Consumer Reports won't recommend the iPhone 4 to customers due to reception issues caused by touching the left side of the phone, the magazine said today.
"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. Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4."
The magazine tested the phone in a controlled environment, and compared the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 3G S as well as similar devices on the AT&T network.
In response to related complaints from customers, Apple released a statement on July 2 claiming the problem was not one of reception, but of faulty software which "mistakenly displays two more bars than it should for a given signal strength."
Consumer Reports recommended that users cover the antenna gap on the bottom-left corner of the phone with a piece of tape, or use a case, as a temporary fix to signal problems.
Although the iPhone 4 was not a "recommended" item on the Consumer Reports website, it did receive high scores for a sharp display and the best video camera they had seen on a phone, and ranked at the top Consumer Report's latest ratings of smart phones.
Apple needed to come up with a permanent and free fix to the reception problem before the magazine would recommend the product, accordig to the magazine.