Consumer Reports Cites Verizon iPhone Reception Woes, Won’t Recommend

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Consumer Reports has withheld a recommendation for the Verizon iPhone 4, just as it did with the AT&T version back in July. The publication cites the same “death grip” on the antenna that arises when skin comes in contact with an exposed portion of the metal band surrounding the phone.

Says Consumer Reports:

“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…

…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.”

Anecdotally, people don’t seem to be complaining as much about this issue with the Verizon version, and a report from earlier this month claiming that the issue still persisted demonstrated what appeared to be a much more aggressive grip on the Verizon version in order to degrade the signal.

However, as Consumer Reports points out, “Holding the Verizon iPhone 4 in a specific but quite natural way can cause dropped calls in weak signal conditions, our tests found.”

That may be the difference right there: the weak signal conditions. The report points out that after about 15 seconds in the death grip position, “the iPhone eventually dropped calls when touched at very low signal strength—that is, at levels of around one bar in the phone’s signal-strength meter.”

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