Go Back   MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > MacRumors.com News Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Jun 30, 2010, 06:58 AM   #1
MacRumors
macrumors bot
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Detailed Analysis of iPhone 4 Signal Strength Dropoff



Anandtech has managed to provide a detailed analysis of the iPhone 4's potential antenna signal issue. Their analysis may shed some light on people's experiences with the iPhone 4 and the drop-off in signal when the device is being held in hand.

The issue has generated a lot of press since the iPhone 4 launch due to a variety of user reports on the issue. Apple has maintained that a certain amount of signal loss is normal when mobile phones are held in hand. In a leaked support note, they have also insisted that the iPhone 4 antenna performance is better than that of the iPhone 3GS. Based on Anandtech's analysis, it appears Apple is correct in this statement, though with some caveats.




First, Anandtech managed to hack together a way for the iPhone 4 to report actual signal strength instead of the usual 5 bar signal strength scale. As has been noted by many, this 5 bar scale can be a poor representation of the actual signal strength. As seen above, nearly 40% of the range of possible signal levels is reported as 5 bars. Because of this broad range, there could be a huge difference in actual signal strength despite the same "5 bars" being displayed.

They then ran several tests comparing the signal degradation from holding the iPhone 4 in hand in various positions:




As it turns out, the iPhone 4 does have a significantly greater drop-off in signal strength in all positions as compared to the iPhone 3GS which preceded it. Perhaps the most notable difference is in the "Holding Naturally" position which could theoretically "bottom out" a 4 bar signal or bring the low-end of the 5 bar signals down to 1 bar. Holding the iPhone 4 tightly, of course, accentuates the problem. All phones do exhibit the same behavior, though the iPhone 4's external antenna presumably exaggerates the effect.

However, Anandtech points out that in their testing they found the iPhone 4 antenna is indeed improved over the 3GS -- adding validity to Apple's previous statements. In their testing, Anandtech found that at very low signal strengths (down to -113), the iPhone 4 would hold onto calls far better than the iPhone 3GS.
Quote:
It's amazing really to experience the difference in sensitivity the iPhone 4 brings compared to the 3GS, and issues from holding the phone aside, reception is absolutely definitely improved. I felt like I was going places no iPhone had ever gone before. There's no doubt in my mind this iPhone gets the best cellular reception yet, even though measured signal is lower than the 3GS.
All in all, the findings may help to explain some seemingly discrepant statements and observations. While the iPhone 4 is likely to perform better at the same signal level as the iPhone 3GS, the signal of the iPhone 4 may be more greatly reduced by attenuation when being held in the same position. This could explain all but the issues depicted. In the end, Anandtech also suggests using a case may be best move and that with a bumper case, the iPhone 4 has the same attenuation performance as other other smartphones.


Article Link: Detailed Analysis of iPhone 4 Signal Strength Dropoff
MacRumors is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 06:59 AM   #2
arn
macrumors god
 
arn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Send a message via AIM to arn
so, bottom line: don't hold it that way, or get a case.

note: this doesn't necessarily negate the hopes/desires/wishful thinking that Apple could make moves to reduce the signal degratation, either through future hardware changes, or (however unlikely) firmware updates. This explains the "what" that's happening, not the "why".

arn

Last edited by arn; Jun 30, 2010 at 07:08 AM.
arn is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:00 AM   #3
PecanEater
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Great to have some real analysis. So tired of all the BS.
PecanEater is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:01 AM   #4
Rm.237
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Louisville
Still haven't had one dropped call. Just saying.
__________________
Rm.237 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:03 AM   #5
miazma
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
I'm missing the Death Grip there... (aka left handed natural)
miazma is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:04 AM   #6
arn
macrumors god
 
arn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Send a message via AIM to arn
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rm.237 View Post
Still haven't had one dropped call. Just saying.
Guess it means you have a strong signal. Based on this data, you could see how someone could drop a call with 4 bars while holding the iPhone "naturally" (without a case).

arn
arn is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:05 AM   #7
Lord Vader
macrumors 6502a
 
Lord Vader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Death Star
Very interesting.
__________________
I never said that, and you're misquoting me ... or somebody is, but I'm gonna get to the bottom of it.
Lord Vader is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:06 AM   #8
audioruckus
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
At least we now have some reasonable analysis of this issue, as opposed to the ranting and raving going on.

Personally I've just slightly adjusted my grip on my iPhone and have had better reception than ever as compared to my 3GS.
__________________
MacBook Pro 15.4 Retina Display. 512GB 16GB RAM
iPhone 5S White (Verizon)
Nexus 7 (2013) 32GB
audioruckus is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:06 AM   #9
ELScorcho9
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Nice analysis. I've waited for real research and this is it. I've still no problems, but now I see the big differences between the phones.
__________________
"Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man." - Thomas Jefferson
PowerMac G5 Dual 2GHz :: PowerBook G4 1.5GHz :: iPhone 4 32GB
ELScorcho9 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:07 AM   #10
neteng101
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Confirms to me that I'm staying with the 3GS until Apple builds another phone that doesn't require a case to make calls with. My 3GS is naked when I'm using it... why should I have to buy a case just to make calls with an iPhone 4? Apple really did a dumb thing here in the name of good looks.
neteng101 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:08 AM   #11
Arh25
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
I really didnt want to use a case with this one.
__________________
32 GB iPhone 4, Core 2 Quad DELL Custom w/ Triple 23" Acer 1920 x 1080 Monitors... YUM
Arh25 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:08 AM   #12
phoenixdown318
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
i have been in areas with 2 bars or less and hold onto my phone "naturally" and haven't dropped any calls either.
__________________
MBP iPhone 4 32GB Black
phoenixdown318 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:10 AM   #13
Arh25
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixdown318 View Post
i have been in areas with 2 bars or less and hold onto my phone "naturally" and haven't dropped any calls either.
I went from a 3G and I never dropped calls with it. I have dropped almost 50% of all my calls with the iPhone 4. I was very shocked since i maybe dropped 3-5 calls a year before. Because of poor service in the area i was in.
__________________
32 GB iPhone 4, Core 2 Quad DELL Custom w/ Triple 23" Acer 1920 x 1080 Monitors... YUM
Arh25 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:14 AM   #14
Radjin
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
I've had no Death Grip issues at all, may be the way I hold the phone. But as for the low signal and still making calls, what a difference. Now I can be way up in the hills and still make calls where my work Verizon phone, and my old 3G said no signal.
Radjin is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:15 AM   #15
Alisstar
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Orlando, FL
The skeptics are still going to discredit these findings.

My phone does degrade its signal, however, I hardly have any dropped calls. And the other day I was at a gas station where I regularly gas up at and my phone picked up the wifi signal from the restaurant across the street. That never happened with my old 3G. I agree with the findings. My iPhone 4 does have better reception.
Alisstar is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:15 AM   #16
arn
macrumors god
 
arn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Send a message via AIM to arn
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixdown318 View Post
i have been in areas with 2 bars or less and hold onto my phone "naturally" and haven't dropped any calls either.
Those are average results. I suspect there is person-to-person variability on the effect, with some people being much more susceptible.

arn
arn is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:15 AM   #17
joneill55
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
"Much ado about nothing" for this iPhone 4 user. I have not dropped one call and the phone/speaker/bluetooth sounds remarkably better than my 3Gs. I am using it in an Apple Bumper case but even without the case, cannot reproduce said issue.

Better to be lucky than good I suspect :-)
joneill55 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:16 AM   #18
MacGiver
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: France
Asking people to buy a case is just a joke...I never had one and will never. I do not pay such a price to in addition add an ugly cases...I'd rather buy another phone then or keep my 3GS
__________________
MBP 2.2 Ghz C2D 2GB RAM 160GB HD iPod Photo 60GB iPod nano 8GB iPhone 3G 16GB Black iPhone 3GS 32GB Black iPhone 4 32GB Black MobileMe
MacGiver is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:16 AM   #19
alent1234
macrumors 603
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
i'm shocked. i was convinced that Apple gimped the iphone 4 to sell more bumpers.

funny to read all the sheeple though bringing it back to apple because they think it doesn't work
alent1234 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:16 AM   #20
jbutterfill
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: London
best signal ever on my phone

I have terrible reception at home and generally cant make calls, but with my iphone 4 its has the best reception I have had from any phone I have owned (and I can actually make calls now) - sure the signal attenuation problem exists, but if I hold it "correctly" its a great signal
jbutterfill is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:20 AM   #21
kornyboy
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Knoxville, TN (USA)
Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8A293 Safari/6531.22.7)

I guess it is time for me to head to the store to find a case. I really like the naked iPhone 4 though.
__________________
Stuff
kornyboy is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:20 AM   #22
marcfogel
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Meanwhile back at the ranch:

Apple hiring iPhone antenna engineers for some reason
http://tinyurl.com/2672ecy
marcfogel is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:21 AM   #23
afcs
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
I do not have problems

I received my Iphone on the 24 since, I have tried to replicate the problem and I cannot. The only way I get something similar is when I am in a place that has almost not signal in the first place(office).
afcs is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:21 AM   #24
Rooftop voter
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Well, my 4 is going in a case regardless whenever I can actually find one, but I still think that apple should have found a better way to implement the antena.
__________________
iPhone 3GS jailbroken on spirit. (sold)
iPhone 4 32gb jailbroken with limera1n. (current)
Rooftop voter is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 30, 2010, 07:22 AM   #25
BornAgainMac
macrumors 601
 
BornAgainMac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Florida Resident
Here is an idea. Change the Signal bars to a spinning rainbow ball that is in Mac OS.
BornAgainMac is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > MacRumors.com News Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
iPhone 5S reception/signal strength issues? stevefo iPhone 0 Feb 17, 2014 05:03 PM
iPhone 5 constant 1-5-1 signal strength fluctuations SteveJobs2.0 iPhone 2 Nov 17, 2013 10:00 PM
iPhone 5 Battery Life May Be Impacted Greatly by Cellular Signal Strength MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 353 Jan 8, 2013 03:42 PM
iPhone 4S on Verizon signal strength fluctuates digitalsteez iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting 0 Nov 15, 2012 10:03 AM
iPhone 5 Signal Decibel Strength Enable? XboxMySocks iPhone 6 Oct 1, 2012 08:12 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:33 AM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC