Whether you have an iPhone or a Blackberry, sound quality is a key factor in whether your message is clear to callers. The specifics of the phone are not the only factor, as both smart phones are available through the Verizon and AT&T networks. However, as 4G becomes more prevalent, the network differences will likely mean less than the phones' capabilities.
While the iPhone 4 has an active noise cancellation feature, the previous iterations did not. This feature attempts to cancel noises other than the user's voice, and is used on many Bluetooth devices to produce clearer calls. A report from International Business Times indicated that the new iPhone 4's active noise cancellation feature works well and calls are clearer than on previous iPhones. To mute a conference call on the iPhone requires you to navigate through different menus.
Newer Blackberry devices, such as the Torch and Bold versions, also make use of the active noise cancellation feature as previous Blackberry versions did. The sound quality between different Blackberries is about the same, according to International Business Times. A button on top of the phone will mute a conference call instantly. Some professional users, such as Beach Geeks Online, have noted a better sound quality in Blackberries, while others say the two phones are comparable in quality, including in International Business Times.
For AT&T's 3G network, the company uses the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, or UMTS, that shares components with the Global System for Mobile Communications standard and the Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution, or EDGE. When talking and traveling, there can be a noticeable drop in sound quality when a call is being switched from one cell tower to another, according to a "USA Today" article. AT&T's 3G network is available in more than 220 countries, and users can browse the web while talking without effecting sound quality.
Verizon uses code division multiples access for its 3G network. Calls transferring from one cell tower to another can receive a signal from both towers for a "soft handover," according to a "USA Today" article. This method mostly maintains sound quality throughout the transition, although the transition can still be noticeable. Verizon's network is usable in about 40 countries, and users cannot use the web and the phone at the same time.
- Beach Geeks Online: Blackberry vs iPhone
- International Business Times; Smartphone shootout: BlackBerry Torch 9800 versus iPhone 4 (2); Charles Smith; August 2010
- "USA Today"; Verizon iPhone 4 vs. AT&T iPhone 4; Edward C. Baig; February 2011
- "USA Today"; What's the difference between AT&T and Verizon's 3G networks?; Ben Parr; February 2011
- CNET; Good-bye iPhone, hello (again) BlackBerry; Adam Richardson; September 2009
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images