Verizon's iPhone 4, like the AT&T iPhone 4, remains un-recommended by Consumer Reports due to signal-dampening issues with the exterior antenna rim.
Consumer Reports says it
can't recommend the Verizon iPhone 4.
"The Verizon iPhone 4 has a problem that could cause the
phone to drop calls, or be unable to place calls, in weak signal conditions,"
the publication reported in a
Feb. 25 blog posting
. "The problem is similar to the one we confirmed in
July with the AT&T version of Apple's newest smartphone."
Consumer Reports had its testers cover the gap in the
lower-left portion of the iPhone 4's exterior antenna rim with their bare
finger, which apparently caused a decline in performance. In areas of low
signal strength, finger-blocking the antenna gap led to a dropped
"Given our findings, we believe the possibility exists for
individual users to experience the problem since low signal conditions are
unavoidable when using any cell-phone network," the blog posting concludes.
"For that reason, we are not including the Verizon iPhone 4 in our list of
recommended smartphones, despite its high ranking in our Ratings."
Soon after launching the iPhone 4 on AT&T last summer,
Apple found itself wrestling with a crisis some wits dubbed "Antennagate," with
users complaining that bare hands on the antenna rim killed their signal. As
reports of the issue gained momentum, Consumer Reports declined to endorse the
device. "The signal can degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection
altogether if you're in an area with a weak signal," the publication's Mike
Gikas blogged July 12
. "Due to
this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4."
After weeks of what some outside pundits deemed a muddled PR
response to the issue, Apple finally acted decisively July 16, 2010, when Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that
customers who purchased an iPhone 4 through Sept. 30 would be eligible to
receive a free rubber bumper that covered the rim.
Nonetheless, Apple insisted that issues with the phone's
antenna rim had little effect on sales. "My phone is ringing off the hook for
people that want more supply," Apple COO Tim Cook told media and analysts
during a July 20 earnings call. "Right now it is hard to address the real
question you're asking, about is there an effect or not, because we're selling
everything we can make. You can't run the experiment that way."
Consumer Reports also reacted adversely to Apple's bumper
policy, writing in a Sept. 13 blog posting that it was "less [than]
consumer-friendly in several respects." It maintained its non-recommendation.
Reports over the past few weeks, including a Feb. 8 posting
on the tech site iLounge, indicated that the Verizon iPhone 4 suffered some of
the signal attenuation problems of its predecessor. Given how the reports of
antenna issue in no way seemed to dampen iPhone 4 sales, however, it remains to
be seen whether Verizon customers are turned away by Consumer Reports' latest