CR: iPhone 4S is Great, but Buy an Android Phone

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Consumer Reports thinks the iPhone 4S is a great phone, and even calls it a recommended smartphone model because it “doesn’t suffer the reception problem we found in its predecessor.” The product testing company, however, thinks that consumers should still buy Android-based smartphones instead, in part because many have larger displays.

“In special reception tests of the iPhone 4S that duplicated those we did on the iPhone 4, 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,” the group said in its report.

Consumer Reports likes the iPhone 4S, but not as much as Android phonesConsumer Reports likes the iPhone 4S, but prefers Android phones

Consumer Reports conducted its own tests on the iPhone 4 after it shipped and declared the antenna system unsatisfactory because they said holding the phone in a specific way caused signal strength to drop off dramatically. Apple acknowledged a reception problem, but added that all cell phones suffer from the same problem.

Other phone makers weren’t happy with Apple’s statement and replied with denials claiming their phones don’t have reception issues. Apple followed up by giving iPhone 4 owners free Bumper Cases to take care of the issue, which seemed to make Consumer Reports reasonably happy.

Despite the fact that CR liked the iPhone 4S’s performance, battery life and Siri voice control, the group said Android OS-based offerings were still better.

“These pluses were not enough, however, to allow the iPhone 4S to outscore the best new Android-based phones in our Ratings,” the group said. “Those top scorers included 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.”

Even though CR ranked the iPhone 4, and now the iPhone 4S, lower than other smartphones, it doesn’t seem to be impacting Apple’s sales. Apple sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S units during the first weekend of availability, and blasted through all of its pre-order inventory in Hong Kong in about 10 minutes, too.

For now, it looks like Apple will have to make due with a lukewarm review from Consumer Reports, and customer demand that’s so high the company can’t hardly keep up.

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Comments

curlykale

Like the fact you reported all those iPhone4S sold in Honk Kong.
Clearly the cash machine bells were ringing. Ck

curlykale

Glad to hear all those iPhone4S units sold in Honk Kong.  They clearly had a lot of appeal. Ck

frank

I admit it I am way biased toward android but this was a fair article. Thank you.

jfbiii

I completely agree with Consumer Reports. That’s why I bought a vehicle that can run on mag-lev tracks. Why by an ordinary car that can only travel on slower interstates, highways, roads, streets, and cul de sacs when I can have one that can travel on faster mag-lev tracks?

BurmaYank

“I admit it I am way biased toward android but this was a fair article.”

I admit it - I am way biased against Consumer Reports, but this was just a continuation of their lies about having originally found a “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…”) in the iPhone 4; a duplicity which they then compounded by falsely claiming that they had “found” a remedy for this phony reception-attenuating “spot” issue (i.e - applying some sort of electrical insulation as scotch tape or a bumper or case over that “spot”), which, of course was in fact utterly incapable of fixing that “problem” because there never was any such reception-attenuating “spot” problem in the first place.  The only reception-attenuating problem everyone else could ever find with the iPhone 4 was the same reception-attenuation problem all other smartphones share with this iPhone when they are held where their antennae are positioned.

Two lies by CR: first one based on carelessless and lazy hubris, and then a worse premeditated second one to try to cover up the obvious fact that the first one was demonstrably untrue, to try to protect their credibility.

geoduck

So let’s parse out their rational

?These pluses were not enough, however, to allow the iPhone 4S to outscore the best new Android-based phones in our Ratings,? the group said. Those top scorers included the Samsung Galaxy S II phones

Interesting they preferred the rip off copy to the real one, that is, after all what all the Apple v Samsung legal wrangling is about isn’t it. Also they sound very much like Steven Colbert when he says to a guest “So if we set aside all of this evidence, what proof do you have?” The performance, battery life and Siri are WHY it’s such a good product.

and several other phones that boast larger displays

It’s a phone. If I want a tablet I’ll use a tablet. I had a company BlackBerry for a while and it was uncomfortably wide to carry and talk on. The iPhone that replaced it was much better as a phone, which is after all WHY we have these things. It simply fit my hand and face better than the other options.

and run on faster 4G networks.?

4G is a marketing ploy at this point. In the REAL world 4G is not to be found and 3G is standard. $g will remain a wish for most for some time.

But this BS is not a surprise. CR has a history for making a call and sticking by it no matter how boneheaded it was. Refusing to admit they screwed up. Warping tests to fit their preconceived notions. I lost respect for CR in the ‘80s when they let their anti American Cars bias warp their results. They recommended the Diesel Rabbit over anything made in America even though the VW Rabbit was complete rubbish (we owned one). Nothing since then has changed my opinion.

mhikl

I browse a neighbour’s CR occasionally and have found it useful for some purchases. I have checked out its surveys of headphones, speakers, computers other tech goods and often find it lacking. For many products there are better sources, usually experienced people in the know who you can occasionally find at independent and at specialty retail operations, and experienced acquaintances . Cornered honest advocates of the competition usually come down on the side of Apple if price is not an issue and the skills of the consumer do not match that of the skilled hobbyist.

And of course, there are online reviews. I doubt there are more reviews and reviewers for any other set of products on the market today outside of Apple consumer goods. Some reviewers, are not so good while others are some of the most knowledgeable and respected in their field of tech experience.

CU does not seem to take into consideration that Apple products are built for the user experience from the very young to the elderly with all skill levels. At times there seems to be an over reliance and attendance to specs for the sake of specs. One of CR’s strongest weights is the purchase price of the product which does not always consider the longevity of service and the life that the products themselves usually offer. (I shall be checking out the report to see if any mention of after sales support and the factor of updates is taken into consideration but such does not come to mind from previous reviews I have read about computers.)

Besides itself, who supervises and holds CR to any measurable standards? Is there an ombudsman or procedure for questioning CR’s statements other than the courts? Has CR ever refuted its advice without a court?s interference? Regardless, by necessity it is still a for-profit organization making its money from subscription to support its procedures and it may or may not have higher standards of integrity in some areas of its reporting than other reviewers.

Does CR have some value to the average consumer? Of course it does. (I have been pleased to use CR and other non-profit reviewers when buying used automobiles.) Can CR be in error? It has happened and has come to light when the plaintiff has the resources that CR has. CR is not the word of god though it pronounces and acts as though it is and in any corporation there is always the possibility of faulty judgement and personal agenda in the interpretation of its testers and reviewers. Buyer beware is the rule, even after reading CR.

Interesting point, geoduck, regarding mention of rip-off factor.

Ross Edwards

What IS it with this display size fixation?  Bigger isn’t ALWAYS better, people.  (Only with your mom, yuk yuk).  The most recent batch of approaching-5”-display Androids are huge slabs that don’t fit well in a pocket at all.  If anything, I’d want to see Apple move in the other direction: Retina display with a smaller and slimmer phone surrounding it.  There comes a point with display size where you’re kind of ruining the usability of a PHONE device and you’re still so much smaller than a tablet, where a bigger screen IS good, that your gain is, if anything, a diminished return.

Lee Dronick

I browse a neighbour?s CR occasionally and have found it useful for some purchases.

I used to have a paid online account with them, but dropped it when they started getting a lot of competition. Shopping for a camera, there are numerous websites comparing the models, same for most any product.

The performance, battery life and Siri are WHY it?s such a good product.

I got my iPhone 4S last Friday, my wife got hers the day before, and activated them in the afternoon. I am very impressed! Siri, is great and will only get better. A few weeks ago we were discussing the subject of typing v dictating and I can tell you I like both.

I still some time messing with an Android phone before I make a judgement call on it. I was looking at them in a few stores, but they were riveted down to the display so I couldn’t pick them up, not could I make calls. Maybe I will go to a phone store and have the salesman show me, or find a friend with one who can give me a tour.

mhikl

Lee said:  ” . . . some time messing with an Android phone before I make a judgement call on it.”

Afterwards, make sure to take a good dose of Milk of Magnesia, brother. What results, is the summary.

Oops, my error Lee.

mhikl

I admit it I am way biased toward android but this was a fair article. Thank you.

Frank, you can never go wrong with Jeff. He is the most honest reporter available and rarely, if ever, makes an error.

Lee Dronick

Here you go mhiki you will enjoy this Android phone review

mhikl

Here you go mhiki you will enjoy this Android phone review

I knew it! Support for my premise and summary results on Droids and Epsom salts.

On the other hand: Siri or 3D. mmmmmmm. Yes Siri. No 3D.

elder norm

“CU does not seem to take into consideration that Apple products are built for the user experience from the very young to the elderly with all skill levels. At times there seems to be an over reliance and attendance to specs for the sake of specs.”

BINGO.  I like CU and have used them in the past… But an iPhone is not a dish washer.  And yet they seem to think that you can compare spec for spec.

The fact that even the old 3G phone is outselling Android phones should say something.  PS if you want to lump all Android software phones together, can we lump all iOS devices together too???

Just a thought.
en

mhikl

BINGO.? I like CU and have used them in the past? But an iPhone is not a dish washer.? And yet they seem to think that you can compare spec for spec. The fact that even the old 3G phone is outselling Android phones should say something.? PS if you want to lump all Android software phones together, can we lump all iOS devices together too??? Just a thought.

elder norm, not just a thought but 2 very well put thoughts. I am hysterically scary with the washing machine simile. Lumping Droids is a thrilling idea much like a lump of coal.

Think about membership elder norm. You could earn stars.

Average Joe

You mad bro?

The truths hurt. When iphone5 comes out with true 4g, it will be revolutionized and magical. Then all of a sudden, these cry babies will wonder how they been misled to live in stone age with 3g all those years.

geoduck

When iphone5 comes out with true 4g, it will be…

...many months from now by which time 4G might actually be significant. Right now it’s like having a car that runs on Hydrogen. Really Great, Really Cool, but in the real world not terribly useful for most people.

the world does not stand still and Apple (along with all other manufacturers) sell products in the real world and make real world decisions and trade offs.

mhikl

You mad bro?
The truths hurt. When iphone5 comes out with true 4g, it will be revolutionized and magical. Then all of a sudden, these cry babies will wonder how they been misled to live in stone age with 3g all those years.

What Bizarro world do you live in, Average Joe? Do you not like facts or do you just live in the realm of Truthiness. And what do you feed on, Cockroach soup and scrambled dog regurgitate? Do you use a pole to scratch your itch, and a hammer to get a clue?

I’m getting worried about TMO and the nutties that seem to cluster here as of late. Does the pen now allow the inmates internet access?

Here?s some facts, Average Joe ho ho. Most thugs use Droids. The dead get more use out of their Droids than do Grandmothers and large heavy mobile phones cause carpel tunnel syndrome and weak bladder function. And them’s the dribblin? facts for today. No truthiness from this prankster.

Lee Dronick

I am not sure what point Average Joe was trying to make. Perhaps he was saying the painful truth is that

4G is a marketing ploy at this point. In the REAL world 4G is not to be found and 3G is standard.

Lee Dronick

These evening I was messing with a Samsung Galaxy S II up at Best Buy. The fact that I am an Apple fan man not withstanding I was not overly impressed with the device, but I can not yet dismiss it out of hand.

It felt tinny, both physically and the Android OS. The display was pretty good, but the built in camera despite being 8 megapixel was disappointingly low quality. Many of the apps lacked polish, more geeky than elegant.

What I couldn’t try was the phone, browser, or email because this Best Buy didn’t have phone or web service. Excuse me! Your an electronic store, I can understand if you don’t want to offer fee WiFi, but you can at least have your display devices connected. Anyway, once I get a chance to take it for a spin I will make final decision.

Your milage may vary.

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