iPhone 4 antenna drops signal 90% on contact versus 25% of rivals claim German testers

Once you start talking about scientific testing, you can't really be too surprised when other scientists step in and try to replicate your results.  Apple has been steadily working through their smartphone rivals, showing how grip-issues plague all antennas rather than solely that of the iPhone 4 (most recently the Motorola DROID X and Nokia N97 mini, and now independent German consumer organization Stiftung Warentest has stepped in to take a look themselves.  Roughly the German equivalent of Consumer Reports, Stiftung Warentest claim that in their testing the iPhone 4 signal dropped by up to 90-percent when touched in the lower left-hand corner, whereas rivals saw significantly less of a change when their antenna was touched.

The organization doesn't specify which two rival handsets were tested but reckons that, while a decrease in signal was observed when their antenna was held, at most they could record a 25-percent loss.  As with Consumer Reports, the company suggests a length of tape placed over the iPhone 4's antenna bridge as a temporary solution until a free iPhone 4 case arrives.

Stiftung Warentest's results highlight another issue with smartphone signal strength, one that in fact Apple itself has identified: with no standardized way of displaying strength in bars, it's hard for users to know whether what's indicated on their screen means they'll be able to place a call successfully or not.  Apple recently pushed out iOS 4.0.1 for the iPhone 4 which reworked their signal strength banding; however this latest round of testing suggests that the iPhone 4 antennagate arguments aren't going to go away any time soon.

[Thanks drphysx!]