Antenna is better on iPhone 4S, Consumer Reports says


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After blasting Apple’s iPhone 4 for its antenna problems last year, Consumer Reports magazine is giving the new iPhone 4S a little less static.

The new model ‘doesn’t suffer the reception problem we found in its predecessor in special tests in our labs,’ said a report released Tuesday by the independent consumer ratings publication. The 4S ‘did not display the same reception flaw, which involves a loss of signal strength when you touch a spot on the phone’s lower left side while you’re in an area with a weak signal.’


The iPhone 4 -- still available to consumers at a discounted price -- still exhibits the problem, the report noted.

Last year, Consumer Reports’ indictment of the iPhone 4 set off a wave of consumer (and media) unrest about the apparent flaw in the iPhone 4, which eventually led to a news conference held by Steve Jobs, in which he grudgingly offered a free rubber case to anyone who complained about reception issues.

Though Consumer Reports says the new phone fixes the issue, the group still doesn’t give the 4S its top marks. Instead, the leading phones had features that the new iPhone doesn’t: a larger display and fast 4G (fourth generation) cellular capability.

The new iPhone runs on so-called HSPA+ networks -- a faster technology than the previous phone, but what Consumer Reports called ‘the bottom rung of what is considered to be 4G network speed.’

Phones that beat the iPhone 4S in the ratings included Samsung’s Galaxy S II phones, the Motorola Droid Bionic and the LG Thrill.

The report noted that it was not able to reduce battery issues that some iPhone 4S owners have been reporting, and which Apple has said will be fixed in an upcoming software update.



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-- David Sarno