Quality variations in iPhone 4s - here is my list

tadziak

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 4, 2011
147
1
Hi,
I have gone through five iPhone 4s copies and I thought I will share my observations concerning the differences between each of them. This might help others when buying new phone or getting a replacement:

1. Screen color/temperature - discussed here already a lot - many screens have much warmer temperature/yellow tint, some are pretty neutral and some (like many displays) very cold bright/blue tint....

2. Battery drain - don't let Apple tell you its software issue. One of my replacement with clean restore (no apps, no backup loaded) had usage time almost equal to standby time. None of other 4 phones displayed that problem (same sim card, network etc.)

3. Home button - almost every copy has a different one, some are very hard and 'loud clickable', some are quite soft and give you a light 'click', some are totally 'mushy'. Some are not totally straight aligned, some rotate a bit left/right when pressed - it's all random. As long as they register all clicks its okay...

4. Vibration rattle - might sound funny, but I also found out that different copies make different sound when vibration is on. Some would make this kind of jingly/metal rattling noise, some sound more like a 'trumpet', some just normal...I would not really worry about this too much, as long as it works ;)

5. No Service issue - many threads about it out there, but long story short, it seems like there are some copies of iPhone 4s which are very sensitive and more demanding sim card-wise. 3 phones I tried had absolutely no problem working with my sim card. Other two kept giving me no service, sim card failure or just made it impossible to reach me (despite showing signal).

6. Stripes on the screen (when off) - not a big deal, but some copies would have very visible lines (vertical and horizontal) on the sceen. Others have it much less apparent, only with very good light and special angle. I don't think it affects the usability or the quality of the displayed image, but still, its not the same in every copy.

Hope those experiences will help somebody here ;)
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,407
1,756
No issues here. Thanks for the review though.

To have those sort of variances show very low quality control. 1 or 1000 should be an absolute minimum for any variance in the product at all and much higher if the variance is a problem/defect.

Pretty sad.
 

Merkie

macrumors 68020
Oct 23, 2008
2,107
667
I have had several iPhone 4's (not 4S), and I encountered the following issues:
- Screens, and especially the "evenness" of the screen. Some are almost perfect, others have a distinct gradient of color temperature to the sides or corners. Very noticable.

- SIM tray alignment. I've never had an iPhone 4 with a perfectly flush SIM tray. I'm on my 7th iPhone 4 (don't ask, or do :p ).

- Home button. Same as what OP mentioned.

- Edges of the glass. Some iPhones have a sharp edge of the glass near the side of the screen.

- Camera. Not all camera lenses are good. Some iPhones just don't take as sharp pictures as other iPhones do.

- Sleep/wake button. Some are clicky, some are clicky on one side and mushy on the other, some are just mushy.

I've yet to find a perfect iPhone.
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
342
This is what happens you have to push out 4 million + of any particular product in a quarter.

The backlight tint issue, unfortunately, is not specific to the iPhone. It's a product of LED manufacture inconsistency. White LEDs are never truly white, and the amount at which they must be mass produced means that LED manufacturers can't simply reject white LEDs because they don't have a specific, desirable tint. If that were the case, the rejection rate would be on the order of 75%. Not good when, in addition to iPhones, your product is also sought after in other smartphones, TVs, computer monitors, tablets, flashlights, light bulbs, automotive displays...

So, what they must do is grade LEDs on a tint scale, and bin them based on their grade. From there, systems integrators like Foxconn either must pay an exorbitant amount to ONLY be sourced LEDs from a certain bin (and accept that supply won't be steady, and there may be shortages), or they have to take whatever LEDs they get to ensure low price and constant supply. They just make sure that at least on each individual unit, all of the LEDs that backlight that one screen come from the same bin/grade.

So, you can still push out 4 million+ iPhones per quarter, and while the displays won't all be the exact same shade of perfect white, at least you won't have different shades of white on different parts of the same screen... most of the time.

I suspect a similar problem exists for the camera lenses, which would account for both inconsistencies in focus, and the different rattle noises on vibrate (the movable camera lens parts are causing rattle when the iPhone is shaken).
 

tommot82

macrumors regular
Sep 9, 2010
101
0
- SIM tray alignment. I've never had an iPhone 4 with a perfectly flush SIM tray. I'm on my 7th iPhone 4
And I thought I was alone in noticing this!!!! 4 separate iPhone 4's and im on my second 4s.... NONE of them have had a flush sim tray and it drives me bonkers :)
 

wordoflife

macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
7,563
32
I have a wigly home button but other than that its ok. haven't taken it in since it appears to be working well.
 

apollo1444

macrumors 65816
Jul 22, 2011
1,305
5
mexico
Only vibration metalish rattle but it's very very minimal I'm not suffering from the huge sound type...

rest is all good
 

Leonard1818

macrumors 68020
Nov 15, 2011
2,459
393
I paid $799 for my iPhone 4S.. I shouldn't be having to get 7 replacements.
Agreed. but at the same time, you're somewhat lucky that they're not just refunding your money and sending you on your way.

Customers aren't *always* right and a company is smart to choose their customers just as a customer may choose what company they purchase from.
 

/user/me

macrumors 6502
Feb 28, 2011
496
0
Hi,
I have gone through five iPhone 4s copies and I thought I will share my observations concerning the differences between each of them. This might help others when buying new phone or getting a replacement:

1. Screen color/temperature - discussed here already a lot - many screens have much warmer temperature/yellow tint, some are pretty neutral and some (like many displays) very cold bright/blue tint....

2. Battery drain - don't let Apple tell you its software issue. One of my replacement with clean restore (no apps, no backup loaded) had usage time almost equal to standby time. None of other 4 phones displayed that problem (same sim card, network etc.)

3. Home button - almost every copy has a different one, some are very hard and 'loud clickable', some are quite soft and give you a light 'click', some are totally 'mushy'. Some are not totally straight aligned, some rotate a bit left/right when pressed - it's all random. As long as they register all clicks its okay...

4. Vibration rattle - might sound funny, but I also found out that different copies make different sound when vibration is on. Some would make this kind of jingly/metal rattling noise, some sound more like a 'trumpet', some just normal...I would not really worry about this too much, as long as it works ;)

5. No Service issue - many threads about it out there, but long story short, it seems like there are some copies of iPhone 4s which are very sensitive and more demanding sim card-wise. 3 phones I tried had absolutely no problem working with my sim card. Other two kept giving me no service, sim card failure or just made it impossible to reach me (despite showing signal).

6. Stripes on the screen (when off) - not a big deal, but some copies would have very visible lines (vertical and horizontal) on the sceen. Others have it much less apparent, only with very good light and special angle. I don't think it affects the usability or the quality of the displayed image, but still, its not the same in every copy.

Hope those experiences will help somebody here ;)
I had the rattle, and i brought it in, and they replaced it free of charge. I now have no problems.
 

NanoBiza

macrumors newbie
Jan 9, 2012
1
0
my 4S is working.. almost

I haven't had any problems with the new Iphone either, its works perfectly, but when it comes to apps, there are a few problems. For example this app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iev/id413625707?mt=8 won't load on my new Iphone 4s, and I don't know why.

I thins the developer called; Elbiler Better Place, has coded something wrong for the new version, but they are not replying on my e-mails.
If anybody has the same problem please let me know.

/Nano - ty
 

TM WAZZA

macrumors 68000
Sep 18, 2010
1,967
0
Hamilton, New Zealand
Posting in an OCD thread

Seriously though, for the screen temperature... Apple could release a calibration thing where we could adjust it to cool or warm or neutral. I jailbroke my iPod 4 and tried out ColorProfiles and that did the job flawlessly. I made it what others would describe as yellow, pink, red, blue hues.
 

Stealthipad

macrumors 68040
Apr 30, 2010
3,223
7
Some of you OCD people need to get a LIFE!

If after 7 iPhones, I could still not find a good one, I would have left Apple long ago.

How come some of us have and enjoy every Apple device with no perfections on any and other need to try 7+ devices and they are still not happy! I suggest they got nothing better to do than to stare at their phone all day holding it up the the light just so to look for defects.

Hate to say it but a measly $700 does not buy perfection on anything.

:p
 

mrsir2009

macrumors 604
Sep 17, 2009
7,505
156
Melbourne, Australia
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A406 Safari/7534.48.3)

Well, my 4s seems very normal :) good to know.
 

SPEEDwithJJ

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2008
1,188
1
Lord. I swear that I've never before seen such nitpicky customers. It gets worse and worse every year.
Or maybe the actual truth is that the quality control of components made & provided by Apple's suppliers have been getting worse & worse each year. :rolleyes:
 
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