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