Consumer Reports Pulls iPhone 4 Recommendation Over Antennae Issue

Consumer Reports have completed testing the iPhone 4, and have had to change their recommendation due to the antennae problems. Previously, they recommended the iPhone 4 due to its battery life, screen, and superlative feature set, but after extensive testing, that’s all changed.

It’s official. Consumer Reports’ engineers have just completed testing the iPhone 4, and have confirmed that there is a problem with its reception. 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. Due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.

They took three iPhone 4s, and tested them in a completely radio frequency isolated room, where they could precisely control signal strength from a simulated tower. They tested a number of other phones, including the 3GS and Palm Pre, and none had the same issue — though one wonders what holding configuration they used for those.

CR is certain this is a hardware issue, and says “Apple needs to come up with a permanent—and free—fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4.”

You can’t really disagree with that.

  • Marc

    Darn…Every year my IT department lets us upgrade our smart phone. We get a choice between ATT and Verizon. I was waiting for the iphone 4 to show up on the list, but saw they had the driod X listed which isn’t even out as of today. When I called they said the iphone 4 was not fit for purpose. They said they would take another look at it after a lengthy argument. I am sure they will see this info. Looks like another 3GS for me…

  • Jason LI

    I’m going to have to start agreeing with the people on this forum that the bumper case was introduced SOLELY to eradicate this problem. The ironic thing is, try as I might, I can’t simulate this drop in signal. My only conclusion is that I live in an area with very strong reception. I wonder what Apple will do now? CR is a very reputable institution and Apple will definitely have to respond.

  • david

    This is big. Kind of hard to call a company like Consumer Reports a liar. Apple may have to finally admit that they new this problem and made the bumper to fix it. How much can a bumper cost for them to make anyways 50 cents to 2 dollars. Sometimes even the greediest of the greedy has to do the right thing to save face. Just give them away.

  • cushcalc

    I definitely can reproduce this reception loss with my iPhone 4. Just got a replacement due to other issues, and the replacement phone behaves the same. It isn’t a practical issue for me because I will always have my phone in a protective case anyway, but Apple should give everyone a Free Bumper, and perhaps even give everyone an iTunes credit or some other type of rebate or partial refund. The fact that the antenna design that they Bragged about is actually a Problem is just really something that they need to acknowledge and make good, or they will lose a Lot of goodwill!

  • Eric

    Proof that Apple has a hardware issue and that the users are 100% correct.

    I now want an apology from Apple and a refund for the bumper I purchased.

  • -T-

    Hmmm, I smell a recall in the future… I bet only half the users would take their phones back though.

  • Jason LI

    Not only am I requesting a credit for the bumper, I am calling AT&T in a few days to get a $30 credit because the have crippled their upload speeds (due to a supposed software issue). Why should I pay full price for something that is not working properly? When cable goes out they give you a credit for lost usage time (if you ask).

    • Howie2g

      Me too. I’m getting a credit for the data plan. Why be forced to pay for something that isn’t working.

  • Chris

    “-T- July 12, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Hmmm, I smell a recall in the future… I bet only half the users would take their phones back though.”

    I doubt it would even be close to half of the people taking them back since they currently have the option to return them with no restocking fee. I have not heard of people returning them in large numbers but a lot of people holding off buying a new one to see how it all goes down.

    • Booyow1204

      Second that one, I’m one of the many who won’t upgrade until the dust settles, I’m still runnin’ my 3G and very satisfied in that it has no issues whatsoever.

  • Tobaccojoe

    I can’t what the whining is all about. If you are stupid enough to use you iPhone without a case then you really shouldn’t have one. I’ve had a 2G since they came out. ALWAYS in a clear Belkin case. Kept it plugged in all night next to my bed every night. Dropped the thing at least 3x a week due to CTS. Never had an issue of call loss, battery life or anything else. It out lasted all of my friends who had the same model. So the question is: are you getting it to impress others or because it’s a great phone? My new 4G is a rocket in comparison. The only issue I have with Apple is, I had to buy upgrades to my wife’s MacBook OS and more RAM before I could sync her’s.

  • Tom

    This is insane! Even if this is an issue, which it hasn’t been for me, the other million positives about the phone outweigh this one minor issue. Overall my signal quality is far better on this phone than the 3GS, without question. Deal with it people.

    • Hawk

      This “one minor issue” affects the very core of what this device is- a PHONE. That isn’t minor.