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Devices/smartphones

Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4

More bad news for Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) on the iPhone 4 antenna issues: Consumer Reports says that it "can't recommend" the new smartphone because "tests confirmed there is a problem with its reception."

The consumer gurus put out a blog Monday that added more evidence that the antenna design on the new phone is a big problem. "When 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," writes Consumer Reports' Mike Gikas.

This echoes the findings of our sister company, UBM TechInsights, which said last week that the problem was likely caused by an antenna break on the left-hand side of the phone's casing. Consumer Reports says that its testing "casts doubt" on Apple's explanation that its signal strength software was overstating the amount of bars available. (See Apple's Antenna Issues: Them's the Breaks and Apple Explains iPhone 4 Troubles.)

    We reached this conclusion after testing all three of our iPhone 4s (purchased at three separate retailers in the New York area) in the controlled environment of CU's radio frequency (RF) isolation chamber. In this room, which is impervious to outside radio signals, our test engineers connected the phones to our base-station emulator, a device that simulates carrier cell towers. We also tested several other AT&T phones the same way, including the iPhone 3G S and the Palm Pre. None of those phones had the signal-loss problems of the iPhone 4.


The group has put out this video on its findings:



Consumer Reports says that Apple needs to fix the problem "for free" before it can recommend the phone to potential buyers. It suggests that a case -- or even tape on the phone -- will fix the problem for existing users. [Ed note: And it'll look stylin' too!] — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:30:20 PM
re: Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4

It baffles me why Apple isn't issuing free cases to all iPhone 4 purchasers. The expense to issue cases (which gotta be cheap to make) free is a lot less than the cost of all the bad PR it is receiving.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:30:19 PM
re: Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4

I suspect it needs a better and more permanent fix. If people don't use the case then you still get complaints and whoever heard of a phone that you HAD to use a case with. In any case, an Apple-branded roll of silicon tape might be cheaper still. ;-)

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 4:30:17 PM
re: Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4

Consumer Reports = myopic Luddites


 

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:30:17 PM
re: Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4

That's harsh. Were you burned by the $1 home permanent kit before you they warned you?


http://www.consumerreports.org/content/Home/Gallery/Photos/193801.jpg

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:30:17 PM
re: Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4

Duct tape on the iPhone. That was funny and it worked.

toastman 12/5/2012 | 4:30:14 PM
re: Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4

Seriously, who uses an Iphone to make phone calls?

Maybe after all the litigation is done apple will learn to play a bit more nicely with their customers.

quicktime 12/5/2012 | 4:30:14 PM
re: Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4

I saw so many iPhone lovers ignore this issue, and admired by so many no-brain fans.


That only happens in U.S, and to Apple ;)

mdroberts1243 12/5/2012 | 4:30:09 PM
re: Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4

A of of commentators have focused on the iphone4 being a bigger problem for lefties... a straw poll here at the office seems to point to it being a bigger problem for 'righties'... most of us like to hold the phone in the left hand to keep the right hand free for note taking or mousing or pecking at a keyboard!

Also, most 'properly' designed phones aim to have a cone of radiation beaming away from the head (not always to spare us the RF energy, but to ensure a good RF transmit signal strength). It would be interesting to know what the iPhone 4 radiation pattern is with the antennae located in the perimeter band the way they are.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:30:05 PM
re: Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4

> Also, most 'properly' designed phones aim to have a cone of radiation beaming away from the head (not always to spare us the RF energy, but to ensure a good RF transmit signal strength). It would be interesting to know what the iPhone 4 radiation pattern is with the antennae located in the perimeter band the way they are.


I hadn't thought of that, but now I'm curious about it too.



As for the handedness issue: I agree with you. I'm a rightie and almost always hold the phone in my left hand.

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