Which smartphone has the best network reception? Hint : not iPhone

Microsoft’s Lumia 640 may not be the most powerful or feature-packed smartphone, but a study has found it’s the best performer under a weak network signal. Nokia has always been famous for their technical proficiency when it comes to phone hardware, and it is nice to see that this holds true even in Microsoft Mobile’s latest handsets.

The study, conducted by Aalborgs University in Denmark and commissioned by telecom authorities in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, assesses how good 26 smartphone models are at providing a connection when operated on weak mobile signals. In this test,  the Lumia 640 and Lumia 650 scored very well for both voice and data signal strength, while Apple’s devices were uniformly at the bottom of the list, particularly when held in hand. The main network that was used is GSM900, which is the most prevalent in Nordic countries.

These are the devices that were considered for this test :


HTC Desire 626 ranked first in the Voice service right-hand test, followed closely by Samsung Galaxy S5 mini, the Galaxy J1, and Microsoft Lumia 640. The Galaxy S7 edge ranked 9, followed by the Lumia 650, while Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus only managed to rank 12.


As for the the left hand, the DORO EasyPhone 530X came in first, which is narrowly followed by another appearance of the Lumia 640, and its newer brother Lumia 650. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact follows in fourth, while the Xiaomi Mi5 comes in at fifth place. Apple performs the worst in the pack in this test, with the iPhone SE in 23rd place, and the iPhone 6 at 24th. They are immediately followed by the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.


The phone with the worst GSM900 signal among all tested was Huawei P9, but Apple’s iPhone 6S and iPhone SE ranked at the bottom end of the index as well. The study focuses on the transmitter performance for voice services and the receiver for data mode. The two depend on the phone’s antenna, as well as the way users hold phones in their hands during calls or online browsing.


Surprisingly, when it comes to data services on a weak signal, Microsoft’s Lumia 640 tops the field under the LTE 800MHz band. It also achieves respectable results in the LTE 1,800MHz and LTE 2,600MHz bands. In second, third and fourth place are Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S7 Edge, and Galaxy S7.

None of Apple’s iPhone models fare well in the study. In the 800MHz band, Apple’s iPhone SE is the best performer but ranks 11th, behind the Lumia 950, Huawei P9, and Nexus 5X. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S trail at 13th and 14th place respectively, ahead of iPhone 6S Plus in 17th spot.

Professor Gert Frølund Pedersen, from the Aalborg University, notes that some phones need a signal hundred times stronger than others, and Apple in particular had problems, incredibly even with their newest handsets.

He suggested phones should be labelled with their antenna performance, much like appliances have energy efficiency ratings. That sounds like a really good idea and should be made mandatory. What do you think?

You can read the full report here if you wish.

via : mspoweruser



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