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Consumer Reports ranks Apple's iPhone 4 best smartphone available

post #1 of 110
Thread Starter 
Despite saying it "can't recommend" iPhone 4 in its blog, Consumer Reports also assigns Apple's newest phone the "highest rated" score as the best smartphone currently available in its official paid research reports.

While waffling between official blog entires that first told users there's "no reason not to buy" iPhone 4 related to its antenna issues, and then backtracking to say it "can't recommend" the phone until Apple addresses its antenna issues with a free fix (after also noting that applying a piece of tape solves the signal attenuation issues it found in testing), Consumer Reports has ranked iPhone 4 the best smartphone on the market.

The group's latest blog entry did note in passing that, despite refusing to give iPhone 4 a "recommended" listing, "its score in our other tests placed it atop the latest ratings of smart phones that were released today."

However, web surfers interested in the group's official comparative rankings probably wouldn't notice that if they only follow the site's official blog and the avalanche of blog responses that its postings have generated, because visiting its online mobile phone rankings page only presents an ad asking visitors to pay for a subscription in order to view its rankings (below).



Once users pay for "complete access to smart phones," Consumer Reports represents a detailed outline of its cellphone rankings where the new iPhone 4 leads the pack with a "highest rated" score of 76 points out of a possible 100. The next-highest ranked phones are Apple's previous generation iPhone 3GS and the HTC Sprint Evo 4G, which are both ranked at 74 points overall.

As noted by John Paczkowski of the Wall Street Journal "Digital Daily" blog, the Consumer Reports paid evaluation rates the display, navigation, web browsing, multimedia and battery life of iPhone 4 as "excellent," gives its phoning and messaging a "very good" ranking, and describes voice quality as "good."

"Well this is ironic," Paczkowski writes. "iPhone 4 is hands-down the best smartphone available today, but Consumer Reports advises against buying it."

Apple moderators have been scrambling to delete negative chat about the most recent Consumer Reports blog entry from its support forums, given that the group only provides the full story to users who pay for its research.

Consumer Reports does not note that competing smartphones have far more serious problems that can not be resolved by using a protective case or applying a piece of tape. The outrage surrounding the iPhone 4 antenna seems to be a particularly vexing issue among advocates of competing smartphone platforms. As one comment notes, "Isn't it interesting the people who are having this problem don't even own iPhones?"
post #2 of 110
The madness continues... w00t 1st post
post #3 of 110
We're sorry Mr. Job's, is this an ok fix for now? Please, please don't hurt us we beg you to forgive us. We spoke out of turn, and it won't happen again.



We like you, won't re-call and take back all of the magazines we've already sold and made, but we will try to patch it up.

And yes, I have an office and a home filled with nothing but Apple products, and have for MANY, MANY Years.
post #4 of 110
Big fight!
CR is pressing Apple to change, and Apple do business its own way.

Apple is winning, but not @ PR front.
post #5 of 110
It is the best smartphone, bar the design flaw. So they are right on both counts.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #6 of 110
The CR article does include this when you click on the phone for details...

"CR's Take
A high-scoring, versatile, and innovative smart phone that performs even better than its 3G S predecessor. A very good choice for multimedia addicts--and even corporate users. We can't recommend the just-released iPhone 4 until Apple comes up with a permanent--and free--fix for the antenna problem we confirmed during testing."


I do trust the CR take on this issue. They got it right this time. It's a great phone, except for this one issue. It's also the reason why i'm not buying one yet. I think this can finally put the debate between whether it's a software or hardware problem to rest. I have been a long-time subscriber to CR and read other blogs (i.e. CNET, etc.) for comparison and i have found that CR is a great resource for getting the most unbiased review you can get out there; they don't take hand-outs by manufacturers like some other review sites, they use the subscription money to remain unbiased.
post #7 of 110
I'm not really following the antenna issue so closely, but I get the impression that most of the people who complain about it are either the iPhone 4 owners who live in places in the US where reception is already pretty bad or those who don't own it in the first place. How is the iPhone 4 performing in other countries like France, Germany, Japan and the UK? I've heard only a handful of complains from the iPhone 4 owners in the UK, but nothing from the others.

According to AnandTech's research, again I just read some quotes on the internet, iPhone 4 actually improves upon the ability to hold on to a call as well as call quality as long as you don't bridge it. That sounds like a great trade-off for me rather than a design flaw. As soon as the iPhone is available for other carriers in the US, I wonder how big of a deal it would be.
post #8 of 110
I'm less concerned with the iPhone than I am with AT&T. I'd buy my iPhone 4 today if AT&T didn't provide such abysmal service. For now, I have a MacBook Pro, an iPod, and a Verizon cell phone. The day Apple and Verizon make nice will be the same day I buy a new iPhone.
post #9 of 110
Here's HardMac's take on the French side of things:

Quote:
[update 2] we have posted a poll on our French edition, asking iPhone 4 owners if they experience the issue: on more than 2300 iPhone 4 owners, almost 1500 experience the problem, which makes about 70% of them. This is not an issue with a small number of phones after all.

http://www.hardmac.com/news/2010/07/...antenna-issues
post #10 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While waffling between official blog entires that first told users there's "no reason not to buy" iPhone 4 related to its antenna issues, and then backtracking to say it "can't recommend" the phone until

How is this different from AI's earlier (last week) suggestion that we should wait "scientific" results? Consumer Report's scientific results are not science but your writing is?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As one comment notes, "Isn't it interesting the people who are having this problem don't even own iPhones?"

That's a ridiculous comment. It's not as if the writer of that comment has met each of the millions of iPhone 4 owners. I for one, own an iPhone 4 and have problems.
post #11 of 110
The problem with not recommending the iPhone 4 is that they then have to recommend something else instead. So how do you recommend buying another phone that you just said is inferior to the iPhone 4 in nearly every way except one? Not really a logically consistent recommendation.
post #12 of 110
I can reproduce the problem but it hasn't affected my use at all. Perhaps the way I already hold the phone, perhaps that I use the phone more for text messaging and entertainment than an actual phone. I don't know what the answer is but even though I can cause the phone to drop signal, it hasn't bothered me. Yet.
post #13 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

The problem with not recommending the iPhone 4 is that they then have to recommend something else instead. So how do you recommend buying another phone that you just said is inferior to the iPhone 4 in nearly every way except one? Not really a logically consistent recommendation.

Not actually true. It is not uncommon for CR to do a review and not recommend any product.
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #14 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

The problem with not recommending the iPhone 4 is that they then have to recommend something else instead. So how do you recommend buying another phone that you just said is inferior to the iPhone 4 in nearly every way except one? Not really a logically consistent recommendation.

uuh....what part of it is too hard for you to understand? Feature-for-feature it is the best device available with ONE glaring problem. This problem limits an otherwise excellent phone---therefore it cannot be recommended.
post #15 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

The problem with not recommending the iPhone 4 is that they then have to recommend something else instead. So how do you recommend buying another phone that you just said is inferior to the iPhone 4 in nearly every way except one? Not really a logically consistent recommendation.

Consumer reports isn't being inconsistent about this in my opinion. They're saying that the iPhone 4 is great, but it has a core flaw that the iPhone 3GS doesn't, and until a fix is released to the core product (a free case or just coating applied to new phones) by the manufacturer they can't recommend purchasing it. Just like how Google has decided against using Windows because of known security flaws despite there being fixes such as AppLocker in Windows 7 because these require that the consumer shoulders the burden of repairing and working around the manufacturer's error.

In this case a case (an additional cost and different user experience), a piece of tape (it looks tacky) or holding it differently (a different user experience). They even say if you are fine with these fixes, then it works for you, but overall they can't in good faith recommend the phone to everyone. That isn't inconsistent, it's honest.
post #16 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

The problem with not recommending the iPhone 4 is that they then have to recommend something else instead. So how do you recommend buying another phone that you just said is inferior to the iPhone 4 in nearly every way except one? Not really a logically consistent recommendation.

No, that is an illogical statement. The fact that the cannot recommend the iPhone 4 (because of the antenna issue) in no implies they must recommend an alternative. They could very well recommend against all smart phones on the market.

One student failing in your class doesn't mean another student has to pass. They could all fail on their own merits.

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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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post #17 of 110
All that this means is Apple is going to say it was rated best smartphone, etc, etc...

everyone else (besides AT&T) are going to rip it as being a product that is not recommended to be bought...

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post #18 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by vrkiran View Post

That's a ridiculous comment. It's not as if the writer of that comment has met each of the millions of iPhone 4 owners. I for one, own an iPhone 4 and have problems.

Bring it Back as Apple suggests! Pleeeeeaazzze!! We are all waiting for one....
post #19 of 110
...it's nice that the Apple apologists can try to make some lemonade out of this.

Bottom line, the design and execution was suboptimal and the phone is not recommended in its present incantation by CR.

Far better to admit our mistakes and resolve to address them in the future, than to pretend that such mistakes don't exist, or don't matter.
post #20 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokken View Post

I'm not really following the antenna issue so closely, but I get the impression that most of the people who complain about it are either the iPhone 4 owners who live in places in the US where reception is already pretty bad or those who don't own it in the first place. How is the iPhone 4 performing in other countries like France, Germany, Japan and the UK? I've heard only a handful of complains from the iPhone 4 owners in the UK, but nothing from the others.

According to AnandTech's research, again I just read some quotes on the internet, iPhone 4 actually improves upon the ability to hold on to a call as well as call quality as long as you don't bridge it. That sounds like a great trade-off for me rather than a design flaw. As soon as the iPhone is available for other carriers in the US, I wonder how big of a deal it would be.

I see you are from Norway and most people there analyze things rationally and have a higher than normal IQ. The typical American brain, however, is not able to analyze this properly or realize that the iP4 is superior to every other smartphone on the market, ( by leaps and bounds in most cases). Yet in return for all its advantages and improvements they must accommodate one small issue; when in areas of LOW SIGNAL simply dont bridge the antenna in that one tiny little area. It is impossible for most Americans to grasp. Instead most of us become apoplectic and begin the rants: OMG I can't use this phone to make calls!! This is a piece of crap! How could Apple not know about this critical design flaw! Where's my lawyer???
post #21 of 110
The CR testing and review pretty much jive with what most reasonable people have been saying. The iPhone is a fantastic device. They best iPhone ever and among the best smartphones. But, as great as it is, it has a serious flaw. Since the flaw involves the primary function of the device, the cannot recommend it.

Why is this such a controversial position?

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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post #22 of 110
"They were right twice.
It is the best smartphone, bar the design flaw. So they are right on both counts."

DID you even read the article? A piece of tape solves the antenna issue. CR states this in their report.

"While waffling between official blog entires that first told users there's "no reason not to buy" iPhone 4 related to its antenna issues, and then backtracking to say it "can't recommend" the phone until Apple addresses its antenna issues with a free fix (after also noting that applying a piece of tape solves the signal attenuation issues it found in testing), Consumer Reports has ranked iPhone 4 the best smartphone on the market."

So no, it was wrong not to recommend what CR itself lists as the best available cellphone on the market today.
post #23 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by markomd View Post

I'm less concerned with the iPhone than I am with AT&T. I'd buy my iPhone 4 today if AT&T didn't provide such abysmal service. For now, I have a MacBook Pro, an iPod, and a Verizon cell phone. The day Apple and Verizon make nice will be the same day I buy a new iPhone.

For me, the opposite is true. AT&T is fine at my house, whereas Verizon sucks. It would be nice if the iPhone weren't exclusive to a single network (in the US), but I think that class action suit is bogus. Private companies are allowed to enter into agreements with other private companies without being told by others what they must do. Hopefully, the agreement will end soon.

At least it appears that Verizon has learned its lesson. With the Android phones, (and really all new smartphones), they've now learned to refrain from forcing their own interface laid over the phone's. Apple walked away from that requirement years ago. Perhaps Verizon now regrets their decision. Then again, perhaps my memory is faulty.
post #24 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by xSamplex View Post

...it's nice that the Apple apologists can try to make some lemonade out of this.

Bottom line, the design and execution was suboptimal and the phone is not recommended in its present incantation by CR.

Far better to admit our mistakes and resolve to address them in the future, than to pretend that such mistakes don't exist, or don't matter.

Bottom line, the design and execution was suboptimal in one specific, limited areaand the phone is not recommended in its present incantation by CR. However, the overall design and implementation is the best ever seen by Consumer Reports.

-Fixed your post up a bit.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #25 of 110
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM

GOT IT? GOOD

----
From the article:
"...after also noting that applying a piece of tape solves the signal attenuation issues"
post #26 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwalt2166 View Post

uuh....what part of it is too hard for you to understand? Feature-for-feature it is the best device available with ONE glaring problem. This problem limits an otherwise excellent phone---therefore it cannot be recommended.

Perhaps two glaring problems - when you consider the problems they're having with the proximity sensor. Or three problems when you add in the poor color balance of the display.
post #27 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

The CR testing and review pretty much jive with what most reasonable people have been saying. The iPhone is a fantastic device. They best iPhone ever and among the best smartphones. But, as great as it is, it has a serious flaw. Since the flaw involves the primary function of the device, the cannot recommend it.

Why is this such a controversial position?

Agreed.
post #28 of 110
Daniel Eran Dilger the writer of this article has helped fuel the juveniles to call long time Apple fans "trolls" at every opportunity. Thanks for ending this article with "Isn't it interesting the people who are having this problem don't even own iPhones?" I'm sure you smiled when you wrote that, how pathetic.

And let's not forget how you edited out the problems that CR had when they took their phones home-

What you reported- (Update: Gikas has subsequently reported that "while we've been unable to date to create the reported conditions in our National Testing Center in Yonkers, New York," he has been able to "reproduce the signal loss that's at the heart of the controversy," in informal testing, noting "there's some question about whether the drop in displayed signal is merely a metering issue, and whether call quality or the ability to place calls is affected." The update also points out that there are many readers who "report fine and consistent signal experiences with their new iPhones"
~ http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...ot_to_buy.html

And here's what you left out- "While we've been unable to date to create the reported conditions in our National Testing Center in Yonkers, New York, I and a colleague did repeatedly experience loss of signal when using an iPhone 4 a few miles north of there today.

While in my home, I held the iPhone in my left hand, gripping it with normal pressure. My palm covered a gap between parts of the metal band that forms the outer ring of the iPhone and serves as its antenna. As I did so, I moved my pinky finger to the corresponding gap on the other side.

Almost immediately, the signal strength began to drop in the meter from the original three or four bars—depending on my location within the house—to zero bars. The drop took about 5 seconds."
~ http://blogs.consumerreports.org/ele...reports-s.html





There's more about dropped calls too, all of which you left out. Bias doesn't even begin to describe how you deliberately misled your readers. That's not what we want it's what you want. I hope someone there at AI tells you to get a grip (no pun intended ).
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post #29 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugsy3333 View Post

A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM
A PIECE OF TAPE SOLVES THE PROBLEM

GOT IT? GOOD

----
From the article:
"...after also noting that applying a piece of tape solves the signal attenuation issues"

Other reviews state just the opposite. Tape is not enough. Not scotch tape, not electrical tape, not duct tape. Of course, you're just quoting the Consumer Reports article - with much emphasis i might add.
post #30 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

The CR testing and review pretty much jive with what most reasonable people have been saying. The iPhone is a fantastic device. They best iPhone ever and among the best smartphones. But, as great as it is, it has a serious flaw. Since the flaw involves the primary function of the device, the cannot recommend it.

Why is this such a controversial position?

I think this pretty much sums up my feelings as well. My iPhone 4 is a much better device -- feature for feature -- than my 3GS. However, it has reception problems that my 3GS never had while using it in the same manner and in the same location.

This is a serious flaw IMHO.
post #31 of 110
For Apple, the biggest problem with the antenna attenuation issue with the iPhone 4 is that it's so easy to reproduce. Everybody knows that exact spot to touch to generate the problem. Apple states however, that all cell phones experience some loss of signal when held improperly. Does anybody have access to any other cell phones? Is there any way to locate that hot spot on other phones? Can the "wrong" way to hold other phones be easily identified? I'd think Apple themselves would have pushed for a comparison (assuming they really believe this assertion).

I certainly can't find a way to hold my BlackBerry (provided by my employer) to force it to lose signal strength.
post #32 of 110

deleted


Edited by kellya74u - 7/24/13 at 10:34am
post #33 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

I'm never going to walk around with a piece of tape on my iPhone to make you or Steve Jobs happy. This is the stupidest solution to the problem I have ever heard and for you to endorse it makes you fool.

Got it? Good.


Just use one of the many available cases.
post #34 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellya74u View Post

While I appreciate AI's coverage of this issue, my first impression of AI including pages of Consumer Report's copyrighted 'paid-subscription' material in its story appears to be not right.


News reporting is generally covered by the Fair Use doctrine.
post #35 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellya74u View Post

I was a paying member of Consumer Reports for many years. I cancelled as a cost saving measure, giving up my access to its proprietary information.

While I appreciate AI's coverage of this issue, my first impression of AI including pages of Consumer Report's copyrighted 'paid-subscription' material in its story appears to be not right. The posting of the teaser page might be considered as doing CR a favor by providing them free advertising, but posting the results page in its entirety seems totally wrong. I see no footnote indicating the 'used by permission' status. Even if AI paid for a subscription, the copyright usually does not allow for such a posting as part of AI's business venture. To refer to the data in text is ok, but not the use of CR's graphics & ratings, etc.

I could be wrong. I thought I was last Tuesday. Turns out, I was only mistaken!

I was wondering the same thing. I don't think I've ever seen another site post full images like that of Consumer Reports reviews.

I saw in the original CR thread that they are very vigilant about suing people/sites that do stuff like this.
post #36 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by SendMe View Post

News reporting is generally covered by the Fair Use doctrine.

You sure about that?

http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/06/woot-ap/

Quote:
You see, Woot noticed that the AP covered the story of their sale five days ago. But in doing so, they also noticed that the AP used a number of quotes from CEO Matt Rutledges blog post about the sale. According to the APs own ridiculous rulesfor using quotations, Woot figures that the AP owes them $17.50.

The AP has been banned on TechCrunch for two years now because of this ridiculous rule. In fact, were breaking our own rule here by acknowledging they even exist. But this is too good to pass up and its actually similar to something we did a couple years ago, trying to charge the AP $12.50 for their usage of quotes from us. To my knowledge, were still waiting for that check.
post #37 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hands Sandon View Post

Daniel Eran Dilger the writer of this article has helped fuel the juveniles to call long time Apple fans "trolls" at every opportunity. Thanks for ending this article with "Isn't it interesting the people who are having this problem don't even own iPhones?" I'm sure you smiled when you wrote that, how pathetic.

I'm confused too. He brags about tossing wrenches into the Apple stockholders' meeting, but is at this point a bigger homer than Gruber (who, I might add, tends to add reasonable arguments behind his homerism).

I'm going to guess that Dilger 1.) Owns a ton of Apple stock and 2.) Is doing hella damage control to keep it up.

Dilger needs to come clean in his "reports" with a sig saying how much stock he owns. His writing is getting redonkulous. Unfair personal slam (except that it goes to the point of Dilger's decision making process): Maybe he should go back to zipping around on his bike, unfairly driving up the health care bills for everyone in the Healthy San Francisco program.
post #38 of 110
So for you, owners of iPhone4, is this flaw bad enough to return the phone or you decided to keep it and wait for Apple's "fix"? If every owner of new iPhone experiencing the issues with antenna decides to keep it regardless of the problems there will be no need for Apple to do anything about it.
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post #39 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Bottom line, the design and execution was suboptimal in one specific, limited areaand the phone is not recommended in its present incantation by CR. However, the overall design and implementation is the best ever seen by Consumer Reports.

-Fixed your post up a bit.

Should've fixed the word "incarnation" first.

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post #40 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

The problem with not recommending the iPhone 4 is that they then have to recommend something else instead. ...

No, they don't. I can't imagine CR recommending a cell phone service provider among the abundant selections of crap in the US.

Quote:
Not really a logically consistent recommendation.

A long time ago CR reviewed this oddity called Macintosh. They raved about it, but could not recommend it because it did not run Windows. A fatal flaw, it would seem

Their in-depth car reviews are pretty good. Still, they suffer from the occasional weird observations, such as one Toyota reviewed some time ago. One model had the windshield wiper and cruise control on a single stalk. Brilliant design, I thought. Not CR: "too many things on one control". WTF??? Toyota changed the design on subsequent models.

CR is good for a lot of things. So are customer reviews on Amazon. Both must be considered with a healthy amount of circumspection to derive anything meaningful from them.
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