The independent magazine Consumer Reports is warning Verizon customers to "mind the gap" on the left side of their iPhone 4. They have tested the device and determined that the Verizon model iPhone 4 is prone to the same reception issues and dropped calls as the AT&T version they tested last summer. The problem occurs in areas with weak signals when the phone is held a certain way.
Gripping the left side of the iPhone 4 and bridging the black antenna gap on the lower left side of the device lowers performance and can drop calls in these weak signal areas due to signal attenuation. The problem was widely reported on the AT&T network and Apple offered free Bumper cases to affected users. Consumer Reports, reporting on their Electronics Blog, stated that an Apple Bumper case alleviated the problem.
This quirk in the iPhone 4 external antenna design rears its ugly head when the phone is held in the so-called "death grip" and previously forced Apple to deal with the issue in an extended media onslaught dubbed Antennagate. Although Consumer Reports did not recommend the AT&T or Verizon iPhone 4, both handsets also score high marks for their Retina Displays, iPod app and multimedia features. Complaints about the antenna gap problem don't seem to be as frequent on the Verizon network, which consistently outranks AT&T in consumer satisfaction surveys.
Apple's external antenna design is groundbreaking in that it improves reception over previous iPhones in areas with a weak signal. The only problem is connecting the two separate sides of the antenna, which wraps around the outer edge of the iPhone 4, with a finger or palm. Consumer Reports tested the device with live cellular signals and found that after roughly 15 seconds of bridging the gap the signal strength was reduced. In areas with only one bar of signal strength calls were dropped.It's a mixed bag then, with the magazine refusing again to recommend the iPhone 4 on either network while still rating the device highly for its features and Retina Display. Not interested in a Bumper case? You can always try other creative solutions such as an Antenna-aid to help avoid reception issues, or as Consumer Reports states, "mind the gap".