The Death Grip Test on Antenna Signal
Steve Jobs said all smartphones have this problem — hold it in a certain way and your phone signal goes down. Was curious so I wanted to try this one several of the phones I have here – the Galaxy S, Xperia X10 and Desire.
So I tried holding these 3 phones in every possible way to see if I could somehow affect the signal strength.
Fortunately, all the 3 Android phones have this built-in “Signal Strength” monitor which is measured in -dBm (an abbreviation for the power ratio in decibels). If you have an Android phone, you can see this by going to Settings -> Status -> Signal Strength.
The typical range of wireless received signal power over a network is somewhere between âˆ’60 to âˆ’80dBm which has a power of 10 pico-watts to 1,000 pico-watts. So as you can see, the phones we have below are in the -80dBM range.
We started out with the Samsung Galaxy S i9000 at -81dBm. When you clasp your hand at the bottom back part of the phone, the signal drops to -97dBm. Holding it just on the side did not affect the signal, just the back part (below the battery compartment)
Next one is the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 which started out around -87dBm. It drops slightly to -93dBm if you clasp the bottom back end of the phone, just like the Galaxy S above.
With the HTC Desire, I could get a nice -75dBM signal hands-free but can easily drop it to -103dBm when you clasp the phone with both hands tightly — and bringing down the signal bar from 3/4 to 2/4.
So it’s really true that holding a phone in some way will affect its signal strength though it may vary from phone to phone.
Updated: Here’s a closer shot of the signal loss on the HTC Desire and Xperia X10: