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Disputes Apple's explanation of so-called 'death grip' problem

13 июля 2010

Consumer Reports engineers say they have just completed testing the iPhone 4 and have confirmed that a hardware flaw is creating the reception problem. As a result, Consumer Reports said it has decided not to recommend the iPhone 4.

The CR analysis is in direct contract to Apple's explanation. The company attributed the drop in reception bars when the phone is held a certain way - what frustrated users have dubbed "the death grip" - to a software glitch. It said there was actually no loss of signal.

But the engineers at CR disagree, saying there is a problem with its reception.

"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," CR said in a statement. "Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4."

CR said it reached its conclusion after testing all three iPhone 4s, purchased at three separate retailers 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, test engineers connected the phones to a base-station emulator, a device that simulates carrier cell towers.

The engineers say they 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 problems of the iPhone 4, the engineers said.

"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,'" CR said.

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

"We did, however, find an affordable solution for suffering iPhone 4 users: Cover the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape or another thick, non-conductive material," the engineers advised. "It may not be pretty, but it works."

Apple recommended that consumers use a case for the iPhone 4 and the CR engineers said they expect that would, in fact, provide a remedy. They said they will test the phone with a case next week.

Consumer Reports said the signal problem is the reason that it did not cite the iPhone 4 as a "recommended" model, even though its score in other CR tests placed it atop the latestRatings of smart phones that were released Monday.

The iPhone scored high, in part because it has the sharpest display and best video camera seen on any phone, and even outshines its high-scoring predecessors with improved battery life and such new 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 needs to come up with a permanent-and free-fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4," CR concluded.

If you want an iPhone that works well without a masking-tape fix, CR said it continues to recommend an older model, the 3G S.


Источник: Cellular news

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