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iPhone Gets Big Stamp of Approval

In the hotly competitive smart phone arena, bragging rights mean a lot, and when one handset can claim a big stamp of approval over the competition, it gets a lot of attention. And such will be the case in Cupertino where Apple's iPhone team can print out the latest Consumer Reports findings and tape them up in the locker room.

Apple iPhone 3G S
AP
Apple iPhone 3G S

Consumer Reports says today that the new iPhone 3GS tops the new smart phone ratings study, with "strong performance in everything but voice quality (AT&T issue? Or iPhone issue? We're still trying to find out…) But even Consumer Reports concedes that few phones score well when it comes to voice quality.

Still, looking at the top 10 list, Apple holds the top two positions, with iPhone 3GS scoring a 73, and the Apple iPhone 3G tying Samsung's Omnia in second place with a 70. The Blackberry Storm 9530 and the Bold tied with the T-Mobile G1 from Google and Samsung's Epix in third place with a 69, and the Palm Pre scored a 67 for fourth place, tying with Blackberry's Curve. It should be noted that Research in Motion did exceptionally well, even though it didn't capture the top two spots, it did have two devices tying for second, and another tying for fourth.

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At the same time, the Palm Pre ranked close to the iPhone, as well as a number of other rivals. But in the end, iPhone 3GS topped the list.

It should be noted that both iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre have faced their fair share of criticisms these past few days: iPhone apparently runs way too hot; the Palm Pre has a big issue with cracking screens. But neither of those knocks seemed to register with CR. Instead, reviewers said iPhone 3GS "edged out high-scoring competitors such as Palm Pre and BlackBerry Storm thanks to a superior display, reinforced by top-notch multimedia, navigation, Web browsing and battery life."

But reviewers also found that the Pre and BlackBerry both beat iPhone in messaging, and the Pre, "with its new deck of cards handling of multiple applications, is a superior multitasker."

In the meantime, it's another nice piece of recognition for Apple, and a reminder that competition and innovation are alive and well in the smart phone sector. (No matter that iPhone is outselling Pre by what, a ten to 1 margin, more or less.) This isn't about size, but quality of experience, and at least today, Consumer Reports gives the nod to Apple.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com