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

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.