| Cult of Mac

Consumer Reports says AirPods ‘just don’t sound great’


AirPods wall display is on show in New York.
AirPods aren't good enough to get Consumer Reports' official recommendation.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s AirPods are some of the top-selling earphones of all time. But according to Consumer Reports, they have a problem: “They just don’t sound great.”

In a series of tests, the consumer testing group pits the second-gen AirPods against Samsung’s Galaxy Buds. And, spoiler alert, their conclusions don’t come down in Cupertino’s favor.

iPhone XS lineup is great, but not as great as Samsung’s Note 9


Apple wins benchmark and real-world comparisons of the performance of the iPhone XS Max and the Galaxy Note 9.
Two great handsets, but which is better?
Photo: SuperSaf TV

Respected consumer testing publication Consumer Reports has released its full review of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

While neither Apple handset quite dethrones Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 as the group’s top-rated smartphone, the testing results do highlight multiple improvements from previous iPhones.

Privacy is the secret sauce that makes Apple Pay Cash special


Apple Pay Cash
Apple Pay Cash has one big advantage over its rivals.
Photo: Apple

From Apple Pay Cash to Venmo, there’s a growing number of peer-to-peer payment services that allow you to send cash to your friends. But which one is the safest to use?

Respected product testing publication Consumer Reports recently tested out the main apps in this space — including Apple Pay Cash, Venmo, Square Cash, Facebook Messenger, and Zelle. Although the report says that all of them work, Apple Pay Cash has one very important selling point that gives it the edge over its rivals.

Consumer Reports says MacBook Pro thermal throttling is a feature not a bug


The new MacBook Pros feature True Tone technology for
The 2018 MacBook Pro with a Core i9 processor is subject to thermal throttling, but it's hardly alone in that.
Photo: Apple

The top-of-the-line MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor has gotten some bad press. The new laptop reportedly is subject to thermal throttling, which is a fancy way of saying that its CPU gets so hot that it slows itself down before burning up.

But before anyone criticizes Apple too much, Consumer Reports came to the company’s defense. The consumer-testing organization points out that other laptops with top-tier processors are also subject to thermal throttling.

Microsoft memo confirms Consumer Reports was right about the Surface


Surface Book
Apple won't make a 2-in-1, but Microsoft has more up its sleeve.
Photo: Microsoft

A leaked Microsoft memo confirms that Consumer Reports was right to retract its recommendation rating from the Surface lineup due to reliability concerns.

Microsoft previously denied that users were experiencing an abnormal number of issues with its devices, but an internal document reveals that the Surface Book and Surface Pro 3 both have unusually high return rates long after launch.

Consumer Reports no longer recommends Microsoft Surface devices


Surface Laptop
Beware the Surface Laptop's reliability.
Photo: Microsoft

Consumer Reports has pulled the “recommendation” rating it awarded to four Microsoft Surface devices.

The publication says the change was made as a result of “poor predicated reliability,” and said the estimated breakage rate for Microsoft tablets and notebooks was higher than that for most other brands.