iPhone 11 Pro Max Tops Consumer Reports’ Smartphone Rankings

Apple's new iPhone 11 Pro Max has taken the top spot in Consumer Reports' smartphone rankings, with the smaller iPhone 11 Pro claiming second place, after years of Apple being consistently edged out by Samsung smartphones.


Consumer Reports said the iPhone 11 Pro models earned the top spots for having significantly improved battery life, excellent cameras, and other improvements like a greater degree of water resistance, more durable glass casing, brighter displays, and faster performance powered by the new A13 Bionic chip.

While the iPhone 11 Pro models top the list, Consumer Reports emphasized how tight the scoring is at the top of its smartphone rankings. In some categories, it said just fractions of a point separate the top models.

Consumer Reports believes those with own an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or even an iPhone XR can probably save their money and wait. Despite marked camera and battery life advancements, the non-profit firm said there just may not be enough in the way of new features to justify spending $999-plus on a new model.

A subscription to Consumer Reports is required to view the full smartphone rankings.

Related Roundup: iPhone 11 Pro

This article, "iPhone 11 Pro Max Tops Consumer Reports' Smartphone Rankings" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Consumer Reports Says Apple Pay Cash is the Best P2P Mobile Payments Service

Apple Pay Cash is the highest-rated mobile peer-to-peer payments service on the market, according to a review by Consumer Reports.

In the first comparison of its kind, the Consumer Reports publication looked at the relative pros and cons of Apple Pay Cash, Zella, Square Cash, Venmo and Facebook Messenger P2P payments. Google Pay's new money-sending feature wasn't included in the group test, however.


The five services were rated worse or better in terms of payment authentication, data security, data privacy, customer support, and broad access (use not limited to those with a bank account or particular mobile device).

All five services were rated good enough to use, but Apple Pay Cash came out the winner with a higher overall score, mainly because of its stronger privacy and security measures.
Apple Pay was the only service that got top marks from CR for data privacy, because its policies state that it limits the information it collects and shares on users and their transactions. It doesn't store credit card or debit card numbers, and it states in the terms and conditions that it doesn't sell users' personal information to third parties, CR found.
The requirement of later-generation Apple hardware and software was classed as the only major drawback of Apple Pay Cash, as per the "broad access" category described above.

Venmo, Facebook Messenger, and Square Cash all rated above average in most categories barring privacy. Zelle was downrated for poor clarity in its data policies, and failed to offer a way to confirm payments in its mobile app, although the company said the feature would be included by late October.

After a brief delay, Apple Pay Cash arrived on iOS devices in December 2017, although it's currently only available to users in the United States.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Consumer Reports Says iPhone X Offers the Best Smartphone Camera

Apple's newest flagship device, the iPhone X, has the best smartphone camera currently available according to new rankings published this week by Consumer Reports.


Furthermore, Apple devices took up most of the spots on Consumer Reports' list of top 10 smartphone cameras, with the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus following the iPhone X. The iPhone 7, 7 Plus, and 6 Plus also earned top 10 spots.
  1. Apple iPhone X
  2. Apple iPhone 8
  3. Apple iPhone 8 Plus
  4. Samsung Galaxy S8+
  5. Apple iPhone 7
  6. Apple iPhone 6s Plus
  7. Samsung Galaxy S8
  8. Samsung Galaxy Note8
  9. Apple iPhone 7 Plus
  10. Samsung Galaxy S8 Active
Introduced in November, the iPhone X has two 12-megapixel rear lenses arranged in a vertical orientation, one that's an f/1.8 aperture wide-angle lens and an f/2.4 aperture telephoto lens. These lenses are combined with features unique to Apple like an Apple-designed image signal processor with advanced pixel processing, improved color filters, a better sensor, faster autofocus, and optical image stabilization for both the telephoto and the wide-angle lenses, a first for an iPhone.

The iPhone X's rear camera is combined with the front-facing TrueDepth camera system that enables neat features like a selfie Portrait Mode, which blurs the background of a selfie image and sets it apart from the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus.

Apple has also done a lot of work on software to complement the camera offerings on the iPhone X, introducing features like Portrait Lighting for adding studio-quality lighting effects to your images. The result of all of these features is the best camera that's been introduced in an iPhone to date, and it's been highly praised in reviews and evaluations.

Photographer Austin Mann, for example, said the iPhone X camera was the "most exciting" upgrade he'd seen since he switched from a Blackberry 7230 to the original iPhone back in 2007. Photography site DxO gave the iPhone X's camera a score of 97, higher than any other iPhone, while DPReview, another noted photography review site said it is capable of "extremely impressive" results.

Apple smartphones have long been some of the most widely used and popular cameras available, topping the list of Flickr's most popular camera for multiple years running. The iPhone's popularity as a photography device has spurred Apple to make continuous improvements to photo quality with each new iteration, and iPhone image quality is now at the point where it comes close to offering the kind of effects you can get with a DSLR camera.

Consumer Reports' current list does not include the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+, and it will be interesting to see how Samsung's newest devices measure up to the iPhone X. Both of Samsung's latest smartphones feature Dual Aperture 12-megapixel lenses with f/1.5 and f/2.4 modes, with the lenses able to switch between these two apertures depending on the lighting conditions.


This kind of Dual Aperture functionality is useful for finding a balance between light and image quality. The f/1.5 lens is useful in low lighting conditions because it lets in more light, but with a wider aperture comes a compromise in image sharpness in certain areas of the photo. Therefore, in conditions where the lighting is better, the f/2.4 lens that's also included will provide a crisper, higher-quality image.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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Consumer Reports: Google Home Max and Sonos One Sound Better Than HomePod

Consumer Reports has conducted some early audio testing of the HomePod, and while the full evaluation isn't yet finished, the site believes that both the $400 Google Home Max and the $200 Sonos One sound better than Apple's new $349 smart speaker.

The HomePod received a "Very Good" sound quality rating, as did the Sonos One and the Google Home Max, but the latter two speakers also received higher overall sound quality scores.


Consumer Reports says that its speaker tests are conducted in a dedicated listening room, with experienced testers who compare each model with "high-quality reference speakers." In the case of the HomePod, testers found a few issues.

The bass was "boomy and overemphasized," while midrange tones were "somewhat hazy," and treble sounds were "underemphasized." Overall, Consumer Reports found the HomePod's sound to be "a bit muddy" when played next to the Sonos One and the Google Home Max.
The HomePod will serve many music fans well, but CR testers did hear some flaws. The HomePod's bass was a bit boomy and overemphasized. And the midrange tones were somewhat hazy, meaning that some of the nuance in vocals, guitars, and horns was lost: These elements of the music couldn't be heard as distinctly as in more highly rated speakers. Treble sounds, like cymbals, were underemphasized. But the HomePod played reasonably loudly in a midsized room.
All three smart speakers "fall significantly short" of other wireless speakers Consumer Reports has tested, like the Edifier S1000DB, priced at $350.


The HomePod's sound has been highly praised both by new HomePod owners and by media sites that tested the device ahead of its release. While Consumer Reports doesn't believe the HomePod outshines the Google Home Max and the Sonos One, other reviews have disagreed, including an extensive, in-depth review published by a self-professed audiophile earlier this morning.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)

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Consumer Reports Ranks iPhone X Below iPhone 8 Because of Durability and Battery Life

Consumer Reports today shared its final iPhone X testing results, and while the site has given the iPhone X a recommendation, Apple's new flagship smartphone has been ranked below the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus in the Consumer Reports recommended list.

The iPhone X did make the Consumer Reports list of top 10 smartphones in the number 9 slot, but the site says it did not beat out the iPhone 8 or the iPhone 8 Plus because of its poor performance on a durability test. Both the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus better survived a tumble test for emulating real-world drops and fumbles of about 2.5 feet that can result in device damage, despite the fact that all three devices have glass bodies.


After 50-100 tumbles, one iPhone X model suffered serious body damage, while two others had screen defects. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus ended up with just a few scrapes after the test. Front displays for the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus all came away unscathed, and the iPhone X did well on scratch tests and water resistance tests.

"If not for the damage in that durability test, the iPhone X would have come in ahead of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus," says Richard Fisco, head of smartphone testing at CR.
Consumer Reports also had some complaints about the iPhone X battery life, which does not last as long as the battery in Samsung phones like the Galaxy S8. The iPhone X lasted 19.5 hours in the Consumer Reports battery test, compared to 26 hours for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and 21 hours for the iPhone 8 Plus.

The iPhone X didn't fare well on durability or battery tests, but it did earn the highest camera score out of all the smartphones tested by Consumer Reports. The site also listed the OLED display and the Face ID facial recognition system as iPhone X strengths.
The rear camera on the iPhone X is among the best we've ever seen. In fact, if you combine the performance scores for stills and video, this is the highest-rated smartphone camera Consumer Reports has tested.
Overall, Consumer Reports continues to rank the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+ as its top two recommended smartphones, mainly due to superior battery life, followed by the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone 8 in spots number three and four. At number nine, the iPhone X is at the bottom of the list, but only a few points separate all of the devices tested.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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