From New York Times gadget guru David Pogue’s review:
And to answer everyone’s question, the Verizon iPhone is nearly the same as AT&T’s iPhone 4 — but it doesn’t drop calls. For several million Americans, that makes it the holy grail.
Ditto Walter Mossberg’s Wall Street Journal review:
I’ve been testing a Verizon iPhone 4 and comparing it to an AT&T iPhone 4, which has been out since last summer. The phones themselves are essentially identical, except for the fact that they have different radios inside to accommodate the two carriers’ differing network technologies. They aren’t interchangeable.
On the big question, I can say that, at least in the areas where I was using it, the Verizon model did much, much better with voice calls. In numerous tries over nine days, I had only three dropped calls on the Verizon unit, and those were all to one person who was using an AT&T iPhone in an especially bad area for AT&T: San Francisco. With the nearly identical AT&T model, I often get that many dropped calls in one day.
Oddly enough, San Francisco was grounded-call-zero for Pogue as well:
I took the Verizon iPhone to five cities, including the two Bermuda Triangles of AT&T reception: San Francisco and New York. Holding AT&T and Verizon iPhones side by side in the passenger seat of a car, I dialed 777-FILM simultaneously, and then rode around until a call dropped. (Why that number? Because I wanted to call a landline, eliminating the other person’s cell reception from the equation. Also, Mr. Moviefone can carry the entire conversation by himself, so I could concentrate on the testing.)
In San Francisco, the AT&T phone dropped the call four times in 30 minutes of driving; the Verizon phone never did.
So, to review:
Verizon iPhone pretty good.
AT&T iPhone not so good.
[UPDATE: For phone calls, that is. Here’s how Mossberg sums it up:]
Bottom line: In my tests, the new Verizon version of the iPhone did much better at voice calling than the AT&T version, and offers some attractive benefits, like unlimited data and a wireless hot-spot capability. But if you really care about data speed, or travel overseas, and AT&T service is tolerable in your area, you may want to stick with AT&T.
Discuss among yourselves.
(Full disclosure: The hardworking staff uses a Motorola Droid smartphone, so we really don’t care.)