Business & Finance
Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports June 2018

Ratings, recommendations, reliability reports, safety and price comparisons from the world’s largest consumer testing center. Helps consumers make better choices for everything from cars to cell phone service. The only magazine of its kind: Expert, independent, nonprofit. 100% unbiased. Consumer Reports accepts no outside advertising.

United States
Consumer Union
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$7.01(Incl. tax)
$33.75(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
building trust in the digital world

MOST OF US probably think we’re too smart to be scammed by suspicious messages that show up in our inboxes or on our phones, but research shows that no matter how confident we are in our own shrewdness, every one of us is at risk. As technology has evolved, so has the savviness of the modern scam industry, which now preys on consumers across all age ranges and income brackets with a level of sophistication and organization that we’ve never seen before. The digital age has created countless opportunities to take advantage of consumers, from farming your Facebook likes in order to sell bogus products, to phony tech-support connections that allow criminal syndicates to gain access to your devices and accounts. This month, we fill you in on how to identify…

4 min.
building a better world, together

Safer Self-Driving Cars WHAT’S AT STAKE Police in Tempe, Ariz., recently reported what is thought to be the nation’s first fatality involving a self-driving car. A pedestrian, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was struck by an Uber self-driving vehicle and taken to a local hospital, where she died from her injuries. Tempe police said in a statement that the vehicle had a backup driver behind the wheel but was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash. In response, Uber shut down its self-driving test program in the four metro areas where it was operating: Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. But the tragedy still raises questions about the safety of rushing to get the vehicles on the road—and the kinds of consumer protections that are needed for this fast-evolving technology. HOW CR HAS YOUR…

8 min.
your feedback

You had plenty of questions and comments on our April 2018 Annual Auto Issue, from fuel economy to new safety technologies and more. To join the conversation, go to CR.org/toppicks. FOR YEARS, I have carefully read your comprehensive Annual Auto Issue. This issue alone is worth the annual cost of a print and digital membership. My wife and I have both purchased cars over the past year, and we wouldn’t think of buying a car without carefully reviewing your findings. I do have a question. Why does CR give extra points for certain features and not others? For instance, I would expect a manufacturer that provides a 60,000-mile/five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty would get extra credit vs. one that provides only a 36,000-mile/three-year warranty. Likewise, a manufacturer that includes Apple CarPlay and Android…

3 min.
what we’re testing in our labs …

Small Laptops (12 to 13 inches) WE TESTED: 41 models WE TEST FOR: Performance while running a variety of tasks; battery life; the quality of the screen, including size, clarity, and color; keyboard ergonomics; and more. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 72 Range: 50-82 82 OVERALL SCORE Best Overall LG Gram 13 Touchscreen $1,100 82 OVERALL SCORE Best Battery Life Dell XPS 13-inch XPS9360-7710SLV $1,100 70 OVERALL SCORE A Lot for Less Lenovo Yoga 720-13lKB 13-inch $805 Dehumidifiers WE TESTED: 23 models WE TEST FOR: How many pints of water the model removes from the air per day in humid conditions, noise, energy efficiency, and more. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 78 Range: 60-91 91 OVERALL SCORE Best for Laundry Rooms Whynter RPD-321EW $210 91 OVERALL SCORE Best Medium Capacity Keystone KSTAD50B $180 83 OVERALL SCORE Best for Large Basements Frigidaire FAD704DWD $230 Ask Our Experts I'm seeing more black stainless steel appliances in stores. Are there advantages or is it just aesthetics? BLACK…

3 min.

When my petite mom, age 85, sits in the front seat, an ‘airbag off’ light goes on. Is she safe? Most new vehicles have advanced airbag sensors in the front passenger seat. These are designed to disable the airbag when they detect a small stature or lightweight passenger who could be harmed by the force of its deployment in the event of a crash. (The sensor uses an algorithm based on weight, height, and posture, though these vary across car brands and models.) So if you see any type of “airbag off” warning or icon—often on the dashboard or driver instrument cluster—while a person is in the front passenger seat, that means their airbag has been switched off. This is a safety feature aimed mainly at protecting children, whose skeletal structures, unlike…

4 min.
cr insights

✓ Scott Arx Plus $100 87 OVERALL SCORE In the Know A Heads Up on Helmet Safety A BIKE HELMET is a cyclist’s best line of defense against severe head injuries, such as a skull fracture—and, when it’s sitting on your head correctly, it could save your life. Making sure your helmet fits properly isn’t as simple as picking up a size small, medium, or large. Use our expert fit guide to ensure you have your helmet strapped on correctly before hopping on your bike. Always replace your bike helmet after a crash: It’s designed to withstand only a single impact. BEST FOR KIDS ✓ Bontrager Solstice Youth $40 (available in new colors) 83 OVERALL SCORE EXCELLENT VENTILATION $ Bell Draft $40 82 OVERALL SCORE LIFETIME WARRANTY ✓ Smith Route $120 78 OVERALL SCORE To learn about how we test these and other helmets,…