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'Consumer Reports' Says iPhone 4 Reception Problem Is Real

For weeks now, many owners of Apple’s new iPhone 4 have insisted the hardware has a reception problem, while Apple has argued it’s merely a software issue in terms of how the phone displays signal strength. This morning, the product testers at Consumer Reports weighed in on the debate, saying they can’t recommend the phone because they’ve detected the reception problem in their lab.

Consumer Reports demonstrates a low-tech solution to the iPhone 4's reception problem: duct tape. hide caption

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In their blog post announcing the results, Consumer Reports said they tested three iPhone 4s in their mobile phone lab and compared the results to other phones served by AT&T’s network, including the iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre. “None of those phones had the signal-loss problems of the iPhone 4,” they stated.

“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 blog post continued. “The tests also indicate that AT&T's network might not be the primary suspect in the iPhone 4's much-reported signal woes.”

For now, Consumer Reports recommends you purchase the previous iPhone model, the iPhone 3GS. If you insist on getting the iPhone 4, though, they offer a simple solution – grab some duct tape and place a strip of it around the bottom left corner of the phone. “However, it does spoil the look, don’t ya think?” they note dryly in a video demo:

Have you experienced problems on an iPhone 4? Please let us know in the comments.