Hands-On With the Reach79 Signal Boosting Case - Does It Work?

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Earlier this month, we shared an iPhone case called the Reach79, which debuted at CES. The Reach79 case claimed to boost the signal strength and performance of the iPhone, improving battery life, reducing dropped calls, and improving download speeds, statements that were quite controversial in our forums.

    Readers were understandably skeptical of the Reach79's promise that it could deliver up to 2x stronger signal strength, so MacRumors decided to go hands-on with the Reach79 case to see if we could prove the company's claims.

    We've been extensively testing the Reach79 case on an iPhone 6 Plus for more than a week in various areas around the San Francisco Bay Area, but after several days of use, it remains difficult to conclusively say that the case improves signal in a meaningful way due to mixed test results. For a quick summary of what we found, scroll down to the "Bottom Line" section, or read on for our full results.

    Our Testing

    We used the Reach79 case on an iPhone 6 Plus connected to the AT&T network on multiple days, at multiple times, and in multiple locations, both indoor and outdoor. The phone was put into Field Test mode so that signal strength could be viewed as a raw decibel number rather than as dots or "bars," in order to better determine if and when the case was improving signal. All testing was done in the hand or up against the head, which is how the case is designed to work.

    We also tested with the Ookla Mobile Speed Test app to see if the case improved data speeds, but we were told that this is not a particularly reliable testing method due to the many factors that can affect data transfer.

    If there's one word that sums up our testing, it's inconsistent. At times, when the Reach79 case was placed on the iPhone, signal definitely improved as evidenced by the raw numbers and speed tests, but just as often, putting the case on did nothing to improve signal, or even seemed to degrade it somewhat.

    Click here to read rest of article...

    Article Link: Hands-On With the Reach79 Signal Boosting Case - Does It Work?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Impressive, I'll have to consider this, though my signal strength in the Boston area is strong.
  3. Arkious macrumors 6502a


    Mar 14, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
  4. dlewis23 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2007
    I've been trying to get one of these to do a real speed test comparison but the Marketing team never seems to get back to me :confused:
  5. ckane macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2015
    What about NFC testing with Apple Pay? My experience with the case is even worse with the phone constantly prompting me to hold phone nearer.
  6. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Parasitic antenna elements (as on a yagi or beam antenna) don't boost signal overall, they just aim more RF power or sensitivity in certain directions (and thus less in other directions!). So whether there is any benefit depends on exactly how you position or aim the case, where the cell tower is located, and how the RF waves are bouncing around in your exact locale, which can be nearly random. Thus the random results.
  7. nutmac macrumors 601

    Mar 30, 2004
    So the bottom line is, the case might improve the signal, but only very slightly or it not at all.

    What is more measurable are the price and overall protection the case offers. The case is clearly overpriced and while it does seem to offer at least solid drop protection, it looks rather bulky and all those holes are just asking for dust and other particles to squeeze in between the phone and the case, eventually scratching the phone's surface.
  8. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040


    Mar 16, 2012
  9. AngerDanger, Jan 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015

    AngerDanger macrumors 601


    Dec 9, 2008
    As long as I can purchase a case with patented Q*bert and Tetris technology, signal strength couldn't matter less.

  10. TsunamiTheClown macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
  11. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    Quite simply, if you don't increase the surface area dramatically, you're not going to see much change in results.

    If Apple genuinely wanted better results, they'd produce more SKUs so that they could focus on supporting a smaller set of bands with less insertion loss in the front end. My guess is that current performance is good enough for most people and pretty competitive with the industry now.
  12. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Maybe because they dont want to give them away for free... :confused:
  13. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    It's really just a glorified reflector which will produce random results.

    This smells like a sponsored article, and if it is, I'd appreciate MacRumors saying so, in a similar way Amazon's reviews state whether that reviewer got the product for free or not. There's a big difference in opinion when you spend money on a product versus getting it for free or being paid to test it.
  14. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    ...because Sprint's network is so awful that they need to try to produce an even more powerful case to try to make the Sprint network usable. Good luck with that...it'll just be lipstick on a pig.
  15. bmad5 macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    Higher octane gas only boosts performance in engines designed for it. Or more accurately, engines designed for higher octane gas will have performance loss on lower octane gas (and it can be bad for the engine). Putting high octane gas in a nonperformance engine is like thinking charging a phone capable of drawing 1 amp charges faster on a 2 amp charger.
  16. KdParker macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    so...we need to have more information and someone that can do a reasonable/repeatable test.
  17. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    You really think this company paid MacRumors to tell us that their product doesn't really work that well and most people shouldn't buy it?

  18. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    Almost all review sites get products for free that they test. This obviously isn't an all positive article and there are no affiliate links in the body. I don't see an issue.
  19. some1uDNTknow macrumors regular


    Sep 27, 2009
    United States
    What a surprise :rolleyes: I guess we have to wait for the second gen... Why is this on the front page?
  20. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    What I got out of this:
    - Expensive case doesn't work well, if at all.
    - Look at this neat thing called Field Test Mode!
  21. Boosf macrumors member


    Jun 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA

    You're probably just holding it wrong.
  22. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    Exactly. Most consumers want as close to a universal phone as possible...not a phone that can only be used on a small subset of carriers.

    As a Verizon customer, I was there with the iPhone 4 and 4S and it sucked. Want to switch to AT&T? Sorry, you have to buy a different iPhone. Even the Verizon iPhone 5 was a letdown in terms of U.S. carrier interoperability...it worked on AT&T and T-Mobile for Edge, 3G, and HSPA+ but not for LTE.
  23. divideby macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2009
    Didn't they claim battery life would be improved because of stronger signal strength? This sounds like it may be slightly easier to prove. shrug
  24. sonlte macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2015
    Random is the key word

    There are no details of the antenna design that I have seen, but I do know it's tricky and highly unlikely the antenna is multi band for NFC/BT...2/5GHz WiFi , 700/850/1900/2100/2300/2500MHZ for 3G/4G (carrier centric but point is you have to support more than one of those at a time) and also not likely to help MIMO performance (multi beam)...so your milage will totally vary depending on the angle of arrival, the vSWR of the connection of the antennae, the frequencies in use etc etc etc... BTW- the networks are primarily interference constrained so a boosted signal doesn't automagically = better performance.

    Hard to justify purchasing as the payoff of when it can be helpful is so low in many of the use cases that it hardly seems worth spending $60 on.

    If your signal is really holding you back, complain and/or get a small cell (ex: In USA ATT Microcell or Verizon/Sprint version etc..) ... longer term you should really complain to Apple- have them put in interference mitigation into the chipsets and add more antenna performance (diversity, gain etc...)
  25. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    For the $60 to $70 this case costs, you can buy a 20,000+ mAh battery and have a phone that lasts a week or more with constant use before needing to find a wall outlet. Or just spend $20 and get one of the lipstick-sized batteries. ;)

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72 January 27, 2015