Deep within the bowls of our house, sits a post 2000 era Laz-Boy. This is the chair from which blog words arise when I'm not Stumble!ing around. This is also the chair that has a black hole with a propensity to suck up all cell signals be they Verizon, AT&T or Cricket.
Every cell phone I have had - be it a dumb phone by Motorola on Verizon's network or an iPhone Original, 3G or 3GS on ATT - all suffer from a loss of bars whenever the phone approaches the Laz-Boy. Sometimes, the force is so strong it generates a NO SIGNAL message. Sometimes.
Just the other day I upgraded my year old 3GS to a 4, handing down the trusty device to a close family member. She was standing in the kitchen at the time and I traded a sandwich for the phone. Before handing it over I compared call quality, those pesky bars and frequency of the dreaded NO SIGNAL message.
First off, ATT coverage at the house is weak. Calls get dropped not only in the Laz-Boy but in my office, near the old maternity rocker, in the loo and at random locations that appear to change as if some cell sucking ghost was flying around the place. But that Laz-Boy is the gravity well of gravity wells, causing the 3GS to drop to 1-2 small bars at the plop of the derriere and at times bring forth the dreaded NO SERVICE message.
In the Laz-Boy, the 4 struggles to maintain one bar. It is more likely to give a No Service message then either the 3G or 3GS. This occurs whether I use the Vulcan death grip or just set it on the left armrest (close to the event horizon of that wireless gravity well) with both arms above my head holding a loaf of bread so I don't touch the iPhone.
As for the good - when the signal is strong, the iPhone 4 call quality is better then the 3GS. Sound is clearer, voice quality better. Outside the house, the 4 holds its own and in general the signal strength is as good, maybe better then the 3GS.
In summary, I find the 4 better in terms of voice quality then the 3G and 3GS when the signal is medium to strong. But it seems more willing to drop calls if those bars are weak. Is this a software problem? Possibly. If the algorithm measuring the strength of the signal dictates when to just give up and issue a No Service message, then a tweak to the software may not only look better from bigger, taller, sexier bars but a decrease in the frequency of the dreaded No Signal message. At least when used from my LaZ-Boy