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So, what is the Android with the best cell radio ...

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Joel76, Apr 22, 2020.

  1. Joel76

    Joel76 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    .... in terms of sensitivity ? In other words, I need a phone that isn't breaking up or dropping calls.

    I'm in a black hole crappy dead zone as far as cell towers are concerned and had pretty good luck with an original Moto-X. Now I have a Google pixel 2 and it seems to struggle in the same setting. I have like 1 bar of signal strength and it breaks up now and then.

    All other features aside, I'm interested in the basics and wondering on who makes the most robust cell xmit and rcvr radios?

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  2. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    it is not just the phone but your carrier. my friend and i both have the note 10+, but when we are together (that's pre-coronavirus) his phone who is on sprint loses reception easily while my verizon phone gets a strong signal. so for us it is hard to say what phone get better reception as YRMV. it is why most phone reviews you will never mention call reception or quality.

    have you tried wifi calling?
    #2 ocnbrze, Apr 22, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
  3. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    All phones tend to be very similar for RF performance.

    If have difficulty with reception, see if your carrier offers WiFi calling or femtocell options.
    Brian706, puppykickr and ocnbrze like this.
  4. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    Look for a device that offers wifi calling, along with the carrier. Some phones do not have the option. This way even if the cell reception is horrible, wifi calling kicks in and no dropped calls
  5. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    This sounds a simple question, but it's actually one of the harder ones to give a meaningful answer to, and I doubt that anyone can give you a reliable answer to your question.

    To clarify one thing, call break-up is meaningful but the number of bars isn't. That's purely a matter of presentation, and tells you surprisingly little about the signal reception: different manufacturers, different models from the same manufacturer, even different software releases on the same phone can show different numbers of signal bars for the same signal strength. Changing the integration time over which the received level is calculated also changes the behaviour of the signal bars dramatically. But none of this has any effect on the actual connection quality, it's all just cosmetic.

    So the simple rule is that you can't compare signal bars between 2 different phones, it's almost meaningless. Indeed I remember cases where manufacturers "fixed" reception problems just by tweaking the signal meter behaviour (detailed investigation showed that there was no difference in reception or the ability to hold a call, but the complaints went away because the phone was showing more bars...).

    In fact it's probably impossible to give a solid answer to your question. For one thing, reviews these days don't even try to assess reception. But to do this meaningfully is actually a lot of work, especially since phones cover many different bands and protocols and there's no reason a phone must perform the same in all of them. Radio reception is finnicky, so to get anything more than anecdotal observation you need to put in far more technical work than your average reviewer even understands. And of course there can be variation between samples of the same phone as well as between different models, so if you only have one phone to review how do you distinguish those? The truth is that, as has been said, most are fairly similar.

    The other thing is that we don't know what band/protocol you are relying on for your reception. As said, there's no law that says that a phone must behave the same in all of these. So if I told you that in my experience (anecdotal) phone X gave very strong voice reception that could be based on the GSM1800 band (the main 2G band used by my service provider). From the time you posted this I guess you are in the Americas somewhere, and if you are in North America you are definitely not using that band. If you are using a CDMA network you wouldn't even be using that protocol. So without knowing at least what carrier you are using, ideally whether your main connection is 2G/3G/4G, there's no way of knowing whether our personal experience is relevant to you at all.

    So putting all of that together, I don't think it will be possible to give a definite answer to your question. Someone might say that they have found brand X to be good or brand Y to be bad, but it's unlikely that they've done a systematic comparison as opposed to using one phone (and perhaps changing network when they changed phone, which they may not mention).
    ocnbrze, Brian706 and puppykickr like this.
  6. Brian706

    Brian706 I like turtles!

    This doesn't answer your question, but since you're using a pixel 2, have you looked in to Google Fi as a carrier? It uses wifi for calling, etc., as a priority and only uses cell towers when you're not connected to WiFi. It would probably also save you some money. It might be worth checking out if you're located somewhere with minimal cell service and if you're connected to WiFi most of the time.


    P.s. I've been using Fi for about 4 years. I have been happy with it and pay about $30/month. If you have any questions, let me know
    #6 Brian706, Apr 24, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
    ocnbrze likes this.
  7. Trom

    Trom Android Enthusiast

    I think that most phones are very similar in that respect, and boils down to the signal that your carrier is providing. There are cell phone signal boosters that you can purchase on aliexpress and amazon, I'm not sure how good they are, but it's a thought.
    ocnbrze likes this.
  8. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Here in the UK some service providers can provide home "femtocells" to customers in areas with really bad coverage. No idea whether the OP's provider does something similar.
    ocnbrze likes this.

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