Signal strength/call quality of Evo 3DSupport

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  1. NeoteriX

    NeoteriX Well-Known Member

    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.


  2. jcunwired

    jcunwired Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns! VIP Member

    And of course, the best way to test your call quality is to play Portal. I want my cake NOW.
  4. cobalt

    cobalt Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. jerofld

    jerofld Fixing stuff is not easy VIP Member

    An app called "Speed Test"
    cobalt likes this.
  6. jcunwired

    jcunwired Well-Known Member

  7. NeoteriX

    NeoteriX Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    I just started playing with this one - pretty interesting:
  9. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns! VIP Member

    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'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.
  10. ArmageddonX

    ArmageddonX Well-Known Member

    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?
  11. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

  12. JunBringer

    JunBringer Well-Known Member

    That's what it looks like to me.
  13. TheHoodedClaw

    TheHoodedClaw Well-Known Member

    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.
    Rose4uKy, novox77, EarlyMon and 2 others like this.
  14. Jensen

    Jensen Well-Known Member

    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.
    EarlyMon likes this.
  15. RichboyJhae

    RichboyJhae Well-Known Member

    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.
    marctronixx likes this.
  16. heavychevy

    heavychevy Well-Known Member

    Colors look way better on the 3D as well. This is good to know. I'll be picking mine up on Friday.
    sergi0wned and RichboyJhae like this.
  17. TheHoodedClaw

    TheHoodedClaw Well-Known Member

    Forgot to mention, before I did any testing with the 3D, I installed the OTA patch, factory reset, and updated PRL and profile.
    marctronixx and EarlyMon like this.
  18. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    Looks like you did an ace job from where I stand, TheHoodedClaw!
    marctronixx likes this.
  19. ArmageddonX

    ArmageddonX Well-Known Member

    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! :eek:
  20. aaron3315

    aaron3315 Well-Known Member

    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!
  21. PyroSporker

    PyroSporker Well-Known Member

    Novox, very solid looking test. And thank you for using Speakeasy's connection test rather than 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.
  22. NeoteriX

    NeoteriX Well-Known Member

    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.
  23. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns! VIP Member

    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.
    racefla likes this.
  24. PyroSporker

    PyroSporker Well-Known Member

    I didn't mean to get us off topic or chase the rabbit down a different hole but it is my understanding that and especially their 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 given their shaky track record. Everyone and their brother uses and I say buck the trend.
  25. ebolamonkey3

    ebolamonkey3 Well-Known Member

    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?? :confused:

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