iPhone models are worse than competitors for antenna signal

Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are the worst smartphones for voice quality and range amongst the most popular new smartphones on the market, according to a study carried out on behalf of telecomms authorities in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, as well as the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The news is especially worse for those who hold their smartphone in their left hand as the antenna signal gets slightly better for right-handed users, according to the research. Many believe that the way the antenna is placed within the smartphone is the reason that it runs into such problems.

The study questions how far manufacturers are taking into consideration how people hold smartphones when designing antennas.

“The performance variation between left-hand and right-hand usage is for several phones very large,” it notes. “This shows that for some phones the antenna design does not take body loss in different usage positions into account. A well-designed antenna solution has a low body loss in both right- and left-hand usages.”

The research was conducted by Gert Frølund Pedersen, a professor at Denmark’s Aalborg University, along with the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Professor Gert Frølund Pederson, who tested 26 popular mobile phone models on the market and ranked them in order of antenna quality.

The results were bad  for Apple’s popular iPhone. “Apple has had problems and they continue to have them. It also seems that the problems are greater in their newer phones, which is incredible,” Pedersen told Danish news agency Ritzau.

According to the results of his study, the four different iPhone models examined – the SE, 6, 6s and 6s Plus – were the four worst smartphones for voice services when the devices are held in the user’s left hand. However, all Apple handsets appeared to perform slightly better when tested in the right hand.

Apple is expected to unveil two new models, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at an event on Wednesday, and is expected to make changes to the way the antenna is built, putting the lines that allow the signal to escape from the smartphone’s metal shell on the top and bottom and so mostly moving them out of sight. However, it is not clear whether or not the move could improve call quality in the left hand.

According to the study, the top three mobiles for call quality in the right hand were the HTC Desire 626, Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini and Samsung Galaxy J1. When held in the left hand, they were the DORO PhoneEasy 530X, Microsoft Lumia 640 and Microsoft Lumia 650.

You can read the full report of the study here.

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