When a much-respected organization like Consumer Reports introduces a free app for the iPhone, you can't help but want to check it out in a hurry. The ConsumerReports.org app is a reference guide to cars, electronics, finances and several other products and services. The app features expert tips, news and buying advice intended to help shoppers make better purchasing decisions.
Launching the app takes you to the "Electronics" category by default, but it's easy enough to switch categories using the menu bar that runs along the bottom of the screen.
Tap on the "Cars" button, for example, and the ConsumerReports.org app will begin by updating its category information. From there, the app presents you with a list of product info, reviews and news articles. I tapped "SEMA 2008-Personal Picks," for example, to see what was new at the big-time car show and after another update, was taken to the article.
This Consumer Reports app works reasonably well, although it really doesn't work entirely as advertised. It simply does not provide the breadth or depth of information you might need to buy anything more than an inexpensive product or service. On the other hand, it does give you access to many useful and informative how-to articles such as "Smart ways to crack your nest egg" and "10 questions to ask your contractor."
Navigating from one topic to another requires an update from ConsumerReports.org at each step. Updating is about as fast as you might expect with an iPhone over Wi-Fi — but it's still somewhat time-consuming and it gets tedious after a while.
The ConsumerReports.org app quit on me a few times in the middle of my using it, so it still needs some work. The app also doesn't have a search function and that is a serious omission, I think.
This one seems more like "ad-app-ware," intended more to promote Consumer Report's site than to provide shoppers with the sort of info they might need for the upcoming holiday season.