HTC Desire vs. iPhone 4
July 19, 2010 12:10 AM   Subscribe

Should I get an HTC Desire or an iPhone 4?

I'm not a hacker. I'm not a current smartphone user. I likely won't be a power-user type, but I will constantly check email & search. I'm around wireless basically all the time, at home, at work, in transit. Both are spendy here, but I can live with the cost.

What are the benefits of each phone? I know HTC is "open" (whatever that means?) and the new iPhone has a ridiculous display and a problematic antenna. Other than that, I'm at a loss.

Thanks in advance for yr hope.
posted by Joseph Gurl to Technology (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Android phones seem to be much better integrated across the different functions. For example, the Desire comes out of the box with a "go here" button on your contacts and your calendar appointments, that links to the sat nav and takes you straight there. It automatically finds photos for your contacts by looking on your Facebook (if you let it). And so on.

I find the HTC interface easier to work with, because the icons are allowed to be different shapes, rather than having a sea of multicoloured boxes. Makes it much easier to spot the one you want.

As far as I know, all you can have on the main screen of your iphone is a pile of icons, whereas on my HTC Hero I have my todo list, and a calendar widget with my next appointment, right there.

posted by emilyw at 12:34 AM on July 19, 2010

If you have described your requirements accurately you will be happy with both phones. Seriously. Both have wireless and good access to email and search. Desire has a dedicated search hardware button, if you hold it down longer you get voice search which works well. Apple is a thing of beauty if that bothers you, but also has a great user interface, which you can argue makes locking down the phone more acceptable.
In terms of openness, it's a choice between a huge walled garden of quality (Apple) or a jungle (Android); I chose the jungle but you might not. Go to a phone shop and have a play with them both.

Here is a recent review of the HTC desire, Iphone 4 and a new Samsung phone.
posted by razzman at 12:36 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Apple has made an iCoin for such conundrums. Flip it.

(or what razzman said)
posted by quadog at 12:41 AM on July 19, 2010

While I think both phones will serve you well, I'll make a case for the iPhone 4, which is what I use.

The sheer amount of applications the App Store has versus what Android offers is unbelievable. That's what it comes down to for me now. If you pick an Android phone, you'll be very happy. If you get an iPhone, you'll find things to do with it that you didn't even know were there in the first place. You'll find apps to do things that just don't exist on other platforms. The App Store has more applications than all other mobile platforms combined (I think). That, to me, is huge.

The iPhone's screen responsiveness and accuracy is rated the best, the screen itself is beautiful.

You can forget about the "openness" of one platform vs the other. It's not important unless you have very specific techy needs from your phone. For the vast majority of users, that openness means nothing.

As for the antenna issue, my phone's bars go down when I touch that spot, but I've only dropped one call because of it in a really bad coverage area. Once I got the bumper case (which you'd get free), it's a total non-issue.

I think razzman is spot-on with the idea that you should go to a store and play with both. Get a feel for the speed, interface, camera and access to the things that you'd personally be doing.

I'd also go one step further and figure out what apps would be used most by you and see if they exist on both platforms. Not just facebook and todo apps, but things you'd use for work (there are tons), for exercise (ditto), for play (games), for media (video, music streaming like Pandora, reading like iBooks and Kindle). If the stuff you need exists on the Android phone, too, then it all falls down to which phone feels better in your hand and is easier to use and works with the carrier you use. For me, Android just doesn't have the apps that I want to use and most developers seem to be sticking with iPhone development for things I haven't even thought about.
posted by smersh at 1:23 AM on July 19, 2010

I recently swapped from an old fashioned (but lovably small) Nokia to an HTC desire. Took a bit of getting used to but I rather like it. It's excellent for both email and search, esp if you use GMail. The lack of physical keyboard has proved to be a surprising non issue. I'm sure the iPhone is very fine too, but I've never used it for any length of time.

Ways it has improved my phone experience:

1. I actually do use the internet on my phone much more than I thought I would.
2. I use my phone more for email.
3. The WiFi connectivity can be very handy.

Ways it has degraded my phone experience.

1. Cannot be stuffed in a pocket with a pack of cigarettes.
2. Calling answerphone is marginally more fiddly without a real keyboard.

Minor irritations:

1. The odd iPhone owner saying "Oh, that's the poor man's iPhone isn't it?"
posted by rhymer at 1:44 AM on July 19, 2010

One thing to be mindful in these kind of discussions as that a lot of people have never used both phones and may have preconceived ideas about the other. I've used both, lots, although that doesn't mean I'm necessarily right.

The downsides of the iPhone are the current antenna design issue - which may affect you. Apple are currently offering free bumpers until September and my best guess is that they'll roll in an update to the hardware by then which resolves the problem (coating the antenna is easy enough) so they can stop giving out the bumpers. The next problem with the iphone is the glass front and back. Even with the antenna fix, you'll still need to get a bumper (which are overpriced at £25) as otherwise you run the risk of it shattering if you accidentally drop it. The third issue is the closed nature of the application store. This might be a dealbreaker for you if you want to run FTP servers and other hugely technical stuff but a recent report showed that the majority of people run facebook, twitter and other such apps which are all available in abundance.

The upsides of the iPhone is a great screen, slick UI, responsive keyboard, consistent functionality and everything (i hate to say it) just works. My only real complaint is that the email client doesn't support the followup flag (starred in Gmail) and that Maps doesn't have latitude or the little arrow to tell you which way you are going. Oh and notifications are a bit rubbish, they appear and as soon as you unlock the screen then they are gone. Hopefully Apple will address that soon with the recruitment of the head of UI from Palm (whose Pre notification system is the best). Some people don't like the way you cannot swap out existing functionality for better replacements but I've not yet found anything to replace those items which really is any better - most seem to be a bit of a mess and have loads of features which I'd never use.

The downsides of the HTC Desire are quite a bit. They've taken the stock UI and pimped it rather a lot but at the same time, really mucked things up. For example, the web-browser has a tendency to mis-render pages occasionally forcing you to reload (text doesn't fully appear or wrap correctly), sometimes tapping on a field which wants you to enter text doesn't bring up the keyboard (you have to tap again), often the page will automatically move down after the page has finished rendering for reasons I cannot fathom, if you stop a page mid-load, click on a link and then hit back, you'll end up back at the mid-loaded page (which is really annoying) - oh and for some odd reason it either renders text way too big or way too small so I constantly have to zoom halfway between the two.

Copy and paste is a complete and utter disaster, some apps support it, some don't, some don't because HTC (and not Google) have forgotten to include it (eg. copy and paste on text messages), tapping and holding does different things in different apps (sometimes nothing, other times you'll get pop up boxes or maybe a menu). It's almost as if three different development teams wrote their own implementation and they forgot to remove two of them. You can't even paste a number into the dialer. Now I appreciate that Apple had some issues with the lack of copy and paste, but that was 2 years ago and I don't expect Google/HTC to be making those mistakes now.

Low space notifications will invariably pop up but give you no help as to what you should do. Tapping it gives you a list of installed apps, which is fine but not exactly helpful - especially when it's usually application data causing the low space not the apps itself.

Missed call notifications re-appear after you've rebooted the phone because you've foolishly thought that the "Clear Notifications" button would do what it says - you actually have to open the Missed Calls app.

HTC's Sense dialer is a UI mess. It works and has some good functionality, but it needs a serious re-design.

The HTC keyboard is pretty inaccurate and makes some lousy choices about words. Rather than suggesting one word which is right, it tends to suggest three (or twelve if you hit the arrow down button), two of which bear no relevance to what you've been typing. You'll often find you have to fight with the auto-correct and the word prediction (eg. sometimes I type "id", it'll change it to "I'd" but as soon as I press space it changes it to "in"!?).

HTC's Facebook integration is mostly pointless. The picture updates and birthday are nice but no-one visits each contact to view their status update and the majority of the time there is no status update listed. In their later version of Sense, when someone calls it'll tell you when their birthday is and their facebook status - cute, but not particulary useful.

The accuracy of finger presses is poor. When browsing it means you often hit the wrong thing you want to navigate to. When typing it means you often hit the wrong letter. It's clear that HTC have tried to over compensate for the lousy keyboard by software - but I wish they'd just made it more accurate.

The Gmail app (which is supposed to be fantastic) doesn't support copy and paste, formatting, editing of the body of a text you've replied or forwarded, doesn't notify you of unread emails by icon (you have to download someone elses app for that) and doesn't allow you to download any attachments. It also doesn't integrate with HTC's contacts - not Googles fault. However if you use HTC's own application to get the integration then it fails miserably on GMail because all emails sent are labelled "IMAP/Sent" - so before very long you end up with duplicates of all your sent mail (one in the sent mail and one in IMAP/Sent).

HTC's contacts application is reasonably pretty but they've forgotten to word-wrap addresses. So if your address is longer than the width of the screen you have to tap the link to load it up into the maps application and write down the rest of it then.

In short, I can find a bug/inconsistency/plain old bit of UI stupidity a day with the Desire.

On the upside, the GMail app supports stars, Maps is very good, Google Navigate is excellent (if you have the data plan for it) and there are a couple of other Google apps which you'd have to pay for but are free or not available on the iPhone (Google Sky Map, Google Goggles). I'm also a fan of gTasks - a third party free application which syncs your tasks with the one in Gmail, I don't think there is such a thing on the iPhone yet.

Finally, HTC are slow as molasses to provide software updates. They have promised to provide Froyo by Q4 this year but I can guarantee you now that this will be the last update you'll get on those phones as they will want you to buy a new one. I feel sorry for the HTC Tattoo owners who bought their phone in September 2009 and are still stuck on Android 1.6 as HTC have no intention of ever upgrading them.

My advice? If you can, wait till September and buy an updated iPhone. If you can't wait that long, buy an iPhone and get yourself the free bumper.
posted by mr_silver at 1:59 AM on July 19, 2010 [5 favorites]

Screen shot of Page 13 From the HTC Droid Eris User Manual

So this antenna problem thing - uh, it's bullshit. You cover any phones antenna - surprise! The reception goes down.

Smart phones are so hella expensive. I did a talk about traveling here and there - and people in the audience wanted to know how I could afford it. Not buying one of these things.
posted by alex_skazat at 2:24 AM on July 19, 2010

mr_silver: So most of the UI issues with the Desire are really HTC Sense issues?

fwiw, 2 friends have Desires & absolutely rave about them, so clearly these problems are not insurmountable (and one of those moved to the desire from the iPhone 3G, so they have some basis for comparison).

mr_silver is right about the woeful pace of HTC rom updates. On the other hand, Cyanogenmod is right around the corner for the Desire & that'll let people dump all the Sense nonsense and just use stock Android, which has pretty much filled in all the UI holes that Sense was originally written to cover I believe.

Having both types in our household, I'd say that one way to choose would be to looks at the roots of the companies in question as a guide to the strengths of the two devices. The Apple devices grew out of the iPod development: they're unmatched portable audio players & will sync to iTunes very effectively. (The downside is that you have to use iTunes :) -- this can be something of a pain when you're trying to, eg subscribe to a podcast directly from the device.) Apple has a reputation for polishing their UIs to a burnished shine & the iPhone is no exception, barring a few blindspots (like the aforementioned podcast thing).

The Android devices on the other hand have fantastic integration with the cloud of Google Apps (as one would expect): if you already live your live through GMail & other Google services then an Android phone ought to be the obvious choice, the iPhone can't really match the Android devices on this front.

App store-wise, I'm not sure the comparisons are as clear cut. There is an *awful* lot of cruft on the iPhone App store, with cookie-cutter copycat apps proliferating. There's a lot of high quality stuff there too, but I'm not sure that the raw numbers tell the whole story. Obviously if there's a specific App you need & it's only available on one platform, then buy that one but otherwise whilst the iPhone has an edge here it certainly wasn't enough to push me into Job's embrace! I've personally yet to come up short on the Android Marketplace for something I needed.
posted by pharm at 2:42 AM on July 19, 2010

alex_skazat: "
So this antenna problem thing - uh, it's bullshit. You cover any phones antenna - surprise! The reception goes down.

Yeah, except that Apple helpfully put there's in a position where you're pretty much guaranteed to make contact with it. Oh & independent measurements suggest that when you do, the signal loss is 100x the loss that other smartphones suffer from.

The iPhone 4 aerial issue is a real problem & it is significantly worse than other phones. On the other hand, simply putting a silicone rubber bumper round the phone turns it into a problem that's no worse than any other smartphone & you're probably going to do that anyway, so it's not the end of the world. It certainly wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me.
posted by pharm at 2:47 AM on July 19, 2010

theirs dammit.
posted by pharm at 2:47 AM on July 19, 2010

(oh, and I should have said the signal loss "can be", not "is" 100x. Most of the time it's fine I believe, according to my iPhone 4 owning friends.)
posted by pharm at 2:57 AM on July 19, 2010

If you can, wait till September and buy an updated iPhone. If you can't wait that long, buy an iPhone and get yourself the free bumper.

Or, of course, wait for September and learn that there is no new iPhone.
posted by thejoshu at 4:16 AM on July 19, 2010

So this antenna problem thing - uh, it's bullshit. You cover any phones antenna - surprise! The reception goes down.

While AskMe is not really for discussion, this point does need to be countered in a thread where people are looking for unbiased and informed advice.

The Apple Antenna issue is not related to covering the antenna and thus attenuating the signal - this is an issue that you rightly point out is universal. The Apple issue is a design flaw which brings both ends of an expose antenna loop to with a couple of millimeters of each other at a point on the case where it's natural to put your fingers. Doing so shorts the antenna, effectively removing it from the circuit entirely. This is why bumpers/nail varnish/covers etc. alleviate the issue - the insulate the gap meaning you can't short it with your hand.
posted by benzo8 at 4:27 AM on July 19, 2010

I have to say that I haven't found HTC Sense on the Droid Incredible to be quite as bad as mr_silver's experience on the EVO. The autocorrect does annoy me--there's no way to bypass it w/o adding a word to the dictionary I may not want added, except to back out of text entry mode entirely--requiring me to then re-show the keyboard. Unless I'm Doing It Wrong.

So far as updates are concerned, it sucks that HTC doesn't generally provide more than one major update for its devices, but this is nothing new and typical to the entire industry. WinMo phones typically get one major ROM upgrade, if that. After that it's up to the user community to modify later ROMs to work on earlier hardware--something that one would hope the Android community is up to and the nature of the platform would make fairly approachable.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:51 AM on July 19, 2010

@alex_skazat: Be careful quoting John Gruber, although I subscribe to his RSS feed and some of what he says is very insightful, that doesn't mean that he's not possibility the worlds biggest fanboy and not averse to distorting or misquoting the facts to get his (biased) point across. Take with large pinch of salt.

I know this because several times he's made quotes or comments about products I've developed or vendors I've managed and have worked with to launch products (and at least I have a signed NDA in place to prove it, unlike him) and he's got his facts hopelessly and completely wrong. Since he's often wrong about stuff I know more than him about, it wouldn't surprise me if there are others out there thinking and knowing the same thing. It's also not helped by the fact that since he doesn't allow commenting on his site, no-one can call him out for the mistake he makes (unless they do it on another site and hope that he links to them, which is unlikely, although he has done it once or twice) - ego all his readers live in this self-perpetuating world where they think that everything he says is right.

Regarding the antenna issue, yes it is possible to reduce the bars when covering the antenna. The problem with the iPhone is that it can be done with a single finger because you're shorting out the two metal strips on the outside of the device. Apple thought they were so clever in doing this to boost the signal strength of previous devices (which were also, frankly, lousy) and didn't realise that you need to coat the thing in order to avoid these issues. If that wasn't the case, manufacturers would have had bare strips around their device for years. All the other device examples needed you to wrap your entire hand around the phone in a way that no-one (left or right handed) would actually do.

Put it this way, Steve Job's announcement can be boiled down to "there is no problem with the iPhone antenna. All phones have the same issue. However we'll give you a free bumper up to September to solve this issue that the iPhone doesn't have". Everyone except for John Gruber and Daniel Dilger can patently see that his statement makes no sense.

Regarding the issues I have, yes, many of the issues on the Desire are caused by HTC's "improvements". Some are still Google related (inconsistent cut and paste and the poor functionality in the GMail app are ones that comes to mind immediately). The advantage of TouchFlo (which was the Windows Mobile version of "Sense") was that it was easy to remove, this is not possible on Android.

In short, if you buy an HTC device, this is HTC's vision of how Android should be. I'm looking forward to being able to try a standard Android ROM on the device in the future although my current understanding is that it's not quite ready yet for that device. I could be wrong though.

Regarding my September point, thejoshu is correct in that there may not be one. However the current bumper promotion only runs until September. After then Apple will either have to make the promotion permanent (and therefore admit that there is a design flaw with the iPhone), stop the promotion (and therefore have to admit that if you want to avoid the signal issues then you need to cough up another £25 on a bumper) or stop the promotion whilst rolling out a simple fix which coats the external antenna and resolves all the problems.

On the basis that the latter is easy and means they can go back to flogging £1 bumpers at a 25x markup then that is what I'm betting on. Although I could be wrong.

So in short, I'd wait until the promotion ends and then decide what to do. However I'd still probably go for an iPhone.
posted by mr_silver at 5:52 AM on July 19, 2010

The "open" HTC Desire comes with a bunch of pre-installed apps you can't delete, FWIW.
posted by mkultra at 5:54 AM on July 19, 2010

I can't speak to HTC Desire, but HTC Evo, my phone, is totally awesome.
It does come with apps from Sprint pre-installed on it but you can "root" it with a little bit of know-how and then apparently you can delete them and do whatever you want with it. I bet you can do the same thing with the Desire. To the OP, if you're willing to switch to Sprint, HTC Evo is a great phone (and yes, I have used lots of iPhones).
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:24 AM on July 19, 2010

Former iPhone owner to current HTC EVO owner: Go Android. I finally did and have not looked back for a moment.

Either way you'll be fine - they're both great platforms - but I just think Android gives you more.

Side note: Are you tied to AT&T? Sprint's Everything Unlimited plans are insanely cheap (esp compared to AT&T's price gouging) and their service is fantastic, at least in my area. YMMV. But switching would probably save you money and they have several great Android phones, including the EVO.
posted by sprocket87 at 7:05 AM on July 19, 2010

I haven't read the whole thread, but I would go with whichever phone would allow you to make calls/receive texts via WiFi. This is an incredibly useful feature if you have less than stellar cell reception.
posted by 47triple2 at 7:05 AM on July 19, 2010

Former iPhone owner to current HTC EVO owner: Go Android. I finally did and have not looked back for a moment.

Same situation here. I can't imagine going back to the iphone walled garden and its tiny, tiny screen. As far as some of the criticism of UI and keyboards, a lot of that is subjective. I prefer the android-style keyboard and auto-correct. Not to mention, I rarely use it because Android supports free built-in speech to text for all applications that use the keyboard. You're not getting that with iphone. Oh, and free USB tethering and flash support.

I also have yet to see any problems with copy and paste. It works better than iphone as I prefer the way it selects text.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:20 AM on July 19, 2010

Go play with both of them in the store for at least 30 minutes. Make a list of the tasks you plan on using before you go and see which phone does it better for you. I bet you will come to a swift and conclusive decision within that time.
posted by Silvertree at 7:38 AM on July 19, 2010

First, I'd do some research on network coverage in the areas you're going to be in. If you're able to get good AT&T coverage in the places you spend most of your time in, that's a good thing. I'd also recommend playing with both of them in the store.

I think Apple still has a significant edge with apps, but that said, I've found all the apps I need from the Android Market. If you want to play games, though, Apple's way ahead there still.

I'm not especially happy with how copy and paste works on Android, but others prefer it to other implementations, so you might check that out.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:01 AM on July 19, 2010

If you go with an Android phone, make sure you have a google account, and sign up for Google Voice. Use it as your primary number, and use it for voice mail.

If you go with iPhone, a Google account is nice for Calendar/Email/Contact synching but not essential.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:56 AM on July 19, 2010

I'm getting an EVO on August 1st. I chose it over an iPhone because

1) Sprint + EVO is way cheaper than ATT + iPhone and everybody seems to hate ATT anyway.

2) I am a programmer and "advanced user" and I do care about the openness. Not just the app store censorship, but the way that you can easily treat the EVO like the computer it is while the iPhone insists on babying you even if you aren't a baby. Good design should make easy things easy and hard things doable, while Apple makes most easy things easy and other easy things and almost all hard things impossible without jailbreaking. I don't know much about what happens after jailbreaking, so maybe it's not such a big deal, but the EVO feels like I can make it more my own.

3) The screen is bigger.

The big downside of the EVO seems to be the battery life, but that's not a big concern for me as I'm usually near outlets anyway.
posted by callmejay at 11:07 AM on July 19, 2010

If you're constantly in wireless zones, then get an iPod touch and save yourself a huge amount of money. It's basically an iPhone without the phoning/texting functionality or camera. But I'd wait for the new one in September because it may have the iPhone4's incredible screen...and maybe a camera.
posted by Deor at 11:15 AM on July 19, 2010

I haven't played with any of the Android-based phones so I can't say anything good or bad about them myself. But a few things I have noticed about the iPhone 4:

After the iOS 4.0.1 update, by holding my fingers over the Spot of Death for a good five minutes I got my iPhone to go from 4 bars to 3 bars. Not a huge drop at all. YMMV. On the other hand, the phone gets reception in places I never had a signal before, and it gives me no problems in areas of my building where my iPhone 3GS would routinely drop calls. (No, I don't have a bumper on it. I don't even have a screen protector. It spends most of the day either in my pocket or sitting on my desk, and it still looks brand new.)

The screen is absolutely amazing. Really. I played with it in the Apple Store side by side with an iPad and was left with the impression that Steve Jobs made a HUGE mistake here - the iPad screen looks like absolute crap compared to the iPhone now. They're going to have to get the iPad screen up to the same level of resolution if they aren't already working on it. The iBooks app makes it extremely obvious which one is better - my Kindle has no color but better resolution than the iPad, my iPhone trumps them both (albeit with a smaller screen and the whole hard to read in direct light thing all glossy backlit screens suffer from).

The touch accuracy is spot-on perfect. I can hit targets on web pages that are nearly too small to read and somehow it just knows which little link I was aiming for. 90% of the time I don't even bother zooming in before clicking because it guesses correctly almost every time. I can hit the + on a MeFi comment without hitting the ! by mistake.

There really is an app for almost everything, and many, many pages you hit will helpfully inform you of this. I don't know how many places are pushing Droid apps at mobile users.

The new iOS4 has a Folder feature to group apps however you want. It's nice for organizing, decluttering, or for clustering the least-used apps in one spot.

I am all kinds of a fan of openness and I fill my Mac with as many open-source and cross-platform programs as I can. I don't use Apple's own web browser or mail program or photo program or Office suite. I find workarounds, alternatives, you name it. But on the phone? Shit just works. It works really, really well. It's simple, it's intuitive, and for 99% of what I use it for, I have absolutely no need to find an alternative. It plays nice with my Gmail account and my Google calendar. I honestly have zero complaints.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:11 PM on July 19, 2010

The OP's profile indicates they are in Seoul, so talk of American service providers (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, etc) is irrelevant.

I also suggest having a 30 minute play around, but also acquiring whichever one you choose in such a way that you can return it in a week or so if you don't get along with it. I had an iPhone 3GS for about a week and quickly noticed a few things that I knew were going to cause me regular headaches (for example, I discovered I absolutely hate iTunes). I got a Desire a few months later and I have no regrets. It has a different set of negative points, but for me they are minor in comparison.

You don't have to be a "power-user" to appreciate the openness of Android. I'm not, but during my short time with an iPhone I found myself repeatedly saying "This would be perfect if it would just do X, but it doesn't (or it can do it, but in a very roundabout-pain-in-the-ass way)." When I say that about my Desire, there's usually been a free application/widget that does it. Often several to choose from.
posted by K.P. at 1:39 PM on July 19, 2010

You want an iPhone 4.

Go to a store and play with each of the two phones you're considering. As soon as you put the iPhone 4 in your hands, you'll realize that the phone itself is in a higher class of hardware. Don't take my word for it though. Put it in your hand. Hold it. You'll see what I mean.

By going with an iPhone, you know your phone can be upgraded to newer versions of the operating system it runs on until someday when the operating system becomes so advanced that newer hardware is required. By then, your phone will be out of date anyway. For example, the new iOS 4 doesn't run on first generation iPhones, but people with 3G and 3Gs iPhones have been upgrading to it. On the other hand, since Android runs on all sorts of hardware from all sorts of manufacturers, it's a mixed bag. Does the phone you want even come with the latest version of Android? Will you be able to upgrade to it?

The whole "antenna issue" is a media farce. People aren't talking about the problems they're having with their iPhones. They're talking about the media stories they're seeing and reading about iPhone problems. I have an iPhone 4 and I can't replicate the problem at all. As shown in the Steve Jobs media presentation the other day, it happens on any smartphone (and quite possibly on just about any cellphone). Note that the other companies were mostly pissed when Job's used their products in a demonstration.

Oh, and if you buy an iPhone 4, I highly recommend the bumpers! A: they're free (at least until sometime in September), and B: I really like the grippy feel of them. I'm enjoying the hell out of the camera in my iPhone 4, . That thing is great, and the bumpers make the phone easier to hold securely while snapping pics. I also like how bumpers make the phone feel when I just hold it as a phone.

I owned my iPhone for 2 weeks before getting bumpers and I never had a problem with reception. I bought them because I love how they give the phone a lower raised rubbery edge to rest on.
posted by 2oh1 at 3:10 PM on July 19, 2010

Well, here's more pics, everyone:

Sorry to be seen as hatin' - I don't own either phone - I don't care which one you choose. It's an expensive purchase, all the phones aren't perfect. I do think it's funny that a very expensive phone doesn't work as well as an entry level phone, when you know, making calls. Ah, my first phone - with that antenna that you have to like, pull out.
posted by alex_skazat at 3:13 PM on July 19, 2010

Regarding alex_skazat's link which John Gruber pointed to (ahhh, yes, him again), if you read it carefully, two things stand out:

1. A large number of the examples show antennas that are located in places where you'd never hold the phone to use, let alone make a call. Which means that simply holding your phone in your hand and using them as you would normally, wouldn't cause any problems.

2. The one that does have the antenna close to peoples hands is encased to ensure that a simple touch doesn't cause the signal to drop off. In fact you have to grip extremely tightly using your whole hand (I know, I have the phone) - which is completely unlike the videos of the iPhone 4 that show people placing their finger gently over the antenna bands and killing the signal.

Like I said previously, John Gruber only posts things that backs up his rather Apple-biased view of the world. Take everything he says or links to with a large grain of salt.

(having said that, I'd still buy an iPhone 4 over an HTC Desire any day, it's just that I'd hold off until September to see if Apple decide to update the device with a thin coating to prevent the antenna shorting so easily - and if they don't, then I'd probably still buy one)
posted by mr_silver at 1:50 AM on July 20, 2010

@alex_skazat The trouble with Apple fanboys as a whole, John Gruber specifically, and Steve Jobs as a CEO is that they ignore reality and believe that if enough Apple fans say something, it will be true. Steve Jobs blatantly lied, through misdirection, during his presentation last week. Gruber is doing the same with that page.

Attenuation =/= Short circuit
Physical property of radio transmission =/= Design flaw
The real world =/= What Apple wants it to be
posted by benzo8 at 3:13 AM on July 20, 2010

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