It's too late to help the millions of consumers who bought the first iPhone 4, but Apple has apparently fixed its balky antenna design with the second generation iPhone 4S. That'saccording to the trusted consumer advocated at Consumer Reports, who previously and famously refused to recommend the original iPhone 4, as well as the slightly redesigned Verizon version, because the antenna was so poorly designed.
"While the Apple iPhone 4S closely resembles the iPhone 4 in appearance, it doesn’t suffer the reception problem we found in its predecessor in special tests in our labs," Consumer Reports wrote in a blog post. "It is among the recommended models in our newly updated Ratings of smart phones."
I'm not surprised by this, as I noted excellent signal quality in my review of the iPhone 4S: Through a combination of internal changes and software, Apple appears to have overcome the problems it introduced when it inexplicably moved the iPhone 4 antenna to the outside of the device, where certain types of grips could cause the device to completely lose its wireless signal.
"The newer phone 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," Consumer Reports notes. "The iPhone 4, which is still available, continues to exhibit that problem, we confirmed in tests of new samples of the phone. Because of the flaw, we continue to omit the iPhone 4 from our list of recommended models."
Interestingly, Consumer Reports also claims that the iPhone 4S garners decent battery life, despite complaints from users. (Here again, my experience with the iPhone 4S matches that of Consumer Reports.)
"The Apple iPhone 4S scores Very Good overall in our standard tests of battery life," the post reads. "And the iPhone 4S have displayed no notable battery problems in additional special tests we carried out, after some owners complained on user forums of short run times with some samples of both phones."
Curiously, the iPhone 4S rated below "the Samsung Galaxy S II phones, the Motorola Droid Bionic, and several other phones that boast larger displays than the iPhone 4S and run on faster 4G networks," Consumer Reports said.