Consumer Reports: iPhone 4 signal issues aren't unique

Consumer Reports says that antenna reception isn't a unique problem and may not be serious. The Consumer watchdog said it sees no reason to forgo purchasing an iPhone 4.

Jim Dalrymple Special to CNET News
Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to record music using a Macintosh. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. He currently runs The Loop.
Jim Dalrymple
2 min read

Consumer Reports on Friday may have gone a long way toward alleviating consumer concern over the iPhone 4's reception issues, saying the problems are not "unique, and may not be serious."

Apple's iPhone 4

The consumer watchdog group posted a story on its Web site acknowledging that if the iPhone 4 is held in a certain way, signal loss may result. However, it also said the loss is nothing different than you get from any other phone on the market today.

"Indeed, all cell phones, from the mightiest smartphones to the most basic flip models, must consistently overcome a major communication obstacle: you," wrote Consumer Reports.

The tester said he has been unable to reproduce the signal loss by using the so-called "death grip," which has been employed by other publications, including CNET, to demonstrate signal loss on the iPhone 4. In fact, he said the death grip was an unnatural way to hold the phone.

Consumer Reports even pointed to a recent review on Anandtech that demonstrates the iPhone 4 actually has better reception than its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS.

For its part, Apple said Friday that it isolated the problem with the iPhone 4. Calling the issue "both simple and surprising," Apple said it was using the wrong formula to calculate how many bars of signal strength the device should display.

A software fix has been promised for iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 users in the next few weeks.

"There's no reason, at least yet, to forgo buying an iPhone 4 over its reception concerns," wrote Consumer Reports.