Consumer Reports Finds iPhone Signal Loss In "Informal Tests"

In “informal tests” this weekend, Consumer Reports has been able to “reproduce the signal loss that’s at the heart of the controversy” over the iPhone 4. And, no, it wasn’t just an inaccurate bar display, as Apple recently claimed. “The drop had a significant effect on both call success and quality,” according to CR.

Consumer Reports stresses that these are not definitive results. However, CR’s Mike Gikas says:

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. …

In my informal tests today, however, the drop had a significant effect on both call success and quality. When the phone was in the low-signal state in my hand, calls placed to it from another cell phone (a Motorola Droid, running on Verizon’s network) repeatedly failed.

And when I initiated a series of calls to editor Paul Reynolds, and then placed my pinky over the gap in the iPhone 4′s band as I continued speaking, the calls consistently deteriorated. Paul first heard my voice breaking up, followed by static and the dropping of the call; again, the elapsed time from the placing of the pinky to the call being dropped was about 5 seconds.

Does this mean the so-called “death grip” is real? Gikas says that CR was unable to replicate the problem in its Yonkers headquarters, and will “continue to explore this issue and continue our efforts to determine the extent of this problem.”

iPhone 4 signal debate rages; we experience signal loss in some calls [Consumer Reports]

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