The Verizon iPhone launches next week, after months and months of rumors and backbiting, which means it's about time for the tech blogosphere to start speculating about the iPhone 5, or whatever other quasi-mythical device Apple has in the pipeline. In the meantime, the first Verizon iPhone reviews have started to trickle in – and guess what? They're very, very positive. So let's go to the scorecards.
"Switching from an AT&T iPhone to a Verizon iPhone is like finally being able to breathe clearly after years of battling allergies," writes Brian X. Chen of Wired. "People can hear you better, and you can hear them better. It’s that simple. That’s the key reason so many people have clung to Verizon while resisting the shiny allure of the iPhone. As we all suspected would be the case, the iPhone is a better phone on Verizon than it is on AT&T."
But does the Verizon iPhone chew through data faster than the Apple iPhone? No.
"Verizon’s 3G-transfer rates are slower than AT&T’s," Chen adds. "For the few days I’ve had the Verizon iPhone, I’ve been riding my motorcycle all around San Francisco to test its performance against the AT&T iPhone. The AT&T handset on average scored significantly better in speed tests: 62 percent faster for downloads and 38 percent faster for uploads."
So, to summarize: Voice better, data slower. How about the build?
Holding the Verizon iPhone "in your hand, most regular users would have no idea that there’s any difference" from the AT&T iPhone, writes Tech Crunch's MG Siegler. "In fact, the only physical difference is that the single rivet at the top of the device near the headphone jack has been replaced by two matching rivets on either side of the top of the Verizon version of the device."
Siegler notes that "while Apple won’t talk specifics, presumably, this is a change made to the antenna of the device, which is the metal band that wraps around the iPhone 4." You know – to prevent all that iPhone "death grip" stuff.
Meanwhile, according to Joshua Topolsky of Engadget, battery life on the Verizon iPhone lasts just about as long as it does on the AT&T iPhone. Which is to say that it lasts a long time. "On a day of extremely heavy use (lots and lots of phone calls, browsing, email, Twitter, text messaging) we saw well over 24 hours on a single charge."
We're going to give the last word to David Pogue of the New York Times, who agrees that the reception is better on the Verizon iPhone. But Pogue warns potential customers that the great reception might not last forever.
"[I]f surveys are any indication," he writes, "Verizon can expect an enormous stampede of new iPhone customers. Last time this happened – to AT&T – the weight of all those bandwidth-sucking iPhones swamped the network, causing interruptions that persist to this day. The same thing might happen to Verizon. Verizon swears that it’s prepared for the onslaught. Then again, that’s what AT&T said, too."
Are you an AT&T customer? Would you consider switching to a Verizon iPhone? Drop us a line in the comments section below.