Verizon iPhone 4 Antenna Still Dropping Calls


Have we learned nothing, Apple? While the media may have overplayed the impact of the antenna-design problems in the original iPhone 4 hardware, we’d think that Apple would have gone out of its way to avoid repeating that PR nightmare with the release of the iPhone 4 on Verizon, affording the company an opportunity to re-tool the phone’s antenna. Consumer Reports, which was unwilling to recommend the AT&T iPhone after testing its antenna performance, has returned with the very same verdict for its brother on Verizon.

It wasn’t so long ago that a phone’s antenna was immediately recognizable; whether a little pinky-shaped nub sticking up on top, or a fully-retractable design, antennas looked like antennas. Modern designs are far less recognizable to the layman, often internal to the phone and taking the form of elaborate circuit-board-etched constructions. Problem is, hiding the antenna in non-traditional places opens it up to new kinds of interference. You wouldn’t carry a portable radio around by its antenna, but that’s just what you’re doing when handling the iPhone 4 with its edge-integrated antenna design.

Consumer Reports tested the Verizon iPhone 4 against several other smartphones to evaluate its susceptibility to antenna interference. Of those tested, only the iPhone had significant problems, popping up in just the same situations as they did with the original iPhone 4, when gaps in the metal antenna band are bridged by a user’s hand.

Signal loss problems were severe enough to disconnect calls when starting with an already weak connection to the tower. And yes, just like before, the fix is as easy as slapping on a rubber bumper to insulate the phone’s antenna from your reception-stealing hands (though Apple’s no longer paying for them). Frankly, recommending that action is a cop-out on Apple’s part; you don’t buy a metal and glass phone because you enjoy the feeling of rubber on your hand. Let’s try something better for the iPhone 5, OK?

Source: Consumer Reports

Thanks: Paul Flahan

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!