Finally. An iPhone from Verizon. An iPhone I can use on a real network. Unflappable. No dropped calls. No sluggish connections — hell, any connection in crowded metro areas. It's even got mobile hotspot capabilities.
Great. Except for one thing. It's not an iPhone 4G running on Verizon's brand-new LTE autobahn.
Therefore, the Verizon iPhone 4 sucks. I won't be buying one, and here's why you shouldn't either.
At CES last week, Verizon was all googly-eyes about the fleet of 4G Android phones — the Motorola Bionic, the LG Revolution, an unnamed Samsung, and the HTC Thunderbolt — coming to dock on the carrier's shiny new 4G LTE network starting this spring (the company hasn't said which phones are coming first or in what sequence). Each are, from a pure technical POV, superior to Verizon's iPhone 4.
For chrissakes, in March even AT&T will christen a "4G" phone superior in firepower to its own iPhone 4 — the Motorola Atrix, which its maker rightfully flaunts as "the world's most powerful cell phone."
Screen Size? Sucks. Wi-Fi? Sucks.
Yes, Verizon's iPhone offers mobile hotspot capabilities, similar to two of Verizon's LTE phones, the HTC Thunderbolt and the LG Revolution.
Verizon iPhone's uses its EV-DO 3G network to create its connection for up to five devices rather than 4G to up to eight devices. I've used both 3G and 4G mobile hotspots — I've been using Sprint's mobile WiMAX 4G WiFi hotspot in the carrier's Samsung Galaxy S Epic to upload this and other CES reports — and 4G is wa-a-a-a-a-ay faster. ("Wa-a-a-a-a-ay" being the specific technical assessment.)
And while EV-DO may be a more stable network, you can't surf the Web while chatting simultaneously like you can on AT&T's iPhone (when you're lucky enough to maintain a connection of any kind, that is).
It's not just about connectivity. All four pending Verizon LTE handsets boast 4.3-inch displays, nearly a full inch larger than iPhone's 3.5-inch screen.
But Verizon's 4G phones are pissants compared to AT&T's own 4G phone ("4G" depending on how you define "4G" — the pre-LTE AT&T 4G network will be the same HSPA Plus platform used by T-Mobile; no word yet if Atrix will connect to LTE as well, but I doubt it). In addition to the suddenly de rigueur 4.3-inch display and mobile hotspot, the Motorola Atrix, bulges (metaphorically speaking) with a dual core processor — TWO 1 GHz processors. That's more power than you'll find in most netbooks. Atrix has enough processing power, in fact, to transform itself into a serviceable laptop PC.
Atrix also contains 1 GB of system memory (RAM), twice as much as most phones including the iPhone. Atrix will be able to do more things at the same time, such as running one app up front while downloading a large file in the background, and to run more powerful programs, such as a full desktop PC Web browser such as Firefox, rather than a truncated mobile version.
Let's recap. No 4G connectivity. No dual or even improved processor. No 1 GB system memory. No bigger screen. No simultaneous chat and surf.
So "No" to the Verizon iPhone 4.
What do you do when newly-minted Verizon iPhone 4 owners wave their precious under your nose?
Scoff, and say unto them: "In a few months, you'll be really sorry you signed that two-year deal."
First, AT&T iPhone subscribers who defect to Verizon may help those of us who don't by lightening AT&T's 3G load. And there's no guarantee that as the AT&T 3G lane gets shorter, the Verizon 3G lane won't get longer giving Verizon iPhone users the same connectivity headaches we AT&T users have been suffering.
Second, the launch of AT&T's own LTE network this summer coincides nicely with Apple annual iPhone refresh. You gotta figure this year's iPhone 5 will actually be an iPhone 4G, which solves every connectivity problem we AT&T subscribers have cursed them out about.
So I'll patiently wait for the real next gen iPhone to wave under the noses of you Verizon iPhone two-year-contract signers.