Consumer Reports won't recommend iPhone 4

iphone4_antenna.top.jpgGripping the gap between the iPhone 4's two antennas (the vertical line on the right side of the photo) can cause 'significant' signal loss, according to Consumer Reports. By David Goldman, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Influential product review magazine Consumer Reports said Monday it will not recommend Apple's new iPhone 4 to consumers because of reception problems.

"Consumer Reports' engineers have just completed testing the iPhone 4, and have confirmed that there there is a problem with its reception," the magazine said in a blog post on its website. "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."

Apple acknowledged the problem earlier this month, claiming that the issue was a software glitch, not a hardware problem. The company said the formula it used to calculate how many signal bars to display was incorrect, exacerbating the apparent decline in signal strength for customers in weak signal areas.

But Consumer Reports said its study called into question Apple's "optical illusion" claim: It tested the iPhone 4 along with several other AT&T phones, including the iPhone 3GS, in a controlled signal environment. None had the signal-loss problems that the iPhone 4 demonstrated.

The review said electrically bridging the gap between the phone's two antennas appears to be the cause of problem. The magazine suggested covering the gap with a non-conductive material like duct tape as an "affordable" solution.

"It may not be pretty, but it works," the magazine said in its blog.

Consumer Reports noted that the iPhone 4 otherwise ranked highest on the list of smart phone ratings that it released Monday. But the magazine said it will not recommend Apple's new device until the company unveils "a permanent -- and free -- fix for the antenna problem."

As an alternative, Consumer Reports said it continues to recommend the older iPhone 3GS, which is still available from Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500).

Apple said it will release a free software update in the next several weeks to fix the software glitch. It will use a new formula recommended by AT&T (T, Fortune 500), the iPhone's exclusive carrier, for calculating how many bars to display. Apple said it will also make the first three bars a bit taller to make them easier to see.

Still, the company has not admitted to any hardware issue. Apple sells a $29 "bumper" case, which the company suggested in late June as a possible solution to the reception issue. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,499.66 -14.71 -0.09%
Nasdaq 4,133.69 -27.77 -0.67%
S&P 500 1,874.78 -4.77 -0.25%
Treasuries 2.70 -0.02 -0.81%
Data as of 10:02am ET
Company Price Change % Change
AT&T Inc 35.08 -1.21 -3.33%
Facebook Inc 62.27 -0.76 -1.21%
Verizon Communicatio... 47.03 -0.89 -1.86%
Gilead Sciences Inc 75.08 2.22 3.05%
EMC Corp 25.64 -1.12 -4.20%
Data as of 9:46am ET
Sponsors

Sections

Alibaba's shopping sites account for 80% of online retail in China. Meet four successful merchants. More

The eurozone kept government borrowing under control last year, meeting its own limit for the first time since 2008, providing more evidence that the region is emerging from a devastating debt crisis. More

Upstart Aereo goes before Supreme Court justices in challenge by broadcasters who say TV streaming services violates copyrights. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

While home values nationwide are still down 13.5% from their pre-housing bust peaks, prices in these major housing markets have recovered -- and then some, according to Zillow. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.