Consumer Reports Does Not Recommend iPhone 4

Public opinion steering Consumer Reports magazine finally has weighed in on Apple’s new iPhone 4 and while scoring it the highest of its test group, declined to stamp it with a ‘recommended’ seal of approval. If consumers were still wanted an iPhone, the magazine guided them toward iPhone 3GS. While the iPhone 4 does offer excellent features, Consumer Reports found that they did not make up for the antenna problem that plagues the units with poor reception depending on where the phone is held.

The testing methods that Consumer Reports used were neutral. Three iPhone 4s were purchased at three different stores in the New York area and tested in a controlled isolation chamber. The chamber emulates a cell tower that phones being tested connect to free from outside signal interference for optimal testing of their radio frequency (RF) characteristics. However, the results ran contradictory to Apple’s claims on the phone’s performance.

Several other AT&T phones were tested along with the iPhone in the isolation chamber to determine if Apple’s assertions were correct or not. Apple maintains that the customer complaints regarding dropped calls and poor signal strength are simply the result of a glitch in the formula generating the signal strength bar gauge on the phones. The formula apparently overinflates the number of bars displayed by two, even if current reception is poor.

The magazine’s findings instead point to a problem with the iPhone 4’s actual antenna design—an issue not addressable through a software update like many customers are hoping is in the works.

None of the phones tested alongside the iPhone 4 suffered from the same signal-loss problems that plague it when a spot on the lower left side is touched. Even the iPhone 3GS did not experience an issue, pointing the blame to the external stainless steel antenna that Apple designed all new for the fourth model. Fortunately, covering the spot with a piece of insulating tape solves the problem. Cases for the phone also offer a similar but much more aesthetically pleasing solution.

Consumer Reports have you questioning whether or not the iPhone 4 is the smartphone to buy right now?

Antenna issues getting you down?

 Sound off and weigh in with your opinions.

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