Consumer Reports, weighing in on the Verizon iPhone 4, says consumers may be better served to wait for a newer version of the smartphone.
Verizon Wireless iPhone is nice enough, but if we were you, we'd hold off.
short, that's the opinion being offered by trusted consumer watchdog
publication Consumer Reports
a Jan. 11 blog post, editors Paul Reynolds and
Mike Gikas offered a summary of the "good, bad and unknown" about the
device, which was years in the making and is scheduled to finally launch Feb.
Verizon Wireless iPhone 4 has plenty in its favor, especially compared with its
AT&T sibling," write the editors, "But
it may be quickly replaced by a newer, cooler version more quickly than is
customary even for the die-young life expectancy of most smartphones."
post goes on to describe the not-yet-launched smartphone as "middle-aged"
and a "retooling of the AT&T version." The editors
reason that, with Apple likely to introduce a new version of the iPhone this
summer-as it has each summer-it's a bit silly to sign on for a "transitional
phone" that Apple threw together to "tide Verizon through until the
post points out that while Verizon launched its super-fast 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution)
network Dec. 5, the Verizon iPhone 4 won't be able to take advantage of it.
Plus, while the latest crop of smartphones features gorgeous 4-plus-inch
displays, the iPhone 4 is still at 3.5 inches. And, jet-setters may be
disappointed to find that the phone doesn't work in as many countries as its
GSM counterpart (as GSM is the prevalent technology abroad).
the biggest drawback of all, however, is that the phone "suffers CDMA's
shortcomings," write the editors. The
technology makes the phone incapable of being able to simultaneously place a
call and access the Internet.
the upside, the phone will be offered by Verizon, the carrier that has
repeatedly earned the highest marks in customer satisfaction surveys (the same
surveys in which AT&T has received the poorest ratings).
in its favor is its ability to act as a mobile hot spot for up to five devices-a
capability that AT&T has never allowed.
for the unknowns, there are two major questions hanging over the phone. The
first is that, while Verizon has priced the handset at $200, like AT&T, it
hasn't yet shared details about its data plans.
expect, however, that Verizon will use the phone's launch to make its promised
switch from unlimited data plans to the tiered or metered plans now used by
AT&T," write the editors.
second question is how Verizon's network will hold up under the impact of a "boatload
of iPhone users."
a lot of folks jump ship from AT&T, in addition to the new iPhone users
who've held off from buying one till now, that could impact Verizon's service,"
write Reynolds and Gikas. "We'll be especially curious to note any change
among our readers in Verizon's data performance, when we compile next year's
cell-phone satisfaction survey."
minor a question is the iPhone 4's antenna. When AT&T first began selling
its version of the iPhone 4, Consumer Reports played a significant role in the "Antennagate"
that followed. While Apple CEO Steve Jobs
said it was a software issue, and later no issue at all, Consumer Reports wrote
was unable to recommend the iPhone 4
, following tests it had run in its
lab. (Later, using bumpers-a solution Jobs also offered-it reached a happier
the Jan. 11 post, the editors note, "There's
reason to expect that the retooling of the iPhone 4 for CDMA has remedied the
sign-loss problems we experienced under some conditions with the AT&T
version of the phone." Still, they say they plan to test the phone to make
buy or not to buy? Bottom line, per Consumer Reports, is that if you've been "waiting
breathlessly" for a Verizon iPhone; don't care about being left out of 4G,
getting a bigger screen or having the ability to multitask; and aren't worried
about paying an early termination fee to upgrade when the next version shows
up, go for it.
the less iPhone-addicted consumer, write the editors,
"may want to hold off for a newer version of the iPhone, before even
considering whether to buy one."