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Apple iPhone 4 (Verizon)

Free with contract for 8 GB
Reviewed
February 2011
by ConsumerSearch
Apple iPhone 4 (Verizon)

Apple's powerful smartphone meets Verizon's speedy network

Pros
  • Colorful screen
  • Fast speeds
  • Easy-to-use touch-screen keyboard
Cons
  • No world roaming

Verizon iPhone almost identical to AT&T's

At long last, the Verizon iPhone is here and it's "nearly the same as AT&T's iPhone 4," says David Pogue of The New York Times. Pogue notes that the Verizon version has at least one advantage over the AT&T iPhone (Free with contract for 8 GB): It doesn't drop calls. That makes it the "holy grail" for "several million Americans," he says. Not all critics are completely smitten, though. Joshua Topolsky of Engadget.com points out that the Verizon iPhone is "not the next generation Apple device," and iLounge.com's Jeremy Horwitz criticizes Apple for "rewarming last year's model just long enough to fill the gap before a new iPhone debuts." Still, Topolsky says, Apple and Verizon have made "the best smartphone in America just a little bit better."

The subtle differences between the two phones come from the Verizon iPhone's inability to access 3G data and voice at the same time, meaning that you can't surf the web or use GPS navigation when you're on a call. Despite this limitation, Topolsky says "we didn't find ourselves missing the feature very much," and he assures users they can still send and receive texts during phone calls. Another drawback is the limited world roaming, since the phone runs on CDMA networks, not GSM. Some reviewers are disappointed that the new iPhone runs on Verizon's 3G network, not its new 4G network, which is supposed to be faster.  

Call quality and reception biggest improvements

Notable new features on the Verizon iPhone include the addition of wireless hotspot connectivity, which can provide Wi-Fi for up to five other devices (*Est. $20 per month), and a lack of bloatware (pre-installed software). Unlike other Verizon phones, branding is limited to the tiny word "Verizon" in the upper-left corner of the screen. As MG Siegler of TechCrunch.com puts it, this is not a "Verizon iPhone." It's an "iPhone on Verizon's network."

Similar to AT&T's iPhone 4, the Verizon iPhone has a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash, HD video recording, and FaceTime video calling over Wi-Fi. It also includes the "gorgeous" Retina Display, a front-facing camera, and access to a plethora of apps through iTunes. Both iPhone 4 smartphones weigh in at 4.8 ounces and are under a half-inch thick. Reviews rave about the Verizon iPhone's reliable reception and most are unable to replicate the AT&T iPhone's so-called "death grip" -- which causes the phone to lose its signal if held just so. After several attempts, PCMag.com's Sascha Segan is able to replicate the "death grip," but he says it only occurs when you have a weak signal and hold the phone in an unnatural way.

Several sources perform extensive testing on the Verizon iPhone 4, comparing it with the AT&T iPhone 4. TechCrunch.com praises the lack of Verizon bloatware on the phone, while CNET, PCMag.com and The New York Times run multiple tests on call quality. Engadget.com and iLounge.com run their own tests and include pictures comparing the phone and its interface with the original. What all reviewers stress is the similarity between the AT&T and Verizon iPhones.

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Our Sources

1. PCMag.com

PCMag's evaluation of the newest iPhone details the similarities and differences between the AT&T and Verizon models. Sascha Segan is impressed with the Verizon iPhone's performance overall, though he laments that it's not on Verizon's new 4G network. He's also the only reviewer to discover a "death grip," though the issue is minor compared to that of the AT&T iPhone.

Review: Apple iPhone 4 (Verizon Wireless), Sascha Segan, Feb. 10, 2011

2. CNET

Kent German tests the Verizon iPhone's call quality and camera quality, comparing it to the AT&T version. He notes the lack of world roaming and the ability to access only data or voice, not both, at once. Though he says it has "much in common" with the AT&T iPhone, he finds that "varying features and different performance give it enough room to stand apart."

Review: Apple iPhone 4 – 16GB – black (Verizon Wireless), Kent German, Feb. 2, 2011

3. Engadget.com

The Verizon iPhone is "not exactly a new device," Joshua Topolsky says. He finds that the biggest difference between the AT&T and Verizon iPhones are the carriers, not the hardware.

Review: Verizon iPhone Review, Joshua Topolsky, Feb. 2, 2011

4. iLounge.com

Like other reviewers, Jeremy Horwitz compares the AT&T and Verizon iPhones side-by-side, concluding that the Verizon iPhone is nothing new, but does open it up to a whole new audience.

Review: Apple iPhone 4 (Verizon CDMA, 16GB/32GB), Jeremy Horwitz, Feb. 9, 2011

5. TechCrunch.com

MG Siegler praises the Verizon iPhone for improving call quality and reducing dropped calls over AT&T's iPhone. Siegler says the phone works "beautifully" and praises it for the lack of bloatware.

Review: TechCrunch Review: The Name's iPhone. Verizon iPhone., MG Siegler, Feb. 2, 2011

6. The New York Times

David Pogue finds improvements in the Verizon iPhone's call quality but notes the phone otherwise is very similar to the AT&T iPhone. One of the biggest changes, he says, is the addition of hotspot capabilities.

Review: For iPhone, Almost Heaven, David Pogue, Feb. 2, 2011

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