information.

  • Reply 14 of 29
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,991member


    So how long has smartphone GPS performance formed part of Consumer Reports reviews?


     


    Amazing how their nitpicking suddenly becomes the most important issue when Apple is involved.

  • Reply 15 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sunspot42 View Post


    Used the turn by turn directions over the weekend - they're awesome!  Only problem I had - the voice is waaaaay too loud when you're playing music.  It mutes the music - which is great - but then screams at you at full volume, "TURN RIGHT IN 2 MILES!!!!!"


     


    If I hadn't been expecting it, it would have scared me half to death.  As it was, it was terribly distracting.  Apple needs to fix this so that the volume of the voice is no louder than the volume of the music you're currently playing.



     


    You were operating it in "Mother-in-Law" mode. Switching to "wife" mode is somewhat quieter and less demanding. Avoid the "girlfriend" mode if you don't want to get lost on a backwoods cow path.

  • Reply 16 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post




    The web app has everything but street view including public transportation. I guess I just never really found the need for streetview on the phone



     


    I like street view. It lets you travel back in time and see what a street looked like when Bush was president.

  • Reply 17 of 29
    It doesn't look like any of the commenters actually clicked the link and read the review. The article describes the review as "largely positive" and it was. That Consumer Reports found deficiencies in the Maps app should be no surprise. Everything else was positive.

    Also, Consumer Reports website is at www.consumerreports.org. Consumer Reports owns consumerist.com, but obviously does not maintain at website anymore.

    The anti-Consumer Reports bias on AI is stupid. Antennagate was over 2 years ago. Consumer Reports moved on, so should AI readers.
  • Reply 18 of 29


    Originally Posted by msuberly View Post

    The anti-Consumer Reports bias on AI is stupid. Antennagate was over 2 years ago. Consumer Reports moved on, so should AI readers.


     


    I'm sorry, but when you're THAT wrong about something when you're supposed to be an authority on the matter, why should anyone believe what you say about any of the reviews you give for any product?

  • Reply 19 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


     


    I like street view. It lets you travel back in time and see what a street looked like when Bush was president.



     


    Good assessment, I just looked up my house... Image date: August 2007.

  • Reply 20 of 29
    I like street view. It lets you travel back in time and see what a street looked like when Bush was president.
    Best joke of the day!
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