Consumer Reports ‘can’t recommend’ iPhone 4 over signal issues | iLounge News


Consumer Reports ‘can’t recommend’ iPhone 4 over signal issues

After stating in an earlier post that there was “no reason, at least yet, to forgo buying an iPhone 4 over its reception concerns,” Consumer Reports has published a new blog post claiming that it “can’t recommend” the iPhone 4 due to its ongoing cellular reception issues. During testing of three separate iPhone 4 units within the publication’s radio frequency isolation chamber, Consumer Reports was able to replicate the “left hand” issue in which the device experiences significant signal degradation when skin touches the black band on the lower left hand side of the handset. The signal issue is cited as the sole reason the iPhone 4 was not considered a “recommended” model in new smartphone ratings released by the publication today, despite the fact that it “sports the sharpest display and best video camera we’ve seen on any phone, and even outshines its high-scoring predecessors with improved battery life and such new features as a front-facing camera for video chats and a built-in gyroscope that turns the phone into a super-responsive game controller.”

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I tried 2 of them before giving up, I’m as stunned they’d release the device to market like this as they are about the antenna bar software glitch.

I’m waiting for the 4.5 ;)

Posted by Tamarai on July 12, 2010 at 2:27 PM (CDT)


I have an iPhone 4 with a bumper case, and have yet to drop a call. Contrast that to my ATT Tilt2 where the vast majority of my calls ended with a drop. My iPhone reports 1 to 2 bars while at my home with the bumper case on it regardless of whether I am holding it or if it is on the desk. My Tilt2 also reported 1 to 2 bars but failed to maintain a call.

This is not a defense, because Apple dropped the ball on this one. They should have included the bumper case as part of the phone not as an accessory.

Posted by Andre Adams on July 12, 2010 at 2:43 PM (CDT)


I have had no drop problems. I do have a case but even before I got it, I had no dropped calls and 3-5 bars almost all the time.

I agree that Apple should have supplied a bumper with each phone, though. It’s a cheap accessory that could have scored them some goodwill from customers and prevented some bad press.

Posted by LoftyDreamer on July 12, 2010 at 3:14 PM (CDT)


Consumer Reports still recommends the iPhone 3gs OVER the iPhone 4g??????

And in their article they rated almost EVERY OTHER aspect of the iPhone superior to any other smartphone out there…give me a break. They also recommend a piece of “duct tape” over the signal area, or the use of a case. Man…what are those guys smoking?

Yes, I know there is a signal loss, and I have seen it on a buddy’s iPhone4, however he did not use a case.

And while I bought a case when I bought my phone, I didn’t buy it based on the reports about reception, but since I do have a case on it…I have had ZERO dropped calls. NONE, ZILCH, ZERO!!

Again, I am not excusing Apple…it does appear they have tried to “sweep” this issue under the rug, but for me personally…it’s not a deal breaker. At this point, with the way I have my phone set up…I have no issues whatsoever and would give it a solid “A” and RECOMMEND BUY.

Posted by ArkieBiker on July 12, 2010 at 3:31 PM (CDT)


Wife has had hers for 2 weeks. No case. No drops.

Just sayin’.

Posted by Dick Bacon on July 12, 2010 at 3:45 PM (CDT)


Apple itself and manufacturer’s for iPhone 4 cases have not taken into consideration two very fraustrating and disappointing facts:

With many, if not all iPhone 4 cases installed, you cannot use Apple’s charging DOCK.  I discovered that they won’t fit into the mounting slot and the connector itself cannot make good contact because the case prevents it from inserting fully. 

Secondly, and to me most fraustrating of all, with the case on I cannot use any of the popular car charging docks either, such as those that include FM Radio transmitters.

I bought the Sirius “SkyDock” when I got my 3GS.  It works GREAT!  I can tune in Sirius radio on my iPhone via a free app on iTunes.  This is fantastically convenient and I did’t have to buy a new car radio to get this feature.  + it’s transportable.  It works great on my old 3GS with the case installed.

But if I cannot use my new iPhone 4 with a case on it, since it too won’t fit the connector tightly enough.  The case prevents the connector from inserting well enough to make a good connection.  I’m forced to remove the case when I want to listen to Sirius or, charge my iPhone via the Apple dock, or a car charging dock for that matter.

Seems to me that a little better planning would have been in order before some manufacturers released their cases to the public.  In all fairness, this is an issue with all the accessory manufacturer’s. The same issue applies if I use the Apple iPhone “Bumper.”  I cannot use a dock for charging or connection to a huge variety of accessories.  This is especially critical for the iPhone 4, because of dropped calls due to the antennae problems.  A case is needed to prevent this.

Why hasn’t any of the case manufaturer’s addressed this issue?  There is a marketing opportunity for the first case manufacturer that advertises it’s line as having met this need.  But they’ve got to act immediately since the problem is immediate.  I’m sure many other customers will experience this issue sooner or later and be very angry that they will have to buy another solution when avaialable.  People are wasting money buying accessories that don’t work and shouldn’t have been necessary in the first place.

Posted by Frogprintz on July 12, 2010 at 4:05 PM (CDT)


People who defend the defect because you can, “just put a case on it” are missing the point.  The design is a major defect.  Apple touts the beauty of the phone, and then says you have to cover it up with a case to get it to work correctly?  I want it to be in perfect working order out of the box, with no need to add accessories.  It should be up to me to add or not add a case of my choosing.  The design is faulty, end of story.  If Apple doesn’t admit it, I hope they get sued into oblivion.  If they admit it, and fix it with some sort of clear coating (as mentioned on anandtech), I’ll buy one!

Posted by Earldom on July 12, 2010 at 5:53 PM (CDT)


I am having a hard time deciding on whether to send the iPhone 4 back because of all fantastic features. However, most importantly, Apple should have made sure it was a superior PHONE first. I really, really need a reliable PHONE! Otherwise, what your describing Chuck is a cool gadget. Not a cool PHONE. How can anyone defend a product that fails to be effective for what is what designed for.

Posted by Mark F on July 12, 2010 at 6:33 PM (CDT)


@ frogprintz i have always had that problem with cases with ipods ive owned not fitting docks, its one reason why ive never gotten a dock for them,  some companies in the past have made cases where you can remove the bottom

@earldom,  exactly it should be my choice to get a case or not,  and consider how beatiful that design is why would you cover it, its like buying a lexus and putting a cover on it while you drive around just becuase the radio works better with it on.

Posted by Mark on July 13, 2010 at 2:04 AM (CDT)


Those claiming to have experienced no calls dropped are likely those customers lucky enough to be in an area well saturated with AT&T signal. For the rest of us it’s time to look for something else. Clearly the new iiPhone4 isn’t it.

Posted by Bill g on July 13, 2010 at 8:03 AM (CDT)


People generally get these things backward.

Let’s say you’ve got a million people posting they have no problem… mean anything? Nope.

Let’s say you’ve got five people posting they have a problem… mean anything? Yep.

An iPhone 4 not exhibiting reception issues only means that not every iPhone 4 is defective, it says nothing, without a representational sampling (which NO voluntary board/forum posting can ever amount to) about the existence or severity of the problem.

On the other hand, even a smattering of people reporting experiencing the same problem may not reveal the percentage of defective units (again, need a truly representation sampling), but it shows with absolute certainty that the problem exists.

Consumer Reports ability to replicate the identical issue across different units is particularly damning.

Let’s just hope Apple incorporated most of the iPhone 4’s new geewhiz tech into this year’s touch, looks like they’re going to need it to recoup their R&D at this rate ;-)

Posted by Code Monkey on July 13, 2010 at 9:09 AM (CDT)


@frogprintz - Like stated in #9, cases have been hit and miss since day one. Some do incorporate some sort of way to get better access to the dock connector, but most do not. I have only had one iPod/iPhone dock and it was worthless because of this. I am using the iFrogz Luxe Lean snap on case for my iPhone 4. I like it. It is thin and unobtrusive. The opening on the bottom is very wide and will allow most dock connector accessories. I will not comment on your Sirius attachment as I have never used one.

As for the overall issue of dropped calls, I have had my fair share. I had them with my original iPhone, my iPhone 3GS and now my iPhone 4. Since I use a case, these call drops are more in line with spotty AT&T service. In a few tests without my case, I did see a drop in bars when touching the described area on the phone. This is an issue that Apple needs to own up to. I enjoy using their products, but they are seriously damaging their reputation as a top notch customer service provider here. Admit it already. Give free bumpers to those that need it (I do not…because I like my current case better) and fix the problem with all new shipments or a software push. Whatever you need to do to get back on track Apple. Do not let this be a part of your legacy. Plenty of products ship with problems. The real measure of the company is what they do to make it right. Telling people to hold it differently or just cover it up is not the answer. Take a page from Nintendo and their WiiMote. They shipped with faulty wrist straps. Nintendo set up a way to replace those AND included a rubber case as well. Then just added that stuff to new items off the line. It can be done if you just suck it up.

Posted by Mitch on July 13, 2010 at 9:42 AM (CDT)


Apple’s refusal to deal with the iPhone 4 antenna detuning issue in a responsible manner has all of the makings of a great grad school case study of not what to do.

Posted by Charles Farley on July 13, 2010 at 12:40 PM (CDT)


Hey Earldom, I hope your nose understands your stupid reasoning.

Posted by Sherman on July 13, 2010 at 1:02 PM (CDT)


I’m in Kansas City, and AT&T’s reception here is actually really good, it even outshines Verizon’s at different times.

I don’t know whether that is a huge contributing factor, but all my friend’s iPhone 4s are working just fine, and the majority of dropped calls are a result of my POS Verizon phone.

My question is: wouldn’t this antenna issue be a lot less prominent if AT&T stepped it’s network up, or if the iPhone was cross-carriers?

Posted by Erik on July 13, 2010 at 4:24 PM (CDT)


Apple has lost 2 iPhone sales. I am returning both that I purchased because they are dragging their feet. The Mexican Standoff with Jailbreakers is wasting my time, the antenna issue is hardware because I lose the internet connection when held in “Death Grip” fashion which is natural for me. Since Apple refuses to admit it I’m done, I’m out, take em back Steve.

Posted by Ethan on July 14, 2010 at 10:38 AM (CDT)

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