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Old June 22nd, 2011, 12:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Signal strength/call quality of Evo 3D

I think for those of us concerned with reports on the radio quality of the Evo 3D, we should attempt to verify this objectively.

I'm running dozens of speed tests on my Evo 4G, on 3G and 4G, at my office and at home, and logging the data in preparation for an objective radio comparison with the Evo 3D.

Those of you interested in contributing to science can join in the effort ...for science. of course.


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Old June 22nd, 2011, 12:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Signal strength analysis of Evo 3D / Evo 4G

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoteriX View Post
I think for those of us concerned with reports on the radio quality of the Evo 3D, we should attempt to verify this objectively.

I'm running dozens of speed tests on my Evo 4G, on 3G and 4G, at my office and at home, and logging the data in preparation for an objective radio comparison with the Evo 3D.

Those of you interested in contributing to science can join in the effort ...for science. of course.
I am doing the same, and for kicks am also throwing in results from my wife's HTC Hero (which has better reception than my Evo 4G!).

Oops edit: I don't get 4G in my area, those tests will not be performed.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 12:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Those of you interested in contributing to science can join in the effort ...for science. of course.

And of course, the best way to test your call quality is to play Portal. I want my cake NOW.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 01:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NeoteriX View Post
I'm running dozens of speed tests on my Evo 4G, on 3G and 4G, at my office and at home, and logging the data in preparation for an objective radio comparison with the Evo 3D.
What's a good free speed test app from the standard Android Market? I'm happy to run some comparisons with my old phone before activating my 3VO.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 01:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What's a good free speed test app from the standard Android Market? I'm happy to run some comparisons with my old phone before activating my 3VO.
An app called "Speed Test"
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 01:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cobalt View Post
What's a good free speed test app from the standard Android Market? I'm happy to run some comparisons with my old phone before activating my 3VO.

https://market.android.com/details?id=org.zwanoo.android.speedtest
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 01:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What's a good free speed test app from the standard Android Market? I'm happy to run some comparisons with my old phone before activating my 3VO.
We should also make sure to test/log the signal strength indication, since we all full well know from the iPhone 4 debacle that the bars are fairly meaningless.

Anyone have suggestions for apps? I've played around with sensorly, antennas, netmonitor, and bestplace, but haven't found any that are clean and log/graph data.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 04:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoteriX View Post
We should also make sure to test/log the signal strength indication, since we all full well know from the iPhone 4 debacle that the bars are fairly meaningless.

Anyone have suggestions for apps? I've played around with sensorly, antennas, netmonitor, and bestplace, but haven't found any that are clean and log/graph data.
I just started playing with this one - pretty interesting:

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.staircase3.opensignal&feature=relat ed_apps&rdid=com.staircase3.opensignal&rdot=1
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 07:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Signal strength analysis of Evo 3D / Evo 4G

Several reviews of the Evo 3D have indicated that signal strength of the phone has been very poor. As far as I know, these determinations were made subjectively, and no review I read provided a quantitative analysis of signal strength. So here's a scientific approach to determining whether we have a problem or not with this phone's ability to pick up signals.

Test 1: side-by-side
Putting the phones next to each other, with about 2 inches distance between, I measured signal strength with the OpenSignal app*. See picture:



Immediately, you should notice that the color reproduction on the Evo 3D is vastly superior to the Evo 4G. Note the purple tint on the Evo. The background of the app should be a neutral gray, which the Evo 3D accurately portrays. Ok, onto signal strength.

The info balloon shows that the two phones have picked up on the same tower. Note the latitude/longitude coordinates for the tower match exactly. In this picture, the Evo 3D is picking up a stronger signal than the Evo 4G: -81dBm vs. -89dBm. Over the course of 1 minute, the fluctuation range for both phones are:

Evo 3D: -81dBm to -85dBm
Evo 4G: -85dBm to -97dBm


Test 2: side-by-side + position swap
This test is the same as the first, but the positions of the phones are swapped to eliminate the RF interference bias. Evo 3D wins again in a one-minute test:

Evo 3D: -85dBm to -87dBm
Evo 4G: -91dBm to -101dBm


Test 3: phones 10 feet apart
Phones are now placed approximately 10 feet apart from each other in an open space (different room in the house from test 1&2), where obstruction from furniture is negligible or equally biased. Phones performed comparably within the minute of observation:

Evo 3D: -73dBm to -78dBm
Evo 4G: -73dBm to -73dBm


Test 4: phones 10 feet apart + position swap
This is the same test case as test 3 but phone positions are swapped to eliminate any positional advantage. Again, phones performed comparably:

Evo 3D: -73dBm to -73dBm
Evo 4G: -73dBm to -78dBm


These initial tests show that when both phones are locked onto the same tower and therefore are exposed to the same amount of radiation, there is little difference between the phones' ability to pick up a signal.

Wifi signal strength test
The app also measures wifi signal strength. When both phones are connected to my home wifi router, the Evo 3D consistently outperformed the Evo 4G. In a two-minute observation period with the phones next to each other, the following ranges of strength were observed:

Evo 3D: -57dBm to -60dBm
Evo 4G: -68dBm to -77dBm

Both phones were then made to load speakeasy.net's speed test. The following picture shows the benefit of the stronger signal on the Evo 3D (top):



The two numbers near the bottom of each screen correspond to the downstream and upstream speeds in Mbps:

Evo 3D: down: 20.03Mbps, up: 12.35Mbps
Evo 4G: down: 13.52Mbps, up: 10.90Mbps

I can only conclude from these tests that there is no deficiency in the Evo 3D's ability to pick up a signal, either from a tower or a wifi hotspot, when compared to its older brother, the Evo 4G. I am open to questions and/or criticisms of my methodology.

_______
*Special thanks to EarlyMon for pointing me to the OpenSignal Map app used to measure signal strength of the phones in this test, and for suggesting that I perform the test to attempt to settle the signal strength debate over the Evo 3D.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 07:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Awesome. Thank you so much novox77! You just made me breathe a sigh of relief.

If anything, it looks like the Evo3D is a little stronger. Yes?
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 07:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Ace job, compadre!

You forgot to mention that you used - https://market.android.com/details?id=com.staircase3.opensignal

PS - Yes, if anything, overall, the 3vo is better or the same, not worse, at radio sensitivity.

The methodology was sound.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 08:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If anything, it looks like the Evo3D is a little stronger. Yes?
That's what it looks like to me.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 08:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I did something similar, though with a possibly weaker methodology:

I took measurements in three different locations with my 4G yesterday before it was taken off my plan. I measured signal strength at two locations, and did signal strength and download speed at another location. I've only done measurements in two of the three with the 3D so far. Here are the actual download speeds with my 4G last night

620, 513, 366, 320, 560 (all in kbits per second) The 620 speed was taken at 9:49 PM, the others were taken in close sequence at 7:00 PM

Here are actual download speeds with my 3D between 4:00 and 5:00 PM today:

419, 420, 333, 287


And here are actual download speeds at about 7 this evening with my EVO (may be a better comparison since the load on the network may be similar at the same time of day)

368, 302, 349

I also did signal strength readings In short signal strength readings bounce around in a limited range at each location, and there's no consistent difference between the phones on signal strength. I've done a cruder, but more direct comparison by holding the two phones in my hands and comparing the signal strength as shown by a system info widget. There's no difference. I've also compared the number of bars shown in the standard cell phone signal strength indicator in the upper right corner. My (unscientific) impression is that the 3D consistently shows a lower number of bars than the 4G, but I can't quantify it. But based on the actual signal strength readings, and the download speeds, I think that the 3D may bebe a bit slower, but if there is any difference between the phones, it is not a big one.

I took just signal strength readings with my 4G at a restaurant nearby yesterday with my 4G, And repeated them with my 3D this evening. The "Tricorder" app shows a small but steady difference in favor of the 4G, 23 to 24 for the 4G yesterday, and rock steady on 20 for the 3D tonight.

Tomorrow I'll take some readings in my office at work. Tomorrow or the next day I'll post the results of more of these measurements.

The three locations I used were my bedroom, which is high in an apartment building next to a window and consistently gets a very good signal. Second was in my car in the parking lot of a restaurant that has good signal and no obstructions nearby. Tomorrow I'll measure in my office which is inside a very solid old building and consistently gets a crummy signal. All these measurements are taken in Oklahoma City, which I don't think of as being a hotbed of Sprint 3G connectivity and high speed service.

In short, based on this VERY small and not statistically significant sample, it looks to me like the 3D _MAY_ be very slightly slower on download than the 4G, and possibly a slightly weaker signal. But I'd need more information before I concluded that for sure, could be something as simple as differences in network traffic or even atmospherics (I don't know enough about radio to have an opinion how much that matters for these bands). Unfortunately, I'm not going to get more download data for the 4G, though I could still get signal info on the voice radio. Even if these modest differences are valid, they don't account for the awful reception and slow speeds reported by some reviewers. The important thing is that these show that any difference is not a large one.

The Market apps I used for this were:

Tricorder, by Moonblink, don't laugh, it gives a measure of network signal strength, and is free).

System Info Widget, by Jason Calhoun, for a measure of network signal strength, I believe it cost me a dollar. ( found that though they use different numbering systems, both Tricorder and System Info Widget gave results that were consistent with each other, so after awhile I just took the readings off the System Info Widget Widget).

Speedtest, by Xtreme labs, to measure download speeds.

4G owners who have a 3G on the way may want to consider trying this themselves while they still have service on their 4G. If you do it, I recommend taking the same measurements at about the same times and places. I also recommend holding the phone upright and vertically, signal strength seems to drop when it is held parallel to the ground (I assume the antenna is designed to work best when the phone is in the "talking" position held to the ear). Keeping Antennagate in mind, you might honor Steve Jobs by trying to hold the phone the same way for each measurement.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 08:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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That wifi throughput is probably less about the better signal and more about the fact that the older EVO was choking on the data throughput because of its slower BUS and processor.

Thanks a lot for the post. Was the EVO hitting the max of your net connection's download speed?

EDIT: might be fun to cup both phones with your hand and try some death grip situations.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 08:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks a bunch for the tests Novoxx! Makes my purchase of the 3D that much more comfortable. I'm guessing the reviewers got bad models.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 08:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Colors look way better on the 3D as well. This is good to know. I'll be picking mine up on Friday.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 08:52 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Forgot to mention, before I did any testing with the 3D, I installed the OTA patch, factory reset, and updated PRL and profile.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 08:54 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Looks like you did an ace job from where I stand, TheHoodedClaw!
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 09:29 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Colors look way better on the 3D as well. This is good to know. I'll be picking mine up on Friday.
Ohh, nice catch. I didn't even notice until you said so, but you're right. The Evo3D's screen looks much better with displaying color. I can't wait to get my hands on this phone!
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 10:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I just ran a few speed tests, and I am greatly impressed with the 4g speeds I have had on the evo 3d. I own a nexus s 4g and my brother has an EVO, so we did a side by side tonight. I hit 10mb for the first time ever on any Sprint phone with the 3d. All the tests were 9-10 mb for 3d, 3-5 mb for nexus, and 5-7 for evo. pretty cool!
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 11:29 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Novox, very solid looking test. And thank you for using Speakeasy's connection test rather than speedtest.net. Its the little things that prove to others that you have a good head on your shoulders -- not that there was any doubt from me.

I'd like RiverOfIce to weigh in on this, she has purported technical knowledge and maybe she can help explain some of the values and what we are seeing. It looks plenty positive, but maybe she can help dig a little deeper. I'd hate for us to jump to any pre-conceived conclusions.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:03 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Novox, very solid looking test. And thank you for using Speakeasy's connection test rather than speedtest.net. Its the little things that prove to others that you have a good head on your shoulders -- not that there was any doubt from me.

I'd like RiverOfIce to weigh in on this, she has purported technical knowledge and maybe she can help explain some of the values and what we are seeing. It looks plenty positive, but maybe she can help dig a little deeper. I'd hate for us to jump to any pre-conceived conclusions.
What's wrong with using speedtest?

I think they are two side of a similar coin -- we want to establish that a) signal strength is good, and that b) bandwidth is similarly good. The two can be influenced by one another, but are not necessarily the same in my understanding.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:32 AM   #23 (permalink)
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What's wrong with using speedtest?

I think they are two side of a similar coin -- we want to establish that a) signal strength is good, and that b) bandwidth is similarly good. The two can be influenced by one another, but are not necessarily the same in my understanding.
yup, you can have solid signal but small pipe due to overloaded network (think AT&T and iPhone hoards). That's why I stuck with wifi in my test; controlled environment in my home.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:48 AM   #24 (permalink)
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What's wrong with using speedtest?

I think they are two side of a similar coin -- we want to establish that a) signal strength is good, and that b) bandwidth is similarly good. The two can be influenced by one another, but are not necessarily the same in my understanding.
I didn't mean to get us off topic or chase the rabbit down a different hole but it is my understanding that speedtest.net and especially their speedtest.net android application have been proven to be rather inaccurate (as of a year ago).

They may have updated their application and their website for all I know, but once proven inaccurate it turned me off them for providing metrics. I still use their site occasionally in a pinch for unofficial means.

To each his own right? In this case I doesn't really matter who we use since we were mainly after signal strength not necessarily internet speed. I just appreciated that he used something other than speedtest.net given their shaky track record. Everyone and their brother uses speedtest.net and I say buck the trend.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 06:35 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Thanks novox! This is what the "pro" reviews should've done in the first place to test signal.

One question, what are we looking at in the last picture? Maybe it's too early, but I stared at that picture and couldn't see any results on either phone??
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 07:04 AM   #26 (permalink)
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I got my 4G in February and can honestly say I have never dropped a call on it. I live in a pretty fringe area so I should be a good test subject for the signal quality of the 3D. Just by looking at the signal levels in ##DEBUG#, the 4G and 3D are pretty similar in db levels.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 07:08 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ebolamonkey3 View Post
Thanks novox! This is what the "pro" reviews should've done in the first place to test signal.

One question, what are we looking at in the last picture? Maybe it's too early, but I stared at that picture and couldn't see any results on either phone??
the two numbers near the bottom, which are the downstream and upstream speeds of a speed test.

Evo 3D: down: 20Mbps, up: 12Mbps
Evo 4G: down: 13Mbps, up: 11Mbps

Good catch; it's not very clear. I'll edit the OP.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 07:20 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bigzeto View Post
I got my 4G in February and can honestly say I have never dropped a call on it. I live in a pretty fringe area so I should be a good test subject for the signal quality of the 3D. Just by looking at the signal levels in ##DEBUG#, the 4G and 3D are pretty similar in db levels.
I tried that key sequence yesterday - it doesn't work on my Evo - hence the app above.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 07:30 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I tried that key sequence yesterday - it doesn't work on my Evo - hence the app above.
I just tried it and it worked on the 3D. on a conference call with the Evo 4G atm, so I can't test it there.

##33284#
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 07:50 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Test 3: phones 10 feet apart
Phones are now placed approximately 10 feet apart from each other in an open space (different room in the house from test 1&2), where obstruction from furniture is negligible or equally biased. Phones performed comparably within the minute of observation:

Evo 3D: -73dBm to -78dBm
Evo 4G: -73dBm to -73dBm


Test 4: phones 10 feet apart + position swap
This is the same test case as test 3 but phone positions are swapped to eliminate any positional advantage. Again, phones performed comparably:

Evo 3D: -73dBm to -73dBm
Evo 4G: -73dBm to -78dBm

That is a really strong signal! do you live next to a tower?! or own a airwave?

Basically your findings contradicts majority of the reviews done by tech sites, interesting nonetheless.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 08:12 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Thanks for doing this test novox, but I do have one thing that I am interested in. We can see that for a connection that has been established already that the 3d does seem to be a little better than the 4g. My question is how much faster if at all is the 3d at acquiring a signal (3g, or 4g) from either a shutdown status or from a airplane mode status? What I am trying to get at is, if the 3d takes longer to get a solid signal as it moves from tower to tower in day to day operation that could be an issue in the long run.

Just a thought, as I dont even have a clue on how I would test this out.

thanks again.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 08:23 AM   #32 (permalink)
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That is a really strong signal! do you live next to a tower?! or own a airwave?

Basically your findings contradicts majority of the reviews done by tech sites, interesting nonetheless.
In another thread he mentions having an Airave.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 08:32 AM   #33 (permalink)
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That is a really strong signal! do you live next to a tower?! or own a airwave?

Basically your findings contradicts majority of the reviews done by tech sites, interesting nonetheless.
I will test the phones in the same manner from a completely different location (at work) today and see if I can duplicate the results. Regardless of absolute signal strength, the idea is to compare the radio to a known standard (the Evo 4G) to see if there's a deficiency. But there could be a difference in performance between a strong signal and a weak one. I'll try to find an area of weak signal (a basement-level room at work) and see how it does compared with Evo 4G.



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Originally Posted by Kurakka View Post
Thanks for doing this test novox, but I do have one thing that I am interested in. We can see that for a connection that has been established already that the 3d does seem to be a little better than the 4g. My question is how much faster if at all is the 3d at acquiring a signal (3g, or 4g) from either a shutdown status or from a airplane mode status? What I am trying to get at is, if the 3d takes longer to get a solid signal as it moves from tower to tower in day to day operation that could be an issue in the long run.

Just a thought, as I dont even have a clue on how I would test this out.

thanks again.
I just turned on airplane mode, and the app came up empty for tower lock. I waited 1 minute and turned on airplane mode, and in the time it took for me to switch back to the OpenSignal app (about 2 seconds), it was reporting signal strength and tower location already.

So... it seems pretty instantaneous to me. I'll try this at other locations later today.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 08:40 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Thanks for this super analysis Novox!!! I'm really stoked now
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 08:51 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Soooooo glad to be losing the purple tint!
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 11:39 AM   #36 (permalink)
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I just tried it and it worked on the 3D. on a conference call with the Evo 4G atm, so I can't test it there.

##33284#
That works on my Evo
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 11:44 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Congrads on your new EVO!. I really do hope the radio issue with these devices will be improved upon with updates. I just can't imagine why HTC would start using substandard gear. Sounds like you really love your phone... I'm looking forward to it myself...
http://androidforums.com/htc-evo-3d/360306-signal-strength-analysis-evo-3d-evo-4g.html

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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:03 PM   #38 (permalink)
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yup, you can have solid signal but small pipe due to overloaded network (think AT&T and iPhone hoards). That's why I stuck with wifi in my test; controlled environment in my home.
I would assume that network congestion would be similar in any given location though, allowing for a side-by-side comparison of two phones' 3G bandwidth. I think it would be useful to conduct speedtest runs over 3G for the two phones -- particularly because the speedtests were raised as an issue in one of the video reviews (phonedog I believe)
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:06 PM   #39 (permalink)
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I think TheHoodedClaw noted good 3G performance in his review above, unless I read that wrong.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:16 PM   #40 (permalink)
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So there is an OTA update when you get your phone? So I need to do that before installing any of my apps and then do a prl and profile update?

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Forgot to mention, before I did any testing with the 3D, I installed the OTA patch, factory reset, and updated PRL and profile.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:18 PM   #41 (permalink)
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I think TheHoodedClaw noted good 3G performance in his review above, unless I read that wrong.

I am using 3g and did tests using speednet as described above. My impression so far is that the 3d is similar to the 4g, maybe very slightly slower. Since I didn't test them side by side, it's hard to be definitive.

BUT, I am comfortable saying that stories that the 3d is sluggish are just not true, at least for my 3d on the network in my town.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:23 PM   #42 (permalink)
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So there is an OTA update when you get your phone? So I need to do that before installing any of my apps and then do a prl and profile update?

For my EVO I checked for updates as normal and it showed one available. I hard reset afterwards because that's what I try to do every time I do a firmware update. There's little cost in doing it in this case since you won't have put work into installing apps when the phone is fresh out of the box.

I recommend updating prl and profile just on principle when you take the phone to a new area/town. Might be overkill, but doesn't take anything but a little time.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:25 PM   #43 (permalink)
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I've found from basement-days Evo rooting advice to always update PRL and Profile when updating your rom - Mr. Ed makes this a key point in ensuring good 3G speed in the Evo forum sticky thread devoted to 3G performance.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:26 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Thanks. I'm not activated on the E3D yet, so I can't do any 3G tests at the moment. Give me a few days when work settles down, and I can swap out phones with minimal risk and finally test some voice/data stuff.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:26 PM   #45 (permalink)
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I've been lurking here for about a week as it's the best source of info on the 3VO whick I will own on Friday.
I found this link and like this guy's reviews and wanted to make sure you all saw it.
It was my understanding that currently all calls are done in 3G even if you are using the phone in 4G and in that coverage area. Is this not correct? Or is this only currently on Verizon?
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:40 PM   #46 (permalink)
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That's correct - the CDMA radio is used for voice and 3G, the 4G (WiMAX) radio is simply like adding a wifi connection on top of that.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 01:28 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Thanks. I'm not activated on the E3D yet, so I can't do any 3G tests at the moment. Give me a few days when work settles down, and I can swap out phones with minimal risk and finally test some voice/data stuff.
Send one over to me (on your dime of course), I'll test out whatever you want!

Just another thanks for this test. Certainly eases my mind a little bit that it seems to at the very least be on par with the Evo (and should be leaps and bounds ahead of this Nexus sitting next to me).
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 01:42 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Compared my old Samsung Moment, the EVO 3D showed fewer bars in the same spot, but got better speeds. This was in a weak signal area, 1-3 bars. Plus, my Moment generally failed to complete the upload test, and the EVO3D never did. This was using speedtest.net mobile. The variation was wild, so it's hard to draw strong conclusions (and let's be honest, I'm comparing against a Samsung Moment) but I got higher, and generally more consistent peak speeds with the EVO 3D and lower ping times. I'm still running tests, but so far, the EVO 3D seems fine.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 03:13 PM   #49 (permalink)
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I was confused by the reviewer commenting that his call quality changed depending whether he was in 3G or 4G mode. I thought that wouldn't make a difference at all because the calls revert to 3G regardless...
3G or 4G has no impact on voice calls. you can disable both radios and still make calls. voice doesn't use those radios, ever.

the reviewer might be implying that those other radios are interfering with voice radio. highly unlikely. There's no reason why that would be a problem only with one phone. If it were a real problem, it would be so fundamental that all CDMA phones would suffer from it.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 04:41 PM   #50 (permalink)
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I'll assume you misread EarlyMon, since your statement is correct other than "That's correct" (or there have been massive changes that I missed). Currently all calls are NOT done over 3G (or 4G for that matter), but are done over their slower 1x network. 3G and 4G are used exclusively for data. As EarlyMon said, the CDMA radio is used for Voice and 3G, and the 4G radio is separate.

I'm not sure about Verizon doing calls over 3G or not, but their LTE radios are separate as well, just like the WiMax ones in Sprint units.
Digital calling is a 2G function but - 1x is 3G.

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1xRTT is a data transmission system used on CDMA networks that allows for connetion speeds of up to a theoretical limit of 144kbps in most implementations. Real world usage is typically much slower, though, coming in at somewhere around 80kbps. 1xRTT is often referred to as a 2.5G technology like GPRS, though it is officially a 3G technology according to the ITU's IMT-2000 spec.
What is 1xRTT? - Definition

As it's all CDMA, I simply refer to it as voice and 3G for data, trying to avoid confusion. Sorry that I caused some instead.

Does that clarify?
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