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AnandTech chasing the mysteries of iPhone 4 reception

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In a long and in-depth test, AnandTech reveals the mysteries of the iPhone 4 reception. According to the well-known technological site, the Apple's latest smarthone offers better and more stable reception than the iPhone 3GS but, due to the external antennas, with the contact of the iPhone 4 user's hand suffers more than any other cell phone signal loss.

The solutions adopted by AnandTech to monitor and measure the reception performance of the iPhone 4 in any situation of use and grip are interesting and ingenious. In the absence of measuring tools on the smarpthone the site activated the digital indication systems for the Wi-Fi signal and GSM network on a previous iPhone 3GS subjected to jailbreak, after which it restored the backup of the previous model on iPhone 4. In this way, instead of the classic bars that indicate the availability and intensity of the GSM field at the top left, it was possible to observe the real numerical values.

The first detail that emerged that the bar indication of the iPhone 4 is very approximate: while the smartphone displays 5 bars in some conditions, the reception is optimal, while in other situations and in other cells the user is at the limit of operability when they are displayed 4 bars. Always thanks to the numerical measurement in dB AnandTech then managed to quantify the signal loss due to particularly tight grips by the user, especially in the lower part of the smartphone. All telephones suffer from signal loss problems with contact with the user but the position of the antennas and any covers significantly alleviate the inconvenience. On the contrary, iPhone 4 for the particular position of the antennas and especially for the absence of any type of shielding suffers substantially from the decay of the performance that AnandTech quantifies in the order of 20dB. This value is an average: with a very narrow grip, iPhone 4 can lose over 24dB in reception, a value that compares with a loss of only 14.3dB for iPhone 3GS and 17.7dB for HTC Nexus One.

What is described confirms the numerous complaints of the first iPhone users, in any case the latest Apple smartphone has shown on the field that it has a better and more sensitive baseband chip than the iPhone 3GS. This allows you to establish connections to the GSM network even in areas where it is impossible to do it with iPhone 3GS, something also verified by Macitynet and reported in the context of the review that we have published, for now exclusively, on Juice Estate 2010. Again, iPhone 4 it suffers much less from line drops during calls and can offer complete voice and data transfer functionality even with GSM connections signaled at a single notch.

With the same procedure, AnandTech shows that with a narrow handle, the Wi-Fi connection benefits from an evident increase in performance, an unexpected anomaly due to the extension of the antenna surface through contact with the user which acts as a bridge between the two antennas integrated into the iPhone. No significant variation, however, was detected in the functioning of the GPS, even with a narrow grip.

At the end of the long exam AnandTech evaluates the two possible solutions: to solve the reception problem in a simple way, iPhone 4 users should have a case or protection. Better still if Apple provided it as standard, free of charge with every smarpthone. But considering that design and functionality have always been Cupertino's workhorses, for AnandTech the obligatory and false application of a cover is not a solution that suits Apple. According to the technology site, which openly accuses Cupertino of having completely underestimated the problem, Jobs should push the member to take responsibility for once, for not having shielded the two external antennas in any way, recall all the iPhone 4 sold for replace them with a correct version.