There has been some concern over the exterior of iPhone 4S, which shares the same glass and stainless steel enclosure with its predecessor. Because of that, pundits questioned whether iPhone 4S was a repeat of the iPhone 4’s “flawed” antenna design. In addition to being a world-phone (allowing GSM and CDMA customers to roam worldwide on GSM networks) “it’s the world’s first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to transmit and receive calls”, hardware head Bob Mansfield says in a product video.

Can you say Antennagate?

Not so fast.

Consumer Reports, a U.S. monthly influencing purchasing decisions with its reviews and comparisons of consumer products, now recommends the new iPhone 4S as “it doesn’t suffer the reception problem we found in its predecessor in special tests in our labs”.

They explained:

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 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, despite its otherwise fine performance).

iPhone 4S also scored Very Good in batter life tests (it displayed “no notable battery problems”) despite criticism aimed at its battery-sucking performance, a software flaw Apple says iOS 5.0.1 will fix. They also praise Siri, the A5 chip and the new camera system. Nevertheless, in Consumer Reports’ updated smartphone ratings Apple’s device did not fare better compared to high-end Android phones like the G2 and Bionic. Go past the break for another quote:

These pluses were not enough, however, to allow the iPhone 4S to outscore the best new Android-based phones in our Ratings. 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. (Technically, only the AT&T version of the iPhone 4S supports 4G, running on the carrier’s HSPA+ network at download speeds of about 14 megabits per second, the bottom rung of what is considered to be 4G network speed.)

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