Back to Article

  • shakyone - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Wife got the VZ iPhone 6 days ago. I use an Android phone. After one week, I have yet to experience one dropped call of 23, since it arrived, (used Android's call Log). It is as reliable as her VZ Blackberry. The audio is as good too. My brother has an AT&T iPhone 3GS. I don't talk to him that often, but it has dropped calls on me 3 of the last 7 times I called him in the last four months. I don't have much experience with friends that have the AT&T iPhone 4G. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    ATT iPhone 3G user here. I have dropped calls all the time. Doesn't matter where I am. Our other phone is a cheap T-mobile phone, and even with a cheap 2 year old flip phone, calls rarely failed. The worst that happened was poor call quality on occasion. Reply
  • Wiggy McShades - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Where do you live? I'm in the Boston area and have never once had a dropped call using an iphone 3g and now an iphone 4. I'm pretty certain my location is why I've had such a great experience with at&t, are you not near a major city? Or is it really just luck that the area I'm in is well covered? Reply
  • JimmiG - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    That really is abysmally slow.. not fast enough to watch video at decent quality, for example. I get around 3500kbps down/1400 up in my apartment on the outskirts of town using the HTC Desire and HSDPA, faster near urban centers.

    I wouldn't call it a smartphone unless you get at least 2Mb, maybe 1.5Mb/s out of it, since slower speeds render many of the features unusable, limiting you to texting and maybe browsing with images turned off.
  • dagamer34 - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Some signal is better than no signal at all. Reply
  • Shadowself - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    This is *absolutely* true. Some signal is better than none.

    However, as the article mentions, this is very dependent on the individual. One person may almost never experience dropped calls on AT&T due to where and when they use their phone. In such a situation that person may adamantly prefer the AT&T iPhone over the Verison model. Alternately, another person may use their phone -- even in the same city -- in locals and at times where the phone routinely drops calls due to AT&T's network issues. In this case that user would just as adamantly prefer Verison over AT&T.

    My wife's personal experience is that the parking lot of her office is a true Verizon dead zone. There is virtually no detectable signal there at all even with very sophisticated equipment and large antennas. You have to move several hundred yards from her parking lot (in almost any direction) for any Verizon phone to work. Verizon has known about this dead spot for over 8 years and has yet to negotiate a new tower in the area (or modify existing towers) to fill that hole. Therefore, for her Verizon is not an option.

    It all comes down to what you need and *your" use.
  • vol7ron - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Oh no. These Verizon vs AT&T flame-wars are almost worse than the Microsoft vs Apple.

    At least in the later, you had a constant product difference. In service providers its subject to location. And in major cities, I've never had a problem with AT&T except in metros, where they didn't have antennas and Vzn decided to put some up and large venues where you got a lot of units in one tight area at the same time, like large conferences or concerts.

    I've had just as much trouble with Verizon black spots as I've had with AT&T. It's all based on where you are and where you travel.
  • asandok - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    In ifixit's teardown they say the wi-fi antenna is what you point out to be the cell antenna. Which is it? It looks like they made a boo boo. Awesome write up though! Love these! Reply
  • Brian Klug - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Indeed, the component they pointed to and called the WiFi antenna is the first of two cellular feed lines, and that part has indeed not changed. It's for cellular (and was on the GSM/UMTS iPhone) and not WiFi. Even the FCC correctly labels it as being a feed line for cellular. WiFi has always been at the top in the same place with the same package, though the WiFi antenna did change slightly with the Verizon version.

  • Montrey - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Funny you mention how inaudible the vibrate is. I had my Verizon iPhone on vibrate during a physics test Friday, it rang in the pocket of my jeans and my professor heard it 20 feet away and threatened to kick me out if I didn't turn off my phone. Maybe he just has superhuman hearing, I thought it was pretty quiet, especially compared to the droid eris it just replaced. Reply
  • hsew - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    lolnoobs and LOLphone?

    I lol'd at the speed tests. Makes me wish I bought an iPad when the data was still unlimited.
  • guest123 - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    First off, thanks for the typically thorough review, Brian.

    I wonder, though, about your conclusion that the Verizon iPhone is "significantly less prone to unintended signal attenuation." True, in the "cupping tightly" scenario the Verizon iPhone is now in line with other leading smartphones, and in the "holding naturally" scenario it improves on the performance of the At&T model. But the Verizon iPhone is still significantly more prone to attenuation in the "holding naturally" scenario than any of the phones you've listed. To me, this was always the real point of the attennagate controversy: as your chart shows, the At&T iPhone is more prone to attenuation when held naturally than other phones are when held in a death grip. Based on your results, the Verizon version has improved, but only to the extent that it attenuates about as badly when held naturally as other phones do when death-gripped. That still seems like a non-trivial problem.
  • jmcb - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that..... Reply
  • jmcb - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Noticed that when held naturally its still worse than any other phone on the list.... Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    I agree with you as well. I did not like the wording in this section as 99% of people using a PHONE are going to hold it like a PHONE. So while the other numbers are nice to have for specific usage scenarios, the one that is the most important, while improved, is still significantly worse than anything else (other than the AT&T iPhone). Reply
  • mike55 - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    I've noticed that the AT&T iPhone 4's have varying degrees of warmer screens than the relatively cooler screen on the AT&T unit you mentioned in this review. I would be interested in seeing how the different screens compare in terms of black level, maximum brightness, color accuracy, etc.

    Maybe you guys could get a bunch of units and compare them. It would be interesting to see how other smartphones fare in terms of display panel variance from unit to unit. I'm sure all of the display nerds like myself would appreciate such an article. :D
  • cgalyon - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    How does this review not say, "it's the iPhone 4, on Verizon. The radio is different, the rest is the same."? Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    If that's what you think why click on the review? And why comment? Reply
  • Voldenuit - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Well, obviously the EU regulatory iconography (CE, CE compliance identifier, CE Alert icon) didn't need to exist anymore since a CDMA phone is pretty useless in Europe.

    I'm surprised that the FCC label also vanished, though.
  • LTG - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    1) Great facts - You somehow took a topic I thought would be a snoozer and extracted quite a bit of interesting detail i hadn't read before.

    2) Great prose - The general approach, style, and constant attention to what readers are thinking. Feels like we're discovering it all with you.

    3) Technical writing mistakes - i didnt notice any! I know it sounds like a really lame point. But it actually is a nice benefit to not be jarred out concentration by typos or grammar mistakes. Its like a luxury on the Internet and makes the experience so smooth.

    With all the comments critical of writing here I think its fair to call out the opposite side as well.

    Peace -
  • walmartshopper - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    "With the phone facing up, the first cellular antenna consists of the new strip at the very top. The second is the strip running from the bottom left, across the bottom, and up the right side of the phone. The far left side with volume buttons and the vibrate switch is part of the WiFi and Bluetooth antenna."

    In the picture below that, the phone is face down, so shouldn't the colored labels be reversed?
  • ol1bit - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    I know in the city it "might" not make a difference, but here in Phoenix, AZ (no hills, etc). My AT&T work phone drops out just driving from Goodyear to downtown on the morning commute (I-10). My Verizon droid does not.

    Next up: offroading

    Doesn't matter where I have been, my AT&T phone lost signal pretty much as soon as I hit the dirt. My friends Verizon phones worked 90% of the time.

    So I waited and waited for a powerful Smart phone on Verizon and I got my Droid. No more no-signal! I was on a power line dirt road 30 mile from Prescott with terrain mapping on and seeing the little more that cow trails on one of my 3 day quad trips, it was a big help!! My work AT&T phone dead for the entire 3 days!

    So the difference may not be much in the city, but where Verizon really shines is outside of the city. It was simply amazing that I had data so far out and not even voice with my At&T phone.
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    I kept finding myself trying to figure out which phone in your review was the Verizon and which the AT&T. For those of us not up on the lingo of UMTS and CDMA it is a bit confusing. I would have preferred if you had just changed these to say Verizon and AT&T so I could read it more fluidly without constantly having to sit and think which carrier you are talking about.

    Great review though!

  • chupacabramike - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Guh I can't believe people are still defending at&t service. Look at any customer satisfaction stat..any of them and you will see Verizon soars while at&t sinks. Being able to actually use your phone as a phone priceless. Thank you Apple and Verizon for finally giving us a choice. Reply
  • pshen7 - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Can't wait for the Verizon iPhone! I'm tired of the dropped calls from ATT. My contract is up too so switching should be easy. I'm sure millions feel the same way like I do.
    Peter, founder of : Search.Post.Connect.
  • Laughing Coyote - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    FYI, the AT&T iPhone 4 doesn't come with a SIM ejector tool either. Though it apparently does in some other countries.
  • skyflyrr - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Working in the RF wireless field I must commend you on the first accurate tear down and labeling of components of the Verizon iPhone 4. Reply
  • Reviews of Reviews - Friday, February 18, 2011 - link

    For a not-quite-so-thorough review of this review, check out Reply
  • fadam - Sunday, February 20, 2011 - link

    On the second page, it seems that the paragraph describing the location of the antennas does not match the photo. The text references the iPhone being "face up" while the photo shows the phone face down. The highlighting of the antennas would need to be mirrored in the picture in order to match the text. Really enjoyed the writeup. Reply
  • asandok2 - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the reply! I thought that would be the case! I found a thread on macforums from last year where a guy speculates that the backplate has something to do with the antenna system too.

    Any idea if there is truth to his theory?? Is that part of the cellular antenna too?? Thanks in advance!
  • pshen7 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Now that the iPhone will be part of Verizon, will there be less dropped calls? I don't know if the dropped calls were because of ATT network or the high volume of iPhone usage. If its the latter than the dropped calls will still continue. I am switching my service to Verizon so i guess I will find out.
    Peter Shen, founder
  • vks - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Please leave a comment at below link:
  • deepakjulien - Monday, March 21, 2011 - link

    Verizon getting the iPhone would be a great news, but I feel upgrading at this point of time is not reasonable beacuse of these reasons listed here - Reply
  • deepakjulien - Monday, March 21, 2011 - link

    Here is the network coverage and data plan review of the AT&T 3G and Verizon 3G networks and also few points one should know even before considering switching from GSM to CDMA network technologies - Reply
  • George Kanyowile - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    My iPhone 4 reads Designed by Apple in Califomia Assembled in TaiWan . CALIFOMIA + TaiWan ? Please help . Is this an original ? The serial number checked out when I followed one link , however. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now