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Old 08-02-2011, 11:55 AM   #16
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Great Letter!

Congratulations on creating a great letter which, although, it deals with one series of ratings is pretty typical of the overall editorial attitude I've observed at Consumer Reports as a subscriber starting in 1958. I finally canceled my subscription because of their, obviously, biased automotive ratings. My impression was that theirs was a culture of effete snobbery, biased against anything with an American manufacturers name on it. I saw time and time again, praise for a foreign auto's feature(s), while somehow omitting mention or criticizing the same or similar features on American branded cars. I wrote a couple of letters, but got no response, so I finally voted with my wallet.

It looks like things haven't changed.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:19 PM   #17
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It looks like things haven't changed.
Perhaps they have changed. This thread is over two years old.
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:50 PM   #18
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Perhaps they have changed. This thread is over two years old.
I certainly home that is true. But, since I was a subscriber for ~40 years and there was no movement, I doubt it. But hope springs eternal.
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:33 AM   #19
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Interestingly enough, Consumer Reports rated e-Readers again in a recent magazine, and they had the new Nook (Simple Touch) at the top -- not that Sony eReader owners will like the new ratings, the various Kindles come next, but they did at least note the format support on the Kindles as a negative.

Not sure if you'll be able to see this if you're not a subscriber, but here is the link:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/e...s-overview.htm

I own a Kindle, but the ratings seem "about right" to me, the new Nook screen seems to me OK, doesn't fuzz up like the older Sony's did, combine that with the consequent small form factor, it's a nice package. The original Nook was OK, pretty close to Kindle in function and handling, albeit a bit thicker, maybe needed to be plugged in a bit more, and the Color Nook was definitely a step forward -- although I went the full tablet route (which allows me to read both Nook and Kindle books on the same device, bigger screen, etc.) -- and a really good buy for the equipment.

Generally when Consumers rated something well that I'd bought, I thought they were geniuses, and when they disagreed, they were dummies ;-) Just human nature. And they definitely get things wrong at times, maybe even a little wrong a lot of times. But then I do give them credit for trying, and over time, they do seem to correct. We all need to realize that our criteria and weights for buying items may be different from Consumers, thus our own "ratings" perhaps different. I did observe the foreign car thing, I'm not going to call it a bias, and it was unfortunate (I have relatives in the domestic car industry), but I do think there were was in the U.S. domestic car industry, cost and reliability and focus issues (great trucks/lousy cars), a lot of which were overcome recently, these were legitimate and Consumers was far from the only one pointing them out. And over time, as the Domestic cars got better, they have risen in the ratings (as has been the case with Korea), which tended to lower Japanese and particularly German cars.

Do I agree with all the Consumers' ratings? Well, no. And clearly at times they're taxed to rate fairly and completely some of the more complex and numerous consumer devices on the market. But generally there are some things they are good at, and they are in any case a good first-step, particularly if you know little or nothing about a prospective purchase. Any consumer purchase judgement, given enough time, will benefit from a number of sources or opinions. There are a lot of magazines and newspapers and websites out there, none is perfect, but I do think Consumers Reports is in general one worth reading, even if one ultimately makes a decision in favor of something else.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:01 AM   #20
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Good CR Observations

Thanks for your very concise observations of Consumer Reports. CR may not be always on target but it is always a good place to start. I consider their auto reviews accurate but nothing is a substitute for hands on inspection. Choice of a vehicle depends on too many other factors to enumerate in a national publication. Buyers also most consider such things as weather, local road conditions, and the driver's height and weight. When selecting a vehicle, I usually start from the top of the published list and work my way down.
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:10 PM   #21
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The actual owner reviews available on CR (thru my library's website for free) is even more helpful IMHO. Gives me a better picture of a product if owners are stating common problems experienced or positives.

I don't always agree with their findings, having purchased products that have had years of trouble free use before finding out that they were not rated so well in CR. I like their mission and purpose though.
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