Consumer Reports: Thumbs down to iPhone 4; antenna to blame

Consumer Reports wants to like the iPhone 4 - but that antenna issue is very real, the magazine said, and that will keep it from recommending Apple's latest mobile phone.

Consumer Reports today has released its smartphone ratings (subscription required) and, as much as they'd like to, the publication said it cannot recommend the iPhone 4.

The magazine's own tests confirm the signal degradation when users touch the side antenna, even though CR noted a fix available by applying duct tape to the antenna or buying a case. The magazine also questioned Apple's claim that the iPhone 4's signal-strength issues were caused by miscalculating the bars that are displayed on the device.

Beyond that, the phone scored high in its rankings. The review says, in part:

The iPhone scored high, in part because 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.

But that blasted antenna issue is a problem. Consumer Reports says Apple needs to come up with a permanent—and free—fix for the antenna problem before it can recommend the iPhone 4.

Until then, CR continues to suggest the iPhone 3Gs

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