Consumer Reports pulls "Recommended" rating for the iPhone 4

There's a first time for everything, and Consumer Reports earlier this week, for the first time, pulled their "recommended" rating for the iPhone citing its much publicized antenna and reception issues.

There's a first time for everything, and Consumer Reports earlier this week, for the first time, pulled their "recommended" rating for the iPhone citing its much publicized antenna and reception issues.

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.

Oddly enough, while CR won't give the iPhone 4 its blessing, it still ranks it as the top smartphone on the market. In any event, the findings from Consumer Reports underscores the fact that the iPhone 4 antenna issues simply isn't going to go away anytime soon. And even though consumers don't appear to be returning the device in significant numbers, the tech press keeps plugging away at the story. While some are clamoring for a product recall, others suggest that Apple give out free iPhone 4 bumpers to affected users.

Still, not everyone is harping on Apple. Electromagnetic engineer Bob Egan, for example, took umbrage with the manner in which Consumer Reports carried out its iPhone 4 testing.

Consumer reports “RF” engineers should know better than to think they can run an engineering grade test for an issue like this in a shielded room. And certainly not one with people in it.

To even reasonably run a scientific test, the iPhone should have been sitting on a non-metallic pedestal inside an anechoic chamber. The base station simulator should have been also sitting outside the chamber and had a calibrated antenna plumbed to it from inside the chamber.

The bottom line, however, is that the testing procedures used are far less important than the fact that the iPhone 4 antenna remains a talking point weeks after the device initially went on sale. For a company that values branding as much as Apple, this has to be extremely displeasing and frustrating.

Meanwhile, some folks, who we dare say are more practical, think that this whole saga is much ado about nothing given that users can return the iPhone 4 within 30 days of purchase at no extra cost. Either that, or they can purchase an iPhone case if they so choose. The point is that the iPhone 4 may not necessarily live up to everyone's expectations, but since the antenna issue was discovered so soon after the product launched, all iPhone 4 owners are still well within the 30-day window to return the device.

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