iPhone 4 Real World Testing Report

iPhone 4

One of the surprising things about the iPhone 4 reception saga was that most of the our favorite tech journalists did not report the antenna issue when they reviewed iPhone 4.

Walt Mossberg of Wall Street Journal was probably the only one who reported that iPhone 4’s performance in making voice calls on AT&T's network in the U.S. was decidedly mixed.

One of the reason probably was due to lack of time. Walt Mossberg has now published a follow-up on the reception issue but this time with six weeks of real-world testing.

Here are some of his observations:

  • iPhone 4 is the best smartphone in its class because of the following reasons: ultra high-resolution screen; easy, integrated video calling; slick software; strong battery life; a remarkably thin body; and a world-beating selection of 225,000 third-party apps.

  • iPhone 4 performs better than iPhone 3GS and other AT&T smartphones in areas with strong AT&T coverage and capacity. But he has observed that iPhone 4 performs worse than iPhone 3GS in weak coverage areas.

  • Touching the dreaded weak spot makes the signal strength bar fluctuate, sometimes it drops from 3 to 1 and at times it actually makes the bar rise. But according to him, the dropping of bars didn’t affect the call and the call continued normally.

  • The bumper case for iPhone 4 greatly reduced the call problems but it didn’t eliminate the dropped calls observed even in good coverage areas.

  • As we had reported earlier, iPhone 4’s external antenna freed up space for a larger battery. Mossberg found iPhone 4’s battery life to be outstanding, which has been one of the weak points of older iPhone models.

Mossberg finally concludes:

So that's my six-week, real-world report. Despite the hot-spot issue and the exposed antenna, the iPhone 4 does better than the 3GS for me in decent coverage. But I still wouldn't advise adopting it as your primary phone if you live, work or travel in areas with poor AT&T reception, or if you prefer a network under less stress.

So if you are still undecided on whether or not to buy Apple’s iPhone 4, this real world report should be quite helpful in making up your mind.

We would go a step further and recommend readers to buy iPhone 4 if they are still sitting on the fence. If you find out that it doesn’t work well in your area then you can always return it within 30 days for a full refund.

Let us know your experience with iPhone 4. Is it similar to Mossberg’s observation? Let us know in the comments.

[via WSJ (subscription required)]