Consumer Reports ranks Apple's iPhone 4 best smartphone available

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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?"
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 111
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    The madness continues... w00t 1st post
  • Reply 2 of 111
    nceencee Posts: 856member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 111
    ochymingochyming Posts: 474member
    Big fight!

    CR is pressing Apple to change, and Apple do business its own way.



    Apple is winning, but not @ PR front.
  • Reply 4 of 111
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    It is the best smartphone, bar the design flaw. So they are right on both counts.
  • Reply 5 of 111
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 111
    rokkenrokken Posts: 236member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 111
    markomdmarkomd Posts: 4member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 111
    1337_5l4xx0r1337_5l4xx0r Posts: 1,558member
    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
  • Reply 9 of 111
    vrkiranvrkiran Posts: 110member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 111
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,439member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 111
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 111
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 111
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 111
    tirisartirisar Posts: 1member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 111
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,756member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 111
    nicolbolasnicolbolas Posts: 254member
    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...
  • Reply 17 of 111
    rabbit_coachrabbit_coach Posts: 1,114member
    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....
  • Reply 18 of 111
    xsamplexxsamplex Posts: 214member
    ...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.
  • Reply 19 of 111
    rsmrsm Posts: 15member
    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???
  • Reply 20 of 111
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,756member
    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?
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