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Consumer Reports ranks latest Galaxy S4, latest Droids over iPhones

updated 11:26 am EDT, Wed October 16, 2013

iPhone 5s, 5c still get high marks

Although the iPhone 5s and 5c are both great phones, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the latest Motorola Droid models -- the Droid Maxx, Droid Ultra, and Droid mini -- are currently better choices, says Consumer Reports. The Droids in particular are said to have superior battery life, and larger displays. CR also points to some software advantages, such as Google Now and Motorola's Active Notifications.

The iPhone 5s is lauded for its 64-bit processor, high-quality camera, and Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which the publication says makes unlocking a phone faster than using a PIN or password. The iPhone 5c, meanwhile, is described as a "compelling offering for budget-minded buyers." Both phones are said to benefit from iOS 7, which includes things like Control Center and improvements to Siri.

The two major complaints with the 5s and 5c could be solved next year. Apple is rumored to be testing iPhone screens up to 6 inches in size, which would put Apple devices in better competition with Android phones, many of which are now over 4.5 inches in size compared to the iPhone's 4. The Galaxy S4 and Droid Maxx each use 5-inch screens.

by MacNN Staff



  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    Years ago CR lost all credibility so this doesn't surprise me one bit. They have an agenda just like everyone else and their reports are anything but unbiased. They're the new Fox News.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    So bigger screens = better phones? Hmm. I'm not sure I buy that as an indicator of quality ... I'm not against bigger-screen phones per se, but using that as THE yardstick of whether one phone is better than another seems like a "purchased opinion" to me ...

  1. OldMacGeek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-04-10

    Agree with Chas. Bigger is not always better. I'm probably an anomaly anyway, and use my phone mainly as a phone. As I also keep it in my front pocket, the iPhone size is perfect for me. I don't need a removable battery, and am willing to sacrifice that aspect for a smaller phone. I won't even get into the app infrastructure, the lack of malware, and the well thought out user interface of the iPhone. Oops, I guess I just did . . .

  1. mgpalma

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 09-27-00

    I disagree that CR is the new Foxnews, they are more like ALL of the media outlets. They all have an agenda and do a dis-service to the general public. The clearly do not like Apple and prove it with every 'Apple's not so good' review they write. No matter HOW popular the device is. I'm sorry, my personal opinion, people look like dorks with these 'large screen phones' plastered to their heads.

  1. makemineamac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-07-08

    Chas, you realize of course, that the beauty of Consumer Reports, is that there are no 'purchased opinions', correct?

    I may not agree with their findings, in fact I disagree with them completely personally, but I don't question their integrity.

    A larger phone is ridiculous in my opinion, and as OldMacGeek said, doesn't make sense for the vast majority of us, but clearly some consumers like the idea....

  1. Grendelmon

    Senior User

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Consumer Reports indicates iPhone is not #1 = MacNN click bait

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    One thing I do notice in the public is that big guys with big hands prefer Android's big screen. There's a market out there and Apple, now, starts to be aware of it.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    It's just not actually that big a market.

  1. I-ku-u

    Junior Member

    Joined: 08-08-11

    There are multiple issues with Consumer Reports' rankings for any product.

    First, there is no way for the reader to discern how each factor weighs into the product's total score and whatever method is used is necessarily an arbitrary choice that likely weights the factors differently than most people would (and each person would likely complain differently).

    Second, sometimes their results for a factor are ludicrous due to their own ignorance, such as when they claimed that wood and metal decks are equally viable/comfortable because they are measured to be the same temperature on a sunny day, which completely ignores the significant difference in heat transfer capacity between the materials, which is what actually determines how hot the deck feels to a bare foot.

    The one thing thing they always excel at is measuring the details the naive and uninformed consumer thinks they care about. Often that matches "well enough". It's just that with tech products, those details are more likely to be those hyped by media instead of important ones like "ease of use", "long term support", "useful security updates", etc.

  1. Bittyson

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-21-11

    I better subscribe to Consumer Reports right away, because I had NO IDEA that the Galaxy has a bigger screen than the iPhone. Talk about value add.

  1. gskibum3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-25-06

    Consumer Reports is OK for information for those purchasing cars. And maybe appliances like toasters. But when it comes to tech they are a joke.

    I started snickering at them back in the days of the G4 towers - they claimed there were no bays to install additional internal hard drives in. I was reading that when using a G4 tower that had at least 4 hard drives installed.

    I'm not going to bother reading the review. Likely it leaves out things such as the malware rampant on Android - yet conspicuously lacking on iPhone, most web activity from mobile devices originates on iOS devices, and updates for Android OS are lacking....

  1. mjoecups

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-13-01

    They lost me when they said PCjr was better then the Apple ][. Ok, I guess I am older then dirt.

  1. Babylon Mac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-24-02

    Then I guess that means that the National Enquirer is a better magazine than Consumer Reports because it's larger. And anything smaller than CR is worse. I like that there's a choice of sizes in the market, but personally, I like the size of the iPhone. I don't like holding something the size of a small cake pan to my face to talk.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    The problem with institutions like Consumer Reports is that, in the interest of neutrality, they apply the same methodology to all tested products, be they desk lamps, stereo equipment, washer-dryers, fax machines, or phones.

    This necessarily reduces their reviews to spec wars, with little or no regard to the fact that better specs do not necessarily a better product make.

    I'm told that at some point in the late 80s, our local equivalent, Stiftung Warentest, proclaimed that they would no longer review CD players, on the grounds that they were all 16-bit/44.1 kHz, and thus all sounded identical due to digital spec. Everybody had a good laugh at that.

  1. Sebastien

    Registered User

    Joined: 04-29-00

    Ah yes, the typical Apple fanboi knee-jerk reactions

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by SebastienView Post

    Ah yes, the typical Apple fanboi knee-jerk reactions

    As opposed to the "bigger is better" mantra of the typical, well-informed and neutral observer.

  1. ljmac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-07-10

    I DO NOT want a bigger screen! Those Android 'phablets' are ridiculously large for their primary purpose - being a phone. I guess there's nothing wrong with Apple giving people the choice for those who want it, but please, keep the current very well judged compromise between screen real estate and pocketability and holdability. To mark Apple down for this intelligent compromise is ridiculous.

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