Feeds

Antennagate Redux: Consumer Reports condemns Verizon iPhone 4

The Return of Death Grip

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Verizon CDMA incarnation of Apple's iPhone 4 suffers from the same dropped-call syndrome as the existing GSM incarnation, according to the venerable American product tester Consumer Reports.

As a consequence, Consumer Reports is not putting the Verizon iPhone 4 on its list of recommended smartphones – something that's sure to annoy Steve Jobs and cult. "The Verizon iPhone 4 closely resembles the original AT&T iPhone 4 in many positive respects, including offering great multimedia functionality, a sharp screen, and the best MP3 player we've seen on a phone," reads a blog post from Consumer Reports.

"Unfortunately, it also shares with its sibling the possibility of compromised performance in low-signal conditions when used without a bumper or case."

Last summer, after the release of the original iPhone 4, countless buyers complained of reception problems when holding the lower left-hand corner of the handset. Apple responded with an open letter claiming that the reception problems were merely an illusion, that the phone's "signal bar" interface was off-kilter. The company offered an iOS update that tweaked the formula used to calculate signal bars, but as users continued to complain, Steve Jobs held a press conference where he succeeded in creating a new version of reality.

He also offered buyers free bumper cases. But that offer has expired, as Consumer Reports points out.

According to tests from both Consumer Reports and Anandtech, receptions problems with the original iPhone 4 occured when fanbois gripped the device in a way that bridged the gap between the Bluetooth/WiFi/GPS and UMTS/GSM antennas. The Judas Phone uses antennas that wrap around the outside of its metal bezel. The Bluetooth/WiFi/GPS antenna snakes around part of the bezel, before giving way to the cellular antenna.

When the phone was in development, according to a report from Bloomberg, Apple antenna man Ruben Caballero warned – during planning meetings – that the design might cause dropped calls and "presented a serious engineering challenge".

And now Consumer Reports says that much the same thing happens with the antennas on the Verizon iPhone 4, which uses CDMA rather than GSM. "The problem is similar to the one we confirmed in July with the AT&T version of Apple's newest smart phone," Consumer Reports says.

"It can occur when you hold either version of the phone in a specific but quite natural way in which a gap in the phone's external casing is covered. The phone performs superbly in most other respects, and using the iPhone 4 with a case can alleviate the problem."

But the post points out there there have not been widespread reports of reception issues with the Verizon iPhone 4. The assumption is that the antenna problem was exacerbated by AT&T over crowded network.

When the original GSM iPhone 4 originally debuted, Consumer Reports gave it the thumbs up. It wasn't until it actually performed its own tests on the device that it retracted the recommendation. But Steve Jobs simply ignored the retraction. "It's been judged the number one smartphone in a variety of publications. These are just a few: Wired, enGadget, PC World, Consumer Reports," he said, standing in front of a sign that said the same thing. "So people seem to like it."

Well, people do like it – despite its flaws. Fanbois are fanbois.®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.