At the time it ended the case giveaway, Apple said customers had to contact product support to request a free bumper. Apple did not immediately reply today to questions about whether that offer was still valid, or to a request for comment on Consumer Reports' findings.
The publication also ran five other highly-rated smartphones through the same tests, including HTC's Droid Incredible, LG's Ally, Motorola's Droid 2 Global and Droid X, and Samsung's Fascinate. All those smartphones run Google's Android mobile operating system.
None of five Android smartphones exhibited the death grip problem.
Reynolds noted that, unlike last summer, few complaints about dropped calls have surfaced from Verizon subscribers, but his bottom line remained mixed.
"The Verizon iPhone 4 closely resembles the original AT&T iPhone 4 in many positive respects ... [but] unfortunately, it also shares with its sibling the possibility of compromised performance in low-signal conditions when used without a bumper or case," concluded Reynolds.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.