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Consumer Reports still refuses to recommend the iPhone 4

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Consumer Reports still refuses to recommend the iPhone 4
Remember back in the midst of this summer, when Consumer Reports decided that it could not recommend the iPhone 4? As we reported, the non-profit organization said that although Apple's device featured the "sharpest display and best video camera" among all of the mobile handsets it had tested, the iPhone 4 would not get a  buy recommendation in the magazine until the "antennagate" problem was fixed.

But what about the free bumpers and cases that Apple has been shipping out in bulk to owners of the new iPhone? On its blog today, Consumer Reports wrote, "Our tests found the Bumper successfully mitigates the iPhone 4’s reception issue, which was a weak point in the phone’s otherwise-stellar performance in our tests." Hey! That sounds good for the iPhone. Perhaps now the device will get a green light for buyers? Not so fast. CR continues by saying, "And we agree with Apple that not all iPhone 4 owners will experience reception difficulties with the device. But putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a design flaw is not acceptable to us. We therefore continue not to recommend the iPhone 4, and to call on Apple to provide a permanent fix for the phone’s reception issues."

Because the buyer of the iPhone 4 is left with the job of obtaining the free bumper, or paying for it after September 30th, Consumer Reports continues not to recommend the device. Despite this, sales of the phone have been tremendous and the handset was rated "Excellent" for its display, browsing, navigation, battery life and multimedia. Phoning and messaging were rated "Very Good" and voice quality was given a "Good" ranking. If the iPhone 4 can continue to garner strong sales even without a green light from Consumer Reports, what does this say about the influence that the magazine has over buyers?

Apple iPhone 4 Specifications | Review

source: ConsumerReports via AllThingsDigital

26 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:48

1. celldoctor (unregistered)


hats off to consumer reports on this one. You're suppose to judge a product by its overall quality, not its popularity. Its good to see that they are staying steadfast in their beliefs. An issue like the iphone 4 is having is not a minor issue, so its understandable how heavily that can effect an organization like consumer reports decision to put their name on the line and recommend the product. As for sales being very high, tell me something new with the iphone. It is a phone that has always sold well ever since it first came out, so that says nothing about the influence consumer reports has on peoples decisons to purchase an iphone. On any other product you might be right, but not this time.

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 09:39

22. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


But the problem is...it's their highest rated smartphone of the year, even if they don't recommend it...mixed signals?

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 19:08

25. roscuthiii (Posts: 1789; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Higher rating doesn't have to translate as recommended. A gaming laptop can easily achieve a higher rating than an entertainment laptop. Which do you think would get a recommendation for the majority of consumers?

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 17:46

2. SamTime (Posts: 253; Member since: 07 Nov 2009)


Consumer reports is spot on! Hopefully that iphone redesign comes to fruition.

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 17:53

3. iHateApple (unregistered)


HA!

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 18:00

4. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


weird, everyone I know has no probs with their iphone 4.....

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 19:30

6. vzw fanman (Posts: 1971; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


well they lie!

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 19:59

8. BobbyTaba (Posts: 316; Member since: 11 Aug 2010)


i know 2 people with iphone 4s and both of them had a lot of dropped calls. The case fixes it but still they have like 10 percent of their calls dropped

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 01:59

16. DonkeyPunched (Posts: 321; Member since: 10 Jan 2010)


same here network. I hear about it, but everyone I've run into hasn't had a problem with it. I went into an apple store to try out the hand thing, and it does happen, but only when I really really squeeze it lol.

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 06:54

18. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


its probably because they are so used to not having service on ATT they cant tell the difference.. lol.. No, seriously though, i would immagine its more of a left hander problem than a right handed one. As long as you dont touch the connection point it should be just regular craptastic service, not extra craptastic. having to "learn" how to hold your phone though is REDICULOUS.

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 19:22

26. roscuthiii (Posts: 1789; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Right. It shouldn't be there in the first place even if only a small portion of people experience it. Not after Jobs got on stage and boasted about how Apple had put so many resources into the development of the iP4 antenna. All that money spent on R&D and engineers/technicians and no one knew about completing circuits and shorting circuits?

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 18:37

5. JOKE (unregistered)


Consumer reports is a joke and it's obvious they have no influence over ANY iPhone buyers. Who gives a sh@t what they think

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 20:21

9. tedkord (Posts: 4662; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Nothing and no one has any influence over iPhone buyers. Jesus Christ himself could descend from the heavens in a fiery chariot and declare in a voice like a choir of angels that the iPhone is the worst phone ever developed and owning one reserves you a first class room in hell, and all he'd hear in return is, "Baaaaa. Baaaaa." My sister in law was just complaining the other day that her new iPhone 4 drops calls all the time, even with the bumper (but fewer drops with it). It never occurred to her to try another phone, or more pertinent in our area, another carrier. She had to have her iPhone, because it's cool to have an iPhone.And it's much more important to have a cool phone than a functional phone.

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 01:53

14. DonkeyPunched (Posts: 321; Member since: 10 Jan 2010)


So basically, you wish your sister to go to hell because she has an iPhone 4? You get so wrapped up in what you say that you are clearly clueless of it. I get if you're using sarcasm, but still, you sound pretty stupid. Let people have what they want. I swear you sound like you're preaching a religion of phones and trying to force that shit on people.

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 04:12

17. Wiseman (unregistered)


I am both surprised at and disgusted at the comment of DonkeyPunched. Tedkord was simply stating assessment from a righteous organization could bear no influence on the decision of a consumer. Consumers tend to make purchase decision irrationally, not based on technical merit but quite commonly on 'trend' and 'perception'. Technically speaking, iPhone's retina display over a small 3.5" display area improves mostly on sharpness. It does not give you the choice to read the whole webpage (a decent 22" display would). Therefore, retina display is basically a marketing gimmick that does not cost Apple much compared to a non-retina display. In practice, large number of dead pixels on the retina display will go unnoticed hence Apple could end up paying the same or only slightly more than what they are paying for a typical LCD display with lesser resolution. iPhone was used to be a standout from the other smartphone. This is no longer true given the many well-implemented Android phones in the market today, with the best of which probably the DroidX and the next best being the Galaxy S variants. Now, smartphone users have many choices, and the true competition begins!

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 07:33

19. tedkord (Posts: 4662; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Where did I say she could go to hell? I'm simply stating that if you're going to keep the phone, stop bitching about the dropped calls. I was also commenting on the sheep-like response of the true apple faithful, who once Steven J. Christ told them there was no antenna problem, immediately began repeating it verbatim. "Every phone has attenuation problems. The iPhone4 has no antenna problems." The iPhone4 has a basic design flaw that no other current smartphone has - exposed antennas that are jumpered by contact with conductive materials and detuned. Period. It is a design flaw. Some folks don't see it, simply because they live in areas where the signal is strong enough that the antenna isn't detuned enough to lose the signal. Consumer Reports and Anandtech both proved it scientifically. Anand even exposed the bogus signal bars algorithm Apple was using to make people think they were getting better signal than they were. I've asked this question of other Apple cultists, and not a single one has been able to answer it. Maybe you can? If the iPhone4 has no antenna issue, and contact with the exposed antenna isn't causing the signal loss, but rather it's simple attenuation by the proximity of your hand like all cellphones exhibit, then how and why does a bumper case solve the issue? I think Apple did absolutely the right thing by giving out the cases. No one should expect a full recall when a simple fix like this works. Where Apple did not do the right thing was in lying to their customer base (and the rest of the world) by claiming that there was no issue with the exposed antennas, it didn't exist. Then, where they went even further into slimetown was when they started trying to implicate their competitors, claiming they had the same signal loss for the same reasons. Lies and damned lies.

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 12:24

23. IHatePhones (Posts: 99; Member since: 12 Aug 2009)


My favorite part about the whole antennagate controversy was how, at one point, it was brought up that it was a software problem... That the way the phone calculated reception was the main culprit and that ALL iPhones had this problem. Without actually coming out and saying it, your AT&T signal on the iPhone was not as good as they would have initially led you to believe. It would appear that the little bars on your iPhone were sugar-coated to look like it was getting better reception than it actually was, and if you blocked the signal with your meaty extremities it dropped the signal, but more dramatically than you were even getting in the first place. Thusly a little jacket would help a software problem.... Sounds like a case of some miss-led sheep being further miss-led by the blind who were trying to lead out of a minefield... I had respect for Apple/Apple products until this happened, now I've lost it for them. Not just because of the phone problems but all the dancing around the issues involved, and I can't dance.. Good job Consumer Reports for not dancing either.

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 19:37

7. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Iphone sales are still very strong. The consumers have spoken. And consumers no longer recommend Consumer Reports recommendations :-)

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 01:48

13. SamTime (Posts: 253; Member since: 07 Nov 2009)


What a ridiculous thing to say

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 01:59

15. DonkeyPunched (Posts: 321; Member since: 10 Jan 2010)


I'm starting to agree with 530 a little. I'm subscribed and I go on there to try to find products I might like, but honestly, none of it really has anything I couldn't have found from Cnet. :\ They don't really even have reviews or reasons as to why they rate their products a certain way. I think it might just be better for the people who are uneducated about the newest technology. But as for me, I've learned to just go out, find the product, test it myself, and make my own judgement.

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 20:29

10. dyster (Posts: 63; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


All I know is ever since my employer got an iphones, they have dropped calls constantly. They have offered more than twice to put me on one and I have declined. I'm happy with my Droid X. I only sometime I drop calls is using google voice, but never on straight vzw.

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 20:30

11. kioskguy521 (unregistered)


So based on the way this article is worded, you're trying to discredit Consumer Reports just because they won't give the Iphone the go-ahead? I'm pretty sure you said it yourself, and I quote, "Because the buyer of the iPhone 4 is left with the job of obtaining the free bumper, or paying for it after September 30th, Consumer Reports continues not to recommend the device." For those of us who like analogies, that's like buying a car but having to install your own brakes. Most cars on the lot won't need new brakes right away. Some models will work fine after a tune-up. But you might have an issue stopping until you get the problem looked at. I'm not going to say the Iphone 4 isn't a great phone. I myself want one. The display is amazing, the processor is nuts, and I have always like apple products. But my opinions of a device does not mean that anyone else has to buy it. I know a lot of people look at CR before buying a product, but in the end it's the consumer's choice. Notice how never once did they say "Don't buy the Iphone 4." They merely can't reccomend it until a more permanent solution is given. Regardless of what Consumer Reports says, people will believe what they want to believe. I would bet that there are a good deal of people expecting their phone to magically be fixed in the near future. Even if CR said to not buy the Iphone 4, people would still buy it. Look at the whole Toyota thing. Yeah, your car might have suddenly started speeding out of control, but the whole time it got 37 miles to the gallon highway. Besides, yours might not have the problem. I give a round of applause to Consumer Reports for some unbiased, proper journalism in this case. They are merely taking the facts, laying them down in front of you, and saying, "If you want my opinion, it's good, but." Will it stop you from buying? No. But don't say we didn't warn you.

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 07:43

21. tedkord (Posts: 4662; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


If you want to take the analogy to it's conclusion, it's like buying a car with no brakes, then having the manufacturer tell you that there are brakes but you're pressing the pedal wrong, then telling you that all cars have no brakes, then grudgingly sending you brakes while still saying that the car already has as much brakes as every other car.

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 20:57

12. Whateverman (Posts: 3192; Member since: 17 May 2009)


This says nothing about Consumer Report. The iPhone is a sure thing as far as most people are concerned. Apple has a reputation for making high quality products, so for the masses the ip4 is a no brainer. It doesn't matter if 10% of their calls drop or if they can't hold it with there left hand. All that matters to most is that its an iphone, period. Those who are a little more tech savvy will decide based on specs, OS capabilities/restrictions, and the ability to jailbreak or root the OS. So the rating doesn't really matter for most people when it comes to this particular phone. Either way good job CR!

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 07:39

20. tedkord (Posts: 4662; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Exactly. In my home, I have to do the car shopping. Why? My wife would buy a car based solely on it's color and body shape. She wouldn't research fuel economy, or initial quality testing, or crash test ratings, or long-term reliability of the model. Just if it's pretty. That's exactly the same with the average iPhone4 buyer. (Now, the iPhone does have a high quality reputation) CR was absolutely correct, and only a fool would make a purchase decision based solely on their say so anyway.

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 13:47

24. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)


The Android user in me finds it hilarious that CR still won't recommend iP4, but the reality is consumers continue to buy iP4 like no tomorrow despite what CR says. Most consumers don't purchase based on the technical inner-workings and performance...usually its about the surface features (quality of the camera, touchscreen/no touchscreen etc.) and how the phone looks. Phones are more about status than about performance nowadays. Apple realizes the market for people who want a status symbol is bigger than those of us who actually care about having a snapdragon/hummingbird processor running Froyo. Most consumers don't even know what the hell that means, but most consumers will go for visual appeal before anything else. That bein said...i love my Droid X and my Fascinate. Had little faith in the Samsung Galaxy S line and the whole "Super AMOLED" business...but now i see. Mine eyes have been opened (call quality could be a little better tho)

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