updated 12:05 pm EDT, Mon July 12, 2010
Says reception problems verified
Watchdog publication Consumer Reports has, through its website, announced that it cannot endorse the iPhone 4. The magazine tested three iPhone 4s, bought from three different retailers in the New York area, in a radio frequency isolation chamber where each was made to connect to a simulated celltower. As has been frequently reported and charged in lawsuits, CR confirms that covering the lower left-hand side of the device causes signal to fall by as much as 20dB, enough to drop a call.
For contrast the iPhone 4 was tested against other AT&T phones, including the Palm Pre and the iPhone 3GS. None of them had the same trouble, and CR challenges Apple's official assertion that the problem is simply iOS misreporting signal. The AT&T network is also believed to be irrelevant to the matter.
The cheapest solution to the flaw is said to be taping the antenna gap with duct tape, or "another thick, non-conductive material." Using a case may also work, but CR says it will only be conducting tests of various designs later this week.
The magazine notes that without reception flaws, the iPhone 4 is otherwise its top-rated smartphone. This is because of features such as its display, video camera, battery life and gyroscope. "But Apple needs to come up with a permanent -- and free -- fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4," CR adds. "If you want an iPhone that works well without a masking-tape fix, we continue to recommend an older model, the 3GS."