Ratings publication Consumer Reports has declined to recommend Apple's iPhone 4, saying that the handset's reception problems had been confirmed by its own researchers through a series of lab tests.
The researchers claimed that, when a finger or hand is placed over the antenna in the bottom left-hand corner of the device, the actual signal strength does in fact drop.
The report is at odds with Apple's own statements that the drops were due to a display error rather than a reduction in reception.
To remedy the issue, Consumer Reports has advised iPhone 4 users to place a strip of non-conductive tape over the antenna to prevent contact with the hand. Protective cases are also likely to alleviate the issue.
The antenna problem means that Consumer Reports has withheld the 'recommended' label from the iPhone 4, despite having otherwise rated iPhones top among smartphone handsets overall.
"The iPhone 4 scored high, in part because it sports the sharpest display and best video camera we've seen on any phone, and even outshines its high-scoring predecessors with improved battery life and new features such as a front-facing camera for video chat and a built-in gyroscope that turns the phone into a super-responsive game controller," wrote Consumer Reports editor Mike Gikas in a blog post.
"But Apple needs to come up with a permanent, and free, fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4."
Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the report.
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