Truth be told, there are sniggles with each and every smartphone. The ones you've listed aren't necessarily accurate per se, as at least *some* of what you've mentioned is more location/network based issues rather than the phone/hardware itself.
The example of the iPhone 4 is more of a network issue than anything IMO. FWIW, My wife's does not have the antenna issues after installing the free speck case. Out of the box it really wasn't much of an issue anyway. I recall it only dropped a couple of bars but not the call or data session. YMMV. The glass back issue with cracking/dirt also is going to vary by user and their habits, and will vary depending on which case you have it in. People who don't take care of their phone and throw it into their dirty backpack or jeans pocket will have to think about the potential for damage, including cracking. Nothing new there anyway since these devices are not built like the old Motorola brickphones . In any case I know about a dozen people who are heavy/rough users with no cracks yet to speak of on their 4 inside a case.
You will likely have to root the Captivate with the ATT software installed to circumvent that restriction. Again, nothing new here as quite often carriers will restrict what you can install w/ their ROM. Head over to XDA developers forum for more info on that.
The Torch is a nice rig, but arguably does not provide the same user experience, especially in the multimedia arena, as either the iPhone 4 or Captivate. It appears to be selling well though. An Android device might give you more flexibility in how you customize your smartphone (without rooting) vs the more 'walled garden' approach of Apple and its app store.
After talking with several retailers about phones I'm sick of biased sales pitches and need help from an independent third party. I'm with ATT and need to upgrade to a smartphone. I know enough about service plans and although I'm angry unlimited data plans are no longer available I'm not switching carriers.
I have narrowed down my options to three phones: iPhone 4, Samsung Captivate, and Blackberry Torch. Obviously I am not only trying to choose between operating systems but also between the phones themselves. I intend on streaming plenty of video on the internet. I have to be able to store and edit MS word and excel files on the phone. I have a small hearing problem so call quality and speaker volume will also affect my decision.
The iPhone4 has issues with the antenna and the glass back. The Captivate is barred by ATT from third party apps and, according to a review on this website, has issues with GPS.
The Torch is not very well equipped for multimedia and video-streaming and is limited in the number and variety of apps available.
I need some expert advice on the specifics of these phones and I welcome any anecdotal evidence that will help me make my decision.