I prefer the pull out antennas (retractable) because when pulled out in weak reception areas, it seems to improve reception some. It doesn't seem to matter if the phone shows strong signal strength. It's a matter of personal choice. But if you want good reception, it's best to have a phone with an external antenna over the internal antennas you find on Nokia and some Samsung phones for the GSM carriers.
I now have a LG VX4500 with a stubby antenna and before this I had a Motorola V60C with a pull out antenna. Which length of antenna is supposed to be better for signal strength and reception? I know the antenna has to match a certain length according to a formula based on the frequency wave length. This formulated length can be electronically simulated in a shorter length antenna. Also, the longer the formulated antenna, the signal is stronger because of more surface area for the signal. If my knowledge is incorrect, let me know. To repeat the question, which is better in a cell phone, a stubby antenna or a longer pull up antenna?