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.