Consumer Reports: Verizon iPhone Suffers from the ”Death Grip”

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The new version of the Apple iPhone 4 reportedly has the same flaw that the AT&T one does: holding this smartphone in just the right way can cause phone calls to drop.

Apple iPhone 4 Death GripThis device uses the outer rim as a collection of antennas. While in most cases this improves the phone’s wireless performance, touching a specific spot on the iPhone 4′s lower left side can short out the cellular antenna enough to cause the device to lose its connection completely in areas with low signal strength.

Last summer, Consumer Reports tested AT&T’s version of this device in its lab and confirmed that the “death grip” is real, and not just a figment of some users’ imaginations.

When the Verizon version of Apple’s smartphone debuted a few weeks ago, Consumer Reports checked it out at the radio-frequency isolation chamber at its National Research and Testing Center in Yonkers, NY.

A statement from this organization says:

“As with our tests of the AT&T iPhone 4, putting a finger across one particular gap — the one on the lower left side –caused performance to decline. Bridging this gap is easy to do inadvertently, especially when the phone is in your palm, which might readily and continuously cover the gap during a call.”

CR also tested five other Verizon smartphones, the Samsung Fascinate, Motorola Droid 2 Global, HTC Droid Incredible, LG Ally, and Motorola Droid X. The only model that saw a meaningful decline in signal strength based on how it was held was the iPhone 4.

Mind the Gap
What this means is that if Apple’s smartphone is in an area of low signal strength, with perhaps a single signal bar showing, touching a specific spot on the on the lower left side can cause a call to drop. Users might also not be able to place calls under the same conditions.

Therefore, Consumer Reports recommends that iPhone 4 users get a case of some kind for their smartphone, as this will prevent them from inadvertently shorting out the antennas. In addition, CR did not put this device in its list of recommended smartphones, despite otherwise rating it highly.

Video Demonstration
Consumer Reports has released a short video demonstrating the “death grip” problem in its testing lab:

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