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by christopher ciprian

It's acknowledged. Consumer Reports' technicians have just completed testing the iPhone 4, and have confirmed that there is a shortcoming with its signal. When your finger or hand comes in contact with a spot on the phone's lower left side-a very easy thing, more so even for lefties-the signal can severely 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.We induced this outcome after testing all three of our iPhone 4s (purchased at three separate distributers 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 technicians plugged in the phones to our base-station emulator, a apparatus 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 mishaps of the iPhone 4.

Our outcomes call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4's signal-strength issues were generally an optical illusion resulted by insufficient software that "incorrectly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength."

The tests also indicate that AT&T's reception might not be the primary suspect in the iPhone 4's much-communicated signal woes.

We did, however, find an within your pocketbook strategy for suffering iPhone 4 users: Cover the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape or another thick, non-conductive material. It may not be lovely, but it works. We also expect that using a case would do away with the symptoms. We'll investigate a few cases this week and report back.

The reception fault is a primary reason that we did not cite the iPhone 4 as a "advisable" model, even though its evaluation in our other tests mounted it atop the latest Product reviews of smart phones that were produced today.

The iPhone evaluated high, to a degree because it sports the most sought display and best video camera we've ever found on any smartphone, and even dominates its high-scoring competitors with more suitable battery life and such modern day features as a front-facing camera for video chats and a built-in gyroscope that turns the phone into a super-responsive game controller. But Apple essentially needs to develop a permanent-and free-fix for the antenna issue before we can encourage the iPhone 4. click here

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