Consumer Reports says the iPhone 4 has a design flaw with the antenna that adversly affects reception, and cannot recommend buying the iPhone.
The leading consumer magazine says the “death grip” reception problems are not software related, as Apple earlier claimed, and cannot be fixed with an update.
“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, ” the Consumer Reports wrote in a blogpost. “Due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.”
The magazine tested three iPhone 4s in a radio frequency isolation chamber, which cuts off outside radio signals, and connected the phones to a special cell-tower emulator inside the chamber. The magazine also tested an iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre and found none had reception issues. The magazine says its tests question Apple’s honesty about the issue.
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.”
Consumer Reports is instead recommending consumers buy — or keep — the older iPhone 3GS or check out another kind of smartphone altogether.
If you still want an iPhone 4, or already own one, the magazine advises covering the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape or another thick, non-conductive material. “It may not be pretty, but it works,” the magazine said. This quick fix is in lieu of a case, which the magazine admits it hasn’t been able to test yet.
Consumer Reports had earlier reported that the iPhone 4 death grip was probably no big deal.