After doing a comprehensive review of the iPhone 4, Consumer Reports says, it “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 (see video: IPhone 4 Design Defect Confirmed). 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.
Consumer Reports generally loves the phone, but the signal issue is holding it back from being a “recommended” phone. However, it says you can just slap some Duct tape on the phone and the signal problem goes away. It also says using a case should remedy the problem.
We’ll be curious to see if Apple’s rivals use this in marketing to rip the iPhone 4. We’ll also be curious to see if this signal issue affects sales whatsoever. So far, it doesn’t look like it matters.