Consumer Reports has recently completed some testing on the now infamous iPhone 4 “Death Grip” issues and is concluding that it can not recommend the iPhone 4. The report contradicts Apple’s recent, and mostly derided, “stunned” admission that the issue is with how the software calculates and displays the cell phone bars on the screen, saying instead that this is a hardware issue.
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.
The report goes on to say that using a piece of duct tape or other non-conductive material can solve the problem, as a case potentially does. It also states that with the exception of this issue, the iPhone 4 scored very high in testing.
Word on the street is there will be some sort of Apple branded Duct Tape available in Apple Stores soon. (That’s a joke.)
Thanks to Alison Skodol for the tip.