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Consumer Reports "Can't Recommend" the iPhone 4

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News Posted: Mon, Jul 12 2010 1:37 PM
Despite the huge publicity around the iPhone 4's antenna design issue, people are still rushing to by the device in droves. While the public loves the device, Consumer Reports however, said that it can't recommend the device based on the reception issue, which it reproduced itself.

This isn't to say that Consumer Reports didn't love the device. In fact, its report fairly gushed over the iPhone 4, with them saying that "its score in our other tests placed it atop the latest Ratings of smart phones that were released today."

However, it's usage as a phone in which the iPhone 4 suffers, at least if you hold it in such a way as to bridge the gap between antennas on the lower left-hand side. Naturally, you can buy a case, or even simply put tape over the area (either of which CR recommends).
[...] we can't recommend the iPhone 4.

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.

Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4's signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that "mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength."

The tests also indicate that AT&T's network might not be the primary suspect in the iPhone 4's much-reported signal woes.
Our issue with the iPhone 4's signal issues isn't so much the problem itself. After all, we'd never carry such a valuable device around sans case. It's the response by Apple, which seems to be that it's not a big issue, or that it's all about signal indicators (as CR notes).


Also, asking folks to buy a case to fix a design flaw grates on many. CR added if Apple came up with a permanent (but free) fix for the issue, they would revisit their recommendation decision.

CR's annual auto issue is frequently used by buyers. Will this report make a difference in sales? Probably not, based on the sales figures so far.

Watch a video from CR demonstrating the issue.

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rapid1 replied on Mon, Jul 12 2010 4:27 PM

A smart phone has many tasks it can perform, and one of the biggest is to make calls. However; Apple design messed up on the antennae placement, and the At&t network can't handle the traffic the hardware presents well everywhere (read many places, and if it is a concentrated area where more people live you have more connection issues due to the network). So I would think at best a large number of subscribers have a 50/50 chance of being able to make a call, and a lower chance of having a fast download. That is why they are being sued in a class action lawsuit (at least partially so). The iPhone for me has always been a wipe really, I can handle, and in fact prefer advanced capabilities. Proprietary hardware/software/network protocols prevent much of that with an iPhone. To me of all versions of the iPhone this one seems an epic fail to me.

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rapid1 replied on Mon, Jul 12 2010 4:37 PM

As Consumer reports say's; "Apple has said that any phone will lose signal strength when gripped in certain ways. It said the iPhone 4 seems to show a larger drop because it has been using a faulty formula to decide how many signal bars to show.

But Consumer Reports says it tested several phones that use AT&T Inc.'s network, and only the iPhone 4 seemed to have the reception issue.

Consumer Reports says the iPhone 4 will not be marked "recommended" on its updated smart phone ratings list because of this problem.".

There is really not a lot more to say.

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acarzt replied on Mon, Jul 12 2010 5:34 PM

lol.... to bad no one is going to listen to consumer reports and they will just buy the iphone anyway.

Apple really needs to fix this issue.

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Inspector replied on Mon, Jul 12 2010 5:50 PM

What can apple really do? If they can't fix the issue with a software update they really can't do much then to update the device. But then there is the issue that all these iphone 4 has already landed in consumers hand. Still they should of tested it more :(

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Jul 12 2010 5:56 PM

I think the issue can be resolved via a minor hardware revision and all of those people who bought the iPhone with the antenna problem can probably bring it to Apple for a replacement if they're offering that type of promotion.

 

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acarzt replied on Mon, Jul 12 2010 10:14 PM

A recall and putting out a new case that solves the antenna issue would fix this problem and make it go away for good... But apple doesn't see this as a serious issue.

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rapid1 replied on Mon, Jul 12 2010 11:27 PM

They may not see it as an issue now acarzt, but the iPhone is a very high exposure item now. When a very high profile item such as say an original P4 has issues people find other solutions at the time pretty quick IE HTC as AMD with the Athlon XP and preceding model. Without this happening We would not have the AMD we do today. Yes they may have had issues etc, but they still offer competition for Intel either way. I personally don't like Apple for one thing, there inability to believe anyone can build a better PC for themselves both cheaper and better than they can do it. Proprietization went out of style years ago, but either way the point is them not seeing it as a problem because there cistomer base lets them. I think indicative of it is the class action lawsuit being filed against them. If you don't learn or let your company learn on these issues many times the market will teach you. We will see though!

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acarzt replied on Tue, Jul 13 2010 12:07 AM

Did you see the article on them addressing an issue with one of their NAS devices? lol

http://hothardware.com/cs/forums/t/49614.aspx

2 years after it's release they finally(quietly) own up to an issue these devices have and offer to fix them.

By this time people have probably already moved on to a new device and there is no longer anything left to fix... Way to go Apple.

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realneil replied on Tue, Jul 13 2010 9:51 AM

They should pony-up and at least provide a case for free. Will they?,......nope.

They had a plan when they put these devices up for sale. That plan included X-amount of profit per phone sold and they'll protect that profit like a junkyard dog with a steak bone.

After many months of profit taking, their goals will be met, and only THEN will they do the right thing. (paid for by further sales) The only possible relief for the consumer is that someone is gonna or will sue them and MAKE them pony-up.

I feel that they're trying mightily to come up with a solution that's free for them to implement, but that's like peeing into the wind and they'll soon get enough 'soggy-face' to give it up.

It's a hardware problem as everyone living it already knows.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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lonewolf replied on Tue, Jul 13 2010 10:26 PM

I cannot help but laugh, Apple does have a cult following no doubt. "You are holding it wrong" WOW!!

I guess if you can get away with it, unbelievable,,,,un-believable.

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acarzt replied on Wed, Jul 14 2010 12:55 AM

Yes, and that cult following is drinking the kool-aid.

What's the funny flavor?

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dizowned replied on Wed, Jul 14 2010 10:02 PM

Personally I think its just everyone out to hang Apple. So they built a device that has a flaw, but it is correctable -- if you buy one, and you know it has this flaw, then turn around and scream bloody murder about it, I dont think Apple should be the one to blame. Personally I bought one, I have a rubber surround so I dont scratch/dent the thing (no its not the Apple recommended one). I haven't had reception problems outside of the normal At&t crap, and even when I try to make the thing loose reception I've at most lost 2 bars out of 5. So from where I sit, if At&t had a more bulletproof network, then this wouldn't be as big a problem, plus I bought the Iphone for the plethora of utilites, and if I have to pay 15 dollars more on the 300 not to mention the 100 dollars or so a month your already forking over for the thing then so be it -- you gotta pay to play, dont complain because your cheap -- its like the people who go out and buy C classes pretending they riding S's and complain about the service fees ... you bought a premium product, DEAL...

It's not custom unless your the only one who can boot it.

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acarzt replied on Thu, Jul 15 2010 5:27 AM

I don't like cases or sleeve. No phone i've ever owned has had one.

So for me, if I was even interested in the iphone 4 it was be an annoyance to me.

No one should be forced to buy extra crap because of a design flaw.

It's ok when it's optional and it enhances the experience for you. But to be forced to do something or risk you phone not functioning properly... that's not right.

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