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30 DAY REVIEW: Verizon iPhone 4 Field Test

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Uploaded on Mar 8, 2011

http://TheRecoveringBanker.com | Nic Coventry | The Recovering Banker

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The Verizon iPhone 4 has much in common with its AT&T counterpart, but varying features and different performance give it enough room to stand apart. It won't vastly change your iPhone experience, but we welcome the consumer choice that it brings.


The Verizon iPhone 4 has much in common with its AT&T counterpart, but varying features and different performance give it enough room to stand apart. It won't vastly change your iPhone experience, but we welcome the consumer choice that it brings.
Yes, it's finally here. After almost four years of endless gossip, analyst forecasts, and so-called leaks, the Verizon iPhone is a reality. We're thrilled, to be honest, mostly because we never have to write another rumor story again. And, of course, we're also happy to see U.S. iPhone owners get a real choice in carriers.

If you've been pining for this moment for ages, I feel your elation. But before you rush to the store, there are some important points to keep in mind. First off, the Verizon iPhone 4 is nearly identical to its AT&T counterpart. It stands apart in a couple of ways, but it's largely the same device with many of the same benefits and drawbacks. And like its predecessor, the Verizon iPhone 4 entails some serious give-and-take on the part of the user. You get that nifty hot spot, for example, but Big Red's CDMA technology takes away functionality as well.

Performance may also defy some of your expectations, which we know are huge. After a few days of testing, we can report that Verizon's network offers discernable improvements over AT&T's. The data speeds were faster most of the time, we had more success with placing calls in problem areas, and the calls connected faster. The changes, however, weren't life-changing and they weren't completely consistent. So while it is better in some regards, it can't beat AT&T on all fronts.

Design
Honestly, I can't say much in this section since the Verizon and AT&T handsets are so much alike. There are a couple cosmetic differences, which we'll discuss, but Verizon's iPhone bears all the familiar Apple-style trademarks. It's the same size and weight (4.5 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by 0.37 inch deep; 4.8 ounces), it has nearly identical external features, and you'll find that gorgeous Retina Display. We're still not fans of the sharp edges and glass back, but there's no denying that the iPhone 4 remains an eye-catching device.

Turn the handset on its sides and you'll notice some minor alterations. To accommodate the CDMA antenna, the ringer mute switch on the left side has been moved slightly closer to the volume controls. It makes no difference in usability, but the change means that most current iPhone 4 cases, including the bumpers that Apple gave out for free last summer, won't fit properly. Over on the right side, the SIM card slot has vanished because the handset runs on CDMA.

In another change, the gap that sits next to the headset jack on the GSM version has moved to the left side just above the ringer switch. Apple wouldn't discuss the specifics with CNET, nor would it confirm which portions of the antenna serve which features (on the AT&T phone, one portion of the antenna was for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the remaining portion of the antenna powered cellular calls). I'm not prone to conspiracy theories, but it wouldn't surprise us if Apple tweaked the antenna design following last summer's "antennagate" drama. But more on that later.
Inside, the Verizon handset offers a few more differences, both good and bad. On the upside, Big Red beats AT&T by offering a personal hot-spot feature that can support up to five devices. You can establish the connection through and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a USB cable and use all three methods at the same time

Before you can use the hot spot, though, you'll need to activate the option with Verizon. The feature will cost an additional $20 per month, which is cheaper than Sprint's $29 monthly charge, but more expensive than T-Mobile's $14.99 fee. For that price you're limited to 2GB per month, after which you'll pay $20 for each additional gigabyte. On the whole, those charges aren't outrageous for what you get.

Once you're set with the carrier, the hot-spot option will appear in your Settings menu. Then, after you set a password and choose which connectivity options you'd like to use, you can get started.

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