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Consumer Reports: No antenna-gate for iPhone 4S

Consumer Reports has released its rating for the iPhone 4S , recommending Apple’s latest smartphone after finding no problems with the antenna or the phone’s battery life.

The iPhone 4S got the nod from the consumer goods publication on Tuesday — an honor that did not go to its predecessor, the iPhone 4, because of problems with that phone’s antenna.

“In special reception tests of the iPhone 4S that duplicated those we did on the iPhone 4,” Consumer Reports wrote in its review, “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 publication also conducted tests on the phone’s battery life in light of customer complaints about battery drainage. Apple had acknowledged that bugs in its operating system caused drain on some phones last week. But in Consumer Reports’ tests, the new phone and “and new samples of the iPhone 4 have displayed no notable battery problems in additional special tests we carried out.”

Consumer Reports may have named the phone a good buy, but argued that it still doesn’t beat the best Android phones. The iPhone 4S scored below several top Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S II, Motorola Droid Bionic and others because of its smaller screen and lack of 4G support. (The iPhone 4S does run on AT&T’s HSPA+ network, which the carrier classifies as 4G.)

Still, the 4S got props for its faster processor, better camera and for the phone’s “assistant,” Siri, earning it a spot back on the publication’s all-important recommendations list.

Related stories:

iPhone 4S reviews: Software, Siri make all the difference

Apple admits iOS 5 bugs can drain battery

Apple characteristically silent on battery issues

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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