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After 6 weeks of "real usage," Mossberg stands by his initial verdict of the iPhone 4

post #1 of 145
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In a follow-up to his original review, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal continued to laud Apple's iPhone 4 as "the best device in its class," while warning of issues with weak reception and dropped calls.

After 6 weeks of constant use with two iPhone 4 units, Mossberg found that in areas with "average or strong AT&T coverage" the iPhone 4 generally performed better than the iPhone 3GS, but performed worse than the 3GS in areas with weak coverage. One iPhone 4 was a review unit provided by Apple, while the other was purchased by Mossberg.

Mossberg took issue with Apple's claim that the iPhone 4 performs better than the iPhone 3GS in areas with poor reception. In his experience, compared to the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS actually dropped less calls and showed a 'no service' status less often.

Mossberg's conclusions were consistent with his original appraisal of the smartphone. In his initial review, Mossberg praised the iPhone 4's design and features, but criticized the lack of network choices.

Since AT&T "operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many cities" and has abandoned unlimited, flat-rate data plans, Mossberg was unable to recommend the smartphone to people in poor AT&T reception areas.

Regarding the 'death-grip' issue, Mossberg noted that gripping the phone would cause the signal bars to "fluctuate," but didn't find the issue to be of serious concern. In some cases, he noted, the bars actually rose when the left-hand seam between antennas was deliberately touched.

Mossberg concluded the post by acknowledging that the iPhone 4 worked better for him than the iPhone 3GS in decent coverage areas and reiterating that he does not recommend the handset to users who suffer from poor AT&T reception where they "live, work, or travel."
post #2 of 145
I wonder what Jimmy Fallon did with his iPhone 4. Did he end up keeping it or go over to the Android world? As for Mossberg, I notice the same thing too at times. The "death grip/touch" at times actually does give me one more bar. Odd.
post #3 of 145
After a month of usage, I've found that the reception issue isn't much of a bother, but the proximity sensor is maddening. Fix dat s**t now.

Other problems:

I send pics to my mom via Gmail taken with my iPhone 4's camera in portrait orientation and she receives them sideways. She uses Gmail's web interface.
Sometimes the person I'm calling sounds garbled (like digital noise) for 5-10 seconds, then it goes back to normal.
I sometimes get 2-3 second freezes in Safari -- especially when switching between tabs.
Accelerometer is sometimes slow to respond.
post #4 of 145
Consumer Reports - take a hint from Mossberg... It's not too late to say, "hey, turns out it's a pretty damn good phone!" of course, that wouldn't drive web traffic and press coverage.
post #5 of 145
Yeah no problems with the "Death Grip" for me. Similar experiences and I have used it in a half dozen cities so far.

The proximity sensor glitch is a real pain though. Hope they have a fix working soon. I have called so many random numbers while checking voice mail, hung up on people, etc. Honestly, a lot of these "dropped calls" people are blaming on the "Death Grip" might actually be proximity sensor related issues with the end call button.
post #6 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

Consumer Reports - take a hint from Mossberg... It's not too late to say, "hey, turns out it's a pretty damn good phone!" of course, that wouldn't drive web traffic and press coverage.

No ads on the Consumer Reports web site. None in the magazine either. In fact you can't even look at the content of the web site without being a member.

Confounding, I know.
Please don't be insane.
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post #7 of 145
That's a surprising positive review for the iPhone 4. With all the negative antenna pieces this is a breath of fresh air.
post #8 of 145
Personally I have had no issues, either with reception or the proximity sensor, with my iPhone 4.
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post #9 of 145
Had my iP4 since day one, replacing my 2g iPhone. Antenna issues have been non-events for me. Best phone I've owned yet. This is coming from reception-poor San Francisco too!
post #10 of 145
I'd simulate surprise, but I (much like Consumer Reports) would rather not compromise my integrity - \
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #11 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

After a month of usage, I've found that the reception issue isn't much of a bother, but the proximity sensor is maddening. Fix dat s**t now.

I had the proximity issue twice tonight. The first time I was on hold in a queue that doesnt play back any sound and inadvertently disconnected from the call. I have no idea how long I was disconnected before I noticed. On the second attempt, now being careful, I was talking to tech support and I started hearing some odd noises. Eric Cartman was repeating some sound bite I had clipped for someone as a ringtone which meant it was loaded into my ringtones. Somehow I access them which my cheek. I might jump on that 4.1 Beta.
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post #12 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

I'd simulate surprise, but I would rather not compromise my [negative position on everything Apple].

Fixed.
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post #13 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

Consumer Reports - take a hint from Mossberg... It's not too late to say, "hey, turns out it's a pretty damn good phone!" of course, that wouldn't drive web traffic and press coverage.

Actually it sounds like it's "pretty damn good" at everything EXCEPT being a phone.
post #14 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

Actually it sounds like it's "pretty damn good" at everything EXCEPT being a phone.

1.77% return rate.

0.55% apple care calls.



majority of the iphone 4 owners are perfectly happy with their iPhone 4.
post #15 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by davesw View Post

1.77% return rate.

0.55% apple care calls.

majority of the iphone 4 owners are perfectly happy with their iPhone 4.

If you say so. But there are other voices out there who say differently.
post #16 of 145
As expected, it seems iphone 4 customers are mostly happy -- only problem is so much negative press coverage has and is affecting greatly the decisions of would-be iphone 4 buyers.

If you see engadget, most iphone 4 related articles' comments sections are filled with hundreds of people bickering about apple and iphone 4.

iphone 4 customers -- if you feel you like the phone -- should contribute some comments there.. .just to keep the balance!
post #17 of 145
I can't understand what's wrong with AT&T network. How can be the so many places with poor reception? In my country (smaller than US of course) we don't have these problems. Our operators have almost 100% signal coverage. I am travelling through my country and through Europe, but personally I know only one place (in the mountains) where is bad mobile operator signal.

When I saw US movies where users can't make a phone call on a road, I was thinking, that it's not real problem. Now I see that it's real. It's problem also for other US mobile operators?

I am watching "antennagate" from the beginning and I must say that I didn't read bad reviews (reception issue) in Europe, only in the US. It's seems to me like only US problem.
post #18 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

Actually it sounds like it's "pretty damn good" at everything EXCEPT being a phone.

So with that logic, based on the next AI article Android good at being a phone EXCEPT being a "smartphone".

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...theft_app.html
post #19 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttt View Post

I can't understand what's wrong with AT&T network. How can be the so many places with poor reception? In my country (smaller than US of course) we don't have these problems. Our operators have almost 100% signal coverage. I am travelling through my country and through Europe, but personally I know only one place (in the mountains) where is bad mobile operator signal.

When I saw US movies where users can't make a phone call on a road, I was thinking, that it's not real problem. Now I see that it's real. It's problem also for other US mobile operators?

I am watching "antennagate" from the beginning and I must say that I didn't read bad reviews (reception issue) in Europe, only in the US. It's seems to me like only US problem.

The higher fat-content in certain whining American trolls increases the skin conductivity with the between the two antennas. It can usually be resolved by avoiding sitting their fat backsides on leather sofas all day and night and venturing out in the daylight.

It has been blown out of proportion. It's obvious there are people out there with an agenda.
post #20 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by icyfog View Post

Personally I have had no issues, either with reception or the proximity sensor, with my iPhone 4.

Same here! Have been a happy iPhone 4 owner since the day of its release.
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post #21 of 145
What is interesting about the part quoted below is that Mossberg's claim that the iPhone 4 is worse in areas with low signals is exactly the opposite of what Anandtech said in their review of the iPhone 4. Gruber said something similar. I am at a loss to explain the discrepancy but it is intriguing that different people have such different experiences.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In a follow-up to his original review, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal continued to laud Apple's iPhone 4 as "the best device in its class," while warning of issues with weak reception and dropped calls.

After 6 weeks of constant use with two iPhone 4 units, Mossberg found that in areas with "average or strong AT&T coverage" the iPhone 4 generally performed better than the iPhone 3GS, but performed worse than the 3GS in areas with weak coverage."
post #22 of 145
I see sflocal has taken on jragosta's annoying habit of calling everyone "whiners" who disagree with him.

Since the "death grip" problem is worse in low signal areas and Mossberg has consistently pointed out that AT&T "operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many cities," the problem does exist. I tried an iPhone 4 out in my house - where the signal is 1 bar if I am extremely lucky - and easily replicated the "death grip" phenomenon.

I personally think Apple was forced to come up with this antenna design to try to make up for AT&T's many deficiencies. They need another network yesterday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

The higher fat-content in certain whining American trolls increases the skin conductivity with the between the two antennas. It can usually be resolved by avoiding sitting their fat backsides on leather sofas all day and night and venturing out in the daylight.

It has been blown out of proportion. It's obvious there are people out there with an agenda.
post #23 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

If you say so. But there are other voices out there who say differently.

And you're one of them. Constantly at that! Get rid of your phone (if you actually own one) and go away already.
post #24 of 145
iPhone is released here in a few hours, I'm trying to decide which network to use. The one that's renown as being the best (Telstra) - but gets 500MB data, or the one that I've got now that drops to 2G a lot and loses calls fairly often really (Vodafone)... but gets 1.5GB of data and is about to roll out new better frequencies...

This article leans me towards using the better Telstra network.

(Nice deals on both... Upfront $150(Telstra) or $120(Vodafone) - then $49/mth for about 400 minutes.)
post #25 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

If you say so. But there are other voices out there who say differently.

Have you been on the interweb before?
post #26 of 145
Glad to hear Walt remains the almost lone honest voice in the hogwash engineered by gawkers and psystars. And after having indeed used the product for some time now I'm wholeheartedly with him on this subject.

The iPhone 4 is absolutely amazing product.
The battery life is now --- finally! --- in line with what industry offers in general. But is a charge speed astounding!
The reception capabilities are indisputably superior to previous generations of the phone. I can give calls to my folks from places like basements and underground parking lots, from which with the 3G I could only dream to.
Camera. I stopped to sync third party camera applications. Apple's one has everything I need back again, not to mention the convenience of using it.
Display. Thank you Apple, I can read on my iPhone without eye strain again. It's great.

God almighty, did the industrial design of the case ail me in the beginning. But it appeared to be only a whim just like that anger at your grocery shop personnel upon they've moved shelves and you've lost your habitual stuff from the view. Well, I'm getting used to industrial design too and even starting to find it elegant.
I still do not like Apple having changed home button usage patterns. I still see no big point in multitasking, however, it's good to see how fast suspended applications come to run.

So, I think gawkers committed a real crime with spoiling the launch of such a product in public opinion. And I think they should pay.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #27 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadash View Post

What is interesting about the part quoted below is that Mossberg's claim that the iPhone 4 is worse in areas with low signals is exactly the opposite of what Anandtech said in their review of the iPhone 4. Gruber said something similar. I am at a loss to explain the discrepancy but it is intriguing that different people have such different experiences.

Sadash, Anandtech claimed it is better in low-signal areas only if a bumper/case is used.
post #28 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by grkhetan View Post

Sadash, Anandtech claimed it is better in low-signal areas only if a bumper/case is used.

shadash is correct, most are reporting that the iPhone 4 is better in low signal areas.

Anand and Brian wrote:
Quote:
The Antenna is Improved
From my day of testing, I've determined that the iPhone 4 performs much better than the 3GS in situations where signal is very low, at -113 dBm (1 bar). Previously, dropping this low all but guaranteed that calls would drop, fail to be placed, and data would no longer be transacted at all. I can honestly say that I've never held onto so many calls and data simultaneously on 1 bar at -113 dBm as I have with the iPhone 4, so it's readily apparent that the new baseband hardware is much more sensitive compared to what was in the 3GS. The difference is that reception is massively better on the iPhone 4 in actual use.

They then added:
Quote:
With my bumper case on, I made it further into dead zones than ever before, and into marginal areas that would always drop calls without any problems at all. It's amazing really to experience the difference in sensitivity the iPhone 4 brings compared to the 3GS, and issues from holding the phone aside, reception is absolutely definitely improved. I felt like I was going places no iPhone had ever gone before. There's no doubt in my mind this iPhone gets the best cellular reception yet, even though measured signal is lower than the 3GS.


Also note that many sites, including AnandTech,have reported that bars actually went up at times from touching the antenna. I think one thing is certain, despite all media frenzy this design is superior, will be improved because the inherent benefits far outweigh any cons, and will likely be adopted by other vendors wanting to maximize their space, limit their size, and improve their total antenna performance.
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post #29 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I wonder what Jimmy Fallon did with his iPhone 4. Did he end up keeping it or go over to the Android world? As for Mossberg, I notice the same thing too at times. The "death grip/touch" at times actually does give me one more bar. Odd.

This is not that odd. The articles/blogs at large are making the case that touching the antenna shorts it. But the real effect is change in electrical impedance, and the change is not always tantamount to shorting. If it were so, then all TV rabbit ears would fail whenever touched, which is not the case (not the best analogy, but perhaps one that people might understand).

What is odd is that no true antenna expert has written a real technical treatise on this. The closest thing to a proper engineering analysis that has been published is the piece by Anandtech. But even that addresses the software and not the hardware design. This has led to the Consumers piece being the most authoritative sounding one. Too bad.
post #30 of 145
Quote:
continued to laud Apple's iPhone 4 as "the best device in its class,"

I wonder did Mosberge reach this conclusion after also using the Samsung Wave and Galaxy S for an equal length of time? I believe the wave is not available in the US?

They are currently the top ranked phones on GSM arena by customer ratings - in that order..

On Testfreaks, the two top ranked phones are the HTC Desire and Galaxy S.
post #31 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

Consumer Reports - take a hint from Mossberg... It's not too late to say, "hey, turns out it's a pretty damn good phone!" of course, that wouldn't drive web traffic and press coverage.

Exactly, even a brief apology to all the people they put into trouble wouldn't harm them.
post #32 of 145
I have found the iphone 4 to be worse than the 3GS. I have created a poll to see how people rank the reception. The poll has a nice map feature so that you can see how people feel in different parts of the US.... take the poll and pass it on - you can share it in many ways.
http://www.votos.com/poll/1204_How_d...f_the_iphone_4
post #33 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

If you say so. But there are other voices out there who say differently.

The vocal minority. How many times do you go to hundreds of websites after a purchase to spread around how much you're pleased with what you just bought? No, just the complaints are spread around. That makes any issue appear greatly inflated.

Don't get your hopes up- this will not sink Apple or the iPhone. The press is the only one perpetuating the problem, for their own gain, and that's keeping some people from purchasing until an acceptable fix is produced. Some.
post #34 of 145
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post #35 of 145
"In some cases, he noted, the bars actually rose when the left-hand seam between antennas was deliberately touched."

That's only because he grew up next to Three Mile Island.
post #36 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttt View Post

I can't understand what's wrong with AT&T network. How can be the so many places with poor reception? In my country (smaller than US of course) we don't have these problems. Our operators have almost 100% signal coverage. I am travelling through my country and through Europe, but personally I know only one place (in the mountains) where is bad mobile operator signal.

When I saw US movies where users can't make a phone call on a road, I was thinking, that it's not real problem. Now I see that it's real. It's problem also for other US mobile operators?

I am watching "antennagate" from the beginning and I must say that I didn't read bad reviews (reception issue) in Europe, only in the US. It's seems to me like only US problem.

That's because here in the U.S. we are a fickle bunch who love to hate things.
post #37 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

If you say so. But there are other voices out there who say differently.

There's always voices. People love stuff like Vista, they can constantly laugh at it, when to be quite honest with you there is nothing really wrong with it. The only mistake Vista made was confusing all the hardware manufactures and developers on when it would be coming out (if they had used common sense they would have released a Vista version anyway, but a lot of these hardware makers have no common sense within them).
post #38 of 145
My iP4 has really sh*tty reception at home. My 3GS was ok, but I think I drop 50% if all the calls I get at home. The bars go from 0 to 5 and back again with or without a death grip.

PS: I just got my free bumper. It fits nicely and my phone still fits in my holster. We'll see if it was any effect.
post #39 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

iPhone is released here in a few hours, I'm trying to decide which network to use. The one that's renown as being the best (Telstra) - but gets 500MB data, or the one that I've got now that drops to 2G a lot and loses calls fairly often really (Vodafone)... but gets 1.5GB of data and is about to roll out new better frequencies...

This article leans me towards using the better Telstra network.

(Nice deals on both... Upfront $150(Telstra) or $120(Vodafone) - then $49/mth for about 400 minutes.)

telstra with bonus data and extra data packs: (eg. $49 cap)

A$49 + 1gb = $39 + $19.50 =$58.50
A$49 + 3gb = $63.50
A$49 + 6gb = $78.50

i'm not upgrading this cycle, but the only thing attractive about continuing on 3 is the international calls included in the cap. even that probably won't be enough to keep me there next year.

i've heard only good reports of iPhone 4 on telstra (from ppl who purchased in the UK)...
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post #40 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttt View Post

I can't understand what's wrong with AT&T network. How can be the so many places with poor reception? In my country (smaller than US of course) we don't have these problems. Our operators have almost 100% signal coverage. I am travelling through my country and through Europe, but personally I know only one place (in the mountains) where is bad mobile operator signal.

When I saw US movies where users can't make a phone call on a road, I was thinking, that it's not real problem. Now I see that it's real. It's problem also for other US mobile operators?

I am watching "antennagate" from the beginning and I must say that I didn't read bad reviews (reception issue) in Europe, only in the US. It's seems to me like only US problem.

In the US AT&T (cingular) took the punch and went GSM like many Europe phone networks were doing, and put up new generation GSM antenna's across the country as fast as they could. Of course companies like Verision adopted the typical Microsoft way of thinking 'If it ain't broke, don't improve it' and kept with old CDMA tech because it had strong signal and so did many other phone makers.

THEN

iPhone came out, on Cingular, ON GSM. But 'pah', it's a million pound phone, only Apple geeks in big cites will buy that, while in Starbucks sipping urine. Despite this iPhone sells well....

THEN

App Store comes out and iPhone 3G comes out, BAM, the iPhone is an even bigger hit growing the NEED for GSM in the States. Oh dear who will save these archaic phone companies?

...well...

ANDROID! Android comes out along with it's 20th century ways of thinking (open source). You can now have a open phone that looks better than a Tux Phone. WOW open source is so amazing, you can have all the Porn you want etc.

...but...

Android with it's open source way of thinking isn't setting the world on fire (as I predicted), it's gaining market share. But for what? To become another Windows? I think so. It's eating at MS currently, but if MS market Windows Phone REALLY well... then Androids down the lake without a paddle.
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