Consumer Reports August 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 Reports, Inc.
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12 Utgaver

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1 min
watch tv your way

All of us need to unwind, and for many people that means turning on a favorite show or movie. The choices are seemingly endless: Do I flip through hundreds of cable channels? Subscribe to a streaming service such as Hulu or Netflix? If I want a streaming media player, should I pick an Apple TV or a Roku? The options can be confusing—and what works best for me might not work for my parents or my nephew, who have different priorities for their news and entertainment. This month, our step-by-step guide will help you to determine which viewing options are right for you—regardless of whether you’re a binge-watcher, a sports nut, a home renovation fan, or anything else. We’ll help you to review your monthly bill, spot sneaky add-on fees, and…

4 min
building a better world, together

Working to End Robocalls WHAT’S AT STAKE Fifteen years after the Federal Trade Commission opened the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce unwanted telephone solicitations, our lives are being interrupted with ever more relentless frequency. About 3.4 billion automated robocalls were placed to U.S. homes this April, according to call-blocking company YouMail—almost a billion more than in 2017. That’s more than 10 calls per American per month. And complaints to the FTC for Do Not Call violations rose almost 36 percent from 2016 to 2017, to 7.2 million. Beyond disrupting our lives and assaulting our privacy, robocalls are also a fiendishly effective vehicle for criminal activity: A quarter of them are made by fraudsters fishing for victims, costing consumers an estimated $350 million in 2011 in successful scams. HOW CR HAS YOUR BACK We believe…

7 min
your feedback

In our June 2018 issue we reported on the quickly evolving technology of self-driving cars, which fueled a high-octane discussion about safety on our roads. To join the conversation, go to THE ARTICLE “Safer Self-Driving Cars” says, “this tragedy [of the pedestrian death by an Uber self-driving car] makes clear they have a long way to go.” This implies that self-driving cars shouldn’t be deployed until they achieve perfection. Self-driving cars will never be 100 percent perfect. There will always be unfortunate accidents. What’s important is that self-driving cars will reduce accidents. How many pedestrians were killed last month by cars that did not have self-driving capabilities? The faster self-driving cars are widely available, the faster we will significantly reduce collisions. One tragic accident is not reason to question or…

2 min
introducing our new overall score

CONSUMER REPORTS evaluates a variety of factors for every product we test—performance, predicted reliability, and owner satisfaction. Now CR is incorporating data from all these assessments into one Overall Score, as we did with auto ratings two years ago. The result is a single integrated rating that will make it even easier for you to make a well-informed buying decision. Starting with some products reviewed in this issue—refrigerators (page 18) and washers and dryers (page 48)—CR will be applying our consolidated Overall Score to all major appliances, many small appliances, and most electronics we test. By combining the results of performance tests in our labs with the data we collect through surveys of CR members, our new Overall Score gives a holistic picture of product quality. One result of this is that…

3 min
what we’re testing in our labs …

Smart Speakers WE TESTED: 19 models WE TEST FOR: Sound quality of the speaker, ease of setup and controls, a model’s versatility (evaluating the presence or lack of features), and more. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 53 Range: 40-74 74 OVERALL SCORE Leader of the Pack Google Home Max with Google’s digital assistant $400 63 OVERALL SCORE Excellent Value Sonos One with Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant $200 57 OVERALL SCORE Easy for Apple Users Apple HomePod with Siri, Apple’s digital assistant $350 Large Tablets (9 inches and up) WE TESTED: 35 models WE TEST FOR: Overall performance; quality of display; camera image quality; battery life; convenience of buttons, app use, touch screens; and more. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 75 Range: 62-82 82 OVERALL SCORE Best Overall Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7 (4G, 32GB, 4GB RAM) $550 80 OVERALL SCORE Speed Demon Apple iPad Pro 10.5 (4G, 64GB, 4GB RAM) $780 74 OVERALL SCORE Bargain Buy, but WiFi-Only Lenovo Tab 4…

3 min
is it important to use mildew-resistant paint in my bathroom?

Mildew is a type of mold that thrives in moist places—so you’re right to be thinking about it when you paint your bathroom. Using a mildew-resistant paint can keep growth at bay—especially on the shower ceiling. “Moisture from showering collects and may soak into a room’s paint,” says Rico de Paz, a chemist and engineer who runs CR’s paint tests. “Paints that are resistant to mildew not only resist water absorption by forming an impenetrable paint film but also contain fungicides that kill mildew spores before they can grow at all.” You don’t need to spend much more for paint that can fight off those fungi: One of our top scorers is Behr Premium Plus Enamel, $28 per gallon, available at Home Depot. Or head to Ace Hardware for a can…