Verizon iPhone 4: Mind the gap, our tests show

RSS Author RSS     Views:N/A
Bookmark and Share          Republish
The problem is similar to the one we confirmed in July with the AT&T version of Apple's newest smart phone. 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.

Here's a rundown of what we did and what we found in our tests: We subjected the Verizon iPhone 4 to a full complement of regular tests in order to add it to our smart phone ratings, available to subscribers. We also put it through the special tests we carried out last year on the AT&T iPhone 4 after a rash of consumer complaints about signal reception with that model. There has been no such outpouring of complaints about the Verizon version of the phone

In addition, to provide a comparison to some alternative models available from Verizon, we also tested five other Verizon smart phones that we rate highly: the Samsung Fascinate; Motorola Droid 2 Global; HTC Droid Incredible; LG Ally; and Motorola Droid X.


The special tests were all carried out in the controlled environment of CU's radio-frequency isolation chamber at our National Research and Testing Center in Yonkers, NY. In this room, which blocks interference from outside signals, our test engineers mounted each phone on a stand and established a continuous signal connection to our base-station emulator, a device that simulates the signals phones receive in the field. We then placed a finger to each phone in a range of locations around its edge, and monitored any changes to the phone's performance at each position.

The only phones in which the finger contact caused any meaningful decline in performance was the iPhone 4, the sides of which comprise a metal band broken by several thin gaps. As with our tests of the AT&T iPhone 4, putting a finger across one particular gap—the one on the lower left side—caused performance to decline. Bridging this gap is easy to do inadvertently, especially when the phone is in your palm, which might readily and continuously cover the gap during a call.


We also carried out tests in which we used the phones with "live" network signals. We captured these via antennas mounted atop our Testing Center and piped them into the chamber, where we used test equipment to vary their strength.

We made voice calls from each phone to a corded phone in the test chamber, in a series of declining signal strengths. At each level, if the call went through, we made contact with the phone with our hands and noted any changes in performance. With all phones except the iPhone, we gripped the phone's sides to further verify that contact would not result in a dropped call. In all such cases, no calls were dropped.
Photo: Consumer Reports

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, Consumer Reports engineers have found in lab tests.The problem is similar to the one we confirmed in July with the AT&T version of Apple's newest smart phone. 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.

Here's a rundown of what we did and what we found in our tests: We subjected the Verizon iPhone 4 to a full complement of regular tests in order to add it to our smart phone ratings, available to subscribers. We also put it through the special tests we carried out last year on the AT&T iPhone 4 after a rash of consumer complaints about signal reception with that model. There has been no such outpouring of complaints about the Verizon version of the phone

In addition, to provide a comparison to some alternative models available from Verizon, we also tested five other Verizon smart phones that we rate highly: the Samsung Fascinate; Motorola Droid 2 Global; HTC Droid Incredible; LG Ally; and Motorola Droid X.

The special tests were all carried out in the controlled environment of CU's radio-frequency isolation chamber at our National Research and Testing Center in Yonkers, NY. In this room, which blocks interference from outside signals, our test engineers mounted each phone on a stand and established a continuous signal connection to our base-station emulator, a device that simulates the signals phones receive in the field. We then placed a finger to each phone in a range of locations around its edge, and monitored any changes to the phone's performance at each position.

The only phones in which the finger contact caused any meaningful decline in performance was the iPhone 4, the sides of which comprise a metal band broken by several thin gaps. As with our tests of the AT&T iPhone 4, putting a finger across one particular gap—the one on the lower left side—caused performance to decline. Bridging this gap is easy to do inadvertently, especially when the phone is in your palm, which might readily and continuously cover the gap during a call.

We also carried out tests in which we used the phones with "live" network signals. We captured these via antennas mounted atop our Testing Center and piped them into the chamber, where we used test equipment to vary their strength.

We made voice calls from each phone to a corded phone in the test chamber, in a series of declining signal strengths. At each level, if the call went through, we made contact with the phone with our hands and noted any changes in performance. With all phones except the iPhone, we gripped the phone's sides to further verify that contact would not result in a dropped call. In all such cases, no calls were dropped.
Photo: Consumer Reports

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, Consumer Reports engineers have found in lab tests.

http://www.OnlyInMalaysiaMah.com/?ref=adiblax

Report this article

Bookmark and Share
Republish



Ask a Question about this Article