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[Sprint] Anyone with a death grip reception problem?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by dlin95123, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. dlin95123

    dlin95123 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Note from EM - want this as a separate thread, may merge later into http://androidforums.com/htc-one/690750-antenna-includes-gps-reception-discussion.html

    I have had this phone for 5 days, coming from HTC EVO 4G. I really like HTC One and enjoy the new features. There are only two negative feedback on this phone:

    1. The 3G signal strength can drop 20dB if one holds the bottom of the phone. Sprint does not have LTE in my area yet. The antenna for 3G is around the lower white stripe in the back of the phone. By gripping the white strip area, it seems to block the 3G reception. This is similar to the iPhone "death grip" problem a few years ago. When it occurs, the voice quality degrades tremendously.

    2. I get my Yahoo mail using HTC One's stock mail app. For each email, I have to press a "Display Images" icon to see the graphics. My HTC Evo 4G does not have this problem. I can't seem to find a solution for it.

    I think I will keep the phone.

    EarlyMon likes this.

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  2. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    That's very odd.

    There are two active antennas, the metal end caps on the back - the white strips are insulators.

    When signal degrades at one end it's supposed to switch to the other.

    You may want to get yours checked, that doesn't sound right.
  3. dlin95123

    dlin95123 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    WiFi and LTE have two antennas. But 3G CDMA only has one antenna. Do a search on "HTC One death grip". You'll find others have the same issue.
  4. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    Not according to the FCC submittal -

    SVLTE is simultaneous voice with LTE data.

    If that applies to your use, ok, fair enough.

    But if not, please consider getting your phone checked, 3G and voice are routed through either antenna.

    Hope this helps!

    Btw, there are a number of threads and a video or two on this elsewhere on the internet. They're not active and you're the first Sprint user here mentioning this.

  5. dlin95123

    dlin95123 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the info. There is no LTE in my home area yet. So maybe I have a defective phone. I can demonstrate the issue 100% of the time at home.

    I just contacted Sprint chat support. The guy looked up their database and said it is not a known issue. He also suggested that I should get a replacement.

    I appreciate your input! Cheers! I went to get a replacement HTC One. The new one has the exact problem. Death grip....

    What should I do about it?

    Edit: Found a YouTube clip showing the Sprint HTC One's death grip problem:

    EarlyMon likes this.
  6. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    Let's get some feedback from other Sprint users. :(
  7. SolApathy

    SolApathy Just another robot
    VIP Member

    First off- For those that do not know how to check signal strength- go into the dialer and type ##DEBUG# (##33284#), press the menu button at the top, change the sample rate to 1 second and then click on 1x engineering and look at the RX power

    My personal experience with Sprint- I have about a 4db signal drop ONLY when giving this phone a true deathdrip with 2 hands, covering both antennas so it cannot adjust for antenna fade... Anyone walking around holding a phone like that has bigger problems imho...

    So to be perfectly clear - I have never experienced a fade issue, this is not antennagate 2.0.
    EarlyMon likes this.
  8. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    And the op seems very reasonable.

    I wonder then if the problem, along with the replacement, suggests a bad batch.
  9. dlin95123

    dlin95123 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I did that on the replacement phone and found 20-25dB loss with one hand gripping the bottom of the phone.
  10. SolApathy

    SolApathy Just another robot
    VIP Member

    Don't know what to tell you, there are a few threads on this you can find on the internet, but as stated above they are all dead. I cannot replicate the issue. You are not in a bad reception area, using an Airave, are you?
  11. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    I'd email Sprint, ask for Tier 3 support, explain that you're getting defective phones repeatedly.

    Go for it by email - you'll get a tracking number for your case and a lot less hold time, runaround and re-explaining.

    If they have a bad batch in the pipeline, someone higher up needs to know about this - that's what Tier 3 is all about.

    BTW - are you using a case?

    Not asking you to or suggesting it's a good idea (despite other comments on this on the internet) - just general info curiosity - are you and if so, what kind?
    KOLIO likes this.
  12. dlin95123

    dlin95123 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I don't use a case. I'll contact Sprint using email and save it as a record. Thanks for the suggestion.

    BTW, I live in a metro area with good reception. According to Sprint's coverage map, my area has the "Best" coverage. On my replacement HTC One, it measures between -85dbm to -80dbm.

    Follow up :

    I'd like to provide an update of my issue. I have contacted Sprint, BestBuy, and HTC. The status is as follows:

    Sprint rep thinks that I might got my HTC One phones from a bad batch of phone. She is going to get a Device Care Manager contact me within 24 hours.

    BestBuy rep also thinks that my two HTC One phones are from a bad batch of phones. She suggested I go to another BestBuy store to exchange it.

    HTC rep, on the other hand, suggested that I might want to change how I grip the phone. He thinks it is normal to have some signal variation if the antenna is covered, even after I told him the loss was up to 25dB! In his email, he asked me to provide serial number and software version on a HTC link. When I clicked the link, I only found my case was closed and I couldn't enter any information.
    EarlyMon likes this.
  13. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    HTC rep - grrr.

    The low level ones get a lot wrong. Wish I knew the secret to escalation with them.

    Death grip was the first community concern.

    You can see from the design and description from others that rep was wrong. :mad:

    This is why I like Sprint service. They've always worked with me until I was happy.

    Keep us posted!
    KOLIO likes this.
  14. dlin95123

    dlin95123 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Sprint called me back. The agent checked my HTC One's signal strength remotely and said the signal was strong. Then she checked the nearby cell towers and said no problems had been reported. She concluded that it was a bad HTC One I got. She recommended that I could take it to a nearby Sprint Store to have it checked.

    Are you using LTE mode or CDMA mode? Just out of curiosity, I took my HTC One to an area with Sprint LTE coverage. I then gripped the phone at the bottom and, interestingly, the signal only dropped a little. So I changed the phone from LTE/CDMA mode to CDMA Only mode and repeated the test. Sure enough, the signal dropped substantially.

    My finding so far indicats that my HTC One's death grip problem is only with the CDMA mode. SolApathy, can you please clarify how you tried to replicate the issue? Thanks.
  15. SolApathy

    SolApathy Just another robot
    VIP Member

    Attempted to replicate by 3 methods:

    1- Held the phone with one hand covering the bottom WWAN antenna completely with a tight grip and thumb on the side of the device. extending up about 3/4 of the way on the left side where the upper WWAN antenna resides.

    2. Held the phone in the palm on the top covering the WWAN antenna and the wifi/bt antennas with the thumb resting across the top of the device (over the power button)

    3. held the phone with both hands in opposing directions, completely covering the entire rear panel of the phone and effectively blocking all the antennas. - No way to be on a phone call like this!

    I experienced minimal capacitive detuning/attenuation with a sample rate of 1 second on 1x (CDMA)
    Unfortunately here there is no LTE yet, only WiMax
  16. dlin95123

    dlin95123 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Thanks! Good answer too. It is good to know that some HTC One phones work well with CDMA. So I still have hope.

    I'll go back to a different BestBuy store to exchange for another HTC One.


    Something very interesting happened this morning. I got a Sprint Zone message requesting a software upgrade. It did not specify what the upgrade would do. But since it was from Sprint Zone, I clicked "ok". Then amazingly, I found the death grip problem went away!

    Draw your own conclusion. :) Thanks all for the help.
    EarlyMon and marctronixx like this.
  17. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    Glad that's sorted! :)

    I imagine that it may be a good idea to leave this for easy access to those Googling for this problem - but - the problem is likely going to go away as they put that update into the mainline supply.

    So - we'll lock or merge this one soon enough.

    Thanks for your efforts here, dlin!! :party: :)
    marctronixx likes this.
  18. dlin95123

    dlin95123 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I would like to provide an update. The software upgrade from Sprint Zone has not reliably fixed the death grip issue. I could not consistently reproduce the death grip problem after the software upgrade though. In other words, the signal sometimes would drop substantially and sometimes just drop a little.

    So I took the phone to a Sprint store. The guy at the Sprint store had the same phone. So we compared our phones side by side. When he gripped his phone at its bottom, the signal would drop but then went up quickly. My phone, on the other hand, stayed low. Since I bought my phone at Best Buy, the Sprint store couldn't do anything for me, according to the guy I talked to at Sprint Store.

    Best Buy offers a 14-day exchange/return policy. So I went back to a Best Buy store in a different city last night, and got my 3rd HTC One. I was hoping that it would come from a different batch.

    I am sad to report that this 3rd HTC One phone has the same problem. It is similar to the 2nd phone in that the problem is inconsistent. Both 2nd and 3rd phones got Sprint Zone update while the 1st phone did not. With the 1st HTC One phone, I could reliably reproduce the problem 100% of the time.

    I can't believe that I have gone through this much trouble.....
  19. rottonj

    rottonj Well-Known Member

    I am on Sprint and have not had any of the problems you are referring to. I have an Otterbox commuter on mine. When you say death grip is that just a saying or are you holding the phone really tight? If you are, Why? I also get the display images in my yahoo email, it is annoying. Hope you get it sorted out, I'm still stumbling thru android(my first) but I'm getting there. Cheers
  20. dlin95123

    dlin95123 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Death grip does not mean one holding the phone really tight. The term was made popular by iphone 4's death of signal problem by gripping the phone in a certain way. Mr. Jobs offered free cases to people having the problem back then.

    Maybe you can take your HTC One out of the Otterbox and see if you have the same problem. The YouTube video I quoted earlier would show you how to try to reproduce the problem:

    Sprint HTC One death grip problem - YouTube

    Please post your finding. Thank you.
  21. rottonj

    rottonj Well-Known Member

    Low and behold, I have it too. I probably never paid attention as there is no 4g in my area and my signal isn't always great. Mine was usually around 2 and I always hold the phone that way. I removed the case, held from the top and signal went to between 4 and 5 bars. Great, now what do I do lol. I purchased the phone thru Newegg. do you think a Sprint store would work with me? I have owned it for a couple months. Thanks
  22. dlin95123

    dlin95123 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Let me try to understand what you are saying. It seems that you are stating a different behavior. Are you saying that the signal level would go up after you remove the case and touch the upper antenna area?

    Does anyone know if Apple has fixed the death grip problem of their iphone 4?
  23. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    The iP4, designed and introduced in 2010, had the problem more with their GSM models. For that model, the antennas were shorting, a problem solved by a rubber bumper case or the like.
    dlin95123 likes this.
  24. rottonj

    rottonj Well-Known Member

    I watched the video and did just as they did, the results were the same as theirs. I always hold the phone at the bottom so I probably did not know it was affecting the signal. I can make the signal go up by touching the top of the phone. I get no dropped calls and everyone can hear me so I'm not sure if I will do anything about the phone. Maybe we should all just hold the phone upside down lol. My first great phone and now this, oh well.
  25. nomunk

    nomunk Well-Known Member

    I thought I was the only one to have this problem, I have been having the death grip problem since I bought my HTC One on launch day, sometimes when I first answer the phone for the first few seconds the caller will not be able to hear me, I do get alot of 4g LTE Coverage when I leave my house when im in the house the signal bounces back N forth between 3G and 4G depending where I am in the house, not sure if that has to do with my death grip problem or not

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The HTC One M7 release date was March 2013. Features and Specs include a 4.7" inch screen, 4MP camera, 2GB RAM, Snapdragon 600 processor, and 2300mAh battery.

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