The first reviews of the iPhone 4 on Verizon are out.The consensus? Verizon has more signal bars in more places than AT&T, with a main caveat: data speed is not as fast. So for millions of those who have threatened to jump the AT&T ship for what they think might be a more reliable carrier and for those who want a non-AT&T iPhone, here is your chance. Verizon and Apple have started taking pre-orders for existing customers for the iPhone 4.
Here is a roundup of reviews starting with PCWorld sister publication Macworld.
Jason Snell, editor of Macworld notes in his review that the Verizon iPhone 4 “looks, feels, and works just like the AT&T iPhone 4 that’s been available for the past seven months,” though “the only change that matters is the big one: the network itself.” Snell points out that “adopting the CDMA cellular standard does force this iPhone 4 to take one step back-back to the days of the original iPhone, in fact. Unlike AT&T’s 3G network, which can transmit data and voice simultaneously, the Verizon 3G network can only do one or the other.”
David Pogue tested the Verizon iPhone for The New York Times and answered everyone’s question from the start: “the Verizon iPhone is nearly the same as AT&T’s iPhone 4 – but it doesn’t drop calls. For several million Americans, that makes it the holy grail.”
Pogue notes that he experienced less dropped calls with the iPhone on Verizon’s network and hopes that the onslaught of AT&T customers moving to Verizon won’t affect the network’s performance: “Verizon can expect an enormous stampede of new iPhone customers. Last time this happened – to AT&T – the weight of all those bandwidth-sucking iPhones swamped the network, causing interruptions that persist to this day. The same thing might happen to Verizon.”
Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg went straight to the point: “In my tests, the new Verizon version of the iPhone did much better at voice calling than the AT&T version, and offers some attractive benefits, like unlimited data and a wireless hot-spot capability. But if you really care about data speed, or travel overseas, and AT&T service is tolerable in your area, you may want to stick with AT&T.”
Over at Wired, Brian X. Chen thinks the Verizon iPhone is “a better phone, period. More likely to pull a signal, even indoors – this could change the way we converse at bars. Hot-spotting is well-integrated and very easy to use. Has a whiter, slightly better-looking display.” On the downside, he points out that Verizon’s iPhone has “slow data transfers compared to the AT&T iPhone. Sluggish app installs take away from the App Store’s instant gratification. Video streams are compressed more heavily, so Netflix and YouTube are uglier.”
Writing for TechCrunch, MG Siegler observed “that the back of the Verizon version of the iPhone 4 is missing some of the FCC, etc. symbols usually found at the bottom of the device – no clue why those are gone, but it’s another small change in the design. It makes the back look even cleaner.” Siegler was convinced by the Verizon iPhone: “for me, as someone who has spent three and a half years fed up with AT&T, the Verizon iPhone is absolutely, 100 percent worth it. I’ve already cancelled my AT&T contract and I cannot foresee a future where I ever go back.”
Joshua Topolsky points out over at Engadget that the Verizon iPhone 4 is “not the next generation Apple device, it’s not a wowee-zowee LTE experiment, and it isn’t a revolution in mobile computing,” but rather “an opportunity to give relief to long-suffering AT&T customers in the form of a usable, reliable phone.” Topolsky concludes that “Apple and Verizon did the impossible: they made the best smartphone in America just a little bit better.”
Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber also explains Verizon’s network is better: “It’s the same phone. The only differences are (a) a brief period of Verizon exclusivity for the Wi-Fi hotspot feature, and (b) the network. And Verizon’s network is better.” Gruber notes “a lot of people have been waiting for four years for this phone. The funny thing is, by next month, the Verizon iPhone is going to seem like the most normal thing in the world.”