Review roundup: Verizon iPhone 4 is same set, different service

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Hours before preorders begin for the long-awaited Verizon iPhone, the first reviews of the new device have appeared, noting that Verizon's service is a marked improvement over AT&T's, though the carrier's 3G data speeds are slower.



All of the reviews were in agreement that the Verizon iPhone 4 drops significantly less calls than the iPhone 4 on AT&T. Speed tests performed by reviewers show that AT&T's data services are slightly faster than those of Verizon, and the lack of simultaneous data and voice was missed by some of the reviewers.



Existing Verizon customers eligible to purchase the iPhone 4 can preorder the smartphone starting at 3 a.m. Eastern, midnight Pacific on Thursday. Apple online store orders will start for "all qualified customers" on Wednesday, Feb. 9 offering the option of delivery or reserve for in-store pick up beginning Feb. 10.



The Verizon iPhone 4 officially goes on sale on Feb. 10. Apple's retail stores will open at 7 a.m. for the launch and more than 2,000 Verizon Wireless stores will carry the phone.



An internal memo from the carrier suggests that "unprecedented demand" could outpace supply for the device.



The Wall Street Journal



Technology journalist Walt Mossberg praised the Verizon iPhone for dropping just three calls over nine days, adding that the three dropped calls had been made to an AT&T iPhone in San Francisco.



Mossberg did, however, encounter a "minor glitch" during setup that caused drop outs, BlueTooth issues and poor battery life. Though Mossberg was able to resolve the issue after contacting Apple, he does not clarify what the issue was and whether it will affect users post-launch.



Scores of speed tests performed by Mossberg in various locations showed that AT&T averaged 46 percent faster download speeds and 24 percent faster upload speeds compared to Verizon. A similar test by Wired found that AT&T download rates in San Francisco are 62 percent faster, while AT&T upload rates are 38 percent faster. At times, the phone would unexpectedly switch from 3G mode to the slower 2G mode, Mossberg noted.



For Mossberg, the added benefits of improved voice calling and the new wireless hot-spot capability outweigh any trade-offs of 3G data speed and the inability to use data and voice simultaneously. However, customers with "tolerable" AT&T service, frequent international trips, or who care about data speed "may want to stick with AT&T."



The New York Times



David Pogue reports for The New York Times that the Verizon iPhone is "nearly the same" as AT&T's iPhone 4--but it doesn't drop calls, making it "the holy grail" for several million Americans.



Pogue tested the Verizon iPhone alongside the AT&T iPhone 4 in five cities, including San Francisco and New York. In San Francisco, the iPhone on AT&T's network dropped the call four times in 30 minutes of driving, while the Verizon iPhone 4 maintained service. The one dropped call that Pogue experienced from the Verizon iPhone was "in baggage claim at the Los Angeles airport."



The new Personal Hotspot feature, which costs an additional $20 a month for 2GB of tethered data, is "incredibly convenient," according to Pogue, although the feature is also a "merciless battery drain."



Pogue also highlighted four differences between the CDMA iPhone and the GSM version. First, minor adjustments to the design have resulted in minor shifts to the volume and Ringer Off switches, meaning that existing AT&T iPhone cases may not fit the new Verizon iPhone.



Second, long text messages exchanged with non-Verizon phones will get split up into 160-character chunks on the Verizon iPhone. Third, Verizon lacks simultaneous voice and data. Fourth, the Verizon iPhone works in roughly 40 countries, compared to the GSM version's 220 available countries.



Other reviews



MG Siegler wrote for TechCrunch that the "iPhone 4 on Verizon just works." Siegler notes that he was able to make a 45 minute call from his office, something that he was unable to do with the iPhone on AT&T.



Writing for Engadget, Joshua Topolsky found that the Verizon iPhone can "connect much more reliably and consistently" than the AT&T iPhone, but "it wasn't impervious to broken connections and sound quality issues." Topolsky ends his review with by noting that it feels like "Apple and Verizon did the impossible: they made the best smartphone in America just a little bit better."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    I expect Verizon will be sold out, of their initial inventory, within a week from launch (Feb 10th)



    I know two AT&T customers, on iPhone 3G's, jumping to the Verizon iPhone 4 immediately.

    They have been waiting for this day. Both work in NYC.



    AND

    I know three current Verizon customers, on blackberry's, also waiting patiently for this day.





    ...Me, proud owner of an iPhone 4 on AT&T, without any issues whatsoever, in central Jersey.



    BUY APPLE STOCK !!!!!
  • Reply 2 of 39
    I guess I still don't understand why not being able to use the web while on the phone isn't a deal breaker. I'm the only person who does that apparently.
  • Reply 3 of 39
    shobizshobiz Posts: 207member
    "The new Personal Hotspot feature"



    If this is so new where is Internet Tethering?
  • Reply 4 of 39
    shadashshadash Posts: 470member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alkrantz View Post


    I guess I still don't understand why not being able to use the web while on the phone isn't a deal breaker. I'm the only person who does that apparently.



    If you can't make a call in the first place it kind of defeats the purpose of this feature.
  • Reply 5 of 39
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,565member
    So better overall call quality, better reception, slower overall download speeds, voice calls take priority over data transfers. No reason for me to switch from AT&T to Verizon. I'll wait and see what the iPhone 4GS/iPhone 5 has to offer.



    On a side note, I've noticed that a lof of people have been saying that the flood of iPhones on Verizon will crush the network and make it as crappy as AT&T. I don't quite follow that line of thinking -- Android has already surpassed Apple in the U.S. (AFAIK) and Verizon has been leading the way. So it's not like Verizon's network is untested when it comes to monster smartphone traffic.
  • Reply 6 of 39
    s8er01zs8er01z Posts: 144member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alkrantz View Post


    I guess I still don't understand why not being able to use the web while on the phone isn't a deal breaker. I'm the only person who does that apparently.



    Have AT&T and since having an iPhone I can only think of one time I have done this. Honestly if your not used to it at all you won't miss anything.



    Not having a call drop or your phone mysteriously not work even with bars while traveling more than makes up for your 'deal breaker'.
  • Reply 7 of 39
    Simultaneous voice and data is one of those things that if you've never had it, you can't miss it. I can never imagine myself ever using speakerphone while also doing anything data-related on my phone. Looking up a contact, or a memo that is stored in my phone, sure, but not using an app at the same time. Then again, I have ALWAYS been on Verizon. For the 290 million customers they have, it obviously won't affect them much.







    Then again, holding a call is what a phone is for, anyway. Like one of the reviewers said, he made a 45 minute call and completed it successfully on Verizon, something he was never able to do on his AT&T version. That would drive me INSANE if I had dropped calls like that. I realize it's not everywhere, but for those that do have that issue in their city, I personally wouldn't be able to stand it.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,565member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alkrantz View Post


    I guess I still don't understand why not being able to use the web while on the phone isn't a deal breaker. I'm the only person who does that apparently.



    It's a nice feature, but in practice I've only used it a handful of times. 95% of the time that I'm on a call with my iPhone, I'm either at home/work where I have Wi-Fi or in the car using Bluetooth (so it's not like I'd be using 3G data anyway).



    As long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, it doesn't matter anyway.
  • Reply 9 of 39
    If At&T has faster data, but Verizon has generally better coverage, it doesn't seem like a real reason to switch. you might even say it's comparing Apples to Apples...
  • Reply 10 of 39
    I prefer coverage over speed. Also, wouldn't use data+voice enough to matter.
  • Reply 11 of 39
    I had this once and I glad that I was able to do that at that time esp. when Verizon vs AT&T war was still young and people saying this ability on GSM as one of the main points over CDMA. Basically what happened was I had to be on the phone while the saleperson that was handling my purchase need to guide me through my payment on the VISA website as I need to key in special codes that can only be given live on the phone and at that time I was away from home on my break during a seminar. I don't have any other means to access the internet other than my iPhone and it was a timesaver. Just because you don't have them doesn't mean you will never need it.
  • Reply 12 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shadash View Post


    If you can't make a call in the first place it kind of defeats the purpose of this feature.



    Except that I can.
  • Reply 13 of 39
    Here's an example of using voice and data at the same time. I'm in the car, driving to an dinner meeting, using google maps to find my way to the restaurant and at the same time, talking to the person I'm meeting at the restaurant. Or, while talking on the phone to a business associate we're referring to an email from a potential customer - I then need to learn more about the customer and go online to look up some data, while remaining on the call.



    I couldn't live without simultaneous voice and data. It is a big issue for me and it is THE thing that impresses those using competitive phones on Verizon - at least those people I've come in contact with.



    I say good riddance to those att customers who defect to Verizon. Free up some bandwidth for those that stay with att.
  • Reply 14 of 39
    "Apple and Verizon did the impossible: they made the best smartphone in America just a little bit better."



    Expect and ad from verizon with this quote.

    Or maybe not, sounds like they're anticipating monster sales anyway.
  • Reply 15 of 39
    macrrmacrr Posts: 488member
    sounds like you need to park



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jmgregory1 View Post


    Here's an example of using voice and data at the same time. I'm in the car, driving to an dinner meeting, using google maps to find my way to the restaurant and at the same time, talking to the person I'm meeting at the restaurant. Or, while talking on the phone to a business associate we're referring to an email from a potential customer - I then need to learn more about the customer and go online to look up some data, while remaining on the call.




  • Reply 16 of 39
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


    It's a nice feature, but in practice I've only used it a handful of times. 95% of the time that I'm on a call with my iPhone, I'm either at home/work where I have Wi-Fi or in the car using Bluetooth (so it's not like I'd be using 3G data anyway).



    As long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, it doesn't matter anyway.



    People who will be using the "Personal Hotspot" feature will feel the advantage of voice+data.
  • Reply 17 of 39
    mgl323mgl323 Posts: 247member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jmgregory1 View Post


    Here's an example of using voice and data at the same time. I'm in the car, driving to an dinner meeting, using google maps to find my way to the restaurant and at the same time, talking to the person I'm meeting at the restaurant. Or, while talking on the phone to a business associate we're referring to an email from a potential customer - I then need to learn more about the customer and go online to look up some data, while remaining on the call.



    I couldn't live without simultaneous voice and data. It is a big issue for me and it is THE thing that impresses those using competitive phones on Verizon - at least those people I've come in contact with.



    I say good riddance to those att customers who defect to Verizon. Free up some bandwidth for those that stay with att.



    Another would be holding while on a call and browse the web.

    CS: Please hold

    You: No problem! *opens browser and enjoys voice and data at the same time
  • Reply 18 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacRR View Post


    sounds like you need to park



    My thoughts exactly. Just today I had someone almost walk into me because he was too busy texting to pay attention to anything around him.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Verizon never drops any calls, ever... so what' up with this news of dropped calls? The reviewers are SUPER forgiving for the dropped calls though 'Oh well my dropped calls were with an ATT user' or 'Oh well it was in a baggage claim so that doesn't count.'



    Funny



    Apple will sell a ton though, which is awesome. I'm not willing to give up my data+voice for any price though. I get way too much done when I'm waiting on hold or talking to grandma
  • Reply 20 of 39
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alkrantz View Post


    I guess I still don't understand why not being able to use the web while on the phone isn't a deal breaker. I'm the only person who does that apparently.



    You're not the only one, but clearly there are a lot of people who don't care. I think it's much more common that if you've never had the ability, you don't understand why it's worth paying for, but hey, it'll be a thing of the past in 1-2 years anyway.
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