In a decision sure to upset Apple, Consumer Reports magazine has joined the growing chorus of critics and announced that it cannot recommend the iPhone 4 smartphone. The magazine, which today released its smartphone ratings, cited the well-documented antenna reception problems as the reason it would not be recommending the iPhone 4.
Consumer Reports engineers tested multiple iPhone 4s in controlled environments and found that “[w]hen your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone’s lower left side—an easy thing, especially for lefties—the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you’re in an area with a weak signal.” (see video here). Tests with other smartphones, or previous iPhone models, yielded no similar signal-loss problems.
Consumer Reports was otherwise impressed with the upgraded features on the new iPhone, but “[t]he signal problem is the reason that we did not cite the iPhone 4 as a ‘recommended’ model, even though its score in our other tests placed it atop the latest Ratings of smart phones that were released today.” Engineers also believe their “findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4’s signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that ‘mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.’”
Although quick and easy fixes to the antenna problem exist, “if you want an iPhone that works well without a masking-tape fix, we continue to recommend an older model, the 3G S.” Like many, Consumer Reports believes that “Apple needs to come up with a permanent—and free—fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4.”
If you own an iPhone 4, and are interested in participating in our lawsuit against Apple and AT&T, please email me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.