AnandTech reviews Apple iPhone 4: ‘Apple should give away its bumper case with every unit sold’

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!“Straight on it looks like just another iPhone. You get the black face with a shiny trim,” Brian Klug and Anand Lal Shimpi report for AnandTech. “From the side it is the redesign that Apple has needed for a while now. It’s not revolutionary but it’s the type of improvement that makes its predecessor feel old. And that’s exactly what this does.”

“The straight lines, smaller dimensions and lack of unnecessary bulk make the 3GS feel like a car from the 90s, unnecessarily curvy,” Klug and Lal Shimpi report. “The styling is now so much more compact. Compared to the iPhone 3GS the 4 is around 5% narrower (but no more difficult to type on) and nearly 25% thinner.”

“There’s been a ton of discussion lately surrounding iPhone 4 cellular reception,” Klug and Lal Shimpi report. “From my day of testing, I’ve determined that the iPhone 4 performs much better than the 3GS in situations where signal is very low, at -113 dBm (1 bar). Previously, dropping this low all but guaranteed that calls would drop, fail to be placed, and data would no longer be transacted at all. I can honestly say that I’ve never held onto so many calls and data simultaneously on 1 bar at -113 dBm as I have with the iPhone 4, so it’s readily apparent that the new baseband hardware is much more sensitive compared to what was in the 3GS. The difference is that reception is massively better on the iPhone 4 in actual use.”

Klug and Lal Shimpi report, “With my bumper case on, I made it further into dead zones than ever before, and into marginal areas that would always drop calls without any problems at all. It’s amazing really to experience the difference in sensitivity the iPhone 4 brings compared to the 3GS, and issues from holding the phone aside, reception is absolutely definitely improved. I felt like I was going places no iPhone had ever gone before. There’s no doubt in my mind this iPhone gets the best cellular reception yet, even though measured signal is lower than the 3GS.”

Klug and Lal Shimpi report, “The main downside to the iPhone 4 is the obvious lapse in Apple’s engineering judgment. The fact that Apple didn’t have the foresight to coat the stainless steel antenna band with even a fraction of an ounce worth of non-conductive material either tells us that Apple doesn’t care or that it simply doesn’t test thoroughly enough. The latter is a message we’ve seen a few times before with OS X issues, the iPhone 4 simply reinforces it. At the bare minimum Apple should give away its bumper case with every iPhone 4 sold. The best scenario is for Apple to coat the antenna and replace all existing phones with a revised model.The ideal situation is very costly for Apple but it is the right thing to do. Plus it’s not like Apple doesn’t have the resources to take care of its customers.”

Read the full, extremely comprehensive review – highly recommended as usual – here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you’re going to read one iPhone 4 review, this is the one to read. As for the antenna issue, as we’ve been saying ever since this issue arose, “If the iPhone 4 requires a ‘case’ or rubber ‘bumper’ in order to operate properly, then Apple should provide one in every box free of charge.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Dale S.” and “Snow Leopard” for the heads up.]


  1. This is pure bull.

    A number of us here have an iPhone 4 in a slim frogz slider case and are experiencing no signal loss that effects reception or phone call quality, at all.

    When held initially without the case, the signal bars were slightly affected depending on orientation of the phone, but still never dropped a call.

    The iPhone4 phone voice quality , volume and reception is far better than the 3GS and heads and shoulders above all others on the market, which I’ve tested extensively.

    Most iPhone users that care about taking care of their equipment will ultimately buy their case of choice. Fact. So get a case and stop whining.

    Looks and preference of case are very subjective. There’s no accounting for tase.

  2. Now that I have both my iPhone4 dock and bumper band, I can report that the iPhone4 doesn’t fit in the dock with the bumper installed. That may be why Apple doesn’t want to give away the bumpers to everybody. Also, the bumper is a pretty classy product: buttons built into it, appropriate openings for the headset and adapter. It is a lot more than a 29 cent rubber band as you folks keep calling it.

  3. breeze I have seen your posts for some time and quite frankly you sound like one of those religious freaks who can never admit that Apple can make a mistake…well I have news for you: they did, I bet Steve could sell you turd for 1000$ and you would gladly pay it if it had an Apple logo attached on are pathetic.

  4. The reception issue is a parlor trick. I can reproduce it on our new iPhone 4 and my older 3GS. It’s more obvious and repeatable on the 4. It doesn’t affect the usability of the phone unless you want it to.

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