We’ve all heard that the Apple iPhone 4 has had issues with call reception due to the new antenna being on the frame of the device. Apple dismisses this as a problem that happens with all phones and that users shouldn’t hold it that way but a deeper look reveals it may be a fundamental design problem.
The folks over at AnandTech took a deep dive into this issue and came away with some interesting findings.
Apple designed the new antenna, in part, to address the poor voice service many iPhone owners experience in major metropolitan cities. It also allowed the company to free up space internally, which makes the iPhone 4 one of the thinnest handsets on the market.
Users have been reporting that making contact with this antenna can result in a “death grip” that significantly impacts signal quality. After looking at the issue, the report said, “the fact of the matter is that cupping the bottom left corner and making skin contact between the two antennas does result in a measurable difference in cellular reception.”
The bars on your display don’t necessarily accurately portray your true cellular signal strength, so these guys measured the signal strength in dBm (the power ratio in decibels and compared it to the older iPhone models and the Google Nexus One.
These guys held it in multiple positions and you can check out the results below.
The good news is that the research found the new antenna is much improved when it’s not making contact with the user. It also suggests that Apple could easily fix this problem with a giveaway.
“At the end of the day, Apple should add an insulative coating to the stainless steel band, or subsidize bumper cases. It’s that simple,” AnandTech said.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Apple will be going down this path any time soon.