The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg called it "the best device in its class." The New York Times' David Pogue dubbed it "amazing." Engadget said it was the "cream of the current crop." But Consumer Reports says it "can't recommend the iPhone 4."
Why the naysaying? Having completed its tests on three different iPhone 4s--which included controlled tests inside a "radio frequency isolation chamber"--Consumer Reports concluded that Apple's new iPhone has a design flaw that causes the phone to lose signal strength when held in such a way that one's skin covers its external antenna.
Consumer Reports wrote in a blog post,
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.
Their findings run counter to Apple's explanations for the signal disparity: the company has suggested that it was a software issue. Apple CEO Steve Jobs even reportedly told one customer, via email, that "there are no reception issues" with the iPhone 4.
Consumer Reports notes,
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 site suggests covering the bottom left-hand side of the with duct tape or another "non-conductive material" to remedy the problem.
Although it doesn't come "recommended," the iPhone 4's other features, including its video camera and high-resolution screen, helped the smartphone top Consumer Reports' smartphone ratings. Apple was recently hit with a class-action lawsuit over the iPhone 4's antenna issues. Check out users' biggest complaints about the iPhone 4 thus far in the slideshow below, then see what critics are saying about the phone. A Consumer Reports video on the design defect is also below.