Consumer Reports won't recommend Verizon iPhone

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Verizon iPhone 4 has a reception-killing design flaw similar to the one found on AT&T's version of the phone, product reviewer Consumer Reports said Friday.

The problem occurs when a user grips the gap between the iPhone's two antennas. As a result, Consumer Reports is not including the Verizon iPhone on its list of recommended smartphones.

Consumer Reports' lab tests showed that when the Verizon iPhone is held in a "specific but quite natural way ... [it] has a problem that could cause the phone to drop calls, or be unable to place calls, in weak signal conditions."

It's similar to the flaw Consumer Reports found on the AT&T iPhone in July. The resulting "death grip" kerfuffle at that time was a PR nightmare for Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), and for AT&T (T, Fortune 500). (Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously told a customer: "Just avoid holding it in that way.")

The Verizon iPhone "performs superbly in most other respects," Consumer Reports wrote in its blog post, and using a case "can alleviate" the covered-gap problem.

Consumer Reports tested the Verizon iPhone 4 along with several other Verizon phones, including the Samsung Fascinate, several Motorola Droid models and the LG Ally. None had the signal-loss problems that the iPhone 4 demonstrated.

AT&T iPhone vs. Verizon iPhone: The tests also showed the Verizon iPhone's outgoing calls "sounded better" than they did from the AT&T iPhone. But the AT&T version had the edge for incoming call quality.

Consumer Reports noted that because Verizon's iPhone runs on its CDMA network, users cannot place a voice call and surf the Web at the same time. Apple's GSM network does allow that type of multitasking.

Overall, Consumer Reports concluded, the Verizon iPhone 4 "closely resembles" the AT&T version in both its pros and its cons.

The report also noted "there have not been widespread reports of reception difficulties with the Verizon iPhone 4, and Verizon's network, unlike AT&T's, has received above-average scores from our readers for the reliability of its voice service."

However, those ratings were collected before the Verizon iPhone's launch. It remains to be seen whether Verizon will suffer the same fate as AT&T -- which ranked dead last in a recent survey of customer satisfaction ratings.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,031.14 43.63 0.26%
Nasdaq 4,518.90 -48.70 -1.07%
S&P 500 1,984.13 -1.41 -0.07%
Treasuries 2.59 -0.02 -0.88%
Data as of 3:25am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.74 -0.05 -0.30%
Yahoo! Inc 42.55 1.29 3.13%
Apple Inc 101.63 0.20 0.20%
Facebook Inc 74.58 -3.34 -4.29%
Microsoft Corp 46.24 -0.46 -0.97%
Data as of Sep 15

Sections

The Radisson hotel chain has suspended its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings in the wake of child abuse allegations against Adrian Peterson. More

First official government report shows big decrease in uninsured after Obamacare kicks in and more Americans gain health insurance. More

AT&T has developed a software platform that can transcribe and offer near-real-time analysis on customer service calls. More

Atlanta has the country's highest level of income inequality, but civic entrepreneurs can close the gap. Here's how. More

What do all 401K millionaires have in common? Christine Romans explains what it takes to be a member of the club. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.