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Cellphones Bug Iphone

Death Grip Tested On iPhone Competitors 373

Posted by timothy
from the not-deathy-enough dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Given Steve Jobs' recent claims about 'Death Grip' being a common problem among smart phones, PCMag tested out six major iPhone competitors to see how they would react to the grip. The test included Motorola Droid X, T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide, Droid Incredible by HTC, BlackBerry Bold 9650, and the Samsung Captivate. The signal strength was measured in dBm, which typically ranges between -50 to -110 dBm (numbers closer to zero show better signal). Interestingly, the test results video showed mixed results. T-Mobile myTouch 3G and Samsung Captivate showed drastic changes, dropping down to -89 and -97 dBm respectively. On the other hand, while the signal strength dropped for HTC Droid Incredible, Motorola Droid X and Blackberry Bold, it wasn't as severe. Results of testing showed that not all phones reacted the same way to the typical death grip and required variations of it to bring about results."
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Death Grip Tested On iPhone Competitors

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  • by bonch (38532) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @04:55PM (#32983778)

    The issue was the death grip affecting signal strength. You even used Apple's "physics" defense to state that it affects all phones. What does a bare metal antenna have to do with it if all phones are affected?

  • by Cogneato (600584) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @04:57PM (#32983806) Homepage

    So I hope all of these manufacturers do the right thing and recall their phones. If it possible to do something to a phone to get it drop in signal, then the only right answer is a recall. Originally I thought that the only right answer was a free case for everyone that bought them, but then Apple gave out free cases and I had to revise my opinion. I haven't yet figured out how to make the signal drops on phones from other manufacturers somehow Apple's fault, but if I can, then I will again revise my opinion to demand that Apple recalls the phones on behalf os the other manufacturers as well. There has to be a class action lawsuit somewhere here that I can peg on Apple...

  • by khb (266593) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:08PM (#32983938)

    Perhaps only old fogeys recall rabbit ear TV antennas for analogue TVs ... touching can improve or degrade signal. Depends on where, what frequencies, etc.

    No matter how clever the engineering, there's no cheating the law of physics.

    I always use a bluetooth headset and seldom hold the phone during calls; and use a case. So it all seemed like a tempest in a teacup to me.

  • by BlackSnake112 (912158) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:10PM (#32983972)

    I know seven people with iphone 4s. All seven of them have dropped calls, or lose signal completely if they hold the phone in their left hand. If they leave the phone on a table it works fine.

    With seven people out of seven people have the exact problem I would say there is a problem. They can repeat the problem over and over again. It is a design flaw. Five out of the seven are lefties who normally hold the phone in their left hand. They are really annoyed.

  • by Facegarden (967477) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:11PM (#32983984)

    Yeah, the recent advertising from Apple has been unlike Apple. In the past, they usually acted too cool to describe their products that way and would use a simple tagline to let the product speak for itself (e.g., "Introducing Mac mini" or "240 songs. A million different ways." for the iPod shuffle).

    Calling it magical is really corny, and so are the video interviews of Apple employees talking about how amazing it is. I liked the faceless, too-cool-for-the-room advertising from the time before the iPad.

    Yeah, it was a video interview of Ives talking about the new unibody laptops that made me first realize it. He had this twinkle in his eye when he said the word magical, like it was just the most amazing thing ever. I'm a mechanical engineer and a machinist and I think its pretty cool that they machine the laptops now - it takes a lot of skill to pull off that much machining on such a mass market product... but magical? No.

    They're just taking themselves too seriously now.
    -Taylor

  • People adapt (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jmichaelg (148257) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:15PM (#32984024) Journal

    People adapt to their phones to optimize their signal. Just as you stand where the signal's strongest, you adjust your grip so the signal is strongest. It's just not that big a deal when you actually use the phone.

    I can now make and receive calls from locations that I couldn't before I got the phone and the call is cleaner. In exchange, I had to learn to hold my phone slightly differently than I used to. I can live with that. If you can't, don't get an iPhone.

  • by bdrewery (1317617) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:18PM (#32984044)
    The issue with iPhone 4 isn't about *gripping it*, it's about simply touching this spot to affect the signal.

    Just yesterday I was on the phone and my pinky accidentally touched that spot ... *instant* loss of sound quality to the point I couldn't understand anything for several seconds.
  • by WARM3CH (662028) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:22PM (#32984088)
    The point is that iPhone 4 has 2 problems: one due to metal antennas (yes, there are two antennas and they should not be connected together) and another one due to the death grip. Apple basically deflected the question by talking only about death grip while the real issue was this specific design flaw that bare metal antennas could be bridged together if you hold the phone in a certain way. Anandtech showed that bridging bare metal antennas add another 10 dBm attenuation on top of what you get from death grip.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:25PM (#32984134)

    "How many of them have bare metal antennas on the surface of the phone? No matter what weasel words Steve chooses, there is no excuse for this defect."

    Exactly. You basically just stuck a giant capacitor (your body) between the antenna and ground. How could the resonance of that circuit not be affected? I'm baffled how this defect made it all the way to production...

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:29PM (#32984180) Journal
    See update 4 [gizmodo.com]. Completely losing your upload speed, and being unable to make a phone call, pretty much confirms a loss of all real-world signal.
  • by jerdo (674382) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:39PM (#32984308)
    I have an iPhone 4 and I've been able to drop to no bars in the same spot I had 5 bars previously, so in my experience the "depends on how strong the original signal is" argument doesn't stand up. I can stand in the same spot (so the signal strength shouldn't be wildly different) and experience little to no signal loss with a clean dry hand touching the lower left corner, but if my hand is damp from perspiration or the natural build up of oil I experience a drop to zero bars in a matter of seconds. All this makes sense though, since the salty sweat/oil should be more conductive than a clean dry hand. I like the iPhone, but I don't care for the apologists who refuse to admit there is a problem anymore than I care for the company that won't admit there is an issue.
  • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @10:48AM (#32990966)

    The amount of problems you experience when this happens is dependent on many factors.

    Most importantly is the reception in your area before detuning. Detuning has been shown to cause a drop of over 20 dB. Cell phones typically have "perfect" reception at anything higher than -50 dBm, and will be more than adequate for voice calls anywhere above -90 dBm.

    The degree to which you lose signal (in terms of raw dB) is dependent on how you bridge the antenna (how much you change its electrical length) and what your reception is like on other towers/bands in the area. Your phone is smart - when reception is shit it will look for other towers and even try other frequencies. If you detune your antenna away from your 3G frequency, you probably tuned it closer to another frequency. If there's a tower/band on that frequency, your phone will use it.

    And of course, detuning affects transmission much more than reception. 99% of all those videos on Youtube are pointless as they simply show people holding the phone and looking at the bars or signal meter. They're doin' it wrong (and still showing the problem).

    People doing data transfer speed tests or actual call tests are doin' it rite.

    So yes, if your signal is good, you'll probably be fine. But if you're anywhere that isn't a densely populated urban center, you'll be fucked.

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